ALEXANDRIA, Minn.-No. 6 Minneota erupted for a 26-point second quarter to claim a 34-22 victory over No. 8 Mahnomen in the Minnesota Class 1A football state quarterfinals Saturday.
"They're tough and they come at you," said Mahnomen head coach John Clark, Jr. "They're big up front and kind of had us on our heels, but what guts we played with. We belonged with them and gave them one heck of a game. I couldn't be prouder of our team with the effort they showed. Their heads should be high and they should be proud of themselves."
Mahnomen pulled to within four points, trailing 26-22 at the end of the third quarter. Chris Busche's seven-yard touchdown run and conversion capped an 11-play, 56-yard drive of all running plays.
Mahnomen played smash mouth football all game and ate up time with lengthy drives trying to keep the ball out of the hands of a potent Viking offense.
"Mahnomen did a nice job of taking us out of our game plan," Minneota head coach Chad Johnston said. "Credit to the kids, they stuck with it and did what we needed to do. We would have liked to see a little more balance out of our group but it's nice to have a kid like Hennen if you need to ride it."
The Vikings' 6-foot-3, 225-pound running back Isaac Hennen was the workhorse for Minneota rushing 21 times for 170 yards and four of the five Minneota touchdowns. Hennen's fourth of the game came in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter and the Viking defense kept Mahnomen off the scoreboard for the final 12 minutes of play.
"We were a couple of steps away from making some plays to make the game interesting," said Clark.
Both Busche and Jon Starkey led Mahnomen's offensive attack. Busche rushed 25 times for 122 yards and two scores. Starkey had 27 carried for 92 yards and one touchdown.
Mahnomen regained the lead moving the ball 76 yards on eight plays leading to a 22-yard Busche touchdown rush and a 14-12 advantage with five minutes until halftime.
The lead lasted 24 seconds.
Viking quarterback Alex Pohlen found Thomas Hennen on a 65-yard touchdown pass to grab momentum back and a 20-14 lead.
The Indians faced fourth-and-three at their own 37 and Clark opted to go for the first down. Minneota took over on downs and added another score on a Hennen eight-yard run to lead 26-14 at the break.
MIN 0 26 0 8-34
MAH 8 6 8 0-22
MAH - Starkey 1 run. (Beckman pass from Starkey)
MIN - I. Hennen 14 run (run failed)
MIN - I. Hennen 3 run (pass failed)
MAH - Busche 22 run. (pass failed)
MIN - T. Hennen 65 pass from Pohlen (I. Hennen run)
MIN - I. Hennen 8 run (run failed)
MAH - Busche 7 run (Busche run)
MIN - I. Hennen 13 run (I. Hennen run)