ROCHESTER - Over the course of the 2013 season, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton quarterback Brett Swenhaugen was a playmaker in both the running and the passing games, accounting for more that 2,600 yards of total offense.
But after spraining his ankle in the second play of the game, not to mention stiff 30 mile-per-hour gusts sweeping the width of Rochester Regional Stadium, the sophomore signal-caller became a non-factor Saturday in the MSHSL Class 1A Football State Tournament quarterfinals.
"When we couldn't use (Swenhaugen's) legs, we're a completely different team," said Panthers co-head coach Randy McIntire. "And their front six on defense were salty enough to keep us from doing anything, offensively."
Photo by Joe Brown,
Red Wing Republican-Eagle
Tracy-Milroy-Balton’s Zach Seaton is tackled by a pair of Bethlehem Academy defenders during an MSHSL Class A Football State Tournament quarterfinal game in Rochester.
As TMB limped along on offense, the Cardinals rumbled down the field with their power running game, knocking the Panthers from the state playoffs in a 27-0 shutout.
On the second play from scrimmage, Swenhaugen was able to rattle off a 10-yard run, but on the way down to the ground, he grimaced in pain before getting off the field under his own power.
"I got my foot caught underneath one of their guys," said Swenhaugen, who played the rest of the game with his right ankle heavily taped. "I felt a couple pops, but I was able to keep playing as long as I could."
With its top playmaker on one leg, TMB's offense could not move the football, finishing with 86 total yards, seven turnovers (six interceptions, one fumble) and six four-and-outs.
"It was really tough after that," Panthers wide receiver Zach Seaton said about the Panthers' offense after the Swenhaugen injury.
Meanwhile, Bethlehem Academy stuck to what got them back into the state tournament: the run game. Grinding out 2,679 rushing yards prior to Saturday's state quarterfinal, the Cardinals' running backs accounted for all 290 yards of the team's offense.
With 4 minutes, 3 seconds left in the first quarter, Drew Glenzinski got Bethlehem Academy into the end zone with a 10-yard run. Then with more than 6 minutes left until halftime, Joe Matejcek tacked on another rushing touchdown from 16 yards out to put the Cardinals up 14-0 at the break.
"All year, we had trouble stopping good running backs," McIntire said. "Their main back (Christian Von Ruden) slipped off a lot of our tackles."
TMB caught a break early in the third when the Cardinals mishandled the snap on a punt attempt, putting the Panthers at the 17-yard line. But turnovers plagued the Panthers throughout the quarter as Seaton lost the ball on a fumble two plays later.
Then after Swenhaugen went out for a stretch of plays after hurting the ankle again, Bethlehem Academy harassed backup quarterback Spencer Smith, picking off two straight passes, including a Glenzinski interception that went 55 yards for a score.
With the deep ball not an option, TMB had to try and dump the ball for small gains, and the opportunistic Cardinals jumped under the routes to come up with tailor-made turnovers.
"As soon as we threw deep the first time, I told the coaches that the ball was dying up in the air on those long throws," said Swenhaugen, who finished 8-for-23 for 67 yards and four interceptions. "I told them we can't throw it deep."
With the game firmly in control, Bethlehem Academy finished a nine-play, 76-yard fourth-quarter drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kollin Hanson.
On Saturday, the Cardinals (9-3) will meet with Mahnomen at the Metrodome in a rematch of last year's Class 1A state championship. The Indians advanced after a 28-12 victory over Upsala/Swanville on Saturday.
The Panthers, who reached the state playoffs for the first time since 1984, ended the season at 8-4 overall.
"If you would have told us at the beginning of the year that we'd made it to the state playoffs, we would have been pretty happy with that," McIntire said.
MSHSL Class A Football
State Tournament Quarterfinal
BETHLEHEM ACADEMY 27,
BA - Drew Glenzinski 10 run (Lexi Temple kick), 4:03.
BA - Joe Matejcek 16 run (Temple kick), 6:21.
BA - Glenzinski 55 interception return (kick failed), 3:36.
BA - Kollin Hanson 1 run (Temple kick), 5:54.
RUSHING - TMB (Hayden Sanders 3-8, Spencer Smith 1-5, Kenny Her 1-2, Zach Seaton 6-0, Brett Swenhaugen 11-minus 1); BA (Christian Von Ruden 26-124, Isaiah Brogden 6-68, Drew Glenzinski 10-44, Joe Matejcek 4-28, Kollin Hanson 4-12, Jacob Murray 2-9, Brendan Trump 1-5).
PASSING - TMB (Brett Swenhaugen 8-23-67-0-4, Spencer Smith 1-5-5-0-2); BA (Kollin Hanson 0-2-0-0-1).
RECEIVING - TMB (Josh Kirk 3-19, Austin Gleis 2-38, Zach Seaton 2-7, Eric Donner 1-4, Rickie Jorgenson 1-4); BA - None.
INTERCEPTIONS - TMB (Spencer Smith); BA (Joe Matejcek 3, Drew Glenzinski 2, Pete Clark).
FUMBLE RECOVERIES - TMB (Rickie Jorgenson, Nick Schons); BA (Sam Clark).