CANNON FALLS — For the third straight year, Cannon Falls can claim its place among the state’s best football teams as it has been crowned section champion in each of them. This fall’s Section 4AAA title was won Friday when the Bombers hosted St. Croix Lutheran and came away with the 56-21 win.
Although the score indicated a blowout victory, the game couldn’t have started worse for Cannon Falls. St. Croix Lutheran scored on the first play of the game via a 66-yard touchdown catch by Andy Raasch. Then on Cannon Falls first play on offense, a fumble gave the ball right back to the Crusaders.
St. Croix Lutheran then marched inside the Cannon Falls’ 20-yard line, and to make matters worse, the Bombers lost Colton Loeschke to a game-ending injury. Cannon Falls would force a turnover on downs and take over on their own 7-yard line however — all just seven minutes into the game.
Cannon Falls proceeded to get on the scoreboard during its next drive, thanks in large part to a 53-yard pass from Owen Edstrom to Marcus Banks. Banks capped the drive off with a 5-yard touchdown run.
St. Croix Lutheran again drove deep into Cannon Falls territory for its third consecutive possession but a block-in-the-back penalty wiped a touchdown off the board and the Crusaders came up empty-handed after failing to convert on fourth down.
That seemed to represent a turning point in the game as Cannon Falls scored touchdowns on two of its next three possessions before halftime, while St. Croix Lutheran threw an interception and went three-and-out.
Up 22-7 through two quarters, the Bombers put the pedal down and scored two more unanswered touchdowns to start the second half to build a 36-7 lead. The first came just under four minutes into the third quarter when Jake McAdam took the handoff 1 yard for the touchdown. The second score was a 10-yard run by Dillen Anderson.
St. Croix Lutheran scored points for the first time since the first play of the game with 23 seconds left in the third quarter to trim Cannon Falls’ lead to 36-15 but it was to no avail as the Bombers proceeded to outscore the Crusaders 20-6 the rest of the way.
Edstrom finished the night 3-of-5 for 105 yards, while also adding three rushing yards on five carries. The rushing attack was led by Banks and Carson Hammel. Banks had 104 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries, while also adding 69 yards on two receptions. Hammel had a team-high 144 yards and one touchdown on seven carries. McAdam had 74 yards and one touchdown on three carries.
As a team, the Bombers rushed for 402 yards on 49 carries to reach a total of 507 yards on the night.
Cannon Falls finished its season with a 7-0 record.
Late comeback falls short for Lake City
Throughout the week Lake City wasn’t sure what day or what team they would face until the schedule was finalized midway through. In the end, it was a trip to Breck on Friday for the Section 4AAA third-place game on the docket for the Tigers.
The 4-2 Mustangs looked poised for the win after scoring the game’s first 21 points, but a late push by the Tigers made things interesting before the final whistle blew.
Breck was the first team to put a number up on the scoreboard as Jack McKenna caught a 15-yard pass from Charlie Ryks with 53 seconds remaining in the first quarter. With a 7-0 lead in hand, the Mustangs struck again three minutes later when Beau Courneya took a 62-yard pass from Ryks to the house to give Breck a 14-0 lead through two quarters. McKenna and Ryks paired up again to start the second half with a 49-yard touchdown pass to increase Breck’s lead to 21-0.
Lake City finally got on the scoreboard midway through the third quarter when Carson Matzke caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Justin Wohlers to cut the lead down to 21-6. Breck answered right back however with two touchdowns of its own — a third touchdown by McKenna and a 3-yard completion to Carter Theissen to push their lead to 35-6.
With the game seemingly out of reach, Lake City did everything in its power throughout the fourth quarter to get back into the game. It started with a 2-yard touchdown run by Wohlers halfway through the fourth quarter and ended when Zach Dather caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Wohlers. The two scores cut the deficit down to 35-21 but the clock was against the Tigers as they ran out of time.
Wohlers finished the game 17-of-26 for 161 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 62 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. Ben Nutt was the second leading rusher for Lake City as he had 42 yards on 12 carries. Carter Hagedorn had 22 yards on eight carries.
Matzke was the leading receiver with 77 yards on eight receptions, while Dather caught two passes for 30 yards and Matt Demars had four catches for 29 yards.
Lake City finished its season with a 2-4 record.