Obviously, when you make it to the state semi-finals, you have had a great season and have a lot of talented players. At this point in the season, the team you are playing also had a great year and sometimes it is just not your day. Sometimes that great team runs into another who is playing at another level. Before St. Croix Lutheran played Pequot Lakes in the 3A semi-finals I had seen the Crusaders take apart two teams that were very good teams. It happened again – this time to Pequot Lakes. The point of this story is to high light the Patriots' performances of note despite the 45-7 defeat.
The defensive line looked like they were going to make sure St. Croix Lutheran running back Mike Stern was not going to beat them. Early in the game, they did a nice job bottling up Stern.
Defensive lineman Zach Senst stuffed two inside runs for minimal gains. Garrett Wolf also stuffed a pair of inside runs. Later Maxx Schindel combined with Wolf to blow up a run. Schindel didn't need any help a few plays later when he filled the hole for a solo tackle.
The Patriots seemed to be rotating in a number of defensive linemen. John Urseth and Luke Schmokel both stuffed inside runs. John Marchwick did it twice on the same drive.
With all the interest on the inside running game, the Crusaders went to the outside and the air for most of their yards. That being said, there were still some solid plays on the second and third levels of the defense.
Austin Young had tight coverage on a deep ball, and Zach Sjoblad had great downfield coverage, but SCL's Garrett Maag made a great catch. Against the run, Sjoblad made an open field tackle that prevented a big gain.
Linebacker Calvin Maske stuffed an off tackle run; then he filled a hole for no gain. Although they scored a play later, Maske made a tackle on the goal line to keep the Crusaders out of the end zone.
Offensively they didn't have many performances to highlight, but an off tackle run by Nathan Traut picked up a first down behind Senst. Traut benefited from a lead block by fullback Maske. Traut made a spin move on an end around to pick up yardage behind a key block by Senst. Traut made a nice catch, but the throw by quarterback Cale Wolf was even better. He scrambled and as he was falling completed a 20-yard pass.
By far the most impressive player on the field for the Patriots was wide receiver Young. He caught a crossing route and showed his cutting ability to pick up some yards after catch. On another slant route, he showed how physical he could be as he broke a tackle for extra yards.
Young showed his superior hands first on an underthrown ball that he had to slide along the ground to catch. Young's best catch – despite a pass interference call on the defender – was made on a fly route he had to come back to get. Finally, he got free for the team's only touchdown and finished the game with six catches and 148 yards and that one touchdown.
Pequot Lakes finished the season with a 9-3 record.