Chaska players celebrated after coming from behind to defeat St. Thomas Academy on Saturday to win the Class 5A Prep Bowl. Photo: David Berding • Special to the Star Tribune
For just over 45 minutes, the Class 5A state championship game was a tightly woven knot of defense, with few offensive highlights to speak of.
For the last 2:53, controlled turned chaotic.
Chaska put together a frantic 80-yard drive in 10 plays, getting a 1-yard touchdown run by running back/linebacker Stevo Klotz with 42 seconds left, and emerged with a 10-7 victory over St. Thomas Academy.
“Wow. Exciting game. Good finish,” Chaska coach Bryan Dahl said. “Proud of our guys for sticking in there.”
Until that fateful drive, Chaska (12-1) had done little to speak of offensively. Fortunately for the Hawks, St. Thomas Academy (11-2) could say the same.
“If you love defensive football, that was a fantastic game today,” St. Thomas Academy coach Dan O’Brien said. “Both defenses were outstanding.’’
Trailing 7-3, Chaska took over at its 20. Quarterback Griff Wirtz, who had completed just three passes in the game to that point, completed three passes for 53 yards on the drive. Chaska also benefited from three penalties to get into position to score — two pass interference calls and a targeting call at the St. Thomas Academy 5-yard line.
Klotz powered over three plays later.
“We talked that we had one more drive left for a state championship,” Wirtz said. “One more drive for our dream to come true. We all just relied on each other and trusted everybody.”
Chaska got a 1-yard touchdown run by Stevo Klotz with 42 seconds left, capping an 80-yard, 10-play drive that was bolstered by three defensive penalties, to defeat St. Thomas Academy 10-7 in the Class 5A championship game.
For Chaska (12-1), it’s the first state championship in team history.
The Hawks opened the scoring with a 42-yard field goal by Nic Snuggerud in the first quarter.
St. Thomas Academy took the lead late in the second quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Baker Reding.
The Cadets held the lead and kept the Hawks' offense largely in check in the second half until the final drive.
St. Thomas Academy (11-2) lost in the championship game for the second consecutive year.
Check back later for more on the game.
Chaska receiver Ethan Bachmann (19) went up for a pass against St. Thomas Academy defensive backs Patrick O'Keefe (6) and Stephen Betts (8) in the first quarter. Photo: David Berding • Special to the Star Tribune