For Monticello senior running back Ryder Beckman, the Latin phrase "Veni, vidi, vici" (I came; I saw; I conquered) is no longer just a sticker on his helmet or a tattoo on his left forearm.
Behind two long Beckman touchdown runs, the Magic won 24-19 on Tuesday at Rogers, advancing to the Class 5A, Section 6 semifinals and ending an 11-game losing streak against the Royals.
"It feels good," said Beckman, who drew a compliment from a Rogers player as he left the field in defeat. Beckman didn't know him but the token of respect fit a game that could've gone either way.
No. 5 seed Monticello (7-2) finally exhaled as a Rogers' fourth-down pass sailed just off-target in the end zone. With that, the Magic advances to play Saturday at No. 1 seed Elk River (8-0).
Beckman's second score, this one a 66-yard dash in the third quarter, gave Monticello a 21-12 lead against No. 4 seed Rogers (6-3).
Yet the Magic could not pull away. A fumbled snap on the first play of the fourth quarter was Monticello's second turnover near Rogers' goal line.
The Royals didn't waste the opportunity, driving 95 yards for a touchdown. Eric Chamlongsong scored from 12 yards out and cut the Monticello lead to 21-19.
Not folding against a Rogers team with a history of success required a "short memory," Beckman said. "You lose the ball or there's a false start, keep your head up."
Doing just enough, Monticello got a 30-yard field goal from Charlie Voller for a 24-19 lead with 4:40 to go. From there, Monticello put its faith in its defense.
Rogers got the ball at its 30 and tore off chunks of yards to get within striking distance. Facing third-and-15, quarterback Tanner Palm hit Jake Moss for a first down with 1:34 to play.
Later, as Palm dropped back on fourth-and-5 from the Monticello 14, Beckman watched and waited.
"I'm more nervous than probably half the kids out there," Beckman said. "I love football more than anything and I want to win more than anything."
Monticello came, saw and conquered.