TROPHY CASE: How they did it — A look at Rochester Lourdes' Prep Bowl victories

A look back at Rochester Lourdes' state football championship game victories



No one could say that Rochester Lourdes backed into its first state football championship in 31 years. The Eagles simply left no argument.

Adam Lentz ran for 220 yards and three touchdowns, and left the program as its all-time leading rusher. He totaled 1,654 yards as a senior, despite missing two games with an injury. His touchdown runs were 78, 27 and 23 yards, and the long one, especially, was a thing of beauty, breaking tackle after tackle.

QB Nic Jensen scored a big rushing TD and Lourdes won its first state title since 1979. Eagles coach Mike Kesler moved Jensen to quarterback this season, replacing five-year starter Tyler Greguson. Jensen, who hadn't played QB since youth football, settled right in and, as they say, the rest is history.

"This (state) was our goal," Jensen said. "We embraced it from the start and now here we are.''


Lourdes’ defense was stout, too, holding HFC to 217 rushing yards; the Fire entered the game averaging 446 per game.

"We kept getting better every game,'' said defensive coordinator Scott Nickels. "I would love for us to keep our season going.''

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Lourdes avenged a 36-16 state-tournament loss from 2013 by rolling past NL-S at TCF Bank Stadium.

Zach Hillman and Carter Greguson each ran for two TDs for Lourdes. Hillman had 118 yards, and Mason Carstens ran for 80 yards on 12 carries as Lourdes finished an unbeaten season 13-0.

Noah Hillman and Greguson staked the Eagles to a 14-0 lead less than nine minutes into the game, but NL-S battled back to tie it 14-14 midway through the second quarter. But Zach Hillman scored for the Eagles on the ensuing possession, then he scored again midway through the third quarter to help Lourdes pull away.


The Lourdes Eagles celebrate with their fans after defeating the New London-Spicer Wildcats 14-35 for the state class AAA championship Saturday at the TCF Bank Stadium on the U of M campus.

Greguson added another TD run, from 10 yards, in the fourth quarter, to ice the Eagles' second title in five years.

"Every year we lose a lot of seniors, and people probably think it's going to be a down year,'' Zach Hillman said after the game, "but we've always had those sophomores and juniors step up and do the job.''

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The game is perhaps best known for the play that prompted the Minnesota State High School League to implement instant replay in games played at U.S. Bank Stadium. Lourdes converted a third-and-23 late in the game on a hook-and-ladder play that took the ball to the SCL 5. Jake Groteboer bowled in on the next play for a 42-35 lead with 25 seconds to go.

The hook-and-ladder play became known at Lourdes as "The Annexation of Puerto Rico" -- a nod to the 1994 youth football movie "Little Giants."

Noah Hillman passed for 270 yards and two TDs. He also rushed for 102 yards and was quick to credit his offensive line -- Nate Fitzgerald, Jon Gangl, Noah Borgeson, Kolton Mullenbach and Matt Schliesman, along with tight end Aaron Stanek.


Neither team had much breathing room in this one, alternating touchdowns five times, until Groteboer scored the winning points with less than a minute to play.


Chol Angok forced and recovered a fumble on SCL's final possession, sealing a dramatic victory for the Eagles.

Carter Greguson was nearly unstoppable on both sides of the ball. He set a Prep Bowl record with 20 solo tackles. He also had two interceptions and a tackle for loss. On offense, Greguson rushed for 66 yards and a score, and he caught five passes for a season-high 127 yards and another score.

"Big plays spark enthusiasm on the entire team; it's not just one guy," Greguson said after the game.

Greguson had 170 tackles in his senior season, and he led Lourdes in tackles for three consecutive seasons.

Lourdes' third championship in seven seasons came at a third different venue. The Eagles won state titles in the 2010s at the Metrodome (2010), TCF Bank Stadium (2014) and U.S. Bank Stadium (2016, 2018).


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Lourdes capped a 14-0 season with its fourth Prep Bowl win in nine seasons.

Lourdes running back Zach Jungels was unstoppable, carrying 27 times for 233 yards. The Eagles led just 10-7 entering the final 12 minutes, but two fourth-quarter TDs by Jungels iced the victory.

“You want to talk about a guy who worked his buns off to get here, that’s Zach Jungels,” Lourdes senior Pat Leary said following the game. “He was in the weight room, every day, running, doing sprints after. We fed off him in the offseason. He’s been a real leader for us. So, I would say he had the day he deserved (Saturday).”


Jungels deflected any credit thrown his way.


“(The offensive linemen) were huge; they always got such a huge push off the ball, most of the time I’d go 3 or 4 yards without even getting touched,” Jungels said.

Jake Groteboer also had a TD for Lourdes and Ben Limburg booted a 36-yard field goal that turned out to be the winning points.

Led by Riley Schaefer and Mark Ustby, the defensive line generated pressure on Fairmont quarterback Garrett Myren consistently. Schaefer had two sacks and three tackles for loss, while Ustby had a sack and two tackles for loss.

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