Quarterback Reid Patterson came to the sideline before third down on Lakeville South's mid-third quarter-drive with a play in mind, something to maintain possession at a moment when Mounds View threatened to take control.
The Mustangs had scored on either side of halftime, cutting their deficit to just three points in the Class 6A quarterfinal Friday. Lakeville South needed to respond. Patterson suggested "17 keep" to coach Ben Burk, a quarterback run.
"He calls probably five or six plays per game — most of the time it's him running it," Burk said. "But he's a guy we trust."
Patterson sprinted left, shaking a diving tackler off his shoulders to get around the corner, then lowering a shoulder to drive through a would-be tackler. First down near midfield.
On the next play, running back Johnny Shabaz emerged with the ball from the Cougars' deceptive straight-T formation and a stride he did not break on a long touchdown sprint.
The second-ranked Cougars (10-1) were in charge from there in a 38-14 victory at Eden Prairie High School. Four touchdowns covering 30 or more yards and five sacks by the defense overcame No. 8 Mounds View (8-3).
Lakeville South returns to U.S. Bank Stadium for the semifinals for the second consecutive season.
"They've got a great team of kids who run hard," Mustangs coach Aaron Moberg said. "You can be in the right spot and they still make you miss. That's what makes you bang your head against the wall against these guys."
Lakeville South extended its winning streak to nine games behind Shabaz touchdown runs of 51 and 52 yards and passing touchdowns from Patterson to George Brekke covering 23 and 45 yards.
Mounds View overcame a slow start — it trailed 17-0 — before striking quickly. Two Cole Stenstrom passes covered 65 yards, the second one a 14-yard touchdown pass to Collin Hoyhtya.
Down 17-7 to start the second half, Mounds View forced a Lakeville South punt, got good field position, then scored again. Stenstrom fired to Tate Lahr on a slant for a 33-yard touchdown.
"You could feel the momentum in our favor, big time," Moberg said. "And then that next drive was a huge one."
Especially Patterson's run.