Apple Valley had 509 yards of offense. The Eagles didn’t punt once. They scored 40 points.

And still they lost.

Elk River’s confounding straight-T offense, with its fakes and deceptive movement, claimed another victim Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Elks rolled up 700 yards of offense, all of them on the ground, to outscore Apple Valley 51-40 and advance to the Class 5A championship game for the second consecutive year.

Elk River punted on its first possession of the game, then put points on the board seven of the next eight times it had the ball. All six of Elk River’s touchdown drives went 80 or more yards.

“We knew it was going to be a situation where we’d have to find a way to get a couple stops along the way,” Apple Valley coach Chad Clendening said. “We didn’t make quite enough plays.”

While certainly old-school in design, Elk River’s running attack is far from the boring. The Elks are explosive; five of their touchdown runs covered more than 20 yards. Adam Nelson alone scored on sprints of 32, 39 and 80 yards, finishing with 302 yards on just 18 carries.

“I don’t want to jinx us, but we haven’t lost on [artificial] turf since 2013,” said Elk River coach Steve Hamilton, whose team has natural grass at its home stadium. “We feel pretty good that if we get solid footing, we can move people and do some good things.”

The two teams exchanged touchdowns for most of the first half. The Elks led 32-26 at halftime, largely due to their ability to make two-conversions. Elk River did manage two crucial stops in the second half — on an interception by Tristan Carlson and a fourth-down stop late in the fourth quarter — forcing Apple Valley to play catch-up.

“Last year’s team was pretty lights out,” Hamilton said. “This year’s team, all we ask is that when we need a play, make a play, and they’ve done that for us.”

First report

Elk River’s defense gave up more than 500 total yards, but the Elks’ offense was more than enough to make up for it. The Elks rolled up 700 yards of their own, all on the ground, to outscore Apple Valley 51-40 in the Class 5A semifinals.

Elk River, the defending 5A champs, punted on its first possession, then scored on six of its next seven possessions. The Elks augmented their touchdown totals with six successful two-point conversions.

Apple Valley did not punt, but the Eagles were intercepted twice and turned over the ball on downs on a crucial drive in the fourth quarter.

Check back later for more on the game.