NEW ULM - Led by a strong running attack that featured two 100-yard rushers, Minnesota Valley Lutheran cruised to a 36-12, Section 2A football win over Cedar Mountain/Comfrey Tuesday at Johnson Field.
Ryan Grunke ran for 115 yards, threw for 133 yards and rushed for two scores. Matt Tessmer also rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown as the Chargers (4-5) will now play the No. 1 seed Sleepy Eye St. Mary's at 7 p.m. Saturday at St. Mary's.
The loss ends CM/C's season at 3-6.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Kris Goetzke (25) jumps to avoid Cedar Mountain/Comfrey defender Josh Green as teammate Justin Bruns (19) looks on during the Section 2A playoff game Tuesday at Johnson Field in New Ulm.
Despite the lopsided score, the win wasn't an easy one for the Chargers. However, they didn't commit any turnovers in the game and that was a big factor in the win.
"It was not an easy game," Tessmer said.?"We had to work our butt off since they were a good team."
The Chargers stuck with the game plan, which was running the ball. After a scoreless first quarter, the running game eventually helped them grab a lead and stretch it over the course of the game.
"We were just going to pound it outside, just keep pounding that outside," Tessmer said.?"Maybe sometimes it works, maybe sometimes it doesn't, doesn't matter. Our line was awesome tonight and they just kept working it."
Tessmer scored the game's first touchdown with 9:36 left in the second quarter and the PAT made it 7-0.
Kris Goetzke scored from two yards out to put MVL ahead 15-0 after the two-point conversion, but CM/C's Brady Kerkhoff returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown to make it 15-6, which is where it was at halftime.
The Chargers got a one-yard touchdown run from Grunke in the third quarter that put them up 22-6. After a Cougars punt, the Chargers put together another scoring drive, this one being capped by a Grunke nine-yard touchdown pass to Justin Bruns with 3:19 left to give the Chargers a commanding 29-6 lead.
Grunke rushed for his second touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter and the Cougars responded late when Riley Kerkhoff found Cole Kelly for a touchdown for the final 36-12 margin.
Kerkhoff finished with 117 yards passing for the Cougars.
The Chargers now face the No. 2 ranked team in the state on Saturday. Tessmer, for one, is excited about playing against a team that made it to the state semifinals a year ago.
"It's so awesome, when you get to play a top-ranked team, that's really a great opportunity to show what you're made of."