Rosemount coach Jeff Erdmann’s phone was silent for most of the week. Not a single member of the media contacted him, wondering about his team’s chances to beat No. 1-ranked Edina in the Class 6A quarterfinals.
That, Erdmann told his team, was a sure sign that the Irish were being underestimated. And few things motivate football players more than being disrespected.
So Rosemount, playing with confidence and a massive chip on their collective shoulders, proved the doubters wrong, upsetting the Hornets 14-10 Thursday at the Metrodome.
“Nobody thought we’d win this. Not one member of the media called me to talk,” Erdmann said. “We know what kind of team we have. We might be undersized, but we’ll always play you tough.”
After a season in which they played the upstart underdogs, Edina found out what it was like to be the hunted instead of the hunter.
“I think we were a little tight and they came in with nothing to lose,” said Edina coach Reed Boltmann. “They weren’t supposed to get this far. You see how kids react when they start to get confident. [Rosemount] played a great game.”
Rosemount’s defense set the tone, harassing Edina quarterback Mark Handberg repeatedly and making Marley Allison, the Hornets’ wonderful wide receiver, a non-factor. Handberg spent much of the game running for safety, unable to find receivers open downfield.
Edina managed to scratch out a 10-0 halftime lead, but Rosemount had made every minute uncomfortable. And that paid off in the third quarter, when the Irish broke out a passing game that had rarely been seen.
Quarterback Jackson Erdmann tossed a seven-yard pass to Sean Kalinowski that cut the lead to 10-7. Erdmann, the coach’s son, completed 14 of 19 passes for 177 yards in the game
“We’re a running team because that’s what wins high school football games,” Jeff Erdmann said. “But the passing game is there. We do practice it.”
Rosemount took the lead for good on its next possession, an 80-yard drive -- most of it through the air – that was capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Dimitri Williams. The Irish then spent the rest of the game controlling Edina’s potent offense, never letting the Hornets near the end zone.
“We beat the No. 1 team in the state,” Jeff Erdmann hollered at his team. “Now go home and enjoy it.”