After four years of agony, Spring Grove wins first-ever state championship
MINNEAPOLIS — Four consecutive seasons, the Spring Grove High School football team finished one game from getting a crack at the state tournament. Four times, the Lions watched that Section 1 opponent, Grand Meadow, beat them and go on to win a MSHSL state championship.
This season, top-ranked Spring Grove finally made it through the Section 1 championship, beating Grand Meadow along the way, and left no doubt in winning its first-ever state championship.
Friday, for the MSHSL nine-man championship, the Lions may have played their best football of the season in getting a 27-0 victory over sixth-ranked NEVIS at U.S. Bank Stadium.
It’s hard to say what was more impressive, a Spring Grove (13-0) defense that only let NEVIS (11-2) get into the red zone once all game, or an offense that totalled 435 yards, scoring touchdowns on five of its first seven drives before the fourth quarter.
In getting to the state championship, Spring Grove junior quarterback Alex Folz was a scoring machine with the ball, getting four rushing touchdowns and 175 yards.
In leading the Lions to the state title win, Folz still did his fair share in the run game, but also threw for three touchdown passes, going 16 of 22 for 196 yards.
Folz spread the ball to six different receivers — four who had three catches each, and two others who had a pair of grabs. Ethan Matzke, Noah Elton and Luke Schneider had TD receptions.
On the ground, Folz rushed 18 times for 112 yards, including another TD. Senior teammate Cullen Patterson led Spring Grove with 124 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries.
Defensively, NEVIS never got into Spring Grove territory until late in the first half and that drive, which got down to the 35 yard line, ended when the half did.
NEVIS did get down to Spring Grove’s 11 yard line — the only time into the red zone — to start the second half, but the drive ended on downs.