The Star Tribune is celebrating 50 years of high school football state tournaments one day at a time for 50 days.

Year: 1976

Dave Dornfeld and Ken Jensen aren't names that come up readily when talking about the history of championship games, unless somebody in the conversation is from White Bear Lake.

Dornfeld's blocked extra point in overtime propelled White Bear Lake to a 14-13 victory over Cloquet in a battle of unbeatens for the Class AA championship at Parade Stadium. Ken Jensen calmly booted the Bears' deciding extra point in the extra session. It remains the Bears' only state title.

"That's what I'm best at, so that's what I had to do," said Jensen, a 5-10, 220-pound senior guard. "I just had to keep my cool."

Jeff Dufresne scored on a 5-yard run for the Bears in overtime to tie it 13-13. Teammate quarterback John Rukavina opened the scoring with a 16-yard run in the first quarter.

Kevin Peters, who rushed for 127 yards on 27 carries, scored on a 4-yard run to give the Lumberjacks a 13-7 lead in overtime, setting the stage for Dornfeld.

"We gave it all we had, no question," Cloquet coach Rollie Bromberg said. "We've got no excuses. White Bear is a fine football team."

The other four state champions — St. Peter in Class A, Caledonia in Class B, New Richland-Hartland in Class C and Deer Creek in Nine-Man — all won the first of multiple titles for their programs. Deer Creek won again in 1977.

In Class C, halfback Rod Smith scored the winning touchdown on a 27-yard screen pass from Neal Linnihan on a fourth-and-5 call with about five minutes remaining as New Richland-Hartland rallied to beat Bird Island 21-19.

Lonnie Kormann preserved the victory with a jarring tackle that forced a Bird Island fumble into the end zone, where teammate Kent Robran recovered it.

In Class A, halfback Ron Straka ran for 217 yards, 201 in the first half, on 18 carries and scored four touchdowns in St. Peter's 56-12 triumph over Mora. He scored on runs of 8, 12, 32 and 37 yards as St. Peter put up 42 points in the first half.

In Nine-Man, Deer Creek scored two touchdowns in each quarter to crush Hillcrest Lutheran 57-14. Senior quarterback Gary Maki ran for two touchdowns and passed for a third while Greg Truax added two rushing touchdowns for the Wildcats.

"We were concerned with piling up the points," Deer Creek coach Lynn Peterson said. "Our second team scored two touchdowns.

"You can't tell your kids not to score. It takes something away from them. If our second team can score, I'll let them score."

State championship games

Class AA: White Bear Lake 14, Cloquet 13 (OT)

Class A: St. Peter 56, Mora 12

Class B: Caledonia 38, Sartell 7

Class C: New Richland-Hartland 21, Bird Island 19

Nine-Man: Deer Creek 57, Hillcrest Lutheran 14