Colden Dodds remembered the look on the faces of the seniors, a 35-13 loss for Chaska against Chanhassen in 2016.
Sending off seniors with victories in the Jug match-up in 2017 and 2018, it was time for Dodds and Co. to keep the traveling trophy at Chaska for one more year.
Chaska scored three second-quarter touchdowns, pulling away from Chanhassen in a 28-7 win Sept. 6.
CHASKA 28, CHANHASSEN 7 pic.twitter.com/HjICtXu09G— Eric Kraushar (@ChanChaskaSport) September 7, 2019
"It feels great. I remember freshman year it was heartbreaking for those seniors. I remember how bad it felt for them and we didn't want to go out like that. We wanted to keep the Jug here," Dodds said.
It was Dodds' 64-yard catch-and-run less than two minutes after the Hawks' first score that sunk a Chanhassen team that held Chaska without a first down on the opening three drives.
Dodds, coming across the field from the slot, caught the ball near midfield, beating his defender and sprinting down the right sideline for a touchdown.
"We've been practicing our play-action boot a lot. I couldn't see Grif but I knew he was going to pass it. When I saw the guy coming on my side I just high-stepped it and it felt really good getting into the end zone," Dodds said.
A recovered pooch kick gave Chaska short field on the ensuing drive. Thirty-seven yards later, a nine-yard touchdown run from Stevo Klotz, and suddenly it was all Hawks 21-0 before halftime.
CHASKA 21, CHANHASSEN 0— Eric Kraushar (@ChanChaskaSport) September 7, 2019
Stevo Klotz 8 yard touchdown run. Hawks finding space up the gut rather than outside in second quarter pic.twitter.com/XLXBCwtrG2
A slow opening quarter, just one first down combined among the first six drives, Chaska got the offense rolling on its fourth possession, a first-down throw from Grif Wurtz to Ethan Bachmann.
The 65-yard scoring drive was capped by a Wurtz 1-yard score for the 7-0 lead.
CHASKA 7, CHANHASSEN 0— Eric Kraushar (@ChanChaskaSport) September 7, 2019
Hawks cap drive with Grif Wurtz's fourth touchdown of the season, from one yard out
KEY PLAY: Wurtz to Ethan Bachman for third down pickup pic.twitter.com/QOoyGFZ1VL
Chanhassen, down 21 points at halftime, put together its best drive of the game to open the third quarter.
Unsuccessful in trying to run the ball against a stout Chaska front-seven, just five total yards on 16 carries, Storm quarterback Jack Schaefer went to the air. Ten passing plays, nine throws and one scramble, moved the ball 64 yards.
A pair of Charlie Coenen catches on double moves set-up a Schaefer 1-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-7.
"We knew with their big physical guys we were going to have to move the ball through the air if we were going to get big chunks of yard plays. That drive showed that things we're doing when executed well can be successful," Chanhassen head coach Cullen Nelson said.
10 straight passing plays, 1 yard plunge from Jack Schaefer.— Eric Kraushar (@ChanChaskaSport) September 7, 2019
CHASKA 21, CHANHASSEN 7
11-play, 65 yard drive. Two big pickups on throws pic.twitter.com/RWIsqKxqia
Chanhassen forced a punt on Chaska's next drive, but a Schaefer pass over the middle found the hands of Hawks cornerback Michael Brown. His long return into the red zone had Chaska in business.
"It felt great. I had good blocking in front of me. I saw our middle linebacker come up and nail the quarterback and it was a great feeling to go get it," Brown said.
Klotz ran the first 20 yards before a Wurtz dive into the end zone for the final yard put the final stamp on a 28-7 win late in the third quarter. Wurtz has five rushing touchdowns in two games.
CHASKA 28, CHANHASSEN 7— Eric Kraushar (@ChanChaskaSport) September 7, 2019
Grif Wurtz 1 yard touchdown
Stevo Klotz picked up first 20 yards of drive, scored on 1st down. Marked him short pic.twitter.com/oom6EMLSCI
Matthew Kuntz, a bit under the weather early in the game, rushed for a career-high 160 yards on 23 carries for Chaska.
Wurtz was 7-of-14 for 119 yards with Marcus Holasek and Klotz each with eight total tackles.
Schaefer connected on 7-of-14 passes for 92 yards with Sawyer Smith also completing 6-of-12 attempts for 42 yards for Chanhassen.
Coenen had a career night with four receptions for 62 yards for the Storm. Nate Heinen was credited with a sack as well.
Chaska's victory was the ninth in 14 games all-time versus Chanhassen. The Jug, passed on to the regular season winner, has been claimed eight of 11 times by the Hawks.
Chaska wins the Jug for the 8th time in 11 years pic.twitter.com/a8Li1NjhZk— Eric Kraushar (@ChanChaskaSport) September 7, 2019
"It was about keeping our heads up and making sure we weren't jumping on double moves. Just playing hard to get the ball back on defense," Brown said of the defensive effort.
Chaska, 2-0 overall, ranked No. 6 in Class 5A, has allowed just seven points in eight quarters of football.
"We've been working really hard for this. Coach (Bryan) Dahl does a great job of setting us up to be successful," Brown said.
The Hawks are at Orono, a thorn in the side of Chaska for years, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13. The Spartans opened the season with defeats to top teams in Benilde-St. Margaret (21-7) and Robbinsdale Cooper (35-7).
Orono has Minnesota Gophers recruit Bobby Striggow at defensive end.
FOCUS ON THE POSITIVES
Nelson and his coaching staff knew the challenges Chaska presented. They knew the kind of team the Storm were playing.
Reflecting back, three quarters were an even draw between Chanhassen and the Hawks. That was a point of emphasis from the week.
"I thought they played really hard. We prepared well. We definitely can get better and improve. We'll really focus on what went well in the first quarter, and the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. We'll learn from the second quarter. We had some resilience there in the second half. Which was very important. We're not going to let one game define our season," Nelson said.
Chanhassen had chances throughout to stay connected with Chaska. Getting tape on why they didn't is also important for future games.
"We had a couple of chances to get some things early. They had the bad punt snap that we didn't capitalize on. The kick-off coverage, we need to do a better job as coaches to prepare for that," Nelson said.
The road doesn't get any easier in week three. Chanhassen (1-1) looks to rebound in the home opener against Benilde-St. Margaret Sept. 13. The Red Knights won 59-7 over DeLaSalle, having outscored opponents 80-14 this season.
"The last two years we've had really competitive games with them. We were down 13-0 into the fourth quarter in 2017 starting our third-string quarterback. We put up a good fight. Last year we scored a touchdown to win on the final drive. They bring a bunch back. The quarterback, I think all of the running backs. A bunch of the O line. We met this morning and we essentially said we're playing Chaska all over again," Nelson said.
"It's good for us to play good teams, work to improve one week at a time," the coach added.