St. Croix Lutheran wins first Minnesota boys football championship
While most high school students were still recovering from their Thanksgiving over-indulgence, members of the St. Croix Lutheran High School Crusaders football team were focused on doing something no one at their school had done before, and no one in their district had done since 1975. They were concentrating on winning the Minnesota State High School Division 3A football title.
When the dust had settled, the Crusaders found themselves on top of a hard-fought battle with the Fairmont Cardinal, Fairmont, Minnesota. The final score was 34-32 with the Crusaders picking up the win.
It wasn’t a great surprise to Carl Lemke, head football coach at St. Croix. “We returned our quarterback, our running backs, and our offensive line from the year before,” he explained. “We run the option, and our quarterback has a great ability to read the defense.
“In addition, [running back] Wesley Tucker likes to run over people, and [running back] Jackson Goplen, a junior, is more of a finesse runner who picks his way through a defense. They were phenomenal together.”
The third game of the season was pivotal for St. Croix. They played rivals DeLaSalle, the dominant force in the conference for years. “That victory established the possibilities that we would do well this season,” Lemke told Metro Lutheran.
Lemke said that the kids shared his high hopes. “They planned on being in the Dome.” He went on to say that, after watching games on TV and reading about games in the MetroDome, it was a great honor to play there.
Clearly, the football players are athletically gifted, but, according to Beverly Leier, assistant to the principal at St. Croix Lutheran, this “fine group of Christian young men represented their school and their Lord well.”