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Football recap: Irish handle high expectations

There is no secret that the Rosemount football team has high expectations.

Success in the Lake Conference and state-tournament appearance will do that for a team. So will an average of eight wins per season over the last four years.

The Irish like to give themselves high expectations for several reasons, the biggest of which might be the quality players that continue to don the Irish colors.

This season provided another example of the high expectations.

Falling in a close game against Eastview in the section finals, Rosemount was extremely disappointed. The disappointment didn't have as much to do with previous year's successes.

It has to do with those same Irish players that were taking the field for the last time.

"It was a great group of guys and a great journey," Rosemount coach Jeff Erdmann said. "Everyone was disappointed with how it ended and that we didn't achieve more.

"There might be some merit to that, building off the success of last year. But it was really knowing these kids and the work they put in and the talent they had. That's what most set the expectations higher."

There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to Rosemount football.

The Irish finished 7-4 this season and made it to another Class 5A, Section 3 final. The season ended with a 24-15 loss to Eastview. Each of the losses came to section champions.

In the postseason, senior receiver Zach Vraa tallied a first for Rosemount, winning the state's Mr. Football award.

"It's an individual honor, but something that reflects positively on the entire program," Erdmann said. "In order for Zach to have the opportunity he did, you have to have guys that can throw him the ball and guys that can protect so he can do what he does."

Naturally, Vraa was one of the team's leaders. He was the team's leading receiver and returner, while adding all-conference honors.

Joining Vraa on the all-conference list were Matt Bigelow, Max Busher, Ben Danielson, and Andrew Johnson. Joe Bjorklund, Garrett Bothun, Sean Considine, Andrew Hausmann and Tyler Sandoz were all-conference honorable mention.

Hausmann led the team in rushing with 543 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 7.8 yards per carry. Nicholas Liska gave Rosemount two players over 500 yards rushing with a 521-yard season. He added 11 touchdowns. Sandoz had 364 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

The Irish rushed the ball for over 1,000 yards more than their opponents.

Senior Ben Lucius started the year at quarterback and had 249 yards passing and 273 yards rushing but was lost for the season due to injury. Junior Kevin Larson replaced Lucius early in the season and had 707 yards passing with 11 touchdowns, and added 371 yards rushing.

Busher had 72 total tackles in his standout season, including 12 tackles for loss. He added 3 1/2 sacks. Bothun had 53 total tackles and a team-leading four interceptions.

Bigelow and Tony Prostrollo each had two interceptions.

Matt Larson, Sam Bishop, Bigelow and Danielson each had over 30 total tackles.

Brandt Berghuis led the Irish with five sacks. Johnson had 4 1/2 sacks, while Danielson checked in with four sacks.

In total, Erdmann knows he had a quality group of individuals.

"As a team we made the gold-medal standard in academics being in the top eight in grade-point average," Erdmann said. "This group got it done in the classroom. They got it done in the weight room and they got it done on the field.

"We lose a great group of seniors, some very good people and we have more coming up as well."