Football: Going to the DomeThe Irish advanced to state semifinals with a 24-14 win over Lakeville South
By: Brian Hall, Rosemount Town Pages
After the Rosemount football team beat Lakeville South 24-14 last week to advance to this week’s Class 5A state semifinals, Irish coach Jeff Erdmann was asked about the opponents on Rosemount’s side of the bracket.
Former Lake Conference foe Eden Prairie, ranked No. 3 in the final regular season poll, was the favorite to face the Irish in the semifinals. The Eagles were set to face No. 7 ranked Brainerd a day later.
Erdmann knew the history.
Eden Prairie was in its sixth straight state tournament and was the runner-up last year. The Eagles also had more than their share of success against Rosemount in Lake Conference play.
With No. 1 Wayzata, No. 2 Blaine, No. 5 Cretin-Derham Hall, and No. 6 Mounds View on the other side of the bracket, the No. 4 ranked Irish’s main challenge would be their longtime nemesis.
“Eden Prairie’s got tradition like crazy and it is what it is,” Erdmann said following Rosemount’s win. “For us, we’ve just got to go in and do our thing. We just have to be better than them one night.”
A night later, underdog Brainerd proved how true the statement was. The Warriors beat the Eagles 13-10, setting up a semifinal matchup between Rosemount and Brainerd.
The Irish will face the Warriors tomorrow in the Class 5A state tournament. The semifinal contest is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. at the Metrodome. After upsetting Cretin-Derham Hall, Mounds View will face Wayzata in the other semifinal.
As Erdmann said, the Irish just have to the better team the one night they are playing. The team aspect might be the most critical.
Against familiar Lakeville South in the first round, the Irish had to rely on some unexpected circumstances to pull out the win. Normally a run-oriented team, Rosemount pulled out a key touchdown on the final drive of the first half by passing the ball. After halftime, two interceptions by Colton Crow helped the Irish keep the Cougars scoreless.
“The team now, instead of having just those key players, we have just a big, strong set of guys that can really come together,” Crow said. “I think that we work together and we just grit it out and do it.”
Rosemount has certainly been resilient in the playoffs.
The Irish twice trailed in the section final against Eastview and Lakeville South scored first last week in the state quarterfinals.
Following the Cougars’ score, Tony Prostrollo returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.
“I think our guys, we’ve been down in like three games this year and they haven’t gotten all crazy,” Erdmann said. “They just stay focused and do what we do, and good things have been able to happen for us.”
Andrew Hausmann added a 15-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, before Lakeville South tied the game 14-14 with just 54 seconds remaining in the first half.
That’s when Rosemount quarterback Kevin Larson went to work. For a team that runs the ball as much as the Irish, Larson hasn’t needed to throw often. Last week, Larson got to show off his arm.
He connected with Goaner Deng for 36-yard completion. Larson then hit David Morgan for an 18-yard pass.
Morgan finished the drive, leaping over defenders, for a 13-yard touchdown reception from Larson.
“We’re obviously a run-first team, but we’ve got a lot more confident in the pass,” Larson said. “We isolated some guys we thought we could beat and we threw it up top a couple of times.”
Morgan added an interception in the first half. Hausmann ran for 79 yards, while Larson completed 5 of 8 passes for 101 yards.
Crow’s two interceptions proved vital in the second half as Lakeville South drove the field at times, but came up empty in the second half.
Logan Lindberg ended the scoring with a 27-yard field goal, the first field goal for Rosemount this season.
It’s the second time in three years the Irish have advanced to the Metrodome.
It will likely be a matchup of top running games. Brainerd has run for 3,081 yards this season, while just passing 93 times, completing 56 for 825 yards. Those numbers are very similar to Rosemount’s total.
The Irish have rushed for 3,223 yards this season, attempting just 69 passes. They’ve completed 32 for 715 yards.