Wayzata running back Christian Vasser strolled onto the postgame interview platform looking like he had barely broken a sweat instead of setting a Prep Bowl standard as a workhorse running back.
Vasser was fresh from a 49-carry effort, five more than any predecessor had in a Prep Bowl game, and 285 yards. His five touchdowns tied a Prep Bowl record.
The result? A 35-20 victory over Champlin Park for the Class 6A state championship, capping a 13-0 season.
"Hey, Christian, you tired?" came a question.
"Nah, I'm good," he replied.
"That's what he says every time I ask him that, too," Wayzata coach Lambert Brown said with a broad smile.
After rushing for 269 yards and three touchdowns in a 28-14 victory over Lakeville South in the semifinals, Vasser went even farther on Friday. He spent much of the game running through Champlin Park arm tackles, around defensive ends and over unfortunate defensive backs.
On Wayzata's five touchdown drives, Vasser carried the ball on 39 of the Trojans' 42 plays. Not once in his 49 carries did he lose a yard.
An amazing performance, but Vasser refused to entertain thoughts of individual glory. He was just the ball carrier. There was so much more that went into his achievement.
"Most of the time, I'm 3, 4 yards before I hit any [defenders]," Vasser said in praise of his offensive line. "It was crazy running behind them and I'll never forget it."
While the Wayzata game plan may have looked simple — give it to Vasser and get out of the way — Brown said there was a lot more to it than it looked.
"Champlin Park worked really hard to take away the inside zone," he said. "We really just ran about four dang plays, but did it with different personnel grouping and motions and shifts and trying to find an advantage. And Christian made some really, really good plays. He provided not only the spark but the whole dang fire."
Both teams were at their best offensively in the first half, trading the lead back and forth. Champlin Park took a 3-0 lead, Wayzata answered to make it 7-3. The Rebels scored again, the Trojans responded again.
Champlin Park finally took a 17-14 lead just before halftime, but Wayzata wasn't fazed.
"I think I said at one point, 'You know, we're down three dang points and we get the ball,' " Brown said. " 'We're going to be OK. Let's just go finish.' "
Wayzata took the lead for good on a 4-yard run by Vasser in the third quarter and added to it on its next drive on Vasser's fourth touchdown of the night for a 28-17 lead.
A Champlin Park field goal cut the lead to 28-20, but Vasser's final score, capping a 10-play drive in which he carried the ball on every play, was a fitting end to the evening.
"It's frustrating," Champlin Park coach Nick Keenan said. "He's a big strong back. They're a good team."