MINNEAPOLIS With the clock and the score against them, the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks saw their Class A title defense come to a close when a deflected pass from Joey Lee to Nathaniel Huot was intercepted by Bethlehem Academy's Drew Glenzinski. The interception, the second thrown by Lee during the game, came with just 28 seconds left in the game and put the finishing touches on a 29-20 victory for Bethlehem Academy.
The Blackjacks started the scoring for the game when Justin Lee bulled into the end zone from a yard out to cap off a 16-play, 80-yard opening drive. Though Easton Popma's extra point was no good, the Blackjacks had an early 6-0 lead with 5 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Dawson-Boyd maintained that lead into the second quarter, when Bethlehem Academy quarterback Kyle Filzen scored on a 1-yard run with 7:54 left in the half to get the Cardinals on the board. Issac Stadler made his PAT to take the lead, 7-6, for Bethlehem Academy.
Photo by Travis Andries
Dawson-Boyd running back Justin Lee, middle, tries to break the tackle of Bethlehem Academy’s Joe Zweber during Saturday’s Class A state football semifiinal game at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
The Cardinals added two more touchdowns, part of 21 straight points for Bethlehem Academy, as their counter runs and play-action passes started to connect for big gains.
Bethlehem Academy's second touchdown came with 4:25 remaining in the first half when Christian Von Ruden took a reverse 53 yards to the end zone. Following Joey Lee's first interception of the game, Filzen hooked up with Tim Angell on a 22-yard play-action pass for a touchdown on the very next play after the pick.
"It's just a matter of getting after it up front and staying in your gap responsibility," Dawson-Boyd head coach Cory Larson said of countering the Cardinals misdirection offense. "Every once in a while you'll have a breakdown and a big play, but offensively we knew what was coming at us. That was no secret. They were probably just a little better than us up front today."
DB 6 6 0 8-20
BA 0 21 0 8-29
D-Justin Lee 1 run (kick failed), 5:39
B-Kyle Filzen 1 run (Issac Stadler kick), 7:54
B-Christian Von Ruden 53 run (Stadler kick), 4:25
B-Tim Angell 22 pass from Filzen (Stadler kick), 3:23
D-Nathaniel Huot 9 pass from Lee (run failed), :07
B-Matt Siegfried 14 run (Blake Langerud pass from Kollin Hanson good), 8:05
D-Michael Lee 20 pass from Joey Lee (Huot run good), 5:05
Rushing: D-Michael Anyasike16-46, Joey Lee 9-14, Justin Lee 3-10,
Nathaniel Huot 4-10, Noah Stelter 1-(-) 4; B-Blake Langerud 17-76, Christian Von Ruden 3-54, Kyle Filzen 10-40, Matt Siegfried 5-24, Adam Clark 6-15.
Passing (comp-att-yards-int): D-Jo. Lee 20-34-213-2, Ju. Lee 1-1-9-0; B-Filzen 3-9-35-1.
Receiving: D-Huot 9-110, Michael Lee 8-78, Ju. Lee 3-21, Kyler Collins 1-13; B-Tim Angell 2-23, Clark 1-12.
Tackles: D-Ju. Lee 7, Huot 6, Anyasike 6, Collins 5, Ryc McKesson 5; B-Drew Glenzinski 7, Mike Beckman 7, Langerud 5, Mark Mahowald 5, Angell 5, Joe Zweber 5, Von Ruden 5.
Sacks: D-none; B-Beckman 2, Mahowald 1.
INT: D-Jo. Lee; B-Siegfried, Glenzinksi.
FR: D-none; B-Mahowald.
The Blackjacks answered on their next possession when Justin Lee found Nathaniel Huot in the end zone on a 9-yard halfback option pass with just 7 seconds left before halftime. Huot finished the game with nine catches for 110 yards and a touchdown, while also making six tackles for the Blackjack defense. Dawson-Boyd tried to rush for the 2-point conversion following the score, but Michael Anyasike was stopped in the backfield.
The Cardinals stifled the Dawson-Boyd running game on the day, as Anyasike was the top rusher for Dawson-Boyd with 46 of the team's 76 total rushing yards in the game.
"They were very good up front I thought and were able to make us one dimensional," Larson said. "But our passing game was still effective. We really gave them some short fields on a turnover and a special teams play. We had a situation where we had them backed up and they hit on a long run. It's a lot of little things that if they go differently, maybe we're able to get a little momentum on our side."
The breaks Larson mentioned occurred after halftime when Dawson-Boyd was unable to take advantage of two red zone stops by its defense. The Blackjacks just missed on a couple of long passing plays, as the ball slipped through the fingers of the Dawson-Boyd receivers.
Both teams went scoreless in the third quarter, but the Cardinals struck first in the final quarter on a 14-yard rushing score by Matt Siegfried. Bethlehem Academy used a fake field goal to convert for two points following the touchdown and take a 29-12 lead.
Dawson-Boyd answered on the next possession three minutes later when Joey Lee hit Michael Lee for a 20-yard touchdown. Joey Lee finished the game 20 of 34 passing for 213 yards. He also had a touchdown and two interceptions.
After forcing a turnover on downs on the Cardinals' following possession, the Blackjacks had just over two minutes to try and make up the nine-point difference. Unfortunately for Dawson-Boyd, Lee's second interception of the game ended their drive with 28 seconds left and the Blackjacks watched the Cardinals kneel out the clock.
Despite falling short of duplicating their first-ever state championship from a year ago, the banged up Blackjacks still had a remarkable year finishing 2012 11-2 overall. Ravaged by injuries late in the season, the Blackjacks can wonder what would have been had they been healthy. But according to Larson, injuries are no excuse.
"It certainly would have helped. You take a couple of key defensive players away, plus a couple kids that are key to your run game. Still it's not an excuse," Larson said. "I think the one thing that has made this team special is that we had a lot of kids just rally around those injuries. Certainly the kids who stepped into those positions, but at other positions the kids felt that they needed to step up and play better football and did."