The 35-7 victory for Lakeville South over Rochester Mayo did not begin at all how senior Lakeville South wide receiver Trent Bertamus had planned.
On the opening kickoff of the matchup at Rochester Mayo High School on Tuesday, Oct. 25, the Spartans booted the ball deep to Bertamus, who watched it bounce once in front of him and flip over his head. He tried to grab at the ball as it sailed over him but he ended up batting it out of bounds at the one yard line, pinning the Cougars deep in their own territory.
Not exactly ideal.
“That was an awful way to start,” Bertamus said after the game. “But it got better!”
On the very next play, Bertamus rebounded spectacularly.
Deep in his own end zone, senior quarterback Mitch Leidner dropped back and held tight under pressure, delivering the ball to Bertamus on a perfect strike. Bertamus did the rest, streaking past the lone defender on his tail and putting the Cougars up by a score with the 99-yard reception.
It was executed exactly as they had envisioned.
“We planned it out before the actual game, we were gonna run a fly right away,” Bertamus said. “We didn’t expect it to be on the one yard line but we did it anyways. I saw the guy really close on me so I just knew I could probably get by him. It worked out well.”
The fifth seeded Cougars continued to roll behind the instant offense provided by Bertamus.
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half he picked up a Rochester Mayo fumble and ran it in for an opportunistic touchdown, setting the tone for the second half.
“He gives us a big play potential,” Coach Larry Thompson said of Bertamus. “He made some great catches.”
Although both teams had 6-2 records coming into the game, the Lakeville South team was not happy that they had to drive to Rochester to play Tuesday’s game.
The Cougars' schedule included much larger schools than Rochester Mayo. Some from Lakeville South thought they should have been competing at home.
The QRF points system used to seed the section said otherwise, sending them to Rochester.
“We really felt like we deserved better than the fifth seed,” Bertamus said. “We just wanted to stick it to them. If they don’t think we’re good enough then we want to come back and prove ourselves.”
The Cougars did more than enough to prove themselves, earning a rematch with their biggest rival Lakeville North on Saturday, Oct. 29. The last time the two teams met, Lakeville North trounced the Cougars 30-6.
Bertamus was confident they have a shot at revenge.
“Not hoping for the same results," he said. "We changed up our game plan a little bit so we should be more prepared. It should be a good game.”
--Walker Orenstein, MN Football Hub staff
Senior Trent Bertamus caught a 99-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage and scored on a 12-yard fumble return on the opening play of the second half to lead Lakeville South past Rochester Mayo 35-7 on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Rochester Mayo High School in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A, Section 1 playoffs.
The victory sends the Cougars (7-2) into the section semifinals, where they will play intracity rival Lakeville North (8-0) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29, at Lakeville North. The Panthers beat Lakeville South 30-6 in a regular season game at North on Oct. 7.
Bertamus muffed the opening kickoff, knocking it out of bounds at the Lakeville South 1-yard line while slipping and falling to the turf. He quickly atoned for the miscue, racing down the right sideline and catching a high-arcing pass in stride from Cougars quarterback Mitch Leidner.
A 6-foot-5 senior who has committed to play at the University of Minnesota, Leidner completed 11 of 28 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns.
Austin Britnell scored on a 3-yard touchdown run and Leidner connected with Devon Bzoskie for a 7-yard scoring pass in the second quarter as Lakeville South took a 20-0 lead at halftime.
Bertamus scored his second touchdown 15 seconds into the second half when he scooped an Alexander Proell fumble and raced into the end zone.
Rochester Mayo (6-3) scored its lone touchdown in the third quarter when Mike Fix caught a pass from caught a pass from Nate Pentz near the goal line, fumbled and finally crawled on top of the ball in the end zone.
Pentz, a senior who holds several Mayo career passing records, completed 17 of 34 passes for 202 yards.
-- Loren Nelson, MN Football Hub staff
1. Trent Bertamus, Lakeville South
A 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior wide receiver with blazing speed, Bertamus caught a 99-yard scoring pass to open the game. He also plays cornerback on defense, and he got the second half off to an equally spectacular start by scooping a fumble and returning it for a touchdown.
2. Mitch Leidner, Lakeville South
The 6-foot-5 senior quarterback who has committed to play at the University of Minnesota showcased a powerful, but at times erratic, arm by completing 11 of 28 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Leidner runs well for a big man, and gained 37 yards on eight carries.
3. Nicholas Egersdorf, Rochester Mayo
A 6-foot, 200-pound defensive end, Egersdorf had his nose in the middle of play after play. He had a team-best 7½ tackles and added one carry for nine yards.
-- Loren Nelson, MN Football Hub staff