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Tom Elliott / St. Cloud Times, Published November 02 2013

Sartell takes down Moorhead in section football title game

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – It started right away and predictably if you follow the boys in the blue and white uniforms.

Sartell ran the ball effectively from the get-go. The Sabres owned the line of scrimmage and ate up the clock.

By the end of the night, Sartell had beaten Moorhead 24-19 to win the Minnesota Class 5A, Section 8 football title Saturday night at St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium.

The Sabres did have to hold off a late Spuds’ rally, finally clinching it when Mickey Kutz intercepted a pass in the end zone with 50 seconds to play.

“The coaches said we had to dominate the line of scrimmage, and I think we did that,” Sartell senior lineman T.J. Bevans said.

Junior running back Darek Stachowski had another impressive statistical day, gaining 264 yards and scoring one touchdown on 44 carries.

“It’s just kind of my part of the team that I contribute,” Stachowski said.

Meanwhile, the Sabres mixed in the pass just enough to keep the Spuds (7-4) off balance. Junior quarterback Brandon Snoberger completed 7 of 16 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns, both 20-yarders, one to Jackson Miller and one to Alex Haima.

Haima’s was the catch of the night. Closely defended, he tipped the ball while reaching for it in the end zone, then came down with it as he and the defender landed together entangled on the artificial turf. It gave the Sabres a 24-7 lead with 8 minutes, 59 seconds to play that proved to be insurmountable for the Spuds.

“That’s the best catch I’ve made in my life,” Haima said.

Sartell is back in the state tournament for the first time since 2009. The Sabres (8-3) play St. Michael-Albertville at 7 p.m. Thursday at Husky Stadium in the first round of the state Class 5A playoffs. At stake there is a semifinal berth in the Metrodome.

“It’s great,” Haima said. “I don’t know how else to describe it.

“It’s one of the best feelings in sports. A dream experience is how I would describe it.”

Moorhead was in its fourth straight section final. The Spuds had won the previous two, beating Sartell in the final last year after being down at halftime.

Moorhead had another rally in it, getting three second-half touchdown passes from Tyler Eidsness, two to Brett Lawrence and one to Jade Lawrence.

Brett Lawrence wound up with six catches for 85 yards; Jade had four for 53. But the Spuds couldn’t run. They wound up with 84 yards rushing on 23 carries after being held to 20 yards on nine carries in the first half.

“We just didn’t play very good football in the first half,” Moorhead head coach Kevin Feeney said. “The kids needed to realize that some of the issue was self-inflicted.

“They showed their character in the second half. It’s a good-character group of kids.”

M 0 0 7 12–19

S 3 7 7 7–24

S–Isaacson 25 FG

S–Miller 20 pass from Snoberger (Isaacson kick)

M–J. Lawrence 27 pass from Eidsness (Wiedrich kick)

S–Stachowski 11 run (Isaacson kick)

S–Haima 20 pass from Snoberger (Isaacson kick)

M–B. Lawrence 6 pass from Eidsness (kick failed)

M–B. Lawrence 7 pass from Eidsness (pass failed)


RUSHING: M, Eidsness 8-20, J. Lawrence 8-19, Rage 5-18, Gotta 1-17, Hass 1-10. S, Stachowski 44-264, Snoberger 6-7, Neeser 1-0.

PASSING: M, Eidsness 15-22-1 238 yards. S, Snoberger 7-16-0 115, Stachowski 0-1-0 0.

RECEIVING: M, B. Lawrence 6-85, J. Lawrence 4-53, Duginski 2-46, Richards 1-37, Fearing 1-11, Ahlgren 1-6. S, Haima 2-40, Randall 2-16, Neeser 1-33, Miller 1-20, Stachowski 1-6.