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Class 5A Prep Bowl preview: Battle of the yardage-gobbling running backs

By JIM PAULSEN and DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune staff writers, 11/23/18, 6:30PM CST


The game features Owatonna’s Jason Williamson and St. Thomas Academy’s Brendan McFadden.

Owatonna tailback Jason Williamson (22) in last week's victory over Elk River. Photo: ANTHONY SOUFFLE * anthony.souffle@startribune.com

St. Thomas Academy (12-0) vs. Owatonna (12-0), 4 p.m.

The most evenly matched game of the day is a battle between two high-level running backs, Owatonna’s Jason Williamson and St. Thomas Academy’s Brendan McFadden. Williamson has put up video-game-type numbers in four postseason games (1,418 yards and 24 TDs rushing), and his 2,819 yards is the second most for a single season in state history. McFadden’s numbers aren’t as eye-popping but still open eyes. He’s got 710 yards and 14 touchdowns. Even with those terrific runners, expect the outcome to be determined by something less predictable. Both teams are rugged up front and don’t shy from contact. Owatonna has a solid No. 2 runner in QB Solomon Havelka, who’s adept at recognizing when a defense is overloaded to stop Williamson and keeping the ball. St. Thomas Academy had surprising success through the air in the semifinals, with QB Charlie Fafinski completing nine of 10 passes for 197 yards. Expect a big individual play, a turnover, a missed tackle — something — to turn the tide.

• Jim says: St. Thomas Academy 24, Owatonna 21

• David says: Owatonna 27, St. Thomas Academy 17

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