Chaska rushed for 239 yards, passed for another 113 yards. Meanwhile, St. Thomas Academy counted three first downs, 75 yards total on offense.

Not the kind of game everyone expected between two top-10 teams in Class 5A State.

Chaska dominated in every aspect of the game, winning at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, winning on big plays, winning 20-0 over the second-ranked and unbeaten Cadets Oct. 16.

"It feels great. We focused up in practice on a short week, knew what we had to do and we just came and took it to them," Chaska senior captain Eric Spielberger said.

The Hawks, ranked No. 7, are the No. 1 seed in Section 2-5A for the second time in three years. They will host a section semifinal on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 3 p.m.

A 6-0 game at halftime, Chaska's opening drive of the second half was a statement, a nearly five-minute possession that ended with a Grif Wurtz 14-yard touchdown run. Nine plays, 73 yards, a 13-0 lead.

"It felt right. It felt like something we should have done in the first half," Spielberger, the second-year starting center, said.

"It was a huge reliever for the defense as well. We knew only being up six, if they get a score they could take the lead. Getting that score took some pressure off the defense," Chaska senior linebacker Nick Stanger added.

St. Thomas Academy picked up two first downs, doubling its first half total, late in the third quarter, but a fake punt trick play was stopped and Chaska threw down the dagger.

A 35-yard pass from Wurtz to a double-covered Nic Snuggerud set-up a fourth-quarter touchdown run of one yard from Stevo Klotz. A 20-0 lead, a seventh victory for the Hawks.

Klotz, the lead back with Matthew Kuntz sitting out the final regular season game with a groin injury, rushed 24 times for 112 yards.

Wurtz (72 yards), Dewandis Youmans (24 yards) and Snuggerud (23 yards) aided in the big rushing night for Chaska.

Wurtz completed 6-of-12 passes with one interception. He connected with Snuggerud, Spencer Goetz and Ethan Bachmann with long throws.

"Our whole team in general is bringing the attitude we need to. We're bringing the energy and we know what to do," Spielberger said.

Chaska had two first-half drives stopped short, resulting in field goals of 38 and 21 yards from Snuggerud. St. Thomas Academy held the Hawks from the end zone despite Chaska having 1st-and-goal at the 3-yard line.

Chaska led just 6-0 despite a 156-32 yardage edge in the first half.

Stanger was the the Hawk's top tackler with six. In the last two games the Chaska defense held Waconia and St. Thomas Academy to a total of 175 yards and no points.

"We're really stopping the run well right now. That's our main game. They both run it heavy. In the snow (last week) it was hard to pass. We're really locking it in, stopping the run. Our D line and middle backers are doing a great job," Stanger said.

St. Thomas Academy start running back Danny McFadden, who entered the contest just shy of 900 rushing yards on the season, was held to a season-low 38 yards on 11 carries. Quarterback Baker Reding completed just two passes for 13 yards.

"Our defense really locked in this week, and we brought it to them. I'm really proud of our defense this week," Stanger said.

Now it's a waiting game for Chaska. The Hawks will play the winner of New Prague and Waconia in the semifinals. Chaska and Waconia have met in the semifinal round in consecutive seasons.

"We're all hungry for another game. We want to get to that stage," Spielberger said.


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