The catch was made, the hit was delivered, the ball flew through the air. Twenty-two players on the field, the ball landed in the hands of Charlie Coenen near the line of scrimmage.
Just minutes earlier Chaska had scored, cutting the Chanhassen lead to 12-7 in the first half. The Storm facing third-and-long were going to be well short of the first-down marker when Hawks safety Grant Sussner delivered the hit on Storm receiver Josh Och.
Coenen caught the ball and sprinted across the field, gashing through the Chaska defense for an 18-yard first-down run.
Nine plays later, Chanhassen and Coenen scored, extending a lead to 18-7 before halftime Oct. 30 against Chaska.
Suggested to a Storm coach at halftime that for once Chanhassen was the team getting a bounce in the District 112 rivalry, the response was "we're owed about 20 bounces."
Every one of those bounces went the Storm's way the rest of the way, a 25-20 victory for Chanhassen, securing the traveling trophy, the Jug, for the first time overall since 2016 and the first time on the home field since 2011.
"It was honestly surreal. This group of guys, these last four years once we got closer on the high school team, we've been working hard to make this program the best we can. We're doing everything we can to have a dominant season. I think we came in with a chip on our shoulder. They beat us the last few years, won state last season. We wanted to come in and make a statement," Chanhassen senior cornerback Cooper Hanson said.
Chanhassen is 3-0 for the first time since 2016 as well with games on Thursday, Nov. 5 at home against Waconia (2-2) and at St. Louis Park (0-4) on Nov. 11 to conclude the regular season.
Hanson said two months ago players weren't sure they'd even have a chance at facing Chaska one more time. Two weeks ago, a COVID quarantine among the Chanhassen varsity program caused the postponement of the original Oct. 16 date.
"If you look at our program slogan or whatever, EarnIt, the 'R' is capitalized this season for the word resilience. With everything that has gone on before the season, for everything that has gone on during the season, not everything is always going to go your way. It's how you respond that shows your true character as a team," Hanson said.
For Hanson, returning the Jug to Chanhassen started as a freshman. When he found out about the Forty Forever jersey, he made sure he did everything he could to wear it his senior season.
The Storm No. 40 jersey goes to a player that is consistent, that sell-out effort; an ability to play multiple positions to help the team; and the person who exemplifies what it means to be a Storm football player.
Hanson indeed earned it.
"We have guys like Eli Mau, Mitch Cummins, guys that are impactful not only on the field, but also as a captain. I set out to make an impact as well, to represent the program the best way I can. I worked really hard for it. My friends would tell me I was going to get it because since my freshman year I've had my eye set on it," Hanson said.
It was that extra effort that helped Chanhassen claim its sixth victory in 15 all-time meetings with Chaska. That and a couple of bounces and breaks along the way as well, both involving pooch kick-off returns.
An inadvertent whistle from the back judge on a muffled fair catch kept possession for the Storm in the third quarter after Chaska pulled within 25-14.
Down 25-20 in the fourth quarter, another fair catch fumble bounced on the turf, Chaska nearly falling on it, the ball popped out of a pile of players right to Chanhassen's Och.
It was just that kind of night for the Storm.
Chaska fell behind 25-7 with 3:13 remaining in the third quarter as Chanhassen quarterback Riley Funk laid in a beautifully thrown pass into the hands of Och for a 34-yard score; a third touchdown throw for the senior.
"Each week the game slows down a bit, you start to see the whole field better. We hadn't seen a defense that lines up like Chaska so really after that first drive we adjusted and Coach Smith, our offensive coordinator, dialed up a couple of good plays that we were able to score on," Funk said.
"I'm really lucky to have three guys who can make game-changing plays on each play. Those guys just go out and they make plays as athletes," added Funk on Coenen, Och and Josh Kirchoff.
Funk's older brother, Carson, was a quarterback in the Chanhassen program previously. Riley said having his words of encouragement, having him in the backyard all those years, those Sunday talks watching football, have helped him in his first season at quarterback.
