south st. paul 23, st. thomas acadEMY 21
Trailing by a point with less than five minutes remaining, South St. Paul used a 23-yard field goal from senior Nick Ricci and a fourth-and-1 stop from the defense to secure a victory at home. Two St. Thomas Academy touchdowns within the final 2:38 before halftime built a 21-14 lead. A 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half by the Packers’ Jaden Bjorklund cut the lead to 21-20 and restored a spark within his team. South St. Paul avoided losing at home in two consecutive weeks for the first time since 2007.
Key of the game: Battling cramps much of the game, Bjorklund ripped off an electrifying 75-yard touchdown run to start the second half. Bjorklund ran for touchdowns of 5, 65 and 75 yards.
Quote: “It was my first one. First one in a real game. I was scared, but I knew I could hit it.” —Ricci on his winning field goal.
One thing to know: Bjorklund and Ricci were clutch but so was junior quarterback Dan Pietruszewski. He completed a 37-yard pass to senior Trenton McCloud to set up Ricci’s field goal.
DAVID LA VAQUE