Derrick Jameson (3) was congratulated by his teammates after he ran 59 yards for a first quarter touchdown Thursday. [Photo by Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune]
Film study on Maple Grove made Woodbury football coach Andy Hill wary of the Crimson’s explosiveness.
“You’re watching and it’s a pretty even game except for about four minutes where they score 28 points,” Hill said.
Thursday’s game flowed differently. Maple Grove’s delayed detonations produced a touchdown per quarter in a 31-12 victory in the Class 6A state tournament quarterfinals played at Eden Prairie High School.
The Crimson (10-1) advance to play the winner of Friday’s game featuring Farmington and Eden Prairie. The semifinal will be played at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Players responsible for some of Maple Grove’s best moments Thursday weren’t necessarily earmarked for greatness.
Senior running back Derrick Jameson took a sweep 59 yards to the end zone for a 7-0 lead on his team’s first possession.
“He was a B-team kid who kind of came up under the radar,” Maple Grove coach Matt Lombardi said. “He figured out his junior year that, ‘Hey, I’m pretty good.’ ”
Jameson closed a truncated 2020 season by rushing for a combined 282 yards and four touchdowns in the final two games.
The success carried over. Jameson, 6-1, 195 pounds, entered Thursday’s game with 1,163 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns.
“We knew we had a pretty good player that had the capability of breaking it,” Lombardi said.
A Jacob Anderson interception led to junior tight end Sam Peters’ 82-yard touchdown and a 14-0 Crimson advantage.
Woodbury, which converted a fake punt for a first down early in the second quarter, attempted a fake field goal with two seconds remaining in the first half. But senior Jace Uzzell read the pass play and tackled the receiver short of the goal line.
“He’s a prototypical linebacker in my defenses,” Lombardi said. “About 5-8, 160 pounds, but he’s scrappy and can run. He’s a big inspirational leader for us and that play was huge.”
Hill could only tip his cap.
“Those fakes always work in practice,” he joked.
Turning serious, Hill said, “I felt like we needed to score first and we didn’t, so we were fighting it the rest of the night.”
Maintaining the pressure, Maple Grove’s defense turned Woodbury (9-2) over on downs to end the Royals’ first drive of the third quarter. One play later, Jameson ran 74 yards for a touchdown and 21-0 lead.
Undaunted, Woodbury sophomore quarterback George Bjellos found senior Joey Gerlach for a 7-yard touchdown reception and the Royals’ deficit shrank to 21-6.
They might have drawn closer in the fourth quarter, but a pass toward an open Blake Rohrer fell incomplete.
Big plays fueled Maple Grove’s 31-12 victory against Woodbury in the Class 6A football state tournament quarterfinal played Thursday at Eden Prairie High School.
The Crimson (10-1) advance to play the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal featuring Farmington and Eden Prairie. The semifinal will be played at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at U.S. Bank Stadium. This is Maple Grove’s deepest playoff run since making the 2017 semifinals.
Crimson senior running back Derrick Jameson ran for touchdowns of 59 and 74 yards, two of the many big plays the victors made in the various facets of the game.
A pair of explosive plays and a huge special teams play built a 14-0 Maple Grove lead at halftime.
Jameson got going early, taking a sweep 59-yards to the end zone on the first Crimson drive.
In the second quarter, junior defensive back Jacob Anderson intercepted a Woodbury (9-2) pass attempt. One play later, junior tight end Sam Peters got loose down the seam and went 82 yards for a 14-0 Crimson advantage.
Woodbury, which converted a fake punt for a first down early in the second quarter, attempted a fake field goal with two seconds remaining. But Jace Uzzell read the play well and tackled the receiver short of the goal line.
Another stop and go led to a 21-0 Maple Grove lead. The defense turned Woodbury over on downs on the Royals’ first drive of the third quarter. Next play, Jameson galloped 74 yards for a touchdown.
Maple Grove turned Woodbury over on downs twice to start the third quarter. A Crimson fumble gave the Royals a third try. And they finally finished a drive. Bjellos found senior Joey Gerlach for a 7-yard touchdown reception and the Royals deficit shrank to 21-6 late in the third quarter.