The Shakopee football team is one more win away from U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Sabers made it back to the Class 6A state quarterfinals for a third straight year with a 20-13 home victory over Blaine Nov. 5. Junior Jadon Hellerud had a pair of 1-yard scoring runs and senior Chandler Ross Jr. rushed 12 times for 127 yards to lead the way.

Shakopee (8-2 overall) scored 13 points in the third quarter to erase a 10-7 deficit at the break, while the defense held the Bengals to a just a fourth quarter field goal in the second half.

The Sabers have a daunting task in the quarterfinals Nov. 12. They will face No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Lakeville South (10-0) at Stillwater High School at 7 p.m. The two teams met back on Oct. 14 with the Cougars earning a 30-22 road win over Shakopee.

The Sabers played the other Lakeville team in the state quarterfinals in 2019, falling 9-7 to Lakeville North. 

Last fall, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Class 6A playoffs ended after two rounds, so the Sabers didn't get a chance to play a state quarterfinal game after playoffs wins over Eagan and Champlin Park.

Before 2019, Shakopee's last state berth was in 1981.

In the win over Blaine, Hellerud scored in the first quarter from a yard out to give the Sabers a 7-0 lead. Blaine answered with 10 points in the second quarter, including a 33-yard field goal with 33 seconds left before the break to take the lead.

The Sabers took control of the game in the third quarter. Hellerud scored his second touchdown just 3:48 into the second half. Senior Elijah Sandridge broke free for a 26-yard touchdown run later in the quarter to put Shakopee up 20-10.

Sandridge finished with seven carries for 51 yards, while Hellerud had 17 rushes for 90 yards. The Sabers rushed for 303 total yards and didn't completed a pass in the win.

Shakopee's defense forced two Blaine turnovers. Senior Tyrus Laden had an interception, while senior Josh Magin forced a fumble and recorded a sack.

Senior Owen Diede powered the Sabers' defense with 17 tackles, while senior Nicholas Katona had 10. Junior Jacob Ruud and senior Aaron Lee had eight and six tackles, respectively.

The winner of the Lakeville South-Shakopee game will get the winner of St. Michael-Albertville (6-4) and Wayzata (8-2) in the state semifinals Nov. 19 at U.S. Bank Stadium at 7 p.m.

The other semifinal game is Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. That game will feature the winner of Eden Prairie (9-1) and Farmington (6-4) against the winner of Maple Grove (9-1) and Woodbury (9-1).

The state title game is set for Nov. 26 at 7 p.m.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.

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