Maple Grove and Burnsville looked the part of state tournament veteran and newcomer, respectively, as the Crimson rolled to a 32-14 victory in the Class 6A high school football quarterfinals Friday night.
"We came out with a lot of confidence just knowing that we've been here before," said Maple Grove quarterback Brad Davison, who helped the Crimson to the semifinals last fall.
And how. The Crimson built a 17-0 first-quarter lead at Hopkins High School, making plays as Burnsville piled up penalties and near-misses on deep throws.
"You just can't make mistakes like that against these guys," said Blaze coach Tyler Krebs, who directed Burnsville (9-2) to its first state tournament since 1995.
The victory sends the Crimson (9-2) into the big-school semifinals against East Ridge (10-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Eden Prairie High School.
Senior running back Isaac Collins burst for a 38-yard touchdown run on the Crimson's first offensive play.
"It's a huge lift," Davison said. "Also the defense gave us a lot of three-and-outs."
Maple Gove scored on its second possession and added a 35-yard Tyler Knutson field goal to take a 17-0 lead after 12 minutes.
Burnsville improved on both sides of the ball in the second quarter. But Maple Grove answered, turning the Blaze over on downs to end Burnsville's most promising drive of the game to that point.
Davison tacked on a 27-yard scoring run late in the third quarter for a 25-0 lead.