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Published November 20 2010

MN Class 1A semifinals: Barnesville coach says team played well in Friday's win, responds to critical comments from opposing coach

Barnesville football coach Bryan Strand spent Saturday getting all sorts of phone calls and text messages, but some of them had very little to do with his team trying to win a state championship.

Strand along with quite a few Barnesville football fans were upset to read what Goodhue coach Clair Austin said about the team following Barnesville’s 49-30 win to advance to the Minnesota Class 1A state football championship game next Friday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

“It hurts. I take a lot of pride in our team being good sports,” Strand said. “We’re the type of team where we are taking out kids early in games that we are ahead in. After a tackle, our guys will pick up guys and tell them, ‘Good job.’ They are about being clean.”

Austin questioned the ways the Trojans (13-0) tackled one of his players. Barnesville’s defense went low on the running back, which is normal, leaving him shaken up after the play. Austin alleged the Trojans constantly chopped blocked his players throughout the game.

Strand denied his players did anything harmful to stop Goodhue’s offense.

If anything, Barnesville hasn’t had to do much to stop anyone’s offense this season by making it look effortless on defense. The Trojans have put up five shutouts this year en route to the school’s first state championship appearance since 1978.

Aside from Austin’s allegations, there was plenty to take from the game. The Trojans had more than 500 yards on 39 plays. Strand said Barnesville averaged 14 yards a play while Goodhue ran an astonishing 96 plays while averaging 5 yards a play.

Though Goodhue entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed, it appears it wasn’t good enough.

“We made our mistakes here and there and we had some guys fall down at the wrong time,” Strand said. “But our guys played well. We’re not the biggest team, so for us to get here, it’s something to be proud of.”

Since Strand took over the program six years ago, Barnesville has become one of the best Class 1A programs in Minnesota. The Trojans had been in a co-op with Rothsay for 18 years until 2009 when they split up.

Barnesville pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the state last year by beating perennial Class 2A powerhouse Hawley in the regular season en route to appearing in the state tournament, where it was eliminated in the first round by Minneota.

The Trojans came back with a number of players returning from that 11-1 team. Strand got his players to buy into 6:45 a.m. practices at least three times a week, and the results have been more than successful.

Barnesville has scored more than 20 points in all but two games this season, with one of those games being a 2-0 forfeit to open the playoffs. A potent offense and a solid defense, which allowed a season-high 30 points against Goodhue, is what has allowed Barnesville to be one win away from securing a perfect season.

“We’re going to practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” Strand said. “Then we’re going to head down Thursday and keep the same schedule that we had last week. We need to get healthy because we did get some players hurt. We are proud of our kids for getting here. They played with a lot of heart.”

Goodhue 7 7 10 6–30

Barnesville 21 7 7 14–49

B–Hochhalter 29 run (Hagen kick)

G–R. Schrimpf 22 pass from Dowden (R. Schrimpf kick)

B–Martz 82 run (Hagen kick)

B–Rice 74 run (Hagen kick)

G–Benda 26 pass from Dowden (R. Schrimpf kick)

B–Hochhalter 9 run (Hagen kick)

G–J. Schrimpf 32 run (R. Schrimpf kick)

G–R. Schrimpf 25 field goal

B–Rice 54 pass from Strand (Hagen kick)

B–Hochhalter 95 run (Hagen kick)

G–R. Schrimpf 6 pass from Dowden (Dowden pass failed)

B–Rice 26 run (Hagen kick)


RUSHING: G, R. Schrimpf 13-52, J. Schrimpf 7-43, J. Dicke 16-29, Brunholzl 10-27, Huemann 2-21, C. Dicke 3-17, Dowden 1-(-6). B, Rice 13-198, Hochhalter 9-161, Martz 5-86, Braton 5-19, Strand 2-(-4).

PASSING: G, Dowden 22-43-2 386. B, Strand 2-5-1 198.

RECEIVING: R. Schrimpf 9-180, Erie 8-105, Benda 1-46, Thomforde 2-34, J. Schrimpf 1-21. B, Rice 1-54, Mahar 1-13.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548