Not long after South St. Paul football coach/activities director Chad Sexauer sat down Thursday evening to watch the NFL Draft, Marshall native Trey Lance was introduced as the No. 3 overall pick in the draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
It didn't take long for Sexauer's phone to blow up with text messages.
What's the connection?
The last time Lance, who quarterbacked North Dakota State to an undefeated season and an NCAA FCS National Championship in 2019, had suffered a loss on the field of play, it was a 42-14 defeat to South St. Paul in the 2017 Class 4A state tournament quarterfinals.
It was so significant, considering the success Lance has had since, that it drew mention on NFL Network's draft coverage.
"I had a lot of text threads going last night," Sexauer said Friday afternoon. "Hearing 'South St. Paul' on the NFL Network was exciting. It brought back great memories of special times with our own kids. I was getting texts from alumni and coaches and a couple of my buddies. It was a fun night."
The game was played on a bitterly cold November night at Shakopee. Strong winds were whipping, snow squalls came and went. Not ideal conditions for a team that relies on the pass and some sleek, speedy athletes.
"Winds were 45, 50 miles per hour," recalled Sexauer, whose team ran a run-heavy veer offense. "We got a couple breaks early and they were forced to try to come back. The conditions favored us."
In handing Marshall its only loss of the season, the Packers held Lance to 104 yards passing in the game, completing just 10 of 25 passes. He rushed for 82 yards, but was outdone by the South St. Paul quarterback, Cade Sexauer, the coach's son.
Cade rushed 16 times for 156 yards and two touchdowns, sparking a South St. Paul rushing attack that rolled up 359 yards, demonstrating anew the value of a strong running game in postseason Minnesota football.
While Lance didn't wow anyone with his numbers, both Sexauers came away impressed with his talents.
"We knew he was special," Chad Sexauer said. "We didn't know how special he would become. It's crazy. You see all of his talents and hear about the kid's character. It's going to be fun watching him for the next 15, 18 years."
Added Cade, "You could tell watching him that he was going to be really good. Better than usual for NDSU. It's going to be fun to see him take advantage of his skills, to see how it all pans out."
Cade is a senior quarterback at the University of St. Thomas, which begins Division I play this fall. With the Tommies' spring game coming up, Sexauer and his teammates have spent the last few days practicing together.
He said he's likely to bring up the 2017 game in the locker room. Bragging rights, you know.
"I started paying attention to him when he was at NDSU and taking FCS by storm," he said. "But when all of the draft stuff started coming out and we saw how high he was projected to go, it became a bigger deal. Now he's an NFL quarterback, not just an NCAA college player."
And with it, Cade Sexauer becomes the answer to a trivia question: Who was the last quarterback to defeat Trey Lance?
"Right now, I've got a good story to tell," Cade said. "And it was cool to hear South St. Paul mentioned on the NFL Network. But mostly it's super-exciting to see someone I played against go that high in the draft. And it will be super-exciting to see what he can do."