Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: QBs in Class 6A set to put on a Prep Bowl style show

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN and DAVID LA VAQUE
  • Last update: November 22, 2012 - 11:13 PM

Expect a quarterback battle of panache vs. poise to figure prominently in the inaugural Class 6A battle Friday for Minnesota high school football supremacy.

Zach Creighton of Lakeville North is the one with flash. The Panthers' best athlete led his team into the finals in his first year as starting quarterback. Look for his passes or runs to be high-risk, game-breaker-type plays, as they have been much of the season.

Grant Shaeffer of Eden Prairie is the steady one. His role is to mostly hand off the ball to stellar running backs, but linemen say his leadership gives the team confidence. His competitiveness is also known to ramp up in big moments, even if he's not compiling gaudy statistics.

The two seniors lead two teams vying for the showcase championship of the Prep Bowl, seven games held Friday and Saturday at the Metrodome.


Trying to catch Zach Creighton is like trying to catch a fly with tweezers.

The Lakeville North senior quarterback is the embodiment of energy when he has the ball in his hands. Impossible escapes, electrifying runs, remarkable throws -- they're all part of Creighton's game.

"I know I'm a high-risk, high-reward kind of player," Creighton admitted. "That's always been the way I've played. I'm just trying to use my abilities to make a play."

In his only year as a starter at quarterback, Creighton has put his stamp on the position -- not a small feat, considering he replaced Trey Heid, who was the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year in 2011.

Too talented to sit on the bench -- "Easily the best athlete on our team," coach Brian Vossen said earlier this season -- Creighton started at safety in his sophomore and junior seasons and still sees regular playing time on defense.

"I've played quarterback all my life until last year," he said. "I knew Trey was the senior and deserved the reins, but playing quarterback is my love. I was looking forward to my senior year so much."

He's made the most of his opportunity, passing for nearly 1,500 yards and rushing for more than 800. He was named the South Suburban Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Creighton knows his Tasmanian Devil-style of play comes with a downside. He threw four interceptions in the Panthers' only loss of the season, 10-6 to Prior Lake.

No matter. His style is not about to change now.

"I think I've earned the coaches' trust and they don't question me, even if I make a mistake," he said. "I consider myself a playmaker, and they've said they never want to take away a playmaker's ability to make plays."


In his football fantasies, Eden Prairie quarterback Grant Shaeffer leads his Eagles to state titles by throwing for substantial yardage and a few touchdowns. After all, what kid grows up hoping to hand off his way to glory?

The idea draws a laugh from Shaeffer. But he takes the less-glamorous role of game manager seriously. Some of the Eagles' past championships were won with the arms of quarterbacks. Defeating Lakeville North on Friday for the Eagles' second consecutive state title and eighth overall will depend on Shaeffer's poise rather than production.

"You've got to have the mindset that you're going to lead the offense and that's the main job out there," Shaeffer said. "You're not going to throw [for] 250 yards and four touchdowns. You know that going in, and you've just got to be a leader out there."

In 10 starts this season, Shaeffer completed 23 of 39 passes for 295 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. His longest pass went for 38 yards. He added 193 yards rushing and five touchdowns.

A defensive back as a sophomore, Shaeffer impressed Eagles coach Mike Grant with his calm yet competitive nature on the basketball court.

"Whatever confidence thing an offense has starts with the quarterback," Grant said. "Some of our linemen told me, 'We're the most confident when he's on the field.'"

Grant learned that lesson the hard way. He moved Shaeffer to defensive back this season to try other players under center and the Eagles lost twice.

"We kind of said, 'How stupid are we if we've got the state championship quarterback sitting there and we don't put him back?'" Grant said. "He doesn't have the rocket arm, but all he does is win."



As coach Andy Rostberg made his way through town this week, a stream of well-wishers and back-slappers meandered over, offering encouragement and congratulations.

"You can't go anywhere without someone wanting to stop on the street and visit," Rostberg said.

Which is just the way he likes it.

Rostberg was the quarterback and his father, Grady, the coach of the Tigers' state championship teams in 1983 and 1984. He's seen first-hand how important football is to this community of 14,000, an hour west of the Twin Cities.

"There's nothing like it," he said. "It's one night a week. On Friday, you go to the game with your family. It's a big deal. The whole community gets involved."

While football has always been woven into the fabric of the community, it's been particularly notable this season. The undefeated Tigers are within a game of the school's fourth state championship and first since 1998.

"It's such an exciting tradition," senior linebacker Shaun Schindler said. "The team, the coaches, the parents, the whole town. There are so many people to play for."

