Editor’s note: Over the first few weeks of May, the Post Bulletin sports staff will take a look back at some of the most memorable games or events we’ve covered. These aren’t necessarily the “biggest” events we’ve covered, but rather they’re games that stick in our minds for some reason. Today, sports editor Jason Feldman shares his favorite memories.
5. JUNE 13, 2018: A MILESTONE MEET FOR YOEMANS, HERZOG
Red Wing’s Leah Herzog holed-out at the Class AA girls golf state meet to finish the two-round event with a state-record tying total of 137. Her record lasted for 15 minutes. Her teammate, Sophia Yoemans, finished 15 minutes later with a record-shattering two-round total of 129, making her the only golfer -- boys or girls -- to ever break 130 for a 36-hole state tournament in Minnesota. Yoemans repeated as state medalist in 2019, the same spring that Herzog was named Minnesota’s Miss Golf. Both play Division I college golf now, Herzog at Nebraska and Yoemans at Missouri.
4. SEPT. 20, 2008: MY INTRO. TO MAYO-JM FOOTBALL RIVALRY
I had lived in Rochester for nearly four years before I watched a JM vs. Mayo football game for the first time. What an introduction to the rivalry it was. The game had it all: OT drama, big plays (JM’s Drew Meyer had two 38-yard runs in the game’s first 4 minutes) and gutsy calls (Mayo coach Kevin Landherr went for a fourth-and-goal at the JM 4 late in the first quarter and the Spartans converted a TD). JM QB Joel Schauder scored with 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie the score 13-13, then Mayo’s Nick Logdahl broke through the line to block JM’s PAT kick attempt and force OT. Mayo running back Aaron Burt scored on a third-and-goal from the JM 6 in OT to give his team the winning points in a 19-13 victory.
3. MAY 15-16, 2015: LONGEST GAME IN NAHL HISTORY
Game 1 of the best-of-3 2015 North American Hockey League Robertson Cup Finals started at 7:05 p.m. at Austin’s Riverside Arena, the homesteading Austin Bruins facing the Minnesota Wilderness, from Cloquet. It ended 5 hours, 29 minutes later when Billy Exell slipped a shot past Bruins goalie Evan Smith for a 2-1 Wilderness victory. With tired legs on both sides, the Wilderness won Game 2 the next night, 4-0, with Rochester Century graduate Brock Kautz in goal. Game 1 is the lasting memory, though, as players were eating bananas on the bench during the game, after struggling just to climb over the boards after their shifts ended.
2. SEPT. 8, 2017: CALEDONIA’S UNBELIEVABLE COMEBACK
Caledonia has the longest active high school football winning streak in the country, 68 games. The Warriors haven’t lost since Nov. 15, 2014. But that streak almost didn’t make it to 30, much less 68. The concern on the sideline and in the Caledonia cheering section was palpable, though, in Week 2 of the 2017 season, as Caledonia entered the fourth quarter at Triton trailing 27-13. Then, as he did so often, Owen King took over. He led a 93-yard TD drive to get within 27-20 with 9:53 to go. Triton went three-and-out, the King led a seven-play, 83-yard drive, capped with a 43-yard TD pass to Marten Morem. The teams traded turnovers or punts on the next four possessions. Caledonia got the break it needed late in the game, when Austin Heinz recovered a fumble at the Cobras’ 15. Four plays later, King threw a 13-yard TD pass to Andrew Goergen to cap the comeback in a 34-27 win, the 30th in a row for Caledonia. “Unbelievable,” King said. “The fight in our guys is something special.”
1. MARCH 8, 2007: ‘RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME’ FOR FAUPEL
Joe Faupel was a sophomore forward on a line with two of the best seniors ever to play boys hockey at Rochester Century, Garrett Grimstad and Joe Knoepke. It was clear that Faupel was the forgotten man on this day, at least in the minds of the Hill-Murray hockey team. Faupel scored four goals and had one assist as Century stunned the Pioneers 6-5 in OT in a Class AA state quarterfinal at the Xcel Energy Center. Faupel scored the winner in OT, as he was left alone at the top of the crease and Grimstad made a perfect no-look pass from below the goal line. I was sitting next to KFAN (then-KWEB) sports play-by-play announcer Greg Henn. We both looked at each other, a bit stunned that Century had upset Hill-Murray -- the first time an unseeded team beat a seeded team at the tournament -- and a bit stunned that the Pios had allowed Faupel to score again. “I guess I was just in the right place at the right time,” Faupel said after the game. Century placed third at the state tournament that year.
The “Emma Schmitz Game”: That’s how I think of it in my mind, though so much more than Schmitz’s two dynamic goals went into Lourdes’ 2-1 win against South St. Paul in the Class A girls hockey state quarterfinals on Feb. 2. Corrin Hanson had 28 saves, while Schmitz scored on a breakaway in the first period, then again on a breakaway 53 seconds into OT to send Lourdes to the state semifinals.
Z-M’s rain-delayed title: What’s a state softball tournament without a rain delay? The delay on the final day of the 2016 tournament only prolonged the inevitable. Zumbrota-Mazeppa’s first state softball championship didn’t come in dramatic fashion, but Z-M had to wait four hours to record the final three outs of a 7-0 win against Pequot Lakes on June 10, 2016. Morgan Olson drove in two runs and threw a complete-game two-hitter.
Not your average seventh-place game: Mayo and John Marshall were both playing their third hockey games in three days. The crowd was sparse. The puck dropped at 11:30 a.m. on a Thursday. But the long-time rivals put on a game worthy of a late-February, section playoffs type crowd. JM beat Mayo 2-1 in OT in the seventh-place game of the Kiwanis Festival on Dec. 30, 2010 in a game that featured physical play, skilled goals and a killed 5-on-3 in OT. JM’s Kyle Andrews scored the winning goal with 34.7 seconds to play in OT.
Buringa brings perspective to state title: Mark Buringa had come oh-so-close to winning a state wrestling title four times, placing fifth as an eighth-grader, third as a freshman and sophomore and second as a junior. He finally broke through as a senior, beating Blake Legred of USC 3-2 to win the 138-pound Class A title on March 3, 2019. Buringa immediately ran to the Xcel Center stands to embrace his parents and sisters, all at once. “Sometimes inside you get so nervous and wonder if it’s worth it,” he said. “Then you get moments like this, and ... 100 percent worth it.”