By RICK SOLEM
ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Caledonia High School football team is two wins away from its sixth state title since 2007.
The No. 2-ranked Warriors got a lead early Friday and held on, beating Maple lake 20-12 in the MSHSL Class 2A state quarterfinals at Rochester Technical and Community College.
Caledonia (12-0) will play seventh-ranked BOLD (11-1) in the state semifinal at noon Saturday at Eden Prairie High School.
One play stood out Friday. The turning point was a two-point conversion late in the third quarter. Sixth-ranked Maple Lake was down a point and elected to go for two and the lead.
Cal Redemske is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound grind-you-down RB that came in with 235 carries for 1,361 yards and 17 TDs for the Irish.
The Warriors knew he was getting the ball. The Warriors stuffed the conversion and held on from there.
Austen Bauer had his hands in on all three Caledonia touchdowns. He threw the first – a 4-yarder to Seth Twite. Bauer scored on a 3-yarder a few minutes later for a 13-0 lead.
Maple Lake went into half down 13-6 after a Redemske TD. They pulled within 13-12 with 1:43 left in the third, before going for the two-pointer that changed it all.
The Irish didn’t seemed forced to go for the two-point conversion. They’ve kicked extra points with success this season and their kicker has a 35-yard field goal under his belt.
But they did miss the first extra point and, perhaps, that prompted them to abandon kicking another extra-point – or maybe they wanted the lead.
Regardless, it’s the play that swung any momentum they had and sent Caledonia one step closer to a state title.
CALEDONIA 20, MAPLE LAKE 12
Maple Lake 6 0 6 0 — 12
Caledonia 13 0 0 7 — 20
First quarter: C—Seth Twite 4 pass from Austin Bauer (kick failed) 8:34. C—Bauer 3 run (Alex Goergen kick) 6:14. ML—Cal Redemske 17 run (kick failed) 0:56.
Third quarter: ML—Dusty Strub 4 run (run failed) 1:43.
Fourth quarter: C—Bauer 8 run (Goergen kick).
Rushing: ML—Redemske 33-126, C—Devan Heaney 12-57. Passing: ML—Tony Goelz 6-23-0-88, C—Bauer 8-15-2-103, Schmitz 1-1-0-31. Receiving: ML—McRae Haney 2-50, C—Tanner Gran 8-90. Total yards: ML—184-88—272, C—127-134—261. Fumbles: ML—2-1, C—1-0.
Records: ML 10-2, C 12-0.