Rochester Lourdes couldn’t have drawn it up much better.
The Eagles will return to U.S. Bank Stadium following a 24-0 victory Saturday over Jordan at Hopkins High School in the Class 3A quarterfinals. After a one-year absence Rochester Lourdes looked determined to play multiple games at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Eagles intercepted four passes and picked up a fumble while the offense methodically moved down the field, chewing up yards as well as time.
“Three yards and a cloud of snow,” Rochester Lourdes head coach Mike Kesler joked. “We had to grind a lot of drives and move the chains. We took some chances on fourth down and we told the guys before the game that’s what we’re going to do.”
The defense produced its fourth shutout of the season to move the second-ranked Eagles (12-0) one step closer to a fifth state title. Eighth-ranked Jordan (9-2) came into the game averaging better than 43 points per game. Rochester Lourdes allows an average of 7.3 points per game. Pat Leary, one of two contributors from the 2016 championship team, intercepted two passes.
Matthew Hayford rushed in from 5 yards out with 5 minutes, 16 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead following the extra-point kick. Jake Groteboer added to the lead with a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:16 to play in the first quarter.
The Hubman, who reached last year’s semifinals, saw their opening drive end with a fumble in the Rochester Lourdes end zone that the Eagles recovered. Jordan struggled to sustain a drive the rest of the game.
Rochester Lourdes’ Ben Limburg kicked a 35-yard field goal on their first possession of the second half to build a 17-0 lead and Zach Jungels rumbled in from 33 yards out for a touchdown with 4:33 left to play in the game.
The Eagles will face the winner of the Pierz-Annandale game next Saturday at 2 p.m. at U.S. Bank Stadium for a chance to advance to the championship.