Caledonia took another step toward becoming just the second school in the Prep Bowl Era to win five consecutive championships following a 43-12 victory over Barnesville in the Class AA semifinals on Friday, November 15 at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.
Senior quarterback Noah King sparked the top-ranked Warriors (13-0) by completing 13 of 25 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 34 yards and tacked on two other touchdowns.
“I thought we came out and played a good first quarter especially on the defensive side, but after that the King quarterback came into his own and tore us apart,” commented Barnesville Head Coach Bryan Strand. “I've said it before but when you don't see passing like this it is so hard to get on par with that passing game in a week. They did what they had to do and put points on the board. We just didn't make the big plays when we needed to or better yet had to. Give them all the credit in the world, they are a very well disciplined football team.”
Caledonia, the four-time defending Class AA champion, will take on Minneapolis North on Friday, November 29 for the chance at equaling the mark of five consecutive state titles captured by Stephen-Argyle from 2003-2007 when the Storm dominated the Class Nine-Man field.
Eden Prairie won four big-school championships from 2011-14.
Junior quarterback Adam Tonsfelt rushed for 173 yards on 33 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead Barnesville.
Following a scoreless first quarter, Noah King got the Warriors on the scoreboard with a 3-yard run, capping an 8-play, 63-yard scoring drive. Elijah King scored the two-point conversion. Barnesville answered with a 78 yard run by Adam Tonsfeldt, cutting the Caledonia lead to 8-6 at 7:07 of the second quarter. With 4:37 left in the half Caledonia increased their lead to 15-6 on a 4-yard pass from Noah King to Elijah King and an extra point kick by Brody Johnson. After a 32 yard pass from Noah to Elijah with 1:09 to play in the half and a Johnson kick it was 22-6.
Elijah King caught a 5-yard pass from Noah King and Johnson booted another PAT to make it 29-6 just 58 seconds into the second half. A fifteen yard run by Elijah King at 9:02, followed by a Johnson kick gave Caledonia a 36-6 lead and then with 1:06 left in the third quarter Noah King finished the scoring for the Warriors with a 12 yard run. Johnson once again converted on the extra point kick, giving Caledonia a 43-6 lead after three quarters.
Tonsfeldt added a second Barnesville touchdown on a 6 yard run with 1:29 left in the game, putting the final score at 43-12.
Barnesville finished with 234 rushing yards and 243 total yards of offense, while Caledonia threw for 277 yards and finished with 366 total yards in the game.
Cole Kronebusch caught five passes for 164 yards to lead the Warriors and Elijah King had five catches for 94 yards. The Caledonia defense was led by Jed Kasten (10 tackles), Noah King (9 tackles, 1 sack), Ezra Dvorak (1 sack), Dalen Lemke (5 tackles, 1 forced fumble) and Noah Jennings (4 tackles, 1 fumble recovery).
Hunter Zenzen and Tonsfeldt led the Barnesville defense with 6 and 5 tackles, respectively. Damian Camperud recorded a quarterback sack for the Trojans.
Barnesville ends their season with a record of 12 wins and 1 loss.
“Saying good bye to some terrific seniors that have done so much for the program as have their parents, that is always hard seeing the kids realize that this is it for many of them,” added Coach Strand. “Adam Tonsfeldt had a great night running the ball, the alleys that he usually sees just weren't there but he scrambled and worked so hard, he was in pain and never wanted to come off, their goal was to hit him on almost every play. He played well on defense as well as offense. Hunter Zenzen capped off his senior year with a good game defensively, seemed like he was everywhere. This weekend I found out that Hunter is a Mr. Football finalist and will be honored at a banquet on December 9, the day after the all-star game that he and Connor Morse will be playing in and Mr. Trowbridge will be coaching the offensive line in. Great honors for all of them.”