The 2011 high school football season is in the books, ending with an exciting weekend of Prep Bowl football in the Metrodome. Four of the six champions- Rocori, St. Croix Lutheran, Dawson-Boyd and Edgerton/Ellsworth- won their first state football title this season, while Caledonia and Eden Prairie added titles to an already full trophy case.
To close out the 2011 season, let’s hand out some lodeplus.com Best of the Prep Bowl awards, nominated and awarded by a committee of one. The envelopes please….
Best Team Offensive Performance: Edgerton/Ellsworth’s Flying Dutchmen lived up to their nickname, racking up 36 points and 390 yards of total offense in the Nine-Man championship game. Almost all of their offense came through the air as quarterback Isaac Heard threw for a Prep Bowl record 368 yards and five touchdowns. Two of the touchdowns went to Devin Hulstein, who also nabbed a Prep Bowl record with 198 yards receiving.
Best Passing Performance: Edgerton/Ellsworth’s Isaac Heard. Five touchdowns, a Prep Bowl-record 368 yards…that’ll win you the award. Fairmont’s Ben Kain deserves some ink as well- he had four touchdowns, 338 yards passing and no interceptions in the 3A title game.
Best Individual Receiving Performance: Normally this would go to the guy who set a Prep Bowl record for receiving yards, but Fairmont’s Bryce Holm just cannot be denied. Eight catches, 163 yards and four touchdowns…that’s an outstanding performance and one worthy of the award.
Best Individual Rushing Performance: There are co-winners of this award- St. Croix Lutheran’s Wesley Tucker and Jackson Goplen. Tucker rumbled for 180 yards on just 16 carries including a 69-yard touchdown, while Goplen had 101 yards and two touchdowns with one of those touchdowns coming with 1:40 left in the game, a score that gave St. Croix Lutheran just enough cushion to survive a late Fairmont charge in the 3A finals.
Best Team Defensive Performance: It’s tough to deny Dawson-Boyd’s five-turnover effort, but the Caledonia Warriors earned this award by shutting out the high-powered Moose Lake-Willow River Rebels in the Class 2A title game. Moose Lake-Willow River had been scoring over 50 points per game and gaining around 500 yards per game; the Warriors held Moose Lake-Willow River to just 118 yards of offense, six first downs, and most importantly, to zero points. That effort came on the heels of another shutout in the semifinal round, meaning Caledonia didn’t give up a single point in the Dome this year.
Best Individual Defensive Performance: Dawson-Boyd’s Evan Robertson tied a Prep Bowl record by intercepting three passes in the 1A championship game. He’s the sixth person to accomplish this feat; it was last done in 2004.
Best Play Call: Eden Prairie and Wayzata had played over seven quarters against each other this season without scoring a touchdown, so the Eagles mixed up the play calling. Facing fourth-and-14 from the Wayzata 30, Eden Prairie ran a reverse with a flea-flicker pitch back added in; Grant Schaeffer found a wide-open Jake Woodring for a 25-yard gain, setting up an Eagle touchdown the next play that led to their 13-3 win in the 5A championship.
A total of 27,969 people attended this year’s Prep Bowl; next year, the Prep Bowl will be comprised of seven games instead of six as the State High School League is adding Class 6A for the largest 32 schools in the state.