Two of Friday's state high school football championship games were decided by late-game gambles. One worked out, one did not.
Class 2A champion Holdingford won its first title since 1981 with a broken trick play on fourth down in double overtime, while Totino-Grace's failed two-point conversion with 1:39 left in the game gave Eden Prairie a one-point victory in Class 6A. See also: Totino-Grace vs. Prairie Seeds Academy High School Soccer Match Ends in Crazy On-Field Brawl
The Totino-Grace Eagles were up 21-7 at halftime but Eden Prairie stormed back, scoring three straight touchdowns in the second half to go up 28-21.
Totino-Grace got the ball back with a little more than two minutes left and went right back down the field to score. Eagles coach Jeff Ferguson opted to go for two points and the win rather than kick an extra point to tie it. The play was broken up and Eden Prairie went on to win its fourth consecutive title.
In Class 2A Holdingford senior Nathan Brinkman was the hero in the school's 20-18 victory over BOLD. Brinkman played guard for most of the season, but during the playoffs coach Luke Mitchell decided to move him to running back.
Brinkman isn't your typical offensive guard; he might be the best athlete on the team at 6'2", 205 pounds.
"He never leaves the field. He's our kickoff guy, our punter, our kick returner, he's our leading tackler on defense, he does literally everything." said Mitchell.
Brinkman played every single play of the championship game. He had seven tackles, two forced fumbles, punted twice, ran the ball 15 times, caught two passes, and threw the game-winning touchdown.
On that play the ball was snapped directly to Brinkman and he rolled right looking to pass. The BOLD defense had everything covered, so he scrambled back to the left and found quarterback Austin Gerads breaking open in the end zone.
The last two years Holdingford suffered heartbreaking losses in the state quarterfinals, so the championship was especially sweet.
"We had the fire truck and police escort drive us all throughout town when we got back, and there were people celebrating everywhere so we made a few pit stops," said Mitchell. "Then when we got back to school there was a big crowd waiting for us, so it was a great little finale."