The Rochester Lourdes defense had not given up more than 21 points all season. That unit faced a stiff test in the Prep Bowl against Fairmont whose season low – before the Prep Bowl – was 21 points. The Lourdes defense gave up plenty of yards, but when Fairmont got close, the Eagles’ defense was at its best.
Behind the tough defense, combined with the running of Zach Jungles, the Eagles blew open a close game late to take home their third 3A championship in six years with a 24-7 win at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Rochester Lourdes (14-0) moved right down the field on their first possession, but a penalty ended the drive. They didn’t have the penalties the second time they got the ball. Jungles and Jake Groteboer punished the Fairmont defense, and Groteboer finished off the drive with a short touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead.
After being stuffed on their first offensive possession, Fairmont’s offense started clicking on their second drive. Quarterback Garrett Myren made some timely throws, and the running game with Jordan Wolter moved the chains. A swing pass to Wolter got the Cardinals (11-2) into the red zone. Rochester Lourdes’ Matthew Hayford tipped a pass on third and goal setting up a 4th and goal at the seven-yard line. Good coverage by the Eagles’ Pat Leary prevented the fourth down conversion on a pass into the end zone.
Fairmont would put together its best drive of the game coming out of their own end in the second quarter. Myren’s pass to Dustin Schultz out of the end zone picked up 40 yards, sparking a drive that moved to the Lourdes 10 with seconds remaining. The Cardinals threw a slant to the goal line, but Lourdes Trey Billmeier broke up the pass to keep the Cardinals scoreless into the second half.
Unable to score after two trips into the red zone, Fairmont finally got into the end zone from long-range early in the third quarter. Myren hit Thomas Johnson for a 55-yard touchdown pass and the extra point tide the game at seven.
Lourdes looked to answer by running the ball, but the Cardinal defense forced a fourth and three just inside their 20-yard line. A 36-yard field goal by Ben Limburg gave the Eagles a 10-7 lead.
Lourdes would take a two-score lead when Jungles — who finished with 227 rushing yards — got free on an option play and scored giving the Eagles a 17-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Fairmont needed points on the next drive, but Lourdes defensive lineman Riley Schaefer – who was all over the field the entire game – sacked Myren on third down on the ensuing drive. Faced with a fourth and long, an overthrown pass gave the ball back to the Eagles.
The Eagles used a timely offside penalty to get the first down near midfield on the next possession. The penalty would lead to a back-breaking touchdown run for Jungles. His second touchdown made the score 24-7.