Chaska Hawks

Coming off back-to-back in-season losses for the first time since 2011, the question was, how Chaska would respond in its final two football games?

How about 37 first-half points in a 44-0 running time win over Apple Valley?

How about 35 first-half points in a 49-0 running time win over Bloomington Jefferson?

When adding in the fourth quarter in week four at Chanhassen, the Hawks football team has now scored 106 consecutive points into next week's Section 2-5A playoffs.

Does the 2020 Chaska team have the makings of the 2018 team that won the section title as the four seed?

The Hawks, at 4-2 overall, losses to Orono and Chanhassen -- teams with a combined 10-2 record -- are the No. 3 seed in the section tournament. With sixth-seeded Bloomington Jefferson forced to halt their season due to an administrative decision, Chaska now has a bye.

The next game is now versus unbeaten Mankato West in the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m.

So, what has changed for Chaska over the last nine quarters?

They're tougher upfront on both sides of the ball. The return of Hunter Brackee helps, but Josh Baughman continues to make big plays on defense and maintain solid blocking on offense.

Junior Ryan Mercer, who had a key block in a 32-yard screen catch-and-run from Jack Boyle in the second quarter, along with Mike Langford and Kaleb Rector, are opening up holes for lead backs Boyle and Dewandis Youmans.

Chaska has also shored up its run defense with Yousif Hamza and Cole Zwiefel clogging up the middle, and the linebacking crew containing the outside. Grant Sussner continues to be all the over the field, landing big hits and making plays with his hands at safety.

Add that up and Chaska is just beating teams right now.

That's how Bloomington Jefferson felt.

The first drive, aided by a roughing the punter penalty, ended in a 7-yard Spencer Goetz touchdown run.

The second drive saw Youmans cutback inside, finding the end zone from 17 yards out.

The third drive was the Boyle screen pass touchdown on a 3rd-and-13 play call at the Jefferson 32.

Add in a 9-yard fade route touchdown throw from Brayden Sanders -- starting in place of injured quarterback Matthew Paul -- to Ethan Bachmann, and a Nic Snuggerud 21-yard option pitch from Sanders and the lead was 35-0 at halftime.

Chaska scored twice in the third quarter, a 40-yard run from Sanders on 2nd-and-23 following a Zwiefel fumble recovery; and a 11-yard score from Youmans to cap the scoring at 49-0.

An interception from Trevor Oetter with under two minutes to play sealed the second consecutive shutout for Chaska.

The game was moved from Bloomington Stadium to Chaska High School due to snow on the Jaguars' home field. It was the fifth home game in six contests this season for the Hawks; the only road contest up Audubon Road at Chanhassen High School.

CHANHASSEN 37, ST. LOUIS PARK 14

Playing without receivers Charlie Coenen, Josh Kirchoff and Josh Och, held out of the regular season finale due to precautions, Chanhassen's offense had a little different look to it Nov. 11 at St. Louis Park.

A three-score lead in the second quarter, the Storm driving for more, a fumble gave the Orioles life.

A St. Louis Park team coming off a 35-27 win over Orono in which they were down 21-0 after one quarter.

First it was a Zeke Oppegaard 45-yard run off tackle to cut the deficit to 21-7

Then on a 3rd-and-13 play in the third quarter, it was Will Dvorak to McCabe Dvorak for the 68-yard catch-and-run. All of a sudden it was a game.

Chanhassen, though, reestablished themselves, scoring twice more offensively, adding a Gabe Porthan safety, in a 37-14 victory to finish the regular season with a 5-0 record.

The Storm won a coin flip for the No. 1 seed in Section 2-5A over Mankato West and received a bye next week. Their first scheduled game would be Saturday, Nov. 21 at Storm Stadium at 1 p.m. versus the winner of Waconia and New Prague.

Brady Grandstaff's long kick-off return into Oriole territory sparked Chanhassen, which had seen its lead slip to seven points.

A combination of Grandstaff and Eli Mau, who scored three times in the first half, put the Storm back in the end zone on a short touchdown run at 28-14.

Tucker Pinkerton's 40-yard rush near the end of the third quarter set-up a 10-yard throw from Riley Funk to Brendan Radtke to seal the win at 35-14.

Second-half interceptions from seniors Ryan Maschka and Mitchell Cummins also stymied the St. Louis Park attack.

Mau scored on runs of four and three yards, also catching a Funk pass for a 9-yard score in the first half.

PRIOR LAKE 49, MINNETONKA 7

Prior Lake lost to No. 1 Lakeville South in week three. They lost to No. 3 St. Michael-Albertville in week four. Unbeaten Eden Prairie beat them in week five.

The Lakers took out the three-game losing streak frustrations on Minnetonka Oct. 11 in the regular season finale.

Prior Lake scored five times in the first half, going on to defeat the Skippers 49-7. Cameron Miller totaled three rushing touchdowns, while quarterback Kyle Haas connected with Tanner Newlin for two of his three scores.

Minnetonka's only scoring drive came in the second quarter, a 4th-and-3 carry from Ben Tolkinen across the goal line. Tolkinen set-up the score with a 70-yard rush earlier in the drive.

Minnetonka, 1-5 into the Class 6A playoffs, has scored seven or fewer points in five of six contests this season.

The Skippers, the No. 5 seed out of Section 6, travels to Woodbury at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17. The Royals are 3-3, owning wins over No. 1 seed Stillwater, Roseville and Mounds View.

WATERTOWN-MAYER 14, HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC 13

Tied in the fourth quarter, Holy Family Catholic took a lead only to see host Watertown-Mayer rally for a 14-13 victory in the regular season finale Nov. 12.

The Fire, 1-5 overall, open the Section 2AAA playoffs at No. 2 seed Rockford (4-2) on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m.

Jacob Kirsch's 78-yard pass to Tien Foudray with 9:18 remaining in the fourth quarter gave Holy Family Catholic the 13-7 lead on a missed extra point.

Watertown-Mayer countered, driving the length of the field, getting a touchdown score from one yard out, the kick good for the 14-13 advantage.

Each team scored in the first half, a 45-yard fumble recovery and score from Joseph Charpentier for the Fire in the first quarter.

Kirsch was 8-of-16 passing for 147 yards, including four receptions for 99 yards to Foudray. Holy Family averaged just 1.34 yards per carry, getting 17 yards on six rushes from Braylon Cummings.

The Fire defense held the Royals to 190 total yards of offense, with two interceptions from Foudray. Will Zay and Jakob Lenzmeier were leading tacklers with 10 and seven, respectively.

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