The Minnesota Army National Guard selects our Two Stars of the Game:
Brandon Sorenson, RB/DB
9 carries, 106 yards 2 TD
2 catches, 67 yards 1 TD
Josh Kemper, WR/DB
12 solo tackles
1 Fumble recovery, 1 TD
One for the thumb, drive for five, Cinco-de-title… whatever slogan you prefer, it fits for Stephen-Argyle. The Storm defeated Waubun 43-21 in the 9-man championship, for a state record 5th-straight title, stretching their state record winning streak to 67-consecutive wins, and continuing to fit the definition of a dynasty. Although they’re head coach refuses to look at it that way.
“I’m saying wow about today and this class of 2007,” said Mark Kroulik. “They’re the wow team I’m enjoying today and I won’t even think about the other ones until after Christmas, and I mean that. I’m just going to enjoy these kids.”
Kroulik also watched his team tie a record with their 6th overall state championship, matching the mark set by Mahnomen. Since the Storm were re-writing the record book, they also set a new Prep Bowl record with 426-yards rushing, breaking the mark they had set in 2003.
“We have talked about our offensive line all year,” explained Kroulik. “They’re the key to our offense. At crunch time, there in the 2nd quarter, they took charge and opened some holes and made some good things happen for us.”
The win wasn’t as easy as the final score seems to indicate. In fact, Stephen-Argyle trailed at one point 15-14, just the second time they were behind all season. The previous time was in the section final, but just like that game, the Storm would wake up, put the pedal down and cruise to the victory.
Stephen-Argyle had all the confidence in the world in the early going. After forcing a 3-and-out, they needed just 37-seconds to take the lead. Brandon Sorenson ripped off a 48-yard touchdown trot to cap the 4-play, 70-yard drive.
The Storm's “D” stuffed Waubun on their next possession thanks to a takeaway. Taylor Swanson picked off a Dustin Spaeth pass and returned it to midfield. On the very next play, Kip Thorstenson hooked up with Sorenson down the right sideline for the 50-yard touchdown and just like that it was 14-0 less than 4-minutes into the game.
Waubun wobbled, but wouldn’t fall down after the Storm’s raging start. Their defense stiffened, and then started causing some turnovers. Anthony Mertens forced Thorstenson to cough up the football, and Dustin Weber recovered it at the Stephen-Argyle 40-yard line. Clifford Warren then ripped off a 37-yard run to have the Bombers sniffing a touchdown. They were hoping Izaak Bray would get them into the endzone, but he was met at the goal line, and fumbled. Josh Kemper saved Waubun and fell on it for the touchdown. He then caught a pass from Spaeth for the 2-point conversion to pull the Bombers within 14-8 late in the first quarter.
The Storm seemed unfazed as they drove down the field on their next possession. But Kemper stopped the Storm by forcing, and recovering, a fumble by Jimmy Crummy at the Bomber 28-yard line. Mertens then took off on a 72-yard touchdown run on the very next play and Waubun had a 15-14 lead with 47-seconds left in the 1st quarter.
Stephen-Argyle was on their heels, but they had the answer. They marched down the field on a 10-play, 56-yard drive, highlighted by a successful 4th-down conversion on 4th-and-1 at the Waubun 3-yard line. Mathew Borowicz barreled forward to pick up the first, and then finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run on the next play to put Stephen-Argyle in front to stay.
“We felt poised, it wasn’t a panic thing, we felt we could move the football again,” Kroulik admitted. “They [his players] believe in each other and that type of confidence just grows from one player to the next. That is when we really took control of the game."
That touchdown led to two more before half, as the Storm scored on 3-straight possessions. Sorenson scored on a 4-yard run to make it 29-15, and then Borowicz rumbled 55-yards right before the half to put the Stephen-Argyle ahead 36-15.
That burst took all the hope out of the Bombers, as they struggled to move the ball the rest of the way. Borowicz added his third touchdown of the game with 4-minutes to go in the third quarter to cap off the Storm’s run of 29-straight points. Tyler Voss caught a late TD pass for Waubun for the final score of the game.
So the Stephen-Argyle dynasty continues… but will Kroulik’s coaching career? There have been rumors that he may retire, but he wanted nothing to do with the speculation after just winning his 5th-straight state title.
“I’m going for a cheeseburger with my wife and a couple of coaches,” he said with a big grin. “I’m not going any further than that.”
The only thing for sure, is that it will be a cheeseburger in paradise.
Rushing Yards 426 (Prep Bowl Record)
Passing Yards 78
Total Yards 504
Rushing Yards 209
Passing Yards 112
Total Yards 321
Brandon Sorenson, 9 carries, 106 yards 2 TD, 2 catches, 67 yards 1 TD
Mathew Borowicz, 11 carries, 101 yards 3 TD
Anthony Mertens, 8 carries, 99 yards 1 TD