Football: Caledonia shows who's No. 1 in Class AA
Caledonia completed its perfect season in dominating style on Friday to win the Class AA state football championship for the sixth time in nine years.
MINNEAPOLIS — Caledonia left little doubt during the course of the season about being the best football team in Class AA.
And the Warriors completed their perfect season in dominating style on Friday. Top-ranked Caledonia captured its sixth Class AA state football championship in the past nine years with a 40-0 victory over No. 2 Pipestone at TCF Bank Stadium.
Caledonia finishes 14-0 and claims a state title the first time since 2012.
"We just wanted to win," Caledonia sophomore quarterback Owen King said. "We tried to find the best mismatches and I think we did."
Caledonia overpowered foes and found mismatches all season long. Friday was no different. The Warriors completed their three-game run through the state tournament by outscoring foes 131-6.
"Couldn't be prouder of the heart and passion they brought (Friday)," sixth-year Caledonia coach Brent Schroeder said.
King led the way on offense and the defense played its typical stifling style of play. King threw four touchdown passes — two each to Alex Goergen and Colton Lampert — and was 13-for-20 passing for 207 yards.
"I like how he keeps the plays alive and keeps his eyes (looking) downfield," Pipestone coach Clay Anderson said of King.
Sam Stemper rushed for 172 yards on 20 carries and a pair of short touchdowns as Caledonia rolled in the final two quarters after building a 33-0 lead at the half.
"Ever since last year when we lost (in the state quarterfinals), that just motivated us," said Stemper, who had added incentive after being injured a year ago.
Caledonia outscored foes 667-69 this year and amazingly did not allow a single point in the first half all season.
"We knew going in they were really tough," Anderson said. "I think the most impressive thing was how fast they were on defense."
Caledonia finished with 394 total yards to just 127 for Pipestone (13-1), which was without injured two-way standouts Austin Moeller and McKinley Bush.
Anderson admitted the Arrows had little margin for error. He thought the game turned when Mitchell Schmitz recovered a Pipestone bobbled snap at the Caledonia 14 early in the second quarter.
"We had the missed snap and I think that killed us," Anderson said.
Caledonia pulls away in second quarter
The score was just 7-0 at the time of the Pipestone fumble and that launched a 26-point second quarter for Caledonia. An 86-yard drive started the onslaught, but quick TD drives of 1:42, 29 seconds and six seconds followed.
The last score, with just 49 seconds left in the half, was a perfect 39-yard strike from King to Colton Lampert on a deep pass to the front corner of the end zone. In the third quarter, King eluded defenders and found Lampert along the side of the end zone as the senior receiver did a great job of making the catch and dragging his feet inbounds.
"Owen did a great job of scrambling and finding me," Lampert said.
That was the only score of the second half as the Caledonia offense seemed to ease up. King was 10-for-14 for 162 yards and three TDs in the first half. He was 3-for-7 for 45 yards and a TD in the second half.
Stemper, a senior, had 101 of his 172 yards rushing in the second half.
The Caledonia defense, which allowed less than six points a game this season, forced four turnovers. Junior Ben McCabe had an interception in the second half, his sixth in three state tournament games.
"Our seniors were phenomenal keeping us in the game and up for the year," said Goergen, who recovered a fumble on defense to go with his two receiving TDs.
Friday's state title was Caledonia's seventh overall in football.