Football: Irish post shutout to reach section finals
Heading into the Class 5A, Section 3 semifinal last week, the defense for the Rosemount football team was giving up an average of 11.2 points per game, one of the best numbers in Class 5A.
Take away Rosemount's lone loss, 32-21 at Hopkins, and the number goes down to 8.6 points per game allowed.
But Irish coach Jeff Erdmann knows a dominating number like that requires an entire team effort.
For Rosemount, it also includes the offensive success. The Irish have been fortunate enough to jump on teams early. That made the going easy for the offense and defense.
"We've done a nice job with that," Erdmann said. "We haven't let teams back in games. We keep getting the ball to the offense."
But the kind of offensive and defensive efforts that have led to the stifling defensive number aren't typical in the section semifinals.
Then again, last week's section semifinal wasn't typical.
The Irish posted their second shutout of the season with a 36-0 defeat of Eagan Saturday night. Rosemount advanced to face Eastview in the section final tonight at Irish Stadium.
"It sets a great tone," Erdmann said of another quick start. "We came out early, got the lead, and things clicked for us."
Andrew Malicki scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Zachary Vraa caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Chase Vogler, and Vogler added a 49-yard touchdown run before the first quarter was up.
Then the Irish defense took over.
"We shut down the run," Erdmann said. "They had 36 yards rushing. When the running game isn't there, it's hard for any offense. When other teams need to throw to move the ball, we can pin our ears back and bring the heat."
Rosemount did that with four interceptions against a team that had scored 30 points against Bloomington Jefferson a week earlier. Jack Pauly had two interceptions and Max Busher and Garrett Glaus each had one.
Tyler Sandoz added a rushing touchdown and Vogler had another long touchdown run, a 47-yarder in the third quarter.
Vogler had 16 carries for 253 yards. He had to throw only seven passes in the win.
Now, Rosemount has another matchup with rival Eastview. With a conference title on the line earlier this season, the Irish beat the Lightning, 40-7.
With a section title up for grabs tonight, Erdmann knows what to expect from Eastview. When two teams know each other so well, it is hard to have surprises.
"We talked to the kids about how we're not guaranteed to turn the ball over and score 14 right off the bat," Erdmann said. "Playing a second time so soon, both teams will be feeling each other out and seeing what adjustments have been made.
"I hope we have learned lessons from Hopkins and Burnsville and we'll come out ready to play. If you can't get up for a home section championship game, holy cow."