PREP FOOTBALL: Huskies dominate CrusadersCHASKA — The left side of the Jackson County Central offensive line simply wore down Mayer Lutheran on Friday night at Chaska High School. Tanner Menke scored four touchdowns and Darrick Vancura added three more as the Huskies outgained the Crusaders in total yards 466-386 in a 51-20 win.
CHASKA — The left side of the Jackson County Central offensive line simply wore down Mayer Lutheran on Friday night at Chaska High School.
Tanner Menke had four touchdowns and Darrick Vancura added three more as the Huskies outgained the Crusaders in total yards 466-386 in a 51-20 win over the Crusaders.
In the process, the Huskies earned a trip to the Class AA state semifinal round at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. It's Jackson County’s first trip back to the state semifinals since 2001.
Vancura, who ran for the second-most yards in a single game in Jackson County Central history, piled up 279 yards on 30 carries. He reached the end zone on runs of 1, 25 and 2 yards.
Menke also scored twice on the ground with a pair of 1-yard runs. He added a 41-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Taylor-Breck and all but sealed the game with 3 minutes, 11 seconds left in the third quarter, when he intercepted a Jeremiah Grimsley pass and returned it 35 yards to the end zone.
But Vancura pounded the ball against Mayer Lutheran.
“I just knew that (Mayer Lutheran) couldn’t stop me,” Vancura said. “The left side of our offensive line is pretty tough. Nolan Hohenstein was opening up some holes for me. And even if I go to the left side, I still need the right side of the line to block for me.”
Hohenstein knew the Crusaders would eventually wear down.
“Matt Schmit, Chris Baker and I … all those guys on the left side … we‘re the big horses” Hohenstein said. “We tried our best to work for Darrick and he does his best for us.
“We had to be more physical up front,” Hohenstein said about attacking the Chargers’ defensive line. “For the whole game, we were pushing them back. We just had to dominate them.”
But it was Mayer Lutheran which held the upper hand early in the contest. The Crusaders made the Huskies pay for a personal foul penalty on Mayer Lutheran’s first possession. The infraction put the ball at the JCC 31-yard line, where the Crusaders’ Joel Burfiend ran for a touchdown with 8:54 left in the first quarter.
The Huskies (10-2), who went three-and-out on their first two possessions, received a crucial defensive stop from Spencer Johnson after the Crusaders (10-2) took back the ball.
Leading 7-0 in the first quarter, Mayer Lutheran used 17 plays to drive 68 yards to the Jackson County Central 1, where Spencer Johnson stopped the Crusaders’ Phil Burfiend for no gain on fourth down.
“I thought that was the turning point in the game,” Huskies coach Tom Schuller said. “If Mayer Lutheran scores there and goes up by 14 points, it could have been a totally different ballgame. But we stopped them on fourth down and took away their momentum.”
JCC used its momentum to gain a quick strike. The Huskies covered 99 yards on only four plays, highlighted by Vancura’s 37-yard run to the 46, Menke’s 54-yard bomb to Kyle Luhmann to the Mayer Lutheran 1 and Vancura’s touchdown run one play later.
Jackson County Central led 8-7 after Vancura ran for a 2-point conversion with 11:56 left in the first half. It was the start of the Huskies 23-point second-quarter explosion, which handed JCC a 23-13 halftime lead.
The Crusaders went ahead 13-7 with 7:56 left before halftime on a 76-yard touchdown pass from Grimsley to Tanner Luebke. Matt Schmit blocked Chad Amenson’s extra-point attempt, preventing Mayer Lutheran from grabbing a seven-point lead.
Then, the Huskies asserted themselves in the final 7 and a half minutes of the first half.
A penalty for a facemask handed JCC a short field at the Crusaders’ 44 before Vancura scampered 25 yards for a touchdown with 7:13 left until intermission. He added another 2-point run for a 15-13 Huskies lead.
It became 23-13 at the break after Menke used a bootleg right to reach the end zone from a yard out with 45 seconds left in the first half.
Everything was going right for Jackson County Central, including Ryan Timko’s recovery of the second-half kickoff, which had bounced off a Mayer Lutheran returner.
The Huskies wasted no time reaching the end zone again. The flood gates opened as JCC posted the first of three consecutive touchdowns to take a 44-13 lead with 3:11 left in the third quarter.
Menke connected with Taylor-Breck from 41-yards away for a TD at the 10:15 mark. The Huskies capped an 11-play, 93-yard drive on a 1-yard run 7 minutes later.
Before the Crusaders knew what had hit them, Menke picked off Grimsley two plays into Mayer Lutheran’s next drive and ran it back 35 yards at the 3:11 mark. Jackson County Central had scored two touchdowns in 43 seconds.
The Crusaders only answer was a 39-yard TD pass from Grimsley to Anthony Gruenhagen at the 1:02 mark of the third quarter.
Vancura capped the scoring in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard TD run with 9:21 remaining.
NOTES: Joel Burfiend, Mayer Lutheran's leading rusher with 56 yards on nine carries, was sidelined by a first-half injury. He did not return. ... Former Lakefield resident Taylor Otterstatter, who transferred to Mayer Lutheran in 2011, caught one pass for 22 yards for the Crusaders.
DG Sports Editor Jeff Arenz may be reached at 376-7328.
MSHSL CLASS AA FOOTBALL
JACKSON COUNTY CENTRAL 51, MAYER LUTHERAN 20
Mayer Lutheran 7 6 7 0 — 20
Jackson County Central 0 23 21 7 — 51
ML — J. Burfeind 31 run (Amenson kick), 8:54.
JCC — Vancura 1 run (Vancura run), 11:56.
ML — Luebke 76 pass from Grimsley (kick blocked), 7:56.
JCC — Vancura 25 run (Vancura run), 7:13.
JCC — Menke 1 run (T. Christopher kick), 0:45.
JCC — Taylor-Breck 41 pass from Menke (T. Christopher kick), 10:15.
JCC — Menke 1 run (Vancura run), 3:54.
JCC — Menke 35 interception return (kick failed), 3:11.
ML — Gruenhagen 39 pass from Grimsley (Amenson kick), 1:02.
JCC — Vancura 2 run (T. Christopher kick), 9:21.
First Downs 15 18
Total Net Yards 386 466
Rushes-Yards 36-153 49-353
Passing Yards 233 113
Punt Returns 2-7 0-0
Kick Returns 5-64 3-35
Interception Returns 0-0 2-35
Cmp-Att-Int 11-27-2 3-13-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-6 0-0
Punts 4-42.0 5-28.2
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 7-50 7-85
RUSHING: Mayer Lutheran (J. Burfeind 9-56, P. Burfeind 11-31, Huinker 3-27, Grimsley 5-17, Kovar 2-16, Buttenhoff 3-4, Wolf 2-1, Weber 1-1); Jackson County Central (Vancura 30-279, P. Moore 6-32, Menke 4-21, Kapplinger 2-14, Johnson 3-10, Holm 2-0, Wacker 2-(-3)).
PASSING: Mayer Lutheran (Grimsley 11-25-233, Buttenhoff 0-2-0); Jackson County Central (Menke 3-13-113, Wacker 0-0-0).
RECEIVING: Mayer Lutheran (Luebke 4-102, Gruenhagen 4-97, Otterstatter 1-22, Buttenhoff 1-12); Jackson County Central (Luhmann 1-53, Taylor-Breck 1-41, Wacker 1-19).