Irish beat Brainerd 28-14 to advance to Class 5A state football title gameThe Rosemount football team used a big first half to beat Brainerd 28-14 Friday night in the Class 5A state semifinals at the Metrodome.
By: Brian Hall, Rosemount Town Pages
The Rosemount football team used a big first half to beat Brainerd 28-14 Friday night in the Class 5A state semifinals at the Metrodome.
The victory propels the Irish into the state championship game set for next Friday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Metrodome. Rosemount will play the winner of Saturday's semifinal as top-ranked Wayzata plays Mounds View.
"It feels fantastic," Irish coach Jeff Erdmann said. "To have these guys work this hard and have it pay off when we get here, and we took care of business, played a nice ballgame and represented ourselves well. It's just great."
Nicholas Liska handled the load for Rosemount on Friday, rushing 24 carries for 131 yards and three touchdowns. He scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 3:09 left in the first quarter, before adding two more short touchdown runs in the second.
"He's a hard runner," Erdmann said. "He's a strong kid and we were getting off the ball pretty well tonight. Our pad level was better."
His third touchdown, a 1-yard plunge with 53 seconds left in the half, was set up by a 46-yard catch by Goaner Deng from Irish quarterback Kevin Larson.
Larson added his own short rushing score in third quarter as Rosemount built a 28-0 advantage. The Irish took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 68 yards on 13 plays, taking up over 7 minutes of the game clock. Larson finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
Brainerd scored twice in the final 3:30 of the game. The Warriors recovered a fumble in the end zone after a receiver caught a short pass and fumbled the ball forward. Brainerd then recoverd an onside kick and scored again with 1:07 left.
On the ensuing onside kick, Rosemount recovered and ran out the clock to advance to the first state title game since the school won the Class AA championship in 1981.
Larson ended with 68 yards rushing and 80 through the air on 4 of 9 passing. He threw one interception.
Deng caught two passes for 53 yards. David Morgan had two catches for 27 yards and also intercepted a pass on defense.
Rosemount had 320 total yards of offense compared to 210 for Brainerd.