Cannon Falls suffers another heartbreaker in state quarterfinals
The Cannon Falls football team has been to the Class AAA state tournament
HASTINGS — The feeling the Cannon Falls football team felt here late Thursday night is, unfortunately, becoming too familiar to the Bombers and their fans.
For the fourth time in the past five years, Cannon Falls had its season end in dramatic fashion, with a one-score loss.
For the third time, that loss came in the Class AAA state quarterfinals, with the Bombers just a win away from getting to U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of the state semifinals and the Prep Bowl.
Thursday marked the third time since 2018 that Cannon Falls had played in a state quarterfinal. In 2018, the Bombers suffered a 27-21 loss to Fairmont. A year later, it was a 26-22 setback to Dassel-Cokato. Last season, rival Plainview-Elgin-Millville edged the Bombers 21-18 in the Section 1AAA championship game. The Bulldogs advanced all the way to the Prep Bowl, finishing as state runners-up.
Thursday, it was another tough-to-swallow final score for the Bombers, at Hastings High School: Watertown-Mayer 34, Cannon Falls 30.
The Bombers held a 30-27 lead with 2 minutes, 25 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, as they punted the ball back to the Royals, who took over at their own 49-yard line with 2:15 to go.
The Royals needed just one play to take the lead, connecting on a 51-yard pass, and the PAT kick, to make it 34-30.
The Bombers, who led the game 16-0 at one point, started the ensuing drive at their own 20. But on the second play, they turned the ball over, giving it back to the Royals with 1:49 to play. W-M (11-1) kept possession the rest of the way to advance to the Class AAA state semifinals next week at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Cannon Falls' season comes to an end at 10-2.
The Bombers' two losses — to Lourdes in Week 5 and W-M on Thursday — came by a combined six points.
Though it didn't end the way they had hoped, 2022 was another outstanding season for the Bombers. They won their fourth section championship since 2018 (they won the 2020 Section 4AAA title, but no state tournament was held, due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and had one of the highest-scoring offenses in the state. Their 47.8 points per game scoring average was second in Class AAA only to Esko's 50.1.
And with a talented group of underclassmen, there's no doubt coach Dan Meyers' team will once again be a contender for a Section 1 championship and a trip to state next fall.