As Mounds View coughed up three crucial second-half fumbles, Eastview answered each time with a heavy dose of sophomore Will Rains.
The Lightning’s 215-pound running back rushed for 190 yards and four touchdowns, as Eastview scored 26 second-half points in a 36-21 victory at Mounds View.
Eastview advances to the Class 6A state tournament.
“It was really a back-and-forth game there for a while,” Eastview head coach Kelly Sherwin said. “So, to get those turnovers was huge. Those were huge, huge plays for us.”
Trailing 14-10 to start the third quarter, Eastview forced a fumble on Mounds View’s first play from scrimmage. Rains carried the ball on all five plays of the Eastview possession, eventually capping the 36-yard drive with a touchdown run from a yard out.
Minutes later, Mounds View muffed a punt and Eastview recovered. Rains again ended the drive with a touchdown run.
He added another scoring run on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line midway through the fourth, putting the game away.
“He is a really special player,” Sherwin said of Rains. “There aren’t a lot sophomores who can do what he can do. He runs hard, and the play just never ends when he’s on your team.”
Rains was simply happy for Eastview (7-3) to be moving on.
“This is what we’ve been looking forward to,’’ Rains said. “This was the goal, to make it to the Dome.”
Eastview junior quarterback Mark Dwyer finished the night 11-for-19 passing with 138 yards and a touchdown pass to Henry McIsaac for the game’s final score.
T.J. Horn scored two of the Mounds View touchdowns, while gaining 77 yards on the ground. Quarterback Mitch Fredrickson finished the night with 100 yards passing and one touchdown.