Mahtomedi’s coaching staff called Friday’s 20-13 victory over St. Thomas Academy a big step forward.
“What we talk about each week is just taking a step in the right direction,” head coach Dave Muetzel said. “That’s where we always say, it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, our goal is for us to play well.”
It was more like a giant leap.
After stumbling through a first half of the season with inconsistency and a 2-2 record, the Zephyrs put together a full game — including a dominating second half — to end the powerhouse Cadets’ 34-game regular-season winning streak while crashing their homecoming party.
Quarterback Jordan Goodmanson’s 1-yard keeper gave the Zephyrs a 20-13 lead with 43.5 seconds left in the game, but it was both offensive and defensive units that put Mahtomedi in position to win.
Down 13-6 at the half, Mahtomedi came out controlling the offensive flow in the third quarter.
The Zephyrs worked up some magic with a fake-punt 30-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 13-13. On fourth-and-10, Colin Baumgard lined up for the punt before threading a pass to Tanner Mireault, who snuck behind the Cadets’ secondary.
The Zephyrs’ defense forced a three-and-out on the Cadets’ next possession and Mahtomedi worked up a golden opportunity to take its first lead. With seven minutes left, the Zephyrs faced a fourth-and-3 at the Cadets’ 5-yard line, and decided to go for it. St. Thomas Academy — with the fans rallying behind them — stopped the Zephyrs just a half yard short.
The Zephyrs’ defense came up big again, and this time Mahtomedi’s offense would execute.
Goodmanson put the Zephyrs back to the two-yard line after completing a 37-yard pass to Brandon Goodwin with 1:18 left. He then ran for the game-winning score.
The Zephyrs held off the Cadets’ final 17-yard passing attempt that might have sent the game into overtime.