Football: Irish return to StateFour turnovers helped Rosemount advance past Eastview, 29-18, in a section final Friday night
By: Brian Hall, Rosemount Town Pages
When Rosemount opened the Class 5A, Section 3 tournament, Irish coach Jeff Erdmann knew his team would face familiar opponents.
Each step of the way through the section tournament was a rematch of a regular season game for Rosemount. After beating Eastview 29-18 last week to qualify for their second state tournament in three years, surely the Irish could hope to face a different opponent in the state tournament.
Apparently not.Erdmann and his squad are preparing for yet another rematch.
Rosemount’s section final victory against the Lightning last week set up a Class 5A state quarterfinal matchup with Lakeville South. The Irish and Cougars play in the first round of the state tournament at 7 p.m. tonight at Griffin Stadium in St. Paul.
“Our guys know, you’ve got what are considered the best eight teams in the state left now,” Erdmann said. “We’re playing good teams. They will be tight ballgames.”
In the pre-determined bracket, as the Section 3 winner, Rosemount was schedule to play the Section 1 champion. Lakeville South upset previously unbeaten Rochester Century last week to set up a rematch of a 35-3 victory by the Irish earlier this season.
At this point of the season, Erdmann would prefer to see a different jersey on the other sideline.
“I like playing teams we don’t get to see much,” Erdmann said. “It allows us more things we can do, plays that we haven’t used. When you see these guys this much, they know what we do. They are ready for it. It’s that type of stuff. Personally, I like to see new opponents.”
Erdmann would love to get the chance against a different opponent this year.
Lakeville South and the Irish are the only South Suburban Conference teams remaining. A win tonight means Rosemount gets its shot at a different opponent. But, the coach and team are happy to face any team right now.
“When you get to this point, who cares?” Erdmann said. “You don’t really care who you are playing. You’re just thrilled to be in the state tournament and you have a chance to see what you can do against the best teams in the state.”
The winner of tonight’s game would face the winner of the Brainerd and Eden Prairie quarterfinal. The semifinals will be at 8:15 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Metrodome.
Brainerd was ranked No. 7 in the final Class 5A poll of the regular season. Eden Prairie was No. 3, while the Irish were No. 4. The top seven teams in the final poll are in the state tournament. Lakeville South is the lone team still alive which was not ranked at the end of the regular season.
Since back-to-back losses in October — including the 35-3 loss to Rosemount on Oct. 1 — Lakeville South has won five games in a row, averaging 36.4 points per game while only giving up 11.8 points per-game.
“Since our game, they’ve changed their offense quite a bit,” Erdmann said. “They are much more run-oriented than when we first played. They’re pretty explosive with it.”
The Irish know they can’t overlook any team at this point, and they received some valuable lessons last week against Eastview. It was the closest game Rosemount has played this season and the Irish trailed twice in the first half.
Rosemount turned a close 15-12 game at halftime into the eventual 29-18 victory thanks to second-half touchdowns by Andrew Hausmann and Kevin Larson.
“That’s great for us,” Erdmann said. “It was close in the fourth quarter. It’s a long game. There was a lot of football left. We learned we can’t abandon ship and think all heck breaks loose. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and realize we’re playing good teams and they will make good plays against us. It’s up to us to limit those and get big plays on our end.”
Hausmann had 62 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Larson had 92 rushing yards and 96 passing yards.
Turnovers again played a key role as the Irish caused four turnovers, while losing just one. Tony Prostrollo had an interception and a fumble recovery. Ben Rossini and Jordan Tumilson also had interceptions.