Chargers win a nailbiter at BA
FARIBAULT - For a team that had given up plenty of late scores throughout the season, Minnesota Valley Lutheran came up big Saturday.
With No. 2-seeded Bethlehem Academy threatening in opposing territory with no timeouts in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, No. 3-seeded MVL managed to hold it off to win 13-12 in the Section 2A football semifinals on Saturday at Bruce Smith Field in Faribault.
“These last few weeks, we’ve been able to piece together some good defensive stops late in the game,” MVL senior quarterback and linebacker A.J. Buboltz said. “This is when it matters most, so it’s awesome.”
The Chargers (6-4) allowed one big play and one big drive - both of which led to scores - but were otherwise stout on defense in a rainy, miserable game on a muddy grass field that got soggier as the game progressed.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals (5-5) threatened with a 26-yard field goal attempt from junior Anthony Langfeldt. However, sophomore Eddie Kowalke slipped through the wall of bodies and blocked the kick, which kept MVL’s 13-12 lead intact with 9:23 to go in regulation.
“They dug in, they dug in,” MVL coach Jim Buboltz said. “To get the blocked field goal and then have the offensive line get some first downs here at the end To me, it was a group of seniors, a group of big-time players who stepped up.”
The game looked like it could have been grim for MVL, which lost on a last-second play last year against Mankato Loyola in the Section 2A quarterfinals, as A.J. Buboltz fumbled and lost the ball on the second play from scrimmage after a 1-yard loss by running back Josiah Glowicki.
MVL got its act together, however, as A.J. Buboltz found Jacob Kiecker from 12 yards out on fourth-and-goal to give it a 6-0 lead.
BA sophomore running back Jack Clark responded, however, on a 70-yard touchdown run in one of MVL’s few defensive lapses on the night.
Clark found the end zone again on the first drive of the second half, during which he carried the Cardinals on six carries for 68 yards to the end zone, capped off by a 3-yard run.
A couple possessions later, the Cardinals fumbled a snap on an attempted punt, which gave the Chargers the ball at the opposing 38-yard line. On the next play, A.J. Buboltz then found Matt Munsen from 38 yards out for a touchdown and Kowalke’s successful PAT gave MVL the 13-12 lead.
“We know he could throw the ball, so the hope was to try to get the play-action look and get them up and get them up, and it worked twice,” Jim Buboltz said. “We baited them up on play-action pass and he made two great throws. Great catch by Matt Munsen to get into the end zone here at the end.”
A.J. Buboltz was 3-for-9 for 93 yards, two touchdowns and one inconsequential interception in the first half. Munsen had two receptions for 71 yards, including the 38-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Clark had 188 rushing yards on 29 carries for two touchdowns for the Cardinals.
MVL will play top-seeded Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton at 7 p.m. Friday at Jordan High School in the Section 2A finals. The winner will advance to the Class A state tournament and face the winner of the Section 4A finals.
MVL 0 6 7 0 - 13
BA 0 6 6 0 - 12
M - Buboltz to Kiecker 12-yd TD pass (2-pt. conv. no good), 7:15
B - Clark 70-yd TD run (Langfeldt PAT no good), 2:07
B - Clark 3-yd TD run (2-pt. conv. no good), 9:19
M - Buboltz to Munsen 38-yd TD pass (Kowalke PAT good), 3:40