October 28, 2010 at 9:27 a.m.
The Eagles are a powerhouse year in and year out, and over the last seven years, Totino-Grace is 79-7 with four state titles. That pedigree was on full display last Wednesday in the MEA-shortened week.
On the first drive of the game, North Branch got a brief ray of hope with a 24-yard completion to Forrest Huset from Scott Bossard. But, things quickly went south after that. Within a few plays, North Branch coughed up the football and gave Totino-Grace a short field to work with. TG's Ashford Kromah went the distance on the first play, affording the Eagles a 7-0 lead that they would never relinquish.
North Branch failed to get their normally effective rushing game going, as the Totino-Grace frontline was too big and too fast for the North Branch offensive line.
After a few big plays on offense for the Eagles, North Branch found themselves in a 21-0 hole in the first quarter. Totino stretched that to 28-0 before the Vikings got the ball moving.
After a good kick return by Zack Smith, the Vikes started to work through the air, as the ground game was wholly ineffective. From their own 40-yard line, Bossard completed a big 17-yard pass to David Leason. The play was compounded when Totino-Grace committed two personal foul penalties on the play. The first was a 15-yard facemask on Bossard as he was throwing the ball, and the second was a dead-ball unnecessary roughness call on the Totino-Grace tackler who threw Leason down to the ground well after the players were out of bounds.
The two penalties moved the ball down to the Totino-Grace 13 yard line. From there, two runs finished off the drive went Bossard went wide right on a sweep and used every centimeter of his 6'4" frame to stretch the pigskin into the end zone. The ensuing extra point attempt by Tony Ceroll went wide right, and the Vikes were down 28-6.
Totino-Grace stretch the lead to 41-6 by halftime, and even generously took a knee in North Branch territory with not much time remaining in the half.
To open the second half, Kromah returned the kickoff for a touchdown, expanding the lead by seven more points. After a few mistake-plagued drives by North Branch, Totino-Grace trotted their back ups in and it was basically a done deal for the Vikings that they were finishing 3-5.
With the record, the Vikings earned the fifth seed in Section 4AAAA, and they drew Hill-Murray, the fourth seed at 4-4, in the first round.