Associated Press , Published November 23 2012
Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley wins title gameMINNEAPOLIS — A dominant rushing game and a suffocating defense led Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley to its first state title.
Austin Maanum ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns, Jason Montonye scored three times and the Wolverines defeated Grand Meadow 40-22 for the Class 9-Man Championship at Friday's Prep Bowl.
Montonye had 126 rushing yards, scored on a kickoff return and had an interception for the Wolverines (13-0).
Trenton Bleifus threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns for Grand Meadow (12-2). It is the first time this season an opponent scored more than two touchdowns against Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley.
“Today our kids did a good job of shutting down a very dangerous offense, especially for the first three quarters,” said Wolverines co-coach Brian Dahl.
The Superlarks were held to 264 yards, about two-thirds of their season average. They had just 55 first-half yards and were sacked five times — including two each by Ethan Chase and Keane Turner — and trailed 20-0 at intermission.
Montonye scored on a 51-yard run two plays into the second quarter and added a 49-yard run with 1:22 to play in the half. Maanum scored on a 73-yard weave about a minute later. All 414 of the Wolverines total yards were rushing.
“Our offensive line again did a good job of sustaining their blocks. It's just one block and we're gone with our speed,” Maanum said. “They had their linebackers so close with a one-level defense. You broke one tackle and you were gone.”
Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley played its second straight game without fullback/linebacker Logan Nordly, a 1,156-yard rusher and the team's third-leading tackler.
“The whole team had to step up,” Montonye said. “We weren't asking one guy to fill his shoes, everyone just had to do a little bit more and they were able to do that.”
Grand Meadow got to the Wolverines’ 16-yard line midway through the third quarter, but a fourth-down completion netted zero yards. Seven plays later, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley quarterback Damon Gibson scored on a 39-yard run to make it 26-0.
“CGB has an awful lot of speed and we gave up too many big plays,” said Grand Meadow coach Gary Sloan.
Bleifus and Landon Jacobson connected on a 61-yard screen pass for a Superlarks touchdown late in the third quarter, but Montonye returned the ensuing kickoff for an 82-yard score to make it 32-8.
“You better get in front of him because you're not going to catch him from behind,” said Maanum.
Mike Ojulu had two late touchdown receptions for Grand Meadow, which had scored at least 40 points 10 times this season.
“We dug a deep hole and it was too hard to get out of,” Sloan said.
Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, located in western Minnesota near the South Dakota border, entered the game as the state's top-ranked team in the final Associated Press poll. Grand Meadow, located between Rochester and Austin, was unranked.