The most gratifying part, Rostberg said, is what he sees around town.

"You drive around and in every backyard, you see kids playing football or playing catch with their dads," he said. "The boys, they look up to the older boys and want to be like them. I know I did."



Rochester Lourdes' 2012 postseason experience is a prime example of the value of seniors.

There was no worry, no sense of desperation last Saturday when the No. 1-ranked Eagles trailed Annandale 14-0 in the first half of the Class 3A semifinals. It was the first time they had been behind all season. There was plenty of time to correct the situation.

They did, rallying for a 20-16 victory and a chance to win their second Class 3A title in three years. Lourdes beat Holy Family 41-13 for the 2010 3A championship.

"We told our seniors, 'Hey, if you want another week of football, you have to pick it up,'" Lourdes coach Mike Kesler said. "It all comes down to senior leadership."

Kesler said Lourdes' previous state tournament experience was invaluable.

"For a lot of the team, it's all new here, but the seniors have been through it before," he said. "They explain it to the young guys, what to expect and how to not get caught up in it and stay focused. You wouldn't think that with the start we had [against Annandale], but it's definitely a plus."



On a defense featuring several stellar athletes, Owatonna junior end Andrew Stelter stands apart.

During a season that has seen the Huskies rewrite large chunks of their record book, Stelter has created a new standard for future pass-rushers.

Owatonna plays Totino-Grace, winners of six state titles since 2003, in the Prep Bowl Class 5A title game Saturday. The teams' strengths will collide: the Eagles' pounding running game vs. the Huskies' staunch defense.

"They are a good program that likes to be physical and we like to be physical, too," said Stelter, a 6-4, 245-pound defensive end who squats more than 500 pounds.

Owatonna coach Jeff Williams estimated his team broke as many as 15 program records this season, many tied to the success of its passing game. Stelter set a new single-season record with 11 quarterback sacks.

"Andrew is the third- or fourth-fastest kid on our team," Williams said. "He's quick off the ball and doesn't stay blocked for long."

Those attributes caught the eye of college programs. Stelter said Minnesota is the only school to offer him a scholarship so far but he remains interested in other schools, including Nebraska.


