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Prep football: St. Peter rallies after 21-21 halftime tie to beat Trojans

BY AARON HAGEN The Globe WORTHINGTON -- Looking up at the scoreboard early in the first quarter, the Worthington football team found itself down by two touchdowns to visiting St. Peter. But for WHS senior Lucas Boever, that just provided extra mo...

Trojans Football vs St James 2 web.jpg
Worthington Trojan Turner Rogers (44) leaps up to bump Hunter Cam as the WHS bench celebrates a touchdown near the end of the first half Friday against St. Peter. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

BY AARON HAGEN

The Globe

WORTHINGTON -- Looking up at the scoreboard early in the first quarter, the Worthington football team found itself down by two touchdowns to visiting St. Peter.

But for WHS senior Lucas Boever, that just provided extra motivation.

The Trojans battled back to tie the score at 21 at halftime, but the Saints scored twice in the third quarter to come away with a 35-21 victory on Friday.

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“We wanted it really bad, I guess,” Boever said. “We practiced really hard all week. They are in our section, so we really wanted to get this win over them for our standings. It was hard.”

The game couldn't have started better for the Saints, who were trying to spoil Worthington’s homecoming.

St. Peter quarterback Wyatt Olson connected with Matthew Pettis for a 15-yard touchdown on the Saints’ first possession, and Olson found Joey Baron for a 24-yard touchdown on their second possession to take a 14-0 lead.

“I guess you could call it motivation,” Boever said of the deficit. “We just needed to come back a little bit harder.”

The Trojans broke through on the ensuing possession. Aided by a 42-yard pass play from Will Brandner to Turner Rogers, WHS marched down the field. Emmett Bickett (11 carries, 62 yards) capped the drive with a 15-yard touchdown.

The Saints responded, however, as Jeremy Johnson scored on an eight-yard run to push the lead to 21-7.

“That’s the thing about these guys, they never quit in practice, they never quit all the time,” WHS head coach Gene Lais said. “It means something to them. It’s important to them, their buddies mean something to them. They are like a family. They care about each other, they are going to lay it on the line the entire game. Nobody ever gave up.”

The second quarter belonged to WHS. With five minutes until halftime, Rogers recovered a fumble, setting up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Brandner to Boever.

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“Will threw it in the perfect spot and I went up for it and I did the best I could,” Boever said. “Will put it in the right spot.”

On the next possession, the Worthington defense forced a punt. On the attempt, Trojan Austin Svalland broke through the line and got the block, sending the ball out of bounds at the 1. Terbuto Ochothow scored on the next play as the score was tied at 21 at the break.

“Austin Svalland had that punt block, that helped us a lot and it got us going a lot more,” Boever said. “Then we got a touchdown. We don’t put our heads down when we’re down, we just have to dig out. Respond, don’t react, is what we call it.”

However, out of the break, the Saints controlled the ball. The Trojans were on offense for less than four minutes in the third quarter, while SP was able to put two more scores on the board.

“I think they were more ready than us,” said Boever, who led WHS with 10 tackles. “We came out and thought we were just going to keep going from the second quarter but they kind of punched us in the mouth.”

Taking over at the WHS 25, Olson (15-for-32 passing, 167 yards) found Baron (five receptions, 68 yards) for a 25-yard touchdown. After an interception on the following Trojan possession, the St. Peter’s Hunter Wilmes (22 carries, 125 yards) ran in a 13-yard score to push the lead to 35-21.

“They battled,” Lais said. “They fought back, they responded well. We competed the entire game. We left a couple opportunities on the field, and once in a while struggled to get off the field defensively. They got some big first downs.”

SP had 26 first downs compared to eight for WHS. The Trojans finished with 187 yards (114 rushing, 73 passing), while St. Peter finished with 385 yards (218 rushing, 167 passing).  

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WHS (1-3) is at Belle Plaine next week.

“We have to go back and start over on Monday and forget this game and go on to the next one,” Boever said.

St. Peter 21 0 14 0 -- 35Worthington 7 14 0 0 -- 21

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