A change at quarterback in the middle of the season helped turn Rosemount's season around.
The offense was lurching, turnovers were piling up. Even after a last-second victory over then-winless Eagan in Week 5, Rosemount still had more losses than wins. Irish coach Jeff Erdmann faced a difficult decision.
"We needed a change," Erdmann said. "We were making too many mistakes."
Senior Sean Kalinowski was moved from quarterback to wide receiver and replaced with sophomore Jackson Erdmann.
It was painful but, Kalinowski admitted, it made sense.
"I wasn't playing as well as I should have," he said. "The coaches felt that Jackson had the capability to run the offense better."
For Kalinowski, it would have been easy to check out right there. He couldn't do that. Football careers are brief; he wasn't going to throw his away. Rather than see it as a demotion, he embraced the move with gusto.
"I think there was the feeling that I would have a negative attitude," he remembered. "But I felt differently. I wanted to be more positive. I accepted it to do what I could to make the team better."
It worked. And Rosemount is certainly better.
The Irish have five victories in six games since the coach's son took over at quarterback. They stand one game away from their second Prep Bowl appearance in three years. They play Lakeville North on Thursday in the first Class 6A semifinal.
Kalinowski's maturity was not lost on the team.
"What Sean did was pretty important," defensive captain Andrew Dawson said. "Our coach talks about 2006, when the quarterback that year got moved to strong safety and they went to the [Metrodome]. It was a case very similar to Sean's. He's really helped the team out at wide receiver. It's made us a better team."
It would be too simplistic to say that one change, albeit a significant one, cured what was wrong. Coaches and everyone associated with the team had felt they were better than their record indicated.
"You could tell our execution was getting better and better," Jeff Erdmann said. "As the season has gone on, the guys have seen the results and kind of focused in on what we're asking them to do."
Public perception was far different. Doubters were plentiful, particularly after a 35-0 thumping to Lakeville North in the last regular-season game.
"We use that as motivation," Kalinowski said. "A lot of people have expected this senior class to be mediocre. We want nothing more than to prove them wrong."
Critics were muted when Rosemount slipped past Stillwater in the section finals. Then the Irish went toe-to-toe with No. 1 Edina in the state quarterfinals, pulling out a 14-10 victory that was no fluke.
The Irish played inspired defense, frustrating Edina's potent offense. Kalinowski also had a major role, catching a touchdown pass on a 28-yard gadget play.
"There's nothing better than beating the No. 1 seed," said Kalinowski. "Everyone wrote us off. But we showed them we can do it."
Erdmann knows that his team is a significant underdog against ultra-talented Lakeville North. But he feels this is a far different bunch than the team that lost to the Panthers on Oct. 17.
"We didn't play well in that game," Erdmann stressed. "I'm very excited about how we're playing lately. I expect a much better ballgame from us. We only have to be better than them one time."
|NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda||0||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison||2|
|Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer||3||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale||6|
|Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront||5||FINAL|
|St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson||1|
|Cincinnati||2||Top 8th Inning|
|Minnesota - K. Gibson||6:05 PM|
|Baltimore - C. Tillman|
|Philadelphia - J. Williams||6:10 PM|
|NY Mets - B. Colon|
|Miami - J. Cosart||6:10 PM|
|Atlanta - A. Harang|
|Boston - A. Webster||6:10 PM|
|Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi|
|Cleveland - T. Bauer||6:10 PM|
|Kansas City - J. Shields|
|Detroit - K. Ryan||6:10 PM|
|Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt|
|Texas - R. Ross Jr.||6:10 PM|
|Houston - S. Feldman|
|Colorado - T. Matzek||7:10 PM|
|Arizona - V. Nuno|
|Chicago Cubs - T. Wada||7:15 PM|
|St. Louis - M. Gonzales|
|Los Angeles - Z. Greinke||7:40 PM|
|San Diego - I. Kennedy|
|Milwaukee - M. Fiers||8:05 PM|
|San Francisco - J. Peavy|
|Oakland - J. Samardzija||8:05 PM|
|LA Angels - C. Rasmus|
|Washington - S. Strasburg||8:10 PM|
|Seattle - R. Elias|
|Green Bay||9/4/14 7:30 PM|
|(6) Jacksonville St||7||FINAL|
|(8) Michigan State||45|
|(5) Ohio State||34||FINAL|
|West Virginia||20||3rd Qtr 1:27|
|Rice||10||4th Qtr 12:48|
|(17) Notre Dame||38|
|(10) South Dakota St||18||4th Qtr 11:46|
|Fla Atlantic||7||3rd Qtr 4:00|
|California||31||4th Qtr 13:09|
|Marshall||28||3rd Qtr 1:00|
|UC Davis||0||3rd Qtr 6:20|
|Arkansas||21||3rd Qtr 8:35|
|(16) Clemson||7||1st Qtr 3:57|
|Liberty||0||1st Qtr 10:34|
|(23) North Carolina||7|
|Ohio U||7||1st Qtr 10:01|
|Louisiana Tech||6:00 PM|
|Stephen F Austin||6:10 PM|
|(20) Kansas State|
|Fresno State||6:30 PM|
|Southern Miss||6:30 PM|
|Texas-El Paso||7:00 PM|
|North Texas||7:00 PM|
|(1) Florida State||7:00 PM|
|(14) Wisconsin||8:00 PM|
|South Dakota||9:30 PM|
|(25) Washington||9:30 PM|
|Utah State||8/31/14 6:00 PM|
|SMU||8/31/14 6:30 PM|
|Miami-Florida||9/1/14 7:00 PM|
|Arizona||9/4/14 7:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh||9/5/14 6:00 PM|
|Washington St||9/5/14 9:30 PM|
|SMU||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Fla Atlantic||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Buffalo||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(24) Missouri||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Arkansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(8) McNeese State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Central Mich||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Akron||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ill||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(20) Kansas State||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|(4) Oklahoma||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|Western Ky||9/6/14 11:00 AM|
|SC State||9/6/14 11:30 AM|
|Navy||9/6/14 12:00 PM|
|UAB||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|South Alabama||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||9/6/14 1:00 PM|
|Colorado||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|Fresno State||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(1) Eastern Wash||9/6/14 2:00 PM|
|(15) USC||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ohio U||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Northern Ill||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Missouri State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Ball State||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Maryland||9/6/14 2:30 PM|
|Eastern Mich||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|Georgia Tech||9/6/14 3:00 PM|
|(18) Ole Miss||9/6/14 3:30 PM|
|Old Dominion||9/6/14 5:00 PM|
|(8) Michigan State||9/6/14 5:30 PM|
|(19) Arizona State||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Louisiana Tech||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|San Jose St||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|East Carolina||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(9) So Carolina|
|Duke||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Idaho||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|(17) Sam Houston St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Michigan||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(17) Notre Dame|
|Lamar||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(21) Texas A&M|
|Northwestern St||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|BYU||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|Citadel||9/6/14 6:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
|San Diego St||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(23) North Carolina|
|Virginia Tech||9/6/14 7:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State|
|Memphis||9/6/14 9:00 PM|
|Colorado State||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Air Force||9/6/14 9:15 PM|
|Oregon State||9/6/14 9:30 PM|
|Texas Tech||9/6/14 10:00 PM|
|New England||2||2nd Half 44:55|
|FC Dallas||7:30 PM|
|Real Salt Lake||9:30 PM|
|Winnipeg||8/31/14 3:00 PM|
|Toronto||9/1/14 12:00 PM|
|Edmonton||9/1/14 3:30 PM|
|Brt Columbia||9/5/14 6:30 PM|
|Calgary||9/6/14 6:00 PM|
|Hamilton||9/7/14 12:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan||9/7/14 3:00 PM|