High school football | AAA: Bombers’ dream run comes to an end
HOPKINS — Cannon Falls wasn’t supposed to be playing football in November.
The Bombers went 2-6 in the regular season, a mark that earned them the No. 5 seed in the six-team Section 4AAA playoffs. Cannon Falls proceeded to “upset” Minneapolis Edison in the opening round and followed that with a true upset of No. 1 Breck in the semifinals. Finally, the Bombers completed their dream run to the Class AAA state tournament with a 27-10 win over No. 2 St. Croix Lutheran.
But the upsets dried up Saturday at Hopkins High School.
For much of their Class AAA quarterfinals matchup against Fairmont, the Bombers looked like the better team. Their defense was sharp, limiting the dangerous Cardinals spread offense to just six points in the first half.
But breakdowns in the fourth quarter proved costly.
Cannon Falls led 7-6 at halftime and 14-6 in the third quarter. The Bombers had a great chance to go up by two scores, but a fumble deep in Fairmont territory ended the drive.
Fairmont seized the momentum, tied the game on their next possession and added to their lead in the fourth quarter. A late Cannon Falls score wasn’t enough, and the Cardinals held on for a 27-21 victory.
Fairmont (10-1) plays Perham in the Class AAA semifinals Saturday, Nov. 17 at U.S. Bank Stadium. Cannon Falls ends its season at 5-7.
The Cannon Falls defense was outstanding minus a few big plays Saturday. Fairmont’s lone first-half touchdown came on an 81-yard pass play with receiver Dustin Schultz getting just behind the Cannon Falls defense.
In the second half, the big play hurt the Bombers again. After the big fumble that ended Cannon Falls’ scoring threat in the third, Schultz got it done again, scoring on a 53-yard pass play.
After the two-point conversion, the Cardinals had tied the game at 14-all.
The Bombers went three-and-out on their next possession, and Fairmont had all the momentum.
Only a few plays later, Fairmont quarterback Garrett Myren went around the Cannon Falls defense and outran the Bombers for a 45-yard touchdown, giving Fairmont its first lead of the second half.
On the ensuing kickoff, Cannon Falls fumbled, and Fairmont essentially put the game away with Myren’s 12-yard touchdown run.
Cannon Falls running back Brodie Hansen scored on a 6-yard run with two minutes left, but Fairmont was able to hold on for the victory.
Hansen was fantastic all day. While Fairmont keyed on Logan Hofstedt, it allowed Hansen to take advantage. He finished with 24 carries for 123 yards. Hofstedt had 20 carries for 57 yards.
Hansen scored Cannon Falls’ first touchdown on a 12-yard run with 6:38 left in the second quarter. Ben Villarreal’s extra point made it 7-6.
Hofstedt extended the lead to 14-6 with his 6-yard TD run midway through the third.
Graham Pearson had a stellar all-around game for the Bombers. On offense, he came up with two huge catches. His first came on an under-thrown ball, but he came back to it and out-battled the defensive back to make the catch. His second grab was a toe-tapper on the Fairmont sideline. He finished with two catches for 33 yards.
On defense, Pearson also came up huge. Pearson recovered three fumbles, knocked down a pass, made three tackles and blocked a punt.
Nick Bultena also delivered a strong defensive performance. He intercepted two passes and broke up two others.
Overall, the Cannon Falls defense sacked the Fairmont QB five times.
Cannon Falls finished with 57 carries for 251 yards rushing, and added 80 yards passing for 331 yards of total offense.
Fairmont had 206 yards passing and 150 rushing for 356 yards of offense.
FAIRMONT 27, CANNON FALLS 21
Cannon Falls 0 7 7 7 — 21
Fairmont 6 0 8 13 — 27