The play of the big boys upfront, the time to set his feet and see the receivers, also has gone a long ways.
"All credit to them, all night they were battling. Being a smaller quarterback, it makes all the difference in the world to get that time. To be able to see the field and see where I should go," Funk said.
Chaska, despite the 18-point second-half deficit, wasn't done.
A kick-off and one play later, Nic Snuggerud, who scored a game-winning 76-yard touchdown in the final minute versus Chanhassen in 2018, got behind the Storm defense for a 77-yard throw, sprint, and score from quarterback Matthew Paul to cut the deficit to 27-14.
Chaska's defense held early in the fourth quarter on a 3rd-and-3 play, and the Hawks marched 80 yards to pull within one score. First-down plays came from Carver Miller, Dewandis Youmans, Jack Boyle, and Spencer Goetz.
After a Paul to Ethan Bachmann touchdown was taken off the scoreboard for offensive pass interference, Paul connected with Snuggerud for 20 yards, and then Boyle capped the drive with a 5-yard score with 7:21 remaining.
A controversial 2-point conversion catch from Bachmann via a lob pass from Goetz was ruled out of bounds. Video replay showed the Hawks junior getting his left foot down, with possession, before the right foot landed on the white line.
That call would come back into play on the final drive after Chanhassen milked more than six minutes off the clock, including a fourth-down pass from Funk to Kirchoff, the Storm punting the ball to the Chaska 22 with 42 seconds remaining.
After an incomplete pass, Bachmann hauled in a 23-yard gain, an ensuing offsides call getting the ball to midfield. A 12-yard first-down catch from Bachmann put Chaska at the Storm 37. A potential first-down throw was dropped near the sideline, resulting in one more Hail Mary pass.
A blanket of Chanhassen defenders did not allow a last-second touchdown, securing the 25-20 win.
"This week we came in and our main preparation we knew was their passing game. There's no doubt their quarterback, Matthew Paul, can fling the ball around. Our other corner, PJ Velazquez, is a returning starter, so I knew I was going to be targeted quite a bit. I knew I was going to have step up," Hanson said.
Hanson stripped a fumble away and recovered the ball on the first drive of the game for the Chanhassen defense.
For Paul, it was a career night, totaling 235 yards through the air -- much in the second half. Bachmann caught seven balls for 96 yards with Snuggerud adding 97 yards on two receptions.
Youmans and Boyle gained 48 and 37 yards on the ground for the Hawks.
A trio of Funk touchdown passes helped the Storm claim a 25-7 lead in the third quarter. Throws of 19 and 32 yards to Kirchoff and Och had Chanhassen up 12-0 in the first quarter on missed extra point and unsuccessful two-point conversion.
Chaska got on the board, a one-handed catch from Bachmann via Paul in the second quarter, a 12-7 deficit.
Coenen broke a tackle, scoring in the final 63 seconds in the first half, from five yards out for the 18-7 Chanhassen lead. The extra point was blocked off the edge by Chaska's Kage Montoya.
A week after losing lead back Jason Collins to a knee injury and Tucker Pinkerton was carted off the field -- the senior was back on the field versus Chaska -- the Storm coaching staff pivoted, moving athletes in Coenen and Kirchoff to the backfield for a variety of formations.
"Behind the scenes it was a pretty crazy week. I don't think anybody was super sure what we were going to have without Jason and Tucker being hurt. I have to give tons of credit to our offensive coordinator, our head coach, for the great play calling. We didn't miss a beat out there," Hanson said of the offense.
Sussner had a team-high 14 tackles for the Hawks with Goetz and Jack Frick also finishing with nine tackles.
Chaska (2-2), losers of two straight, host Apple Valley at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6. The Eagles, 1-3 overall, lost 15-0 to No. 1-ranked St. Thomas Academy in week four. Apple Valley has been shutout in three of four games.
"That was mentality after the game. The Jug is back, it was an amazing team win. But the job is not done yet. We have to put the game in the past, keep playing our game and focus week-by-week on our opponent," Funk said.