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Golden State 99 FINAL
Cleveland 110
Oklahoma City 113 FINAL
Phoenix 117
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Arizona 3 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Montreal 5 FINAL
Columbus 2
Philadelphia 2 FINAL
Toronto 3
Chicago 3 FINAL
Florida 0
St. Louis 2 FINAL(SO)
Winnipeg 1
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Nashville 2
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 0
Detroit 3 FINAL
San Jose 2
Northern Ky 78 FINAL
Kennesaw St 53
East Tenn St 73 FINAL
Citadel 74
Winthrop 50 FINAL
Campbell 65
Delaware 58 FINAL
Drexel 44
Jacksonville St 57 FINAL
Eastern Ky 63
Northeastern 65 FINAL
Elon 72
Sacred Heart 90 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 85
Western Carolina 49 FINAL
Furman 53
Char Southern 81 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Western Ill 66 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 73 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 67
Radford 69 FINAL
Liberty 80
St Francis-NY 74 FINAL
Long Island 69
Wofford 76 FINAL
Mercer 72
Minnesota 96 FINAL
Michigan State 90
High Point 75 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 71
Samford 67 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Ohio State 81
Wagner 59 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Mount St Marys 60 FINAL
St Francis-PA 63
Houston 54 FINAL
Temple 66
Vanderbilt 73 FINAL
Tennessee 65
Chattanooga 86 FINAL
Va Military 82
Milwaukee 61 FINAL
Wright State 58
Coastal Carolina 69 FINAL
Presbyterian 80
Central Conn St 69 FINAL
Bryant 77
Ga Southern 77 FINAL
Appalachian St 58
SIU Edwardsville 61 FINAL
Austin Peay 64
Green Bay 72 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 67
Texas-El Paso 60 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 77
Marshall 87
Rider 63 FINAL
Monmouth 60
Eastern Ill 57 FINAL
Murray State 65
Charlotte 65 FINAL
North Texas 81
North Dakota St 58 FINAL
Oral Roberts 74
Old Dominion 63 FINAL
Rice 54
TX-San Antonio 66 FINAL
Southern Miss 70
UT Martin 69 FINAL
Tennessee St 52
Fla Atlantic 68 FINAL
Western Ky 71
Northern Ariz 85 FINAL
North Dakota 75
Grand Canyon 70 FINAL
Chicago State 74
Utah Valley U 50 FINAL
South Alabama 57
Texas-Arlington 80 FINAL
Arkansas State 81
Georgia State 83 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 92
Troy 61 FINAL
Texas State 67
Arizona 82 FINAL
Colorado 54
Memphis 57
Tenn Tech 73 FINAL
Morehead State 86
Rutgers 85 FINAL
Purdue 92
Southern Utah 67 FINAL
Northern Colorado 77
Montana State 68 FINAL
Eastern Wash 92
UC Davis 60 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 74
UC Irvine 63 FINAL
Cal Poly 56
Cal State Fullerton 72 FINAL
CS-Northridge 82
Montana 87 FINAL
Idaho 92
Portland 69
Pacific 64 FINAL
Santa Clara 57
Arizona State 41 FINAL
Utah 83
San Diego 39 FINAL
Gonzaga 59
St Marys-CA 84 FINAL
San Francisco 53
Oregon State 48 FINAL
Stanford 75
Long Beach State 59 FINAL
Hawaii 78
Rice 68 FINAL
Old Dominion 83
Manhattan 67 FINAL
Monmouth 84
Georgia Southern 39 FINAL
Appalachian St 66
Marshall 74 FINAL
FIU 50
TX-Arlington 62 FINAL
Arkansas State 67
South Alabama 38
Troy 75 FINAL
Texas State 59
Georgia State 39 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 56
William & Mary 84 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 55
Delaware 68 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Maine 61
UMass Lowell 72 FINAL
Vermont 64
Albany 65 FINAL
Hartford 50
Stony Brook 68 FINAL
Binghamton 59
Boston College 60 FINAL
(8) Louisville 77
(23) Syracuse 60 FINAL
Clemson 55
(16) Duke 62 FINAL
Georgia Tech 71
Florida 53 FINAL
Alabama 49
NC State 52 FINAL
(9) Florida State 72
Miami-Florida 59 FINAL
Wake Forest 60
Ole Miss 58
(11) Miss State 50 FINAL
(2) South Carolina 69
Fairfield 74 FINAL
Iona 62
Marist 58 FINAL
Saint Peters 66
Quinnipiac 91 FINAL
Rider 53
Virginia 70 FINAL
(15) North Carolina 72
Pittsburgh 59 FINAL
(4) Notre Dame 87
Ohio State 88 FINAL
Penn State 70
Massachusetts 60 FINAL
Dayton 69
(22) George Washington 81 FINAL
Richmond 69
Saint Louis 53 FINAL
Rhode Island 68
Wright State 74 FINAL
Detroit 59
Green Bay 70 FINAL
Oakland 55
Western Ky 85 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 74
Indiana 72 FINAL
(5) Maryland 83
North Texas 46 FINAL
Charlotte 71
Central Arkansas 64 FINAL
Sam Houston St 56
SE Louisiana 60 FINAL
Northwestern St 71
Nicholls 63 FINAL
New Orleans 68
Incarnate Word 44 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 58
Denver 68 FINAL
No Dakota State 87
IUPU-Ft Wayne 61 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 70
South Dakota 69
Lamar 77 FINAL
McNeese State 98
Western Ill 49 FINAL
South Dakota St 69
Missouri 70 FINAL
(12) Texas A&M 69
(13) Kentucky 56 FINAL
Arkansas 51
(20) Rutgers 60 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 80
Southern Miss 61 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 59
Wisconsin 74 FINAL
(17) Iowa 78
North Dakota 68 FINAL
Northern Ariz 72
Northern Colorado 88 FINAL
Southern Utah 66
Louisiana Tech 0 Postponed
Texas-El Paso 0
Eastern Washington 53 FINAL
Montana State 63
Idaho 68 FINAL
Montana 81
Auburn 70 FINAL
Vanderbilt 58
(6) Tennessee 70 FINAL
Georgia 59
Gonzaga 62 FINAL
San Diego 75
Washington 60
Portland 63 FINAL
BYU 65
(24) California 74 FINAL
Oregon 59
(19) Stanford 69 FINAL
(7) Oregon State 58
Chicago State 49 FINAL
Grand Canyon 73
Utah Valley U 61
San Francisco 65 FINAL
St Marys-CA 62
Washington St 69
Santa Clara 75 FINAL
Pacific 87
CS-Northridge 65 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 53
UC Santa Barbara 47 FINAL
Cal-Irvine 57
Hawaii 47 FINAL
Long Beach St 46
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
UC Davis 50


question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters