For 46 minutes, the St. Michael-Albertville Knights controlled their 6A quarterfinal game Thursday night. Then the unbelievable happened, 90 seconds of game time against Maple Grove that produced the Crimson's 29-27 victory.
Lost in the frantic final seconds is a great season for the new 6A team from STMA. Moving up in class and advancing to state in year one is an accomplishment in itself.
Quarterback Marcus Krupke to Xavier Thurman was a combination the Crimson could not handle. Krupke throws a nice deep ball. He connected with Thurman as Krupke as he was getting hit. On a third and nine, Krupke threw another deep cross to Thurman. The receiver used a stiff arm and scored on a 70-yard touchdown. They combined on a skinny post for a touchdown. The throw was low, but Thurman made a sliding catch. Late in the game, it was Krupke to Thurman one more time for an 18-yard touchdown.
On the ground Desean Phillips five-yard touchdown run. Later he broke a tackle in the backfield for a nice run between the tackles. An excellent inside runner the entire game he had another tough run inside behind TJ Duerr. Eli Peterson, playing with a cast on his hand, threw a trap block to get Phillips to the second level. Phillips also had success running behind Jericho Siegle and Conner Heyeman.
Thurman made an impact on the defensive side of the ball as well. He broke on an underthrown ball for an interception. Thurman broke up a pass from the corner spot. He had tight coverage on another play to prevent a completion, and finally, he picked off a jump ball sort of ball.
Matthew Feldick made an open field tackle on a screen pass, Later he dropped into the flat and batted down a pass. He made a shoestring tackle on a sweep prevents a big gain. He was in on another one on one tackle on the outside to prevent a long run.
Siegle was good on offense, but he might have been the best player on the field on the defensive side of the ball. He made a tackle for short gain. He came down the line well from his defensive tackle spot. He would make another tackle for a short loss, string out a run for a short gain and blow through the line immediately to drop the running back for a five-yard loss.
Defensively Duerr penetrated, got down the line of scrimmage and made a tackle for a short gain. Then he combined with linebacker Austin Springer for a tackle for no gain.
Springer made a good read and forced a run outside for Feldick to clean up. Later another solid read by Springer led to his quick penetration and a tackle for loss. He was in the backfield practically at the snap. He showed good range later and scraped down the line to make a tackle on the perimeter.
Austin Buchholz did a little bit of everything. He made a tackle for loss; then he read a screen and intercepted a pass returned it for 47-yards. Finally, he combined on a sack with Siegle.
Like Buchholz, Ethan Rice also diagnosed a screen pass and made a tackle from behind.
Defensive end Cole Jann got good penetration on a run play, allowing Bucholz to make a tackle for loss. Then Jann and Siegle got down the line of scrimmage and combined for a stop on the outside.
Nolan Schmitz helped slow down the running game with solid tackles on inside runs.
Twice, defensive back Grant Schoen fought off blocks and made open field tackles.
90 seconds do not define a season. It was an excellent year for the Knights, and through 46 minutes they were the best team on the field. Their first year in 6A ended because of a comeback for the ages.