Lourdes takes a wild ride to edge upstart La Crescent-Hokah

Rochester Lourdes built a five-touchdown lead in the first half, then watched as La Crescent-Hokah rallied to take a one-point lead in the fourth quarter. Lourdes steadied itself and found a way to win, though, improving to 3-1 this season.

Lourdes running back Caleb Akinbolu (16) is brought down by La Crescent-Hokah defenders, including Noah Bjerke-Wieser (14) during a Southeast District football game on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, at La Crescent.
Contributed / Daniel Borgeson
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La CRESCENT — Once the final buzzer had sounded, Mike Kesler couldn't help but chuckle when thinking back on the previous three hours.

In some was it was a blur, in others it was crystal clear to the long-time Rochester Lourdes head football coach.

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"I've been doing this a long time," said Kesler, in his 18th season as the Eagles' head coach. "I haven't seen anything like that."

Lourdes rode home with a 41-36 victory in a Southeast District football game against La Crescent-Hokah in a game that was even wilder than the final score might indicate.

Kesler watched Lourdes dominate the first 20 minutes and build a five-touchdown lead late in the second quarter. In fact, the Eagles led 35-7 going into the fourth quarter.


Then the game flipped upside down as the Lancers — riding a two-game winning streak for the first time in seven years, and playing inspired football under first-year head coach Terry Donovan — made that lead disappear with a comeback for the ages in the final 12 minutes.

And just when La Crescent-Hokah — which had rallied to take a 1-point lead midway through the fourth quarter — looked poised to score its sixth consecutive touchdown, with less than 3 minutes to play, Lourdes' senior linebacker Eli Haight made the play of the night, on a night when many big plays were made.

Haight stripped a Lancers ball carrier at the Lourdes 2-yard line and held onto the ball, giving the Eagles some life, though they needed to go 98 yards in about 2 minutes, 30 seconds.

Then, a Lourdes offense that had stagnated in the second half, including turning the ball over once and surrendering a safety, needed only about a minute of that time to regain the lead.

With the ball at the La Crescent-Hokah 31-yard line, the Eagles called the number of one of their senior leaders. On the snap of the ball, quarterback Adam Sellner faked a handoff to Haight as the entire Eagles offense pushed to its left. As that was happening, senior receiver Aidan Jahns crossed behind the formation from left to right. He took a pitch from Sellner on the reverse and sprinted around the right end. Receiver Hudson Fix threw a key block 18 yards downfield, springing Jahns untouched for a 69-yard touchdown with 1:31 to play.

"It was just a classic reverse play we've had in our playbook forever," Kesler said. "We had some big blocks on that paly and Aidan made some people miss."

Lourdes receiver Hudson Fix (3) runs after a catch, as La Crescent-Hokah linebacker Jaden George pursues during a Southeast District football game at La Crescent on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.
Daniel Borgeson / contributed

A failed two-point conversion left Lourdes with a 41-36 lead, then the Eagles' defense stepped up, forcing the Lancers into a 4th-and-10 situation. Lancers QB AJ Donovan was pressured on his drop-back and Lourdes freshman Caleb Akinbolu — a force in the Eagles' ground game all season — stepped in front of the pass, intercepting it with 53 seconds remaining, to seal Lourdes' third consecutive victory.

"It was a lot of fun tonight, a great high school game," Kesler said. "I'm so happy for Terry and what they're doing down here. I knew they'd get things turned around and he has done it quickly. I've never seen so many people at a game in La Crescent. The kids here have always played hard. It's just a testament to Terry and his staff."


The schedule gets no easier for Lourdes (3-1 overall), as it will play top-10 ranked teams over the next two weeks. The Eagles host the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAA, Cannon Falls, on Friday, Sept. 30, then Lourdes travels to No. 7-ranked Plainview-Elgin-Millville on Friday, Oct. 7.

Likewise for La Crescent-Hokah (2-2), the schedule gets no easier. The Lancers will host the No. 1-ranked team in Class AA, and the defending state champion, Chatfield next Friday. The Gophers average 54.0 points scored per game.


Lourdes 21-14-0-6 — 41

La Crescent 0-7-0-29 — 36

First Quarter

Lourdes — Caleb Akinbolu 46 run (Aidan Jahns kick) 11:34.

Lourdes — Eli Haight 3 run (Jahns kick) 5:35.


Lourdes — Akinbolu 10 run (Jahns kick) :19.

Second Quarter

Lourdes — Hudson Fix 93 pass from Adam Sellner (Jahns kick) 9:48.

Lourdes — Sellner 62 run (Jahns kick) 5:19.

L-H — Carter Todd 18 pass from AJ Donovan (Donovan kick) 2:20.

Fourth Quarter

L-H — Noah Bjerke-Wieser 23 pass from Donovan (Donovan kick) 11:54.

L-H — Safety; ball carrier tackled in end zone. 11:44.

L-H — Todd 9 pass from Donovan (pass failed) 9:18.

L-H — Bjerke-Wieser 26 pass from Todd (Donovan kick) 9:12.

L-H — Mason Einerwold 17 run (Donovan kick) 6:39.

Lourdes — Jahns 69 run (run failed) 1:31.

First downs 16 — 22
Total net yards 473 — 393
Rushes-yards 39-317 — 37-147
Passing yards 156 — 246
Comp.-att.-int. 6-10-0 — 14-29-1
Penalties-yds. 10-82 — 6-50
Fumbles-lost 3-1 — 3-2
Punts-avg. 2-37.5 — 3-25.3
Time of poss. 19:00 — 27:59


Lourdes: Caleb Akinbolu 22-135, 2 TDs; Adam Sellner 12-99, 1; Aidan Jahns 1-69, 1; Eli Haight 4-14, 1. L-H: Mason Einerwold 6-50, 1 TD; Logan DeBoer 12-49; Carter Todd 7-39; Noah Bjerke-Wieser 4-17; AJ Donovan 7-(minus-8).

Lourdes: Adam Sellner 6-10-0, 156 yards, 1 TD. L-H: AJ Donovan 14-29-1, 246 yards, 3 TDs.


Lourdes: Hudson Fix 2-98; Aidan Jahns 2-52; Eil Haight 1-3; Thatcher Bochmann 1-3. L-H: Carter Todd 7-141; Noah Bjerke-Wieser 6-115; Mason Einerwold 2-13.

Lourdes quarterback Adam Sellner ran for two touchdowns and passed for another in the first half of a Southeast District football game at La Crescent-Hokah on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022.
Daniel Borgeson / contributed

Jason Feldman is the sports editor of the Post Bulletin. In addition to managing the four-person sports staff at the PB, Jason covers high school football, golf and high school and junior hockey. Readers can reach Jason at 507-281-7430 or
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