Drew Berkland doesn't usually spend much time in the opponent's backfield.
The Wayzata sophomore defensive back was given added responsibility to play the run Friday in the Class 6A quarterfinal vs. Centennial. So when teammate Loshiaka Roques hit Centennial quarterback Connor Zulk near midfield late in the second quarter, the ball squirted free and came to rest at Berkland's feet.
"I just saw a lot of green grass in front of me," Berkland said. "Loshiaka made a great play and I just wanted to do my part to finish the play off."
Berkland turned the fumble into a 56-yard scoop-and-score momentum-builder only 77 seconds before halftime.
It gave the Trojans a 10-point halftime lead, which they turned into a 38-21 victory, bumping their record to 11-0.
All season, Wayzata (11-0) has based its success on a dogged defense and a strong rushing attack. Friday in Chanhassen, it was the Trojans offense that shone, helping out a defense that gave up more points than it had in any game this season.
For much of the first half, the two teams traded scores. Wayzata took a 7-0 lead on a touchdown pass from Tom Schmidt to Luke Bodine. Then Centennial's Noah Larson took an option pitch and scooted around left end for a 44-yard score, tying the game at 7-7.
After a Wayzata field goal, Centennial (8-3) took its only lead when Zulk tossed a 4-yard scoring pass to Tim O'Neill for a 14-10 lead.
Again, the Trojans answered. Schmidt threw his second touchdown pass, this one to Daeshawn Bush, and Wayzata was back on top 17-14.
Shortly thereafter, Roques and Berkland combined on the game's most pivotal play.
"We want to find ways to win team games," Wayzata coach Lambert Brown said. "Whether it's a great 'D' night, a great 'O' night, a great special teams night, whatever we need to do to find a way to win."
Centennial responded early in the third quarter when Larson scored from 20 yards out, cutting its deficit to 24-21.
The Trojans defense stiffened after that. And running back Christian Vasser started finding big holes, scoring on runs of 47 and 2 yards.
"We know that if the defense is messing up, the offense will go out and score for us," Roques said. "We don't want to lose to anybody. Our will to win is so high."