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Rocori upsets SMB 22-21 in overtime to win 4A Prep Bowl

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune , 11/29/19, 7:00PM CST


Spartans quarterback Jack Steil threw a fourth-down touchdown pass and then completed a two-point conversion pass to stun the previously unbeaten Wolfpack.

Rocori quarterback Jack Steil (1) ran the ball after recovering a second quarter SMB fumble. Photo: Aaron Lavinsky • aaron.lavinsky@startribune.com

Jalen Suggs lay on the U.S. Bank Stadium turf as victorious Rocori players celebrated their surprising and dramatic 22-21 Prep Bowl victory in overtime on Friday.

Suggs held his hands over his face, a posture with which opposing coaches can relate. One of the nation’s most coveted basketball and football players, Suggs always made a game’s defining play whether as the SMB (12-1) quarterback or safety.

He threw a 6-yard pass to Terry Lockett to put the defending Class 4A champion Wolfpack ahead 21-14 in the first overtime Prep Bowl game since 2014. And he expected more good things even as Rocori, after responding to the SMB score with a touchdown, lined up for a two-point conversion try with the bulk of its players to the left of the center.

“I thought it was going to be a quarterback run and they came out in that formation,” Suggs said afterward, hitting the table at the press conference three times with his right hand before adding, “We just went over it. I knew what was coming.”

That gave Suggs an edge in situational awareness over Rocori quarterback Jack Steil, who had hit Jayden Philippi from 15 yards out for a touchdown on fourth down to stay alive.

When the signal came from the sideline to go for two, Steil said, “I didn’t even realize that it was to win or lose the game. I was in the moment and it felt like a normal situation.”

First report

Rocori completed a fourth-down touchdown pass in overtime, then came right back with a successful two-point conversion pass for a 22-21 upset of defending Class 4A champion SMB in the Prep Bowl.

The teams were tied 14-14 after regulation on Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium, necessitating the first overtime Prep Bowl game since 2005 and the seventh since the format began in 1982.

In overtime, SMB received the ball first and quarterback Jalen Suggs threw to Terry Lockett for a six-yard touchdown and 21-14 lead for the Wolfpack (12-1).

Rocori quarterback Jack Steil, after misplaying a third-down snap to lose several yards, hit Jayden Philippi from 15 yards out for a score on fourth down.

It quickly became the game’s second-most dramatic play. Steil next completed a two-point conversion to Andrew Anderson just past the outstretched arms of Suggs.

The Spartans (11-2) won their first Prep Bowl since 2011.

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