Superlarks grind out Bearcats to get to state title game

Published 10:15 am Friday, November 15, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — The Superlarks are back in the Prep Bowl.

After a year of waiting and letting last year’s second-place finish sit in their minds, the Grand Meadow football team played one of its most physical games of the year as it beat Kittson County Central 21-7 in the Minnesota State Nine-Man football semifinals at Mall of America Field Friday morning.

GM jumped out to a first-half lead and  eventually wore down the Bearcats (12-1 overall) in the second half.

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Head coach Gary Sloan said his team has embraced the underdog mentality since it was given the No. 3 seed in the Section 1 tournament. They haven’t looked back.

“Right now we’re playing with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” Sloan said. “Going back to the section seedings, we didn’t think we deserved to be the No. 3 seed. I don’t think people have been expecting us to win for quite a few games now and we’re going to continue with that.”

ah.10.17GM (12-1 overall) built a 14-0 lead in the second quarter when Landon Jacobson converted a 3-yard TD run and Trenton Bleifus ran in a score from 2 yards out.

The Larks actually could have had a much bigger lead in the first half, but they had a false start at the KCC 2-yard line on their first possession that kept them out of the end zone and Cody Ojulu had a fumble at KCC’s 23-yard line after he hauled in a 48-yard pass in the second quarter.

“For as well as we played in the first half, I felt we should’ve been up by more than 14 points,” Sloan said.

KCC’s defense held GM in check on the scoreboard in the second half as the Larks’ only score came on a 20-yard TD pass from Bleifus to Michael Stejskal. But Jacobson helped the Larks grind out the clock as he ran for 202 yards in the win.

“They played a bunch of different defensive techniques inside and outside and our line did a good job of creating holes,” Jacobson said.

The Superlark defense allowed just 47 yards rushing on 24 attempts in the win. KCC didn’t get on the scoreboard until Fernadndo Blanco hauled in a 49-yard TD pass to make it 21-7 with 4:52 left but Isaac Tangen recovered the ensuing on-side kick and KCC never had the ball again.

“We knew they lived by the big play and we knew they wouldn’t be able to pound it at us,” Jacobson said. “We had to keep getting pressure so they had to throw.”

Jacobson, who ran the ball 33 times, wore out the KCC defense the more he touched the ball. In the first half he had just one carry of more than 10 yards, but in the second half he brook four carries for 10 yards or more.

Jacobson was on last year’s Superlark team that played in the state tournament and he said this year’s team has had to mature a lot to get back to the tittle game.

“Last year when we got here we had good players at every starting position,” Jacobson said. “We had a lot of shoes to fill, but we’re kind of experienced now. We’re underdogs throughout the whole tournament and this is our first year to get our name out there.”

GM will play Underwood (10-3 overall) Nov. 29 at 10 a.m. at Mall of America Field for the Nine-Man state football title. Underwood beat Ely 34-20 and topped Nicollett 34-21 to get to the title game.


KCC 0  0  0  7  —  7

GM 0 14 7  0  —  21

First quarter

No scoring

Second quarter

(GM) Landon Jacobson 2 run (Wyatt Richardson kick) (7 plays, 29 yards) 10:21

(GM) Trenton Bleifus 5 run (Richardson kick) (Richardson kick) 6:49

Third quarter

(GM) Michael Stejskal 20 pass from Bleifus (Richardson kick) 8:21

Fourth quarter

(KCC) Fernando Blanco 49 pass from Drew Olsonawksi (Blanco kick) 4:52


Rushing: Landon Jacobson, 33-for-202, TD; Trenton Bleifus, 11-for-45, TD; Michael Stejskal, 8-for-17; Passing: Bleifus, 3-for-6, 98, TD, INT; Receiving: Stejskal, 2-for-50, TD; Cody Ojulu, 1-for-48; sacks: Blake Benson (2); Michael Stejskal (1); Fumble recoveries: Benson (1); tackles: Stejskal, 11; Jacobson, 8; Penalties: 2-for-20


Rushing: 47; Passing: 219