A big block, a long drive and a little Love were essential for St. Thomas Academy to dethrone a high school football power.
The Cadets defeated two-time defending Class 5A champion Owatonna 21-0 on Saturday in a state tournament quarterfinal at Woodbury High School. No. 6 St. Thomas Academy ended the top-ranked Huskies' 29-game winning streak.
"That's a football dynasty, but somebody has got to get them at some point, so why not us?" Cadets coach Dan O'Brien said. "That was our mantra all week."
St. Thomas Academy (10-1) defeated Owatonna (10-1) in a rematch of last season's Prep Bowl final, won 14-3 by the Huskies.
"Last year at the Prep Bowl it was 3-0 at the half so we were ready to grind it out and get down and dirty," Cadets junior defensive tackle Garrison Solliday said.
Two stout defenses held sway into the second quarter. To that point, Owatonna missed field goal attempts of 37 and 47 yards while St. Thomas Academy gained only one first down. The Huskies were attempting to punt when Cadets junior Oscar Berg barged through the line for a block.
The Cadets recovered on the 7-yard line. Three plays later, running back Danny McFadden ran for a 3-yard touchdown and 7-0 halftime lead.
"There was penetration where there ought not have been," Huskies coach Jeff Williams said of the blocked kick.
Solliday said: "I didn't even know who got it until we were in the locker room at halftime. When I found out, I was like, 'Yes, sir, that's my boy.' "
The Cadets offensive line was the next group to impress Solliday. Its work produced a 17-play drive to open the second half. Owatonna, which had mauled opponents en route to two Prep Bowl titles, now found itself on the receiving end.
"We couldn't get off the field," Williams said. "Maybe they were a little run down."
Running back Love Adebayo capped the 9-minute, 4-second drive with a 19-yard touchdown run.
"Those are deals that just kill a defense," O'Brien said. "That set the tone for the second half."
Adebayo spun out of two tackles and added a third spin near the goal line for good measure.
"He's a beast as a ninth-grader," Solliday said of Adebayo, who added a 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Solliday, a beast himself, anchored the Cadets' sixth shutout this season.
"They are very aggressive, very quick off the ball," Williams said.
O'Brien wasn't planning for a shutout but said he knew "if we played a good game in all three phases that we could win."