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Things don’t get any easier for Lourdes

By Paul Christian

The Post-Bulletin

BLUE EARTH, Minn. — A year ago Mike Kesler inherited a Rochester Lourdes team that had one returning starter, and the results were predictable, a 2-7 record and a first-round exit in the Class AAA playoffs.

Which makes this season so improbable.

Lourdes reached the Class AAA semifinals Saturday night after a 36-29 win over Blue Earth in a quarterfinal game in the frigid confines of Wilson Field.

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The Eagles will now play a football game in the Metrodome for the first time in school history, taking on No. 3-ranked and defending state champion Becker at 3:15 p.m. Friday.

"Did we expect to be playing in the Dome at the beginning of the year? No, I can’t say that,’’ said Kesler. "Our goals were to get better each game, and I think we have done that since we are still playing. We also wanted to win the section, and we did that, too.

"Now, our goal is simple, to keep on playing.’’

Becker has been to the state tournament 11 times since 1985, winning the Class AAA championship last year after being runner-up in 2004. The Bulldogs have been to the state the past five years under veteran coach Dwight Lundeen, who is in his 39th year at the helm.

Their only loss came in the first game of the year against a team from Rockhurst, Mo., 28-14.

Becker whipped unbeaten Proctor 41-14 Friday in the state quarterfinal.

This is the fifth appearance for Lourdes in the state tournament, but first since 1983 and before the field was expanded to all teams in the state. The Eagles won the Class A championship in 1979 and also made trips to the state in 1980, 1982 and 1983.

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