Caledonia aiming for repeat in rematch

Warriors edged Luverne by TD in 2007 state final

By Guy N. Limbeck

Caledonia has been were Luverne wants to be. And the Warriors will attempt to block that path again this year in the Prep Bowl.

Luverne has scaled the mountain in recent years in high school football, but the Cardinals have not quite reached the peak. The Cardinals will be playing in their third straight Class AA state championship game on Friday and in the past two years they have had to settle for second place.


Caledonia toppled Luverne in last year’s AA title game 14-7 as the Warriors won their second state title. The same two teams square off in this year’s title game.

"Basically it’s the same team as last year," Caledonia coach Carl Fruechte said of Luverne.

"They look very impressive on tape and they have the whole package obviously," he added. "They’re very well coached and I have a lot of respect for Todd (Oye). You can just tell they play hard."

While the Cardinals have been on a solid run, Caledonia has been just as good or better this decade. The Warriors are playing in the state championship game for the third time in four years. They are going for back-to-back crowns after finishing second in 2005. Fruechte isn’t dwelling on the past or last year’s win over Luverne, however.

"It’s a new group (of players). It’s a new season, a new game," he said.

Both teams are well aware of the other and realize the ins and outs of playing in the Metrodome, which was also the site of the state semifinals.

Caledonia has featured a dynamic one-two offensive attack this year between the run and the pass. The Warriors have shown the ability to get ahead of teams by passing in the postseason and then use a smash-mouth running game to put foes away.

"I think we have to be two dimensional," Fruechte said of Friday’s game. "If not we could be in trouble."


That has seldom been a problem. Senior Alex Schleich has rushed for 1,505 yards and 16 touchdowns while quarterback Casey Bauer is 82-for-138 for 1,465 yards with 23 TDs and nine interceptions.

Andy Bauer (36 catches, 649 yards) and Isaac Fruechte (24 catches, 668 yards) both have caught 10 touchdown passes. Fruechte also has rushed for 287 yards and four TDs. On defense he has six interceptions and returned one for a touchdown in the state semifinals.

Luverne might have taken a page out of Caledonia’s playbook after last year’s game. The Cardinals are employing more three-receiver sets this year and also have tried to create a balanced attack.

Phillip Paquette has rushed for 1,467 yards and 16 TDs and Ryan Hoff has passed for 1,154 yards and 19 scores. Hoff is the younger brother of last year’s starting quarterback, Jeremy.

"I really like their tailback and two wide receivers," coach Fruechte said. "They have some speed, too."

Fruechte said three key defensive players for the Warriors will be linebacker Ryan Goetzinger and ends Eddie Hodges and Troy Frank.

The game will begin at 4 p.m.

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