NEW ULM — A back-to-back Class AAA state soccer qualifier.
Fairmont earned its second consecutive Part 3 championship by producing a plus-4 consider turnovers, whereas quarterback Brendan Schmidtke threw for 178 yards and 4 touchdowns to energy the Cardinals by the Waseca Bluejays, 35-26, Friday evening in New Ulm.
Fairmont (9-2) kicks off the state quarterfinals towards St. Croix Lutheran (5-5) at midday, Saturday, Nov. 12, in Burnsville. The Crusaders edged Breck, 14-6, to garner the Part 4 crown.
The Cardinals, which defeated Waseca 27-6 for the 2021 sectional crown, avenged a 32-14 regular-season loss to the Bluejays throughout Week 4 of this marketing campaign.
“Our protection continued to play lights out because it has performed all season, whereas our offense continued to enhance, particularly on the bottom,” stated Mat Mahoney, who earned the sixth state look of his 16-year tenure at Fairmont’s helm. “We produced 4 fumble recoveries, but when I needed to choose a turning level, it was Landen Meyerdirk’s blocked punt and restoration within the first quarter. It actually shifted the momentum in our route.”
Waseca opened the sectional finale by assembling a 58-yard march downfield, with operating again Kyle Ahlschlager dodging, chopping and sprinting his approach to a 20-yard TD run. Ahlschlager added the two-point conversion run for an 8-0 Bluejays’ lead with 8:18 left within the opening section.
Fairmont answered shortly on the power and accuracy of Schmidtke’s arm. The senior quarterback wanted solely two passes to favourite goal Levi Pooley to provide six factors. Schmidtke hit Pooley in stride for a 58-yard scoring slant earlier than Owen Burmeister kicked the PAT at 6:23.
Meyerdirk then struck like lightning by blocking Waseca’s punt and scooped up the free soccer on the Bluejays’ 3-yard line. Working again Elijah Johnson pounded throughout the aim line earlier than Burmeister’s kick made it 14-8 with 3:38 remaining within the first body.
Waseca quarterback Oliver O’Brien countered by discovering cut up finish Damarius Russell on an 8-yard completion earlier than feathering a 20-yard fade move to Russell within the left nook of the top zone for the tying TD on the 10:19 mark of the second.
Schmidtke and Pooley then answered by dialing lengthy distance by way of the airwaves. Schmidtke lofted a spiral to the fleet-footed Pooley, who ran underneath the soccer and sprinted 60 yards to the top zone for his second TD of the sectional remaining. Burmeister kicked the PAT to stake Fairmont to a 21-14 lead with 8:13 left earlier than intermission.
Sadly for Waseca, O’Brien went to the sideline with an harm after Russell’s earlier rating and sat out a lot of performs earlier than returning underneath heart on the subsequent sequence.
Fairmont defender Parker Mathiason sacked a considerably motionless O’Brien to drive a Waseca punt and the Cardinals’ offense capitalized on the chance earlier than intermission.
Schmidtke switched gears and fired a 16-yard strike to David Maakestad earlier than changing a third-and-goal state of affairs from the 8. With Fairmont displaying a trips-set of receivers to the left, fullback Hank Artz rolled out of the backfield and corraled a Schmidtke toss for a TD. Burmeister’s kick made it 28-14 with simply 1:19 displaying within the second quarter.
Russell’s 30-yard kickoff return, mixed with Ahlschlager twisting and turning for 30 of his game-leading 163 dashing yards, marched Waseca to the Fairmont 21 with time winding down and no Bluejay timeouts. Meyerdirk, nevertheless, garnered his second fumble restoration of the conflict to disclaim Waseca any factors and preserve the Cardinals’ 14-point lead by intermission.
Schmidtke, who accomplished 8 of 15 passes, produced the third quarter’s solely TD by finishing a 10-yard lateral to 6-foot-7, 283-pound offensive sort out Sawyer Tordsen within the left flat. Tordsen rumbled into the top zone for six factors earlier than Burmeister booted his fifth consecutive PAT for a 35-14 lead.
Waseca, nevertheless, displayed its mettle through the remaining 12 minutes by marching 71 yards in seven snaps to whittle Fairmont’s result in 35-20. Ahlschlager reeled off a pivotal 25-yard run earlier than weaving his approach throughout the aim line from 4 yards out for his second TD of the evening. Artz recorded a sack on O’Brien through the conversion play to maintain the margin at 15 on the 8:54 mark.
Carter Ellis’ sack on the Bluejays’ 45 throughout a fourth-down conversion try by the Cardinals led to a different Waseca TD. O’Brien linked on the important thing play of the possession — a 40-yard strike to Russell — to achieve Fairmont’s 2. Christian Rodriguez lined the space on the subsequent handoff, however the 2-point conversion run failed to go away it a nine-point sport at 35-26 with 4:02 to go.
Carson Ohnstad completely timed his run on the Bluejays’ ensuing on-side kick and caught the carom on the Cardinals’ 49 with 4 minutes to go.
Fairmont defensive lineman Tyson Thate, nevertheless, made a crucial cease to later stop Waseca’s conversion on a fourth-and-1 run.
Waseca lineman Ethan Stenzel then blocked Maakestad’s punt on the Fairmont 38 solely to have Cardinal linebacker Aden Welcome produce the game-sealing fumble restoration with 2:05 remaining in regulation.
Pooley topped all receivers by garnering three passes for 133 yards and two TDs for Fairmont.