In one of the most dominating performances of the weekend, the Minneota Vikings went into halftime with a 41-0 lead over Mayer Lutheran. It would not get much better for the Crusaders as the Vikings would go on to win the game 54-21.
Obviously, it was an offensive explosion in the first half for the Vikings. Running back Isaac Hennen was all over the field. His first big play came out of the Wildcat formation as he took the direct snap off the left side for a first down. Sometimes he would line up in the slot and take a handoff but instead of a typical end around he would cut the run up off tackle. It was a play the defense had trouble stopping all game long.
Hennen has good hands too. He caught a pass in the flat, dragging a tackler for extra yards. He took a shuffle pass from quarterback Alex Pohlen and behind a block by Trent Esping that collapsed the defensive line he got into the end zone. Hennen then caught a ball running a crossing route. It was a routine catch, but he was hit immediately and held onto the ball. He also made a sliding catch on an underthrown ball. Lineman Ethan Krier's block gave Hennen more running room for a first down on a straight handoff. Later Hennen set up his blocks on outside run and made a sharp cut for a touchdown.
Cole Sanow also had success on the ground. Krier sprung Sanow on an inside handoff from the slot. Fellow lineman Ty Lipinski opened a big hole and his linemate Esping got to the second level quickly to allow Sanow to get into the secondary. Krier's seal block permitted Sanow to get the corner on yet another successful run.
Sanow was also a factor in the passing game. He caught a screen pass for a touchdown. The offensive line – led on this play by Cole VanOverbeke – and receivers paved the way to the end zone.
Skylar Gilbertson made a sliding catch, then and kept his feet inbounds later on a catch on the sidelines. Gilbertson also caught a wide receiver screen and came all the way across the field to pick up the first down. On a similar play, Brant Buysse caught a wide receiver screen and cut across the field for a touchdown.
The Vikings did a lot of damage underneath with pinpoint passing by Pohlen. That doesn't mean Pohlen is just a dink and dunk quarterback. He threw a perfect corner route to Thomas Hennen for a touchdown and showed he can power the ball downfield. He doesn't look to run but is not afraid to pull the ball down when he doesn't like what he sees. He scrambled around the end for a 15-yard run for a first down.
Pohlen was rarely hurried on any of his dropbacks. Lipinski, Esping, VanOverbeke, Shawn Buysse, and Krier pushed around the Crusaders' defensive line the entire game.
Hennen possibly had the play of the game. He made a one-handed catch on a two-point play.
Defensively the Vikings were just as dominant as on offense.
When not making one-handed catches Hennen patrolled the Vikings' secondary. He had tight coverage on a deep pass down the sidelines.
With Mayer Lutheran threatening to score Buysse came up with an interception. He cut in front of the receiver on a crossing route in the red zone.
On the defensive line, Lucas Bot fought off a double team and made a tackle for a short gain.
At defensive end, Mitchell Rost held the edge on a sweep and made a tackle for loss.
Esping and Krier plugged up the middle making running inside not much of an option the entire game.
Finally, Landon Abraham closed on a pass and knocked the ball down, while Hennen put immediate pressure on the quarterback for a sack. On a wide receiver screen, Buysse fought off a block and turned a promising wide receiver screen into a short gain.
Minneota will face Wabasso next week in the Prep Bowl.