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Blue Earth Area running back David Franta rushed 13 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the Bucs Class 3A state championship victory over Rochester Lourdes. Robert Williams/FOCUS

Bucs shut down top-ranked Lourdes for 3A title

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MINNEAPOLIS - The Blue Earth Area defense and special teams controlled top-ranked Rochester Lourdes and the Buccaneers' offense fought up a tilted field early to run away with the Minnesota Class 3A Football State Championship game.

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The No. 2-ranked Bucs defeated the Eagles 30-7.

Blue Earth Area struggled in the first quarter with poor field position and little offensive production.

BEA's special teams made the biggest play when Gus Phillips blocked a 22-yard field goal attempt from the left hash by Lourdes' Michael Brandt to keep the first quarter scoreless.

BEA was backed up in the opening frame starting their first drive on their own 30 gaining just three yards, which were gained on a fumble.

Quarterback Kysten Zierke mishandled a shotgun snap on the second play of the game, which squirted around the Metrodome carpet before being recovered by teammate Steven Plocker at the BEA 33.

Zierke's next pass was nearly picked off.

A Lourdes punt backed the Bucs up to their own one-yard line to start their second drive.

After the blocked kick, BEA started their third drive on their own 16, but began first and 20 after two penalties backed them up to the six.

Lourdes started near midfield most of the first half. The worst starting field position had was at their own 33. The Eagles started a drive at midfield and in BEA territory but the Bucs' defense that shut down the Perham Yellowjackets did the same to Rochester Lourdes.

Both teams came to Metrodome with undefeated records and averaging over 32 points scored per game.

The Bucs top-ranked defense in 3A was the difference.

BEA out-rushed the Eagles 270-58, much like they did against Perham in the semifinals where the Jackets managed only 54 yards on the ground to the Bucs' 288.

David Franta rushed 13 times for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

Franta opened the scoring on a run down the left sideline, in which, he broke a tackle and sprinted 79 yards to give the Bucs a 7-0 lead with 3:12 remaining in the first half.

Lourdes' sophomore Griff Slightam zigzagged his way for 67 yards and a touchdown on the next Eagles' offensive play breaking open the defensive battle and tying the score at seven with 2:52 remaining.

Zierke engineered a nine-play 80-yard drive leading to a six-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Darrington with 15 seconds left on the clock. Felix Harseim's kick failed and the Bucs would not trail again heading to the locker room up 13-7.

The Bucs' defense allowed four first half first downs, but did not allow the Eagles to move the sticks once in the second half.

BEA's special teams struck again on the first play of the second half.

Lourdes' Kane Carstens fumbled the second half kickoff and Franta recovered for the Bucs setting up a 36-yard field goal at 10:29 of the third quarter to make the score 16-7.

Midway through the third, Zierke hit Darrington again for a passing touchdown, this time from 10 yards out to go up 23-7.

Phillips made another huge special teams play blocking a Lourdes' punt in the red zone to set the touchdown.

Franta scored on the opening play of the fourth quarter from five yards out for the 30-7 final.

The Bucs dominated total yards gaining 338 to Lourdes' 117.

Total yards were 200-141 BEA at halftime. The Eagles went backwards 24 yards as the Bucs' defense took complete control of the game in the second half.

Zierke was 6-14 for 68 yards and two touchdown passes.

BEA ends the season undefeated at 13-0 gaining the school's first state championship. Rochester Lourdes finished with a record of 13-1.

Tournament notes:

Next season will mark the final Prep Bowl played at Metrodome.

MSHSL Football Tournament Director Kevin Merkle confirmed that changes to the playoffs and season will be necessary in 2014 and 2015 when the Prep Bowl moves to TCF Bank Stadium.

In 2014, the Prep Bowl will be played a week earlier and in 2015, the season will likely start a week earlier and the playoffs may be shortened to accommodate scheduling conflicts at TCF.

After two years outside, the Prep Bowl will move back indoors at the new Vikings stadium.

Minnesota Class 3A Football Championship Game

Rochester Lourdes (13-1) vs. Blue Earth Area (13-0)

Date: Nov 24, 2012

Site: Minneapolis, MN Stadium: Metrodome

Score by Quarters

RoL 0 7 0 0 - 7

BEA 0 13 10 7 - 30

Scoring Summary:

Second Quarter

- 03:12 BEA - David Franta 79 yd run (Felix Harseim kick)

1 play, 79 yards, TOP 0:14, ROL 0 - BEA 7

- 2:52 ROL - Griff Slightam 67 yd run (Michael Brandt kick)

1 play, 67 yards, TOP 0:13, ROL 7 - BEA 7

- 0:15 BEA - I. Darrington 6 yd pass from Kysten Zierke (Felix Harseim kick failed)

9 plays, 80 yards, TOP 2:30, ROL 7 - BEA 13

Third Quarter

- 10:29 BEA - Felix Harseim 36 yd field goal

4 plays, 2 yards, TOP 1:25, ROL 7 - BEA 16

- 6:06 BEA - I. Darrington 10 yd pass from Kysten Zierke (Felix Harseim kick)

2 plays, 14 yards, TOP 0:42, ROL 7 - BEA 23

Fourth Quarter

- 11:57 BEA - David Franta 5 yd run (Felix Harseim kick)

8 plays, 58 yards, TOP 4:06, ROL 7 - BEA 30

Statistics:

RUSHING: Rochester Lourdes-Griff Slightam 6-77; Zach Hillman 1-3; Will

Adamson 1-3; Kane Carstens 7-3; McCay Carstens 5-1; TEAM 1-0; Luke Shelerud 2-0;

Michael Brandt 1-minus 2; Mark Pagel 8-minus 27. Blue Earth Area-David Franta

13-144; Kysten Zierke 12-58; Gus Phillips 5-24; Carter Hanson 4-19; Calvin

Sanders 5-16; Jacob Johnson 1-4; Jacob Peterson 1-3; Justin Ritter 1-2.

PASSING: Rochester Lourdes-Mark Pagel 4-14-0-59. Blue Earth Area-Kysten

Zierke 6-14-0-68; TEAM 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING: Rochester Lourdes-Kyle Kapraun 1-40; Griff Slightam 1-12;

James Randle 1-5; McCay Carstens 1-2. Blue Earth Area-I. Darrington 2-16; Steven Plocker 2-11; Nick Beattie 1-33; Carter Hanson 1-8.

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Robert Williams
Robert is the Sports Editor of Detroit Lakes Newspapers. Williams worked prior in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 
(218) 844-1442
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