Centennial’s Lance Liu carries the ball 24 yards in the third quarter, giving the Cougars a 20-7 lead. Centennial went on to beat the Ponies 27-14 to win its Class 6A section championship. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
Cougars quarterback Elijah Ward rushes for a 10-yard TD, helping give Centennial a 27-14 win over Stillwater Friday night. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
High school football teams rarely play games within a three-day span.
Add in a chance to win a section championship, and Centennial will have a final week of the season to remember.
The Cougars wrapped their season with a 27-14 victory over Stillwater in a Class 6A section championship game at Stillwater High School on Friday night.
With the way the postseason bracket was designed, with modifications orchestrated to account for the COVID-19 pandemic, Stillwater (4-3) ended up receiving a first-round bye. Centennial, meanwhile, needed a 36-14 win against Lakeville North on Tuesday to advance in the playoffs.
After the Lakeville North game which Cougars coach Mike Diggins called “hard-hitting,” the Cougars (4-4) elected to go with what they described as walk-through practices in the two days between games.
“Our practices, again, consisted of just walking through stuff,” Diggins said. “Kind of just mentally preparing and getting their bodies ready to go again.”
A dominant rushing attack led by running back Lance Liu helped Centennial capture a Class 6A Section championship with a 27-14 win against Stillwater on Friday night at Stillwater High School.
Before leaving the game with an injury in the second half, Liu rushed for two touchdowns for a Cougars team that led by as much as 20 points.
The Ponies (4-3) scored on their opening drive of the game with a 52-yard touchdown run by Joseph Krenz. But Stillwater did not score again until its final drive — a 16-yard touchdown catch by Erik Roettger.
Centennial's Chase Granzow tied the game at 7-7 with a TD reception in the first quarter, and quarterback Elijah Ward also ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
The Cougars (4-4) are de facto champions in a postseason that has been shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Tim Walz announced new COVID-related restrictions earlier this week, which go into effect at 11:59 p.m., effectively ending the 2020 season a week earlier than anticipated.
Stillwater quarterback Casey Venske looks deep for a receiver late in the fourth quarter. The Ponies lost to the Cougars 27-14 Friday night in a Class 6A section championship game. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine
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