The St. Mary’s Knights are headed to the Metrodome after a 20-14 victory over Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity at the Class A State Tournament quarterfinal on Nov. 9.

St. Mary’s 20,

Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity 14

The St. Mary’s Knights are headed to the Metrodome after a 20-14 victory over Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity at the Class A State Tournament quarterfinal on Nov. 9.

Junior running back David Surprenant had a career high game after rushing for over 250 yards on the day. Surprenant averaged 7.2 yards per carry and was responsible for multiple first downs which ultimately led the Knights to the win.

“David had a heck of a game,” St. Mary’s quarterback Brandon Helget said. “All game he was just running all over them.”

It was somewhat of a shaky start for the Knights. St. Mary’s opening drive resulted in three first downs before handing the ball over to LP/HT. The Bulldogs were looking to get an early lead after a 45 yard run led them to the red zone. But the Bulldogs got in a slump after they made two false start penalties which was followed by an interception by senior John Brandl in the end zone.

The Knights took full advantage of the turnover as Surprenant made a 40 yard run down the field which set up a 36 yard pass play from Helget to sophomore Kodak Kosak for a touchdown. The two-point conversion from Helget to Brandl was no good but St. Mary’s had the 6-0 lead to start the second quarter.

The Knights were given the ball again on their own 18 after Lester Prairie was unable to convert a fourth down. Another successful march down the field took place for St. Mary’s as Helget made a big 35 yard running play while Surprenant ran for 46 yards plus a six yard touchdown run. The Knights took a 14-0 lead after Surprenant ran in the two points.

The end of the first half was an interesting one. Despite a nice rolling punt by Surprenant on the Knights own 14, LP/HT was able to make a quick 39 yard pass play with a minute remaining. With only a few seconds left, the Bulldogs were penalized for calling a timeout when they didn’t have one. The Bulldogs then made a confusing spike which was either to stop the clock or end the half. Either way, a 20 yard touchdown pass was made with one second left which put the score to 14-6.

The third quarter began with a drive by LP/HT that ended in a failed field goal attempt. Four plays later, the Bulldogs had the ball again after Helget threw a costly interception at midfield. LP/HT capitalized on the mistake and tied the score 14-14 with its passing game.

But St. Mary’s showed determination to get back on top with its next drive. After a nice 18 yard return by Jaden Wait, the Knights had a solid drive down the field that ended with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Helget to senior Michael Hirsch to regain the lead and end the third quarter. Hirsch said it was nice to score what became the game winning touchdown.

“I got a lot of crap from my lineman Andy Steffl because he had more touchdowns than me this season,” said Hirsch with a laugh. “So it feels good to even it up.”

The Bulldogs threatened to take the lead on their next drive after they passed their way down to the 11 yard line, but failed on a fourth down pass. The final drive for the Knights was one for the record books. The drive was 19 plays long as St. Mary’s ran the clock down. Surprenant continued to plow through the defense as the Knights advanced the ball from their own 11 all the way to the one yard line on the opposite end of the field. With no timeouts remaining, all the Bulldogs could do was watch as St. Mary’s ran the clock down to zero and take the game.

Helget went 5-for-8 and 76 yards to lead in passing. Surprenant had 35 carries for 251 yards to lead in rushing, with Helget behind him at 11 carries for 65 yards. Kosak led in receiving with one catch for 36 yards while Hirsh had one for 22. On defense, Wait led in solo tackles with seven, while Surprenant had five solos plus four assists. Lucas Heiderscheidt added four tackles while Carter Krzmarzick had five tackle assists.

The unbeaten Knights move on to play Dawson-Boyd at the state semifinal on Nov. 16 at 9 a.m at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. A win will put them in the State Championship on Nov. 30.

Hirsch said getting a chance to play in the dome is an unforgettable experience.

“It’s amazing, you can’t even describe it,” Hirsch said. “We’ve worked all year to try and get here and it feels great to finally accomplish that.”