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Usually overshadowed by its high-scoring offense, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley’s defense enjoyed a chance to flaunt.
The Wolverines slowly discouraged a Grand Meadow offense that scored 61 points in the semifinals by holding it scoreless for two quarters on Friday at the Metrodome.
The defensive stand fueled C-G-B’s 40-22 9-man Prep Bowl victory.
“Our goal was to shut them out right away,” C-G-B defensive end Ethan Chase said. “This is the first time we were bigger than someone and we wanted to play physical. We had a game plan and everyone executed it.”
Chase’s execution was nearly perfect. He finished with three sacks for a combined loss of 32 yards and helped hold the Superlarks to just 55 first-half yards.
After the scoreless first 12 minutes of the game, the attention returned to the Wolverines’ offense that averaged 52.8 points per game entering the state tournament. Jason Montonye scored 33 seconds into the second quarter for the first of six C-G-B (13-0) touchdowns.
“We set the tone right away,” said Montonye, who also plays defense like most of the Wolverines’ starters. “We kept them in front of us for the most part.”
Grand Meadows (12-2) couldn’t say the same. Big plays accounted for five of C-G-B’s scores, three by Montonye. He scored the game’s first two touchdowns with runs of 51 and 49 yards, and later returned a kickoff 82 yards.
The other two bursts were a 73-yard touchdown run by Austin Maanum with nine seconds left in the first half, followed by a 39-yard run by Damon Gibson in the third quarter.
“I thought our offensive line was great.” Montonye said. “You could have drove a truck through those [holes].”
Grand Meadow found life in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter when quarterback Trenton Bleifus connected for a pair of touchdowns with Mike Ojulu. But trailing 40-8 at the time, the margin was too great.
“We didn’t know how physical they’d be,” Bleifus said after being sacked six times and throwing for 217 yards, three touchdowns. “I thought it all would be a defensive battle. But big plays killed us.”
G-C-B avenged its loss in the 2008 9-man Prep Bowl, completing the perfect season with 393 rushing yards.