There have been two teams in Class 2A that make the State Tournament consistently and put up impressive numbers in doing so each year. These two teams met up Thursday in the Semifinals at US Bank Stadium. Section 5 champion Paynesville Bulldogs squared off against the Section 4 champion Minneapolis North Polars. Both teams had similar formations but definitely different types of styles. The Bulldogs were in a spread offense, liked to muscle the ball up and down the field. The Polars were also in the spread, but used their speed to attack the defense. Defensively, both teams had good size on the line and good players in both the second and third levels.
Paynesville opened the game with QB Grady Fuchs finding WR Carter Wessel for an 18 yard strike through the air for the first score. After exchanging turnovers, North’s QB Zach Yeager kept the ball and took it 23 yards for a score of his own, tying the game at 6 apiece. The Bulldogs came right back giving the ball to RB Daltin Christinsen for a 30 yard rushing touchdown. The Polars also answered right back with a Terrance Kamara 6 yard scamper. Paynesville scored again right before half with Fuchs plunging in for a one yard score, Bulldogs led 18-14 at halftime. Kamara opened the scoring in the second half with a 1 yard score. He added on the next drive with a 7 yard burst into the end zone. Fuchs threw a screen to WR Caden Spanier, who sprinted 41 yards for another Bulldog touchdown, putting the score at 30-24 in favor of the Polars. Yeager extended the Polar lead when he hit WR Mario Sanders for a 29 yard score. The Bulldogs answered again with a 22 yard pass from Fuchs to WR Levi Bast to narrow the score to 38-32 with 6:14 left to play. Kamara hit Paynesville with a dagger, scampering 26 yards for his fourth TD and the game’s final score, making the final score at 44-32.
Players Highlighted from Minneapolis North:
Offensive/Defensive Lineman- Quientrail Jameson-Travis was difficult to block on defense, disrupting the run game constantly, on offense, he set the edge really well with a lot of good seal blocks.
Defensive End- Devon Townley contained the run game really well, forcing the runners back in and making many perimeter tackles.
Offensive Line- Chester Watley, Davant Moore, Darius Hanson, John Collins, Quientrail, Jameson-Travis– all kept the run game going in the positive direction, opening the edges, seams up the middle and blocking downfield.
Running Back- Terrance Kamara read his blocks really well got into open field many times and ultimately, scored four times.
Players Highlighted from Paynesville:
Linebacker- Weston Roberg was everywhere on the field, read his lineman, flowed to the ball and made every tackle he was in on.
Offensive/Defensive Lineman- Abe Bullard made some great blocks and was an important piece on the defensive line.
Running Back- Daltin Christinsen runs hard and protects the ball at all costs, has some speed to him too.
Quarterback/Linebacker- Grady Fuchs ran and threw the ball pretty good, played assignment football defensively.
Offensive Line- Spence Evans, Sam Lopez, Michael Schlangen, Dylan Messick, Abe Bullard– also controlled the line of scrimmage to keep the run game going.