Elk River has used misdirection all season in its rushing attack, confusing opponents with one or more fake handoffs on any given play.
The Elks executed that rushing game to the tune of eight touchdowns Saturday, defeating Monticello 62-33 in the Class 5A, Section 6 semifinals.
Senior Nick Rice rushed for 324 yards and four touchdowns and teammates Blake Hills and Sam Gibas, both seniors, each rushed for two as Elk River (9-0) opened up the middle of Monticello's defense with strong off-tackle runs early in the game.
"That's our bread and butter," Rice said. "We work on it every day, and we just stayed after it today."
Rice was the primary beneficiary of Elk River's rushing success, running up the middle for a 65-yard touchdown in the first quarter and adding a 5-yard score in the second. Rice scored on a 34-yard run in the third and added a 70-yarder in the fourth. He also added a 59-yard gain in the second half.
Monticello (7-3) trailed just 24-15 at halftime, thanks to quarterback Nick Zwack and wide receiver Jack Hoaby. Zwack found Hoaby for a 34-yard score on fourth-and-long in the first quarter and a 12-yard score in the closing seconds of the first half.
The pair finished with four touchdowns as Monticello scored the most points of any Elk River opponent this season.
"They can play pitch-and-catch as good as anybody," Monticello coach Jason Telecky said.