Spring Grove nearly let its title defense slip through its fingers, literally, in a last-second victory over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton last week in the Nine-Man quarterfinals. The Lions weren't going to let it happen again.
Led by senior quarterback Alex Folz, Spring Grove burst out of the gate with 28 first-quarter points and cruised to a 48-12 victory over Cromwell-Wright on Thursday in the Nine-Man semifinals.
Folz completed 25 of 34 passes for 368 yards and four touchdowns. He added 85 yards and three touchdowns on the ground as Spring Grove (13-0) ran its winning streak to 27 games.
"We knew we wanted to play fast and jump out to a lead against a power running team," Spring Grove coach Zach Hauser said. "Cromwell hadn't faced a spread offense all year."
Spring Grove turned over the ball over seven times in the quarterfinals while playing in last week's wintry weather. Playing in weather-proof conditions at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Lions were determined not to have a repeat.
"That was uncharacteristic of these guys," Hauser said. "We wanted to make sure we took care of the football."
Spring Grove scored on its first four possessions. All three of Folz's touchdown runs came in the first quarter, with a 44-yard scoring pass from Folz to Kai Bjerke thrown in for good measure.
At the same time, Cromwell was unable to generate any offense. The Cardinals didn't get a first down until midway through the second quarter.
"The first six minutes went exactly wrong for us," Cromwell coach Jeff Gronner said.