With wins in the first two rounds of Section 3AAAA competition, the Holy Family football team has landed in the section finals.
The No. 4 seeded Fire first defeated No. 5 Richfield in a 31-13 game on Oct. 23. The Fire scored all 31 points in the first three quarters of play, while keeping the Spartans off the board until the fourth. In the first quarter, Holy Family scored on a safety that was fumbled through the back of the end zone before senior quarterback Ben Baker completed a five-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Justin Dahl. Another fumbled safety gave the Fire two more points in the second quarter, followed by a 38-yard field goal from sophomore Jonathan Coppens. The Fire led 14-0 at the half.
In the third quarter, Baker had a 25-yard touchdown run, Coppens nailed a 27-yard field goal, and senior Connor Byrnes completed a 32-yard touchdown run to put the Fire up 31-0. The Spartans were able to score twice in the fourth quarter but it wasn’t enough.
The Fire then upset No. 1 seeded Minneapolis Washburn, in a game that was tied at 7-7 after the first quarter. Byrnes had a three-yard run for the Fire’s first touchdown of the game. After Minneapolis Washburn posted a touchdown to start the second quarter scoring, Holy Family dominated, posting 21 points. First, sophomore Chazz Johnson ran the ball 60 yards for a touchdown. Senior Conner Riddle then snagged an interception on defense and returned it 10 yards for the score. To end the half, Baker completed a 15-yard pass to senior Derek Ogren to put the Fire up 28-14 at halftime.
Washburn closed the gap in the third, scoring a touchdown to make it 20-28. Byrnes had a two-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to put the Fire at 34 points. The Millers would score once more, but the halftime deficit was too much to overcome and Holy Family won 34-27.
At quarterback, Baker was 3-7 for 49 yards and one touchdown. Senior Rob LaRose was 1-1 for 14 yards. Receivers were Ogren (3 receptions, 49 yards, one touchdown) and junior Nick Hanscom (one reception for 14 yards). Rushing leaders against the Millers included Baker (163 yards), Johnson (127, one touchdown), Byrnes (46 yards, two touchdowns), and Riddle (7 yards).
The Minneapolis Washburn quarterback was sacked three times during the game, twice by Ogren, once by senior Tom Green. Ogren and Riddle each had an interception, while senior Charlie Marschall and Baker each defended a pass. Senior Stephen Kohler blocked an extra point attempt.
The Fire will face No. 2 Holy Angels this Friday at Holy Angels, beginning at 7 p.m.