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Elk River's relentless offense carries the day over Armstrong

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 11/01/19, 9:15PM CDT


The Elks, who never punted, used their straight-T offense to produce four long scoring drives en route to a 32-29 victory and their fourth consecutive trip to the Class 5A state tournament quarterfinals.

Elk River running back Joe Nordstrom (3), who scored two rushing touchdowns for the Elks, got tripped up as he ran with the ball in the second half. Photo: ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com

The snow that began falling in the fourth quarter was collecting on the field at St. Michael-Albertville High School after Elk River’s 32-29 victory over Armstrong Friday.

Snow angels were being made. A random snowball or two was thrown. The Elk River players and coach, parents and faithful gathered the west end of the field, reveling in winning another Class 5A, Section 6 title, their fourth in as many seasons.

This was not a moment anyone wanted to end soon.

“I’m just excited for these kids,” Elk River coach Steve Hamilton said. “Four years in a row? It’s tough. You’re going to get everyone’s best shot.”

The Elks did it with by running their straight-T offense to near perfection — they had three drives of 11 plays or more — showing off a defense that seems to get better by the week.

The two teams traded touchdowns through the better part of the first half, each scoring on their first three possessions of the game.

Armstrong had scoring runs of 5 and 50 yards by Caleb Jones sandwiched around a 13-yard reception by Thai Bowman. Elk River scored on a 41-yard run by Rahim Avery, and 10- and 3-yard bursts by Joe Nordstrom.

First report

Elk River’s relentless straight-T offense doesn’t look complicated, but it is effective. And it claimed another victim Friday, methodically grinding Armstrong’s defense in a 32-29 victory in the Class 5A, Section 6 championship game Friday at St. Michael-Albertville.

The Elks never punted and put together four long scoring drives to defeat the previously unbeaten Falcons. Joe Nordstrom scored two touchdowns for the Elks, who advance to the Class 5A state tournament for the fourth consecutive season.

Armstrong fell to 9-1.

Check back later for more on the game.

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