MINNEAPOLIS (WKBT) - The Trojans could not have asked for a better start Saturday morning at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The second play from scrimmage -- a Noah Carlson 74-yard touchdown run.
But Minneapolis North was the only other team in Class A standing for a reason. A point proved by the Polars defense the entire second half, propelling the Polars to a 30-14 victory and the MSHSL Class A state title.
Taylor Johnson made the two key plays of the first half for the Polars. Following a 13-yard touchdown catch, Johnson scooped up a Carlson fumble and burned the Rushford-Peterson offense for a 54-yard fumble return.
Just like that, Johnson gave Minneapolis North a 16-7 lead, as Carlson's running lanes began to collapse.
Worse for Rushford-Peterson, Carlson was dealing with a leg injury after landing awkwardly attempting to defend a two-point conversion attempt in the second quarter.
"I don't think I was (feeling 100% after injury) but that shouldn't of mattered," Carlson said. "I should of stepped it up a little bit more and took the lead and I think I got outworked."
Carlson's harsh assessment did not translate to what player continued to run hard on the field. Landon Skalet found Carlson late in the first half for an 11-yard touchdown pass, cutting the Polars lead to 16-14.
"This kid never gets outworked," Rushford-Peterson head coach Davin Thompson said. "He's going to take the blame and put the loss on his shoulders but that hasn't been the case since ninth grade."
Just before halftime, it was decision time for Thompson.
Following a Polars fumble deep within its own territory, Thompson elected to try and go for a touchdown and the lead instead of kicking a field goal. With no timeouts and ten seconds on the clock, Skalet stumbled from under center at the one yard line and was ruled down at three yard line as the first half clock struck zeros.
The second half turned in favor of Minneapolis North and quarterback Azerick Rodgers.
Rodgers capped a 14-play, 86-yard drive with a hand-off to Kehyan Porter. Eight yards later, Minneapolis North lead by eight and never looked back.
The Trojans offense managed only five total yards in the second half, giving the Polars a comfortable final minutes to celebrate at U.S. Bank Stadium.