Caledonia running back Nick McCabe (33), who scored the Warriors' first touchdown, looked for a way to skirt past Barnesville's Kellen Hinsz in the first half. Photo: Shari L. Gross • firstname.lastname@example.org
There was a business-like feel among the Caledonia players after their 21-0 victory over Barnesville in the Class 2A championship game Friday. Maybe it was expectations, maybe it was winning a fourth consecutive title and 54th game in a row. Maybe it was that many of their games had been blowouts.
Whatever it was, the five players who sat at the post-game press conference podium barely cracked a smile. They were happy, but at Caledonia, winning is a way of life.
“It means a lot,” senior running back/linebacker Nick McCabe said. “We’ve watched other teams play and be successful. We set our goal to end up being number one.”
After dominating opponents offensively in each of the last three Prep Bowls, the Warriors turned to their defense this time around. They shutdown Barnesville’s hybrid wing-T/power-T offense by attacking the Trojans’ ball carriers. They allowed just 32 total yards in the first half, 132 yards overall, and never let Barnesville into the red zone.
“Our defensive line was playing hard and fast and was hitting the gaps,” said senior linebacker Evan Denstad, who led Caledonia with nine tackles, two of them for loss. “It freed me up to make tackles.”
Caledonia leaned on its defense, shutting out Barnesville 21-0 to win its fourth consecutive Class 2A state championship on Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Nick McCabe scored on a 22-yard run in the second quarter to stake the Warriors to a 7-0 lead. They added a 1-yard scoring run by Tate Meiners in the fourth quarter for some breathing room before Payton Schott tacked on a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Caledonia (13-0) held kept Barnesville’s offense in check all afternoon, never allowing the Trojans into the red zone, for its fifth shutout of the season.
It’s the ninth state title for Caledonia since 2007, the most of any team in the state over that span, and 10th overall. The Warriors ran their winning streak to 54 games.
Check back later for more on the game.