St. Croix Lutheran ran away with a 50-14 victory Friday over St. Paul Academy/Minnehaha Academy/Blake on the Wolfpack's home turf at Blake in Hopkins.
The Crusaders led from the outset, starting with a 51-yard TD pass from Jonathan Liesener to receiver Garett Maag in the first quarter. Maag kept using his 6-4 frame to beat SMB's secondary. Later, Maag caught a Liesener pass in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown.
"I love my QB," Maag said. "He's got a great arm, he's accurate, tight spiral."
SMB quarterback Jalen Suggs, one of the country's top basketball recruits, had a tough time evading the Crusaders' pass rush. Suggs did show his immense potential, however, throwing two touchdown passes to Javonni Bickham.
"We felt we had to contain [Suggs] from the outside, and I think we were a little surprised with how successful we were," Crusaders coach Carl Lemke said.
St. Croix Lutheran's offense found success on the ground behind Mike Stern and James Chernohorsky. Stern rushed for three touchdowns, two on runs of 85 and 54 yards. Chernohorsky finished with two rushing touchdowns.
"It starts with the offensive line, but [Stern] has got explosive speed and power," Lemke said.