It’s the decision that can be second-guessed more than any other in football- down a point after scoring a late touchdown, do you go for the extra point to tie the game or try to take the lead by going for two? New Ulm Cathedral’s head coach Denny Lux was presented that exact scenario, and his decision to go for two turned out to be a winning decision, as quarterback Kevin Larson hit Nick Simon in the end zone for the conversion that ended up being the deciding score in Cathedral’s 34-33 victory over defending 1A champion Minneota.
The conversion capped off an impressive Cathedral comeback, as they trailed the Vikings 33-20 as the game went to the fourth quarter. Aaron Pfaff scored an early touchdown in the fourth quarter to bring the game to within seven points, but a missed fake extra point kept the score 33-26. The Greyhounds’ defense then got the ball back for their offense; after a roughing the kicker penalty kept the Minneota drive going, Eric Hauser picked off a Beau Buysse pass at the Cathedral 36, setting the stage for the Greyhounds’ winning drive.
Starting at the 36, Cathedral was quickly faced with a 4th and 1 situation. Larson coolly found Brian Nosbush for the first down, and a few plays later Nosbush would be on the receiving end of a 23-yard pass from Larson to make it a 33-32 game. That’s when Lux, whose team had missed an extra point kick and been stopped on a fake extra point their last two scores, made the decision to go for two. Nick Simon got free in the end zone, and Larson hit him with a perfect pass to make it 34-33.
Minneota had 3:39 to drive down the field for a game-winning score, and Buysse started the drive by hitting passes for first downs to Adam Josephson and Jacob Cheadle. The Vikings then went to their ground game, letting their pair of 100-yard rushers Cheadle and Brandon Anderson run down to the Cathedral 29. On third and 1, Cheadle rushed for nine yards, but a holding penalty wiped out the gain and instead backed them up into a third and 11. Two incomplete passes later, the Greyhounds had the ball and a trip to the state finals.
Larson ended with 222 yards passing, completing 14 of his 18 passes and throwing two touchdowns plus that game-clinching two-point conversion. Aaron Pfaff racked up 103 yards receiving for the Greyhounds, who had 413 yards of total offense. For the Vikings, Jacob Cheadle had 10 carries for 161 yards and 4 catches for 38 yards to lead them offensively. Minneota piled up 296 yards rushing and 466 yards of total offense.
Cathedral will play for their first state championship next Friday against Barnesville; that game will kick off at 1pm.
For more scores from the semifinals, please click here.
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