Simple philosophy carries Eagles to state title
MINNEAPOLIS -- Run, the ball, stop the run.
Run the ball, stop the run.
What a concept.
"In high school football, if you can do both of those, it gives you a great chance to win the game,'' said Lourdes coach Mike Kesler, "and that's been our philosophy all season. It's no secret, that's what we do best.''
Lourdes worked its magic to perfection once again on Saturday when the Eagles ran off with an impressive 41-13 win over Holy Family Catholic, a win for the Class AAA state championship at the Metrodome.
Once again, Lourdes clicked on both sides of the ball.
The Eagles rushed for 350 yards and held the Fire to 24 total yards, just 217 on the ground.
Holy Family had been averaging 446 yards per game.
"We came to play,'' said Jeff Bowers, a senior, "and just took it to them, on both sides of the ball.''
In its 14-0 season, Lourdes trailed only once, 3-0 against Kasson-Mantorville in the Section One, Class AAA semifinal.
Saturday was no different. Lourdes shot out to a 21-0 lead and won going away.
"We got the momentum,'' said quarterback Nic Jensen.
"We dressed 52 players and everybody was able to play,'' said Kesler. "You don't see it that often in a championship game.''
Want a turning point in a 28-point blowout? Head back to the first quarter after Lourdes was held on downs on its first two possessions.
On their second possession, the Fire attempted a fourth-and-1 from the Lourdes 35. Zach Muehlenbein led a swarm of Eagles to stop Holy Family running back Connor Byrnes for no gain.
"We saw it on film, it was no surprise that they tried going for it,'' said Kesler, "but, yes, that did give us some momentum.''
From there, Jensen scored three plays later, when he ran the option to perfection, keeping the ball and running 34 yards for a touchdown.
Lourdes held a 21-7 halftime lead and stopped Holy Family on a three-and-out to start the second half.
The Eagles then drove 56 yards on six plays, scoring on a 17-yard pass from Jensen to Alex Kapraun. Lourdes completed only two passes all day, the other was for one yard.
"That sequence was huge,'' said Kesler. "We were able to stop them right away and then we went down and scored.''
Lourdes was "welcomed'' home this morning at a school assembly.