Nine-man: Folz shakes off early gaffes, leads Spring Grove past Mountain Lake
Spring Grove senior Alex Folz is a two-way starter for the Lions.
“He never leaves the field,” Spring Grove coach Zach Hauser said, “and he never seems to get tired. It’s just a sign of his mental toughness.”
Folz showed his resolve on Friday as he overcame a season-high three interceptions — all in the first half — to score four touchdowns and lead the Lions to a 40-18 victory over Mountain Lake Area in the Nine-Man championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The victory was the 28th consecutive for the Lions, who claimed their second consecutive state title.
“I didn’t read the defense well and you have to give the credit to Mountain Lake,” said Folz, who had thrown only five interceptions in the Lions’ first 13 games. “My teammates came over and said ‘We got this’ and our defense really picked me up.”
Mountain Lake had a first-and-goal from the Spring Grove 9-yard line after the second interception but the Lions’ defense stopped the Wolverines on downs at the 2-yard line to maintain a 7-6 lead. The Lions also recovered two fumbles in the first half as they led 14-6 at halftime.
Spring Grove led 20-6 going into the fourth quarter when Folz scored twice within two minutes — each touchdown coming after a Lions interception — to extend the lead to 32-6.
The Wolverines scored two touchdowns in the final 5½ minutes to pull within 32-18, but Folz broke free for a 50-yard touchdown run with 1:08 left.
Wolverines coach Tim Kirk called Folz, who finished with 257 rushing yards, “one of the best I’ve seen. He’s a great quarterback.”
Tyler Kersten rushed for 108 yards and two touchdowns for the Lions, who rushed for 366 yards.
The Wolverines (12-1) were led by junior Abraham Stoesz, who ran for 241 yards and two touchdowns.