It's the dream of every aspiring young quarterback. To lead the offense onto the field, one scoring drive to win the game.

It's what Grif Wurtz imagined growing up, watching the Prep Bowl in his living room. One day it was going to be him.

That day was Nov. 30, the game was the Class 5A Prep Bowl State Football Championship.

The setting was U.S. Bank Stadium. The situation was 80 yards to go, 2:53 on the clock in a 7-3 deficit to St. Thomas Academy.

The result was a state championship winning drive that gave Chaska its first title in football by a 10-7 score.

"We were all positive. We all knew what we could do. We knew we could go out and win. We were confident in it," Wurtz said. "It's awesome. Surreal. I can't put it into words. With all of your brothers you've been working with for four years, it's an awesome feeling."

Wurtz, who had completed just 3-of-10 passes for 36 yards into the final drive, twice intercepted, got things going with a 19-yard pass to Nic Snuggerud.

Following a pair of penalties, one on each team, Chaska was unable to move the ball, a 4th-and-9 from the Chaska 40 all but the ball game without a conversion.

A pass interference penalty -- the defensive back hitting receiver Snuggerud from behind well before the ball arrived -- moved the ball into St. Thomas Academy territory.

Following a 9-yard run from Matthew Kuntz on a delayed hand-off, the same play used for a touchdown in the Section 2-5A final versus Mankato West, Wurtz found Colden Dodds on a jump ball inside the 15, a run down to the 11-yard line.

A third Cadet penalty on the drive for contact to the head on a tackle spotted the ball inside the 6-yard line with under a minute to play.

"It’s never been my place to pass judgement on the officials. At the end of the day, we have to make the plays. They saw some things, and it’s their job to call it. Our job is to stop them from getting into the end zone. And we didn’t get that done," St. Thomas Academy head coach Dan O'Brien said.

It took three Stevo Klotz runs on direct snaps to pick up the yardage needed, the go-ahead score coming with 42 ticks remaining.

A 10-play, 80-yard state championship drive.

"We talked that we had one more drive left for a state championship," Wurtz said. "One more drive for our dream to come true. We all just relied on each other and trusted everybody."

St. Thomas Academy ran four plays to no avail, pushed back on an intentional grounding penalty with Chaska end Nick Stanger barreling down on Cadet quarterback Baker Reding.

The final heave to midfield defend by a host of Hawks in Snuggerud, Adam Ouska, Ben Courneya, and Michael Brown.

A victory formation kneel down, Wurtz protected by fellow seniors Dodds and Matthew Kuntz, set off the celebration on the field, in the locker room, on the buses, and back at Chaska High School for a welcome home.

"Wow, exciting game. Good finish. Give a lot of credit to St. Thomas Academy. Well-coached, very physical football team. Disciplined, heck of a game. I'm proud of our guys for sticking in there until the end. Right to the last play," Chaska head coach Bryan Dahl said.

In a game that featured two of the state's top defenses, regardless of class, it was no surprise to see a total of 133 yards and six first downs in the opening two quarters.

Much like the week eight regular season meeting, a 20-0 Chaska win, it was a grind to move the ball. Even tougher to put the ball in the end zone.

Despite just 38 yards of offense over the first 24 minutes, St. Thomas Academy led 7-3 at the break.

It looked like the Cadets may add to the lead on its opening drive of the second half, a 12-play sequence that saw St. Thomas Academy attack the Hawks up the middle, reaching the 13-yard line.

"We knew we could run it up the middle on them. That drive we kind of gashed it," St. Thomas Academy junior running back Danny McFadden said.

Stanger's tackle for a loss pushed back the Cadets before Klotz turned the ball over on downs, McFadden taken down well short of the line to gain on a sweep outside on fourth down.

"Sometimes things don't just work out. We had a couple of plays for loss and momentum started to shift there again," McFadden said.

"That was huge when it came to momentum," Dahl said. "In a game like this, when we were struggling on offense, if they had managed to put the ball in the end zone there, it could have been a whole different story."

Besides a 10-play first quarter drive for Chaska that resulted in a Snuggerud 42-yard field goal, the Hawks managed to reach Cadet territory just once before the final possession, a total of nine first downs over the first 45 minutes.

Some of that was field position.

Chaska's first-half drives started at its own 16, 3, 16, and 33 following a St. Thomas Academy touchdown.

Meanwhile, the Cadets flipped the script, beginning at the Chaska 39 and 32 in the second quarter, converting short field for a 1-yard score from Reding in the final minute of the first half.

"Our defense kept putting us in spots to score," McFadden, who carried the ball 18 times for 43 yards, said. "Ben (Reppenhagen) was punting the ball really well and flipping the field. That made a big difference."

Despite St. Thomas Academy finishing the game with just six first downs, a total of 107 yards of offense, the Cadets were minutes from completing the journey after finishing runner-up to Owatonna in the Prep Bowl in 2018.

In the end, Chaska finished off one more drive, capturing the school's first state football title after placing second in 1974.

"All year, our coaches have been telling us to defend every inch," said St. Thomas Academy junior defensive lineman standout Garrison Solliday. "We’ve tried not to let any team get those momentum-changing plays against us. And we did that today too until that last drive."

"This is what you dream of from freshman year, maybe even before that. It's pretty unreal to play in a place as cool as this and come out with a win as the only one's in school history. Pretty awesome," Klotz said.

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