Rushford-Peterson took a perfect record into its regular-season finale against Goodhue. A seven-point loss to Goodhue got the Trojans' attention.
"I thought we had been getting away with some bad habits, if that makes sense," Rushford-Peterson coach Davin Thompson said. "We don't want to lose, but that was a great time to learn from our mistakes."
In the month since that loss, the Trojans have been nearly flawless.
On Saturday in the Class 1A semifinals, Rushford-Peterson blitzed Browerville/Eagle Valley with seven first-half touchdowns en route to a 49-0 victory and a berth in the Prep Bowl next Saturday.
From the outset, the Trojans were in control. On the first possession of the game, they drove 55 yards in seven plays — all of them runs by Noah Carlson. It was a sign of things to come.
Carlson, who rushed for 284 yards and five touchdowns in the Trojans' 44-21 quarterfinal victory over Murray County Central, rushed for 236 yards and four touchdowns in the first half.
Carlson had plenty of support. Lukas Rasmussen returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and then had a 44-yard interception return early in the second quarter to set up the Trojans' fourth touchdown. Jake Paulson caught a touchdown pass and closed out the Trojans' scoring outburst by returning a fumble 42 yards for a touchdown.
"The guys did everything we asked," Thompson said. "They created nice lanes for Noah, and we executed very well on offense."
The Trojans (12-1) rushed for 326 yards. Browerville/Eagle Valley (9-4) was led by Dalton Butler, who rushed for 92 yards.