Section 1AA football: Goodhue, Chatfield power their way into section final
A roundup of Section 1AA high school football playoff semifinal games
Goodhue 48, Lewiston-Altura 28
GOODHUE — Goodhue was content to trade touchdowns with Lewiston-Altura.
Until it wasn't.
The Wildcats' defense decided at halftime that enough was enough. It shut out the Cardinals over the final 24 minutes and turned a 28-28 game at halftime into a convincing 48-28 victory in a Section 1AA football semifinal game on Saturday night.
The victory lifts second-seeded Goodhue (7-3) into Friday's 7 p.m. section championship game against top-seeded Chatfield (9-1) at Kasson-Mantorville High School in Kasson.
Saturday, Malakye Parker put up some incredible rushing numbers and Will Opsahl threw three TD passes in the win.
The Wildcats and sixth-seeded Cardinals traded touchdowns throughout the first half, until the second quarter buzzer sounded with the score tied 28-28.
Goodhue took its first lead of the game just more than 4 minutes into the third quarter, when Opsahl hit Adam Poncelet on a 9-yard touchdown pass, making it 35-28. Parker added a 1-yard scoring run with :11 to go in the third, then Opsahl hit Poncelet for a 16-yard TD pass with exactly 2 minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
Opsahl finished the game 6-for-9 passing for 105 yards and three TD passes. Parker ran for a whopping 300 yards on 42 carries and three TDs. He also caught two passes for 57 yards and a score.
Maddox O'Reilly added 49 yards on seven carries and one TD for the Wildcats.
L-A's Colin Bonow nearly matched Parker's outstanding night. Bonow carried the ball just 14 times, but ran for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson Coverman also ran for two scores for the Cardinals, including the game's first TD, just 1:42 in.
Goodhue now advances to a section championship game for the fourth time in five years. It beat Blooming Prairie in the Section 1A final, before losing to the Blossoms the next two years.
GOODHUE 48, LEWISTON-ALTURA 28
Lewiston-Altura 14-14-0-0 — 28
Goodhue 7-21-14-6 — 48
Chatfield 54, Triton 0
CHATFIELD — Chatfield knows what it takes to reach a section championship game.
The Gophers know how incredibly tough it is make it out of Section 1AA and qualify for the state tournament.
None of that has stopped the Gophers from placing a victory in next Friday's game near the top of their list of goals this season. Chatfield (9-1) will face Goodhue at 7 p.m. in Kasson, in the Section 1AA title game. The Gophers steamrolled their way into the section final on Saturday, blasting rival Triton 54-0.
It's the fifth consecutive season that the Gophers have qualified for the section final. Now they're ready to break through and get to the Class AA state tournament for the first time since 2013, when they won a state championship.
"Section 1 has always been the toughest section in the state," Gophers coach Jeff Johnson said. "Even in those years when Caledonia won state, we had teams that were very good and could have competed just as well at state.
"If you can come out of this section ... it's a huge goal of ours to win this game (Friday)."
While the Gophers' high-powered offense rightfully receives a lot of credit for the team's success, Chatfield's defense was equally excellent on Saturday. It limited the Cobras to just 64 total yards — 28 rushing and 36 passing.
Chatfield blocked two Triton punts and picked off three Cobras passes. Eli Hopp had two interceptions for the Gophers and Drew Schindler added one.
On the other side of the ball, quarterback/running back Sam Backer again led the way. He passed for 48 yards and a TD, and powered his way to 198 rushing yards and five more TDs. Parker Delaney added five carries for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Chatfield finished with 430 total yards, including 368 on the ground.
CHATFILED 54, TRITON 0
Triton 0-0-0-0 — 0
Chatfield 14-28-6-6 — 54