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Chris Shields / St. Cloud Times, Published October 26 2013

Fourth-seeded Spuds upset top seed Apollo in football playoffs

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – Mistakes haunt, not like anybody wearing the red, white and blue of St. Cloud Apollo didn’t know that.

It has been an axiom pounded into the players’ heads. Apollo made too mistakes, the Eagles said. Moorhead didn’t.

It helped the No. 4-seeded Spuds beat top-seeded Apollo 30-20 in the Minnesota Class 5A, Section 8 football semifinals Saturday afternoon at Clemens Stadium.

The victory for the Spuds was their third in a 10-day span.

“It’s huge,” Spuds head coach Kevin Feeney said. “Our kids have persevered this season. To win three football games in 10 days against three quality teams says volumes about how well these kids have played lately.”

Moorhead (7-3) advances to the section championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium.

“It’s a tough one,” said a tearful Jeremy Koffi, the Eagles senior receiver/defensive back. “Too many mistakes.”

Apollo (6-3) wraps up its season with a Central Lakes Conference South Division championship and a disappointing loss.

Moorhead piled up 361 yards on 57 plays, including 268 on the ground. The Spuds controlled the line of scrimmage and did it with a variety of backs, but mostly senior quarterback Tyler Eidsness.

“They controlled the game in the first half,” Apollo head coach Justin Skaalerud said. “Their quarterback ran more than I’ve seen him.”

Eidsness rushed 21 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed 7 of 9 passes for 93 yards and another TD.

“When you can lean on a senior quarterback in that type of situation,” Feeney said, “it couldn’t have happened to a better kid.”

Moorhead had a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter and led 17-7 at halftime. The Spuds made it 23-7 through three quarters before Apollo scored two quick TDs to make 23-20 with 8:07 to play.

The Eagles had the Spuds at third-and-1 from their own 32 when Eidsness broke through the line for a 44-yard gain.

That was the momentum changer. Eventually, Moorhead scored on a 20-yard Eidsness quarterback keeper to complete an 11-play, 92-yard drive.

“They’re a good team, coached very well,” Koffi said. “I don’t know what to say.

“It’s hard.”

Meanwhile, Apollo had nine penalties, including two for lining up offsides on offense and three false-start penalties.

“We had too many first-and-15s,” Koffi said. “And too many third-and-15s and fourth-and-15s.”

The Spuds will face Sartell-St. Stephen for the section title.

“It’s going to be a great game,” Feeney said. “We just need to continue to compete. They certainly have a lot of weapons.”

A 0 7 0 13–20

M 7 10 6 7–30

M–Lawrence 41 pass from Eidsness (Wiedrich kick)

M–Wiedrich filed goal

A–Rosenthal 16 pass from Lynch (Waldron kick)

M–Eidsness 18 run (Wiedrich kick)

M–Duginski 15 run (kick failed)

A–Rosenthal 2 run (pass failed)

A–Rosenthal 5 run (Waldron kick)

M–Eidsness 2 run (Wiedrich kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: M, T. Eidsness 18-119, Duginski 5-39, J.Lawrence 11-39, Rage 9-31, Gotta 8-23, B. Lawrence 1-3. A, Rosenthal 9-58, Lynch 8-16, Teigen 1-7, Carlson 2-(-7).

PASSING: M, T. Eidsness 5-7-0 93. A, Lynch 13-27-1 205.

RECEIVING: M, B. Lawrence 2-48, Schock 1-32, J. Lawrence 1-7, Duginski 1-6. A, Teigen 5-53, Rosenthal 4-78, Koffi 3-41, Ashwill 1-33.


Forum Assistant Sports Editor Hayden Goethe contributed to this story