After a tight 3-0 victory over Proctor in the Class 3A semifinals, not even St. Croix Lutheran coach Carl Lemke could fathom what his Crusaders were capable of.
They showed off a level of explosiveness no one saw coming, rolling up 572 yards of total offense, just enough to hold off the equally explosive Wildcats in what was the highest-scoring game in Prep Bowl history.
"Last week, we played it close to the vest," Lemke said. "In retrospect, I see now that we could have thrown the ball more."
Trever Koester got the Crusaders started with a 68-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. Koester finished with 139 yards rushing but was not the Crusaders' leader. That was Hans Klingenschmitt, who had 177 yards rushing. Quarterback David Ponath completed five of six passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns.
New London-Spicer had 399 yards of offense. Running back Adam Essler had 318 all-purpose yards — 194 rushing, 37 receiving and 87 on kick returns — and scored four touchdowns.
Key of the game: Where to start? How about the St. Croix Lutheran offensive line? The Crusader's big fellas controlled the line of scrimmage, helping them rack up 417 rushing yards.
Quote: "I don't think anybody expected that out of me," Koester said about his 68-yard touchdown run. "I'm not the fastest guy."
Worth knowing: St. Croix Lutheran lost its first two games of the season with Ponath at running back. When Ponath moved to quarterback, his natural position, the Crusaders won 11 consecutive games.