P-E-M's perfect year is over

Aaron Grobe finished an emotional message to his teammates after Plainview-Elgin-Millville was defeated by St. Croix Lutheran in the quarterfinals of the State Football Tournament Saturday night.

LAKEVILLE — Plainview-Elgin-Millville's perfect football season is over.

The Bulldogs met their match Saturday night, as No. 1 state Class AAA ranked St. Croix Lutheran willed its way to a 30-22 win over P-E-M in the state tournament quarterfinals at Lakeville North High School.

P-E-M entered 11-0 and ranked second in the state. St. Croix Lutheran was also a perfect 11-0.

Something had to give, and it turned out it was the Bulldogs — though just barely.

P-E-M held a brief 15-14 lead with 6:31 left in the third quarter after quarterback Brady Rahman bulled in from the Crusaders' 1-yard line.


It was just P-E-M's second lead of the night. However, the Bulldogs looked like they might add to it after forcing a punt on the Cardinals' ensuing possession. Instead, though, after forcing St. Croix Lutheran to punt, Garret Wolf fumbled on his return of the kick.

The Crusaders recovered at the P-E-M 38. Five players later, culminated by a 27-yard halfback pass, St. Croix Lutheran was in the end zone and on top 22-15 after also converting a two-point conversion.

P-E-M wasn't done clawing back, though. It answered that touchdown with one of its own, with Wolf sprinting in from 10 yards for a score. That tied it at 22 with 9:44 left in regulation.

But St. Croix Lutheran, which had been averaging 48 points per game, then went up for good on its next chance with the football. This was a seven-play drive, and like almost all of their offense all night was done exclusively on the ground.

P-E-M had two more chances with the football, but couldn't score on either of them as it struggled against a St. Croix  Lutheran defense that left Bulldogs coach Bill Ihrke thoroughly impressed.

P-E-M had been averaging 42 points per game.

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