Waconia senior Timothy Stapleton didn't let a first-quarter fumble at the goal line faze him.
"I just saw the end zone [and] got a little too excited," the Trojans running back said. "You just learn that you've got to flush those mistakes."
Stapleton went on to rush for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries as Waconia (4-5) defeated New Prague 35-14 in a Class 5A, Section 2 quarterfinal Tuesday in New Prague. His fumble at the Trojans' 1-yard line left the first quarter scoreless as the teams exchanged fumbles.
He then helped Waconia build a 28-7 lead. It started when his 22-yard run in Trojans territory set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Max Mcenelly. The freshman running back finished with 152 yards on 26 carries. He added a second touchdown late on a 27-yard run.
"I just wanted to keep on running," said Stapleton, praising the offensive line. "It's fun out there when you get holes like that."
New Prague, which was on a three-game winning streak after starting the season 1-4, stayed within two scores much of the game.
Trojans quarterback Parker Johnson went 9-for-17 for 131 yards passing, two touchdowns and an interception. He threw an 8-yard touchdown to senior tight end Jay Skogerboe in the second quarter and ran for a 1-yard score in the fourth quarter. Senior running back Nathan Osborne caught a 56-yard pass from Johnson to set up the quarterback sneak.
"We were feeling good. We were just down by a couple touchdowns, and we got some momentum back," Osborne said about the drive.
The Trojans recovered a fumble on the next Waconia drive with 4:18 left in the game but couldn't score. Waconia responded with Mcenelly's 27-yard TD run.
Osborne took solace at how his team responded: "We realized at 1-4, we needed to turn something around. I feel like we really bonded at the end of the season."