Football wins Section 5AAAA, prepares for State matchup with Cloquet

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Football wins Section 5AAAA, prepares for State matchup with Cloquet

Will Whitmore takes the snap in the third quarter of an impressive 44-29 win over Holy Angels that secured them a spot in the State AAAA Tournament.

Will Whitmore takes the snap in the third quarter of an impressive 44-29 win over Holy Angels that secured them a spot in the State AAAA Tournament.

Tommy McGinn

Will Whitmore takes the snap in the third quarter of an impressive 44-29 win over Holy Angels that secured them a spot in the State AAAA Tournament.

Tommy McGinn

Tommy McGinn

Will Whitmore takes the snap in the third quarter of an impressive 44-29 win over Holy Angels that secured them a spot in the State AAAA Tournament.

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As election day passes, so does an additional week of practice for the boys of fall. With a 44-29 victory at home in the Section 5AAAA Championship against the Academy of Holy Angels on Friday, November 4, the BSM football team has made it to the State AAAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.

After a 5-3 regular season ended with a tough 19-23 loss at the hands of Robbinsdale Armstrong, the Red Knights entered the Section 5AAAA Tournament as the second seed—and slated with a matchup with former Metro West Conference foe Richfield. Riding a 48-point first half, the Red Knights blew out Richfield 55-14, to set up another home matchup in the Section 5AAAA Championship against the four-seed: The Academy of Holy Angels.

The Red Knights looked a little sluggish early, as Holy Angels drove down the field on an early drive, and scored on a 25-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Joseph Heimbold. “I think coming off of the Richfield game, we were very confident, and kind of overlooked Holy Angels, because they lost to Richfield. This wasn’t the case; they kind of caught us off guard, but you know how Red Knights respond,” senior running back Ricky Floyd said.

At the end of the first quarter, the Stars led 9-0. “We struggled a little at first, because Holy Angels has a very difficult offense to prepare for, and it took our team a little bit to adjust to it,” senior quarterback Will Whitmore said.

In the second quarter, however, the Red Knights woke up. After the Stars added a field goal to make it 9-0, the Red Knights responded, as Whitmore hit Floyd in stride over the middle of the field for a 60-yard touchdown pass, making the score 9-7 after an Alex Houlihan extra point. As the half concluded, Houlihan connected on a 22-yard field goal to make the score 10-9 in favor of BSM—and the Red Knights would never trail again.

The Red Knights solidified their lead in the third quarter. Junior defensive tackle Patrick Kalb recovered a Stars fumble in the end zone for a touchdown—putting BSM ahead 16-9, and providing a sizeable momentum shift. 

Later in the quarter, the Red Knights capped off a sustained drive with a 12-yard touchdown run by Floyd, making the score 23-9 after the Houlihan extra point. Floyd followed that up with a 49-yard touchdown dash to cap off the third quarter, putting the Red Knights ahead 30-9 entering the final frame.

With a State Tournament birth on the line, the fourth quarter was a back-and-forth effort. Just under five minutes into the quarter, Heimbold ran the ball in for a 9-yard Holy Angels touchdown, cutting the BSM lead to 30-16. On the ensuing Red Knight drive, Whitmore—with pressure in his face—floated a ball out to the flat, which was intercepted and returned 38 yards for a touchdown by Stars’ cornerback Peter Laird.

The score at that point was 30-22. “None of us were okay with losing. They would score and we would score, and after they came within eight, I pulled Will aside and told him, ‘it’s our job to make sure we run our offense,’ and that’s what we did, “ Floyd said.

A handoff to Floyd always has the potential to go the distance, and with 9:29 left in the fourth quarter, the familiar play call went a long way toward securing a second straight State appearance. Floyd took the Whitmore handoff, got through the first wave of defenders, and used his tremendous speed to outrun Stars’ safeties for a 67-yard touchdown run, making the score 37-22 BSM. “Ricky’s run’s were huge plays for our team and the game,” Whitmore said.

Shortly thereafter, the Stars cut the lead to eight on a 23-yard touchdown run, giving the ball back to Whitmore and the Red Knights offense.

The boys ate up the clock, and drove all the way down the field, where Whitmore ultimately ran the ball into the end zone for six. After a Houlihan extra point and a fumble recovery on the ensuing Holy Angels drive, BSM sealed a 44-29 victory over their Catholic school rival—and earned their second consecutive State appearance.

With the victory, the Red Knights will take on the Cloquet Lumberjacks in the Quarterfinals of the State AAAA Tournament. The game will be played at Chisago Lakes High school. Both Whitmore and Floyd expressed that attention to detail in practice this week will be crucial. The Semifinal and Championship games will be played at the brand-new, $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium—home of the Minnesota Vikings.