Matching its win total from the regular season, third-seeded Cannon Falls is one victory away from the state tournament after beating second-seeded Breck, 32-14, in the Section 4AAA semifinals Saturday in Golden Valley.
Big plays were a constant theme for the Bombers on the night, starting with a 52-yard touchdown run from Jovan Ripley that put the team ahead 6-0 at the 4-minute, 32-second mark of the first quarter. Then in the second, Trenton Matthies broke loose with a 40-yard run for a score, followed by a 25-yard Hayden Strain rush with 5:38 left before halftime to make it an 18-0 game.
Early in the third, Cannon Falls went ahead 26-0 when Ripley caught a 30-yard pass from quarterback Chase Reber. Reber added a two-point conversion on a pass to Strain. The Bombers' final score came with 9:15 to play on a 1-yard rush from Reber.
Cannon Falls was nearly unstoppable on the ground, with four players over 80 yards en route to 369 rushing yards. Matthies led the way with 116 yards on 12 carries, followed by 10-93 by both Ripley and Reber. Strain ran for 83 yards on a team-high 16 carries.
Meanwhile, the Bombers' defense put the Mustangs in the negative with minus-1 yard rushing. Ripley had four tackles and two sacks while teammate Mason Duden also finished with four tackles, and Jack Dommeyer came up with two tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery.
Both of Breck's scores came on David Roddy passes to Josh Roddy, from 28 and 35 yards.
"Our game plan was to play physical football and the boys executed it perfectly," said Cannon Falls head coach Dan Meyers. "The defensive line kept pressure on the quarterback all night and the pass coverage was great. ... We played a tough regular-season schedule this season which prepared us to compete at a high level in the playoffs."
In a section finals for the fifth time in school history, the Bombers (4-6) will head to West St. Paul to play top-seeded and top-ranked St. Croix Lutheran at 7 p.m. Friday. The Crusaders (9-0) throttled fourth-seeded Minneapolis Edison on Saturday, 61-20.
Goodhue 20, Fillmore Central 0
Goodhue's defense has been stellar all season, and on Saturday, the Wildcats showed Fillmore Central how good they can be. In a 20-0 Section 1A semifinal victory, top-seeded Goodhue allowed a grand total of 60 yards while piling up 351 against the fourth-seeded Falcons.
Mason Huemann carried the ball 34 times for 186 yards, and scored all three of the Wildcats' touchdowns. Huemann's first six points came on a 4-yard run with 6 minutes, 26 seconds remaining in the first quarter. It took until the second half for another score, but Huemann came through with a 7-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and a 6-yard touchdown in the fourth.
Goodhue quarterback Jack Gadient didn't throw for a score, but did hit 8 of 10 passes for 136 yards. Ryan Schoenfelder was the only Wildcat receiver with more than one catch, totaling five for 83 yards.
Goodhue ran 58 plays and had 18 first downs. Fillmore Central ran 33 plays, had just four first downs.
The third-ranked Wildcats (10-0) path to the state tournament has just one more foe: third-seeded Blooming Prairie, which beat second-seeded Rushford-Peterson, 21-20, on Saturday. The Blossoms (8-2) lost to Goodhue, 35-13, in Week 5 in Goodhue. The rematch will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday at Rochester Regional Stadium.