Football: No. 1 West ends JM's season in state quarterfinals

A show of hands for those who figured Mankato West would gain 372 yards rushing against Rochester John Marshall's tough and athletic defense, but that JM would stay relatively in the game by throwing for 256 yards.

10-31 Mattison touchdown en.jpg
Rochester John Marshall's Josh Mattison makes his way around the end Saturday night en route to scoring a touchdown in the state Class AAAAA quarterfinals at Lakeville North. Pursuing him is Mankato West's Hunter Frericks. West won the game 42-20.

A show of hands for those who figured Mankato West would gain 372 yards rushing against Rochester John Marshall's tough and athletic defense, but that JM would stay relatively in the game by throwing for 256 yards.

No hands raised? Of course there's not.

But there you have it. There's your state Class AAAAA quarterfinal-round football game, played at Lakeville North.

West really did run for all of those 372 yards and JM really did throw for 256. About the only predictable thing coming out of Saturday's game was that West won, 42-20.

Hard to go against the Scarlets, who are unbeaten (11-0), No. 1 ranked, and the state's defending champion.


Also hard to go against a team with all of its experience. West has now reached the state tournament eight of the last 10 years. JM hadn't been to state since 2004.

Now, the Scarlets will play on, readying for the state semifinals.

It's a spot that JM second-year coach Kevin Kirkeby and his players had ached to be in.

"I sure wish we could have another week of this," Kirkeby said softly.

The Rockets (8-4) might have, had they had an answer for West's running game.

The Scarlets entered averaging 42 points per game. West has had a series of supreme passing quarterbacks the last 10 years. Turns out they have another supreme QB. But this one's different. Robert Meidl turns heads with his legs, not his arm.

West overpowers with run game

The junior — along with star halfback Van Neils and bolstered by West's overpowering offensive line — ran through, around and past JM defenders all night.


Meidl and Neils both weigh 210 pounds. They're also both fast and punishing. Neils rushed for 183 yards on 16 carries, including sprints of 61 and 58 yards. Meidl had 132 yards on 17 carries, including a 52-yard burst. There was also speedy slotback Charles Terry chipping in 66 rushing yards.

JM thought its own running attack was good, which it normally is. Just not Saturday night. The Rockets managed just 89 ground yards.

"West's (running) backs are unbelievable," JM defensive back DJ Hardin said. "They're quick, they're strong, and they keep their legs moving."

The Scarlets built a 14-7 halfiime lead. They got it with a Terry 11-yard touchdown run and a Meidl 5-yard TD, both capping long drives.

JM's first-half score came on a 4-yard Josh Mattison plunge.

The teams traded touchdowns to begin the third quarter. As mentioned, JM got its points in good part because of a passing game that had been scattered and mostly shelved all season.

But not Saturday. Junior quarterback Jared Juth finished a terrific 18-for-26 for 248 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He entered with just 84 passing yards all season.

"I said (earlier in the week) that I thought Jared Juth was going to have a great game," Kirkeby said. "I had a lot of confidence in him. (Plus), Mankato West was stuffing the box (loading players up front defensively) to stop our running game. So we went with what was working."


Turned out that was Juth's right arm. The junior spread the ball to nine receivers, with receiver/running back Hardin catching the most passes (seven), for 75 yards.

"Jared really stepped up for us," Hardin said.

Still, despite all of that JM passing success, the Rockets never could get over the hump against West.

The Sarlets seemed to follow every JM touchdown with one of its own, riding their running game almost exclusively. JM's defensive job became even tougher when star linebacker Brady Tuckner suffered a serious leg injury early in the second quarter (later diagnosed as a broken tibia and fibula) that required him being placed on a cart and driven away by ambulance. JM also took a hit in the third quarter when standout defensive lineman Immanuel Tetteh-Jada injured his arm and was mostly sidelined after that.

Despite the loss, there remained plenty of good feelings for JM, which rode an excellent senior class all season.

"I think everyone is really proud of the way we finished," Mattison said. "We really developed a love of the game. And being a part of JM football, it's the best."

Mankato West 42, JM 20

John Marshall#0#7#7#6#—#20


Mankato West#7#7#14#14—#42

First quarter

MW – Charles Terry 11 run (Tyler Defor kick), 6:54. Drive: 7 plays, 60 yards, 3:27. Key play: Brock Annexstad 16 pass from Robert Meidl.

Second quarter

MW – Meidl 5 run (Defor kick), 9:05. Drive: 5 plays, 81 yards, 1:53. Key play: Van Neils 61 run.

JM – Josh Mattison 4 run (Taylor Badger kick), 4:36. Drive:3 plays, 23 yards, :37. Key play:Mattison 20 pass from Jared Juth.

Third quarter

MW – Meidl 3 run (Defor kick), 6:58. Drive: 11 plays, 62 yards, 4:57. Key play:Charles Terry 12 run.


JM – Mattison 1 run (Badger kick), 2:16. Drive:10 plays, 73 yards, 4:39. Key play:Matt Carpenter 25 pass from Juth.

MW – Neils 58 run (Defor kick), 1:01. Drive:3 plays, 72 yards, 1:09. Key play:Meidl 12 run.

Fourth quarter

MW – Neils 5 run (Defor kick), 10:26. Drive: 4 plays, 63 yards, 1:27. Key play:Meidl 52 run.

JM — DJ Hardin 25 pass from Juth (kick failed). Drive:12 plays, 64 yards, 3:14. Key play:Jordyn Dee 21 pass from Juth.

MW – Meidl 5 run (Defor kick), 2:42. Drive:9 plays, 40 yards, 4:18. Key play:Charles Terry 9 run.




First downs#19#23

Total net yards#345#392


Passing yards#256#20







JM — Cazz Martin 10-25, Josh Mattison 14-36, Jared Juth 6-17, DJ Hardin 3-11. Mankato West— Van Neils 16-183, Robert Meidl 17-123, Charles Terry 11-66.


JM — Juth 18 completions, 26 attempts, 1 interceptions, 1 touchdown, for 248 yards; Mattison 1-1-0-0, for 8 yards. Mankato West— Meidl 2-5-0-0, for 20 yards.


JM — Hardin 7-75, Logan Saltou 3-39, Mattison 4-36, Jordyn Dee 1-21, Matt Carpenter 1-25, Martin 1-4, Dontrel Johnson 1-34, Alex Welder 1-22. Mankato West— Brock Annexstad 2-20.

What To Read Next
Get Local