Redwood Valley falls just short in State Quarterfinal tilt with Minneapolis North

An 82-yard touchdown pass from Zach Yeager to Nasir El-Amin with just over two minutes remaining in regulation helped Minneapolis North escape with a 20-12 win over Redwood Valley Friday night in Class AA State Quarterfinal action held in New Ulm.

On a bone-chilling, below-zero windchill night in New Ulm, it turned out to be one big play from the high-powered Polars (11-0) that would prove to be the difference as the Cardinals (10-1) fell just shy of a trip to US Bank Stadium.

Despite the loss, it was a memorable campaign for Head Coach Matt Lundeen’s boys who put together the first 10-0 start in school history and came within an eyelash of becoming the first team to reach the State semifinals.

The Polars meanwhile advance to face Barnesville - a 40-0 winner over Moose Lake-Willow River - at 11:30 a.m. Friday morning in Minneapolis.

On a night where the brutally cold weather certainly had an effect on the overall play, the Cardinals set the tone early on their opening possession. Starting on their own 40-yard line, the Cards methodically pounded the ball down the field into the teeth of a blustery north wind on the legs of Adam Bommersbach, Logan Prouty and Cole Woodford down to the Polar 14-yard line. Unfortunately, that’s where the 17-play drive would stall out and on 4th-and-9 from the 13 a fade pass to Woodford in the left corner of the endzone would fall incomplete and turn the ball over on downs.

The Polars would would pick up a couple first downs on their first offensive set but would be forced to punt.

The Cards could get nothing going on their second possession but with the quarter having ended and the wind now at their backs, the first big play occurred of the night occured when Matthew Muetzel used the wind to belt a 66-yard punt down to the Polar 3-yard line.

The Cardinal defense would hold and the Polars ensuing punt from the 1-yard line would sail just 17-yards to the 18. From there, the offense bruised its way to the endzone as Bommersbach carried it three times for 15 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown run to put the Cards up 6-0. The two-point conversion failed but the Cards would establish momentum up 6-0 with just over eight minutes remaining in the half.

The Polars - who came into the contest averaging 50 ppg - would answer back with a five-play, 55-yard drive that culminated in an 11-yard touchdown run from Kehyan Porter. The two-point conversion failed and we would eventually head into the half with the score tied at six.

Late in the third quarter, the Polars would take the lead on an eight-play drive that ended in a 3-yard plunge from Porter. The two-point attempt again failed and North would take a 12-6 lead. The Cards had something going late in the quarter as they took advantage of a 10-yard run from Bommersbach and a 14-yard scamper from Prouty that moved the ball to the Polar 39-yard line. The Cards would pick up nine yards in their next two plays on runs from Prouty but could not pick up the one-yard on two consecutive run plays and would turn the ball over on downs.

Early in the fourth, the Cards would get the ball back and again rode the legs of Bommersbach down the field inside the five-yard line where Alex Louwagie would plunge in from a yard out to tie the score. Placekicker Stian Vraalstad came in to try and give the Cards the lead with an extra point but the kick was blocked and we would remain tied at 12 with 7:37 to go in regulation.

North had a drive into Cardinal territory on their next possession but were stopped on 4th-and-5 on the Cards 27-yard line. After a failed drive by the Cards, a 41-yard punt from Muetzel was downed at the Polar 18-yard line with 2:32 on the clock and it appeared we may be headed for overtime. Instead, Yeager found El-Amin down the middle of the field and he would elude Cardinal defenders on the way to an 82-yard touchdown. This time the two-point conversion was good and the Cards would trail 20-12 with 2:13 to play.

With their season on the line, the Cards took over on their own 34-yard line and would move into Polar territory. Carter Guetter hauled in an 11-yard reception from Louwagie - the first completion of the game for the Cards - and 15 more yards would be tacked on due to a late hit to put the ball on the Polar 40-yard line. A pair of Bommersbach rushes and an incomplete pass would set up a 4th-and-3 on the 33-yard line but the fourth down run attempt would fall short, ending the game.

The Polars would finish with 275 yards of total offense compared to 210 for the Cards (199 rushing).  Redwood Valley would record 16 first downs compared to 12 for the Polars. Bommersbach would finish with a career-high 33 carries for 134 yards and a score, Prouty had 11 carries for 38 yards, Woodford four for 16 yards, Muetzel three for 10 yards and Louwagie had nine carries for nine yards. Louwagie would finish 1-of-6 passing for 11 yards on a night where the Cards were just 1-of-8 passing overall. Guetter had one catch for 11 yards.

Corbin Wabasha and Wabasha each finished with four tackles, Carter Johnson, Prouty and Maddock all had three and Kaleb Haase had two solo tackles and a tackle-for-loss. Brennan Sander, Kyle Huhneroch and Connor Josephson all had two tackles.

Class AA State Quarterfinals

Minneapolis North 20,  Redwood Valley 12

Second Quarter RV - Bommersbach 6-yard run (pass failed) North - Porter 11-yard run (run failed) Third Quarter North - Porter 3-yard run (run failed) Fourth Quarter RV - Louwagie 1-yard run (kick blocked) North - El-Amin 82-yard reception from Yeager (2-point pass good)