The South St. Paul Packers, playing in their first football state championship game, couldn’t dig up the dirt on Gabe Dertinger as he rushed for 151 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead the Becker Bulldogs to a 35-14 win in the Class AAAA championship game Friday night at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota campus.
It was the second consecutive state title and third overall for Becker in their 15th trip to state.The win extended the Bulldogs winning streak to 25 games. All under the leadership of Dwight Lundeen, who concluded his 46th season on the Bulldog sidelines.
Becker dominated the first quarter on it’s opening drive, running 16 plays and taking 5:52 off the clock. The drive culminated in a 20 yard pass on fourth down from Andrew Stanger to Alex Meidt and Beau Pauly wrapped it up with a one yard touchdown run. Dertinger would score his first touchdown as he ran to the right side, broke a tackle and scored from 41 yards to put the Bulldogs up by 14.
It didn’t take long for Becker to increase their score in the second quarter as Stanger threw a high, left side pass to Clayton Gallus and he ran like he was headed for the Green Line light rail station and scored a 77 yard touchdown. It looked like Meidt would score a touchdown on a pass from Stanger but the score was called back due to a holding penalty. Instead, Dertinger would run right and score on a three yard touchdown run and the Bulldogs led at the half, 28-0.
Neither team would reach the end zone in the third quarter. The Becker defense made things difficult for South St. Paul quarterback Dan Pietruszewski, holding him to only three passing yards.
In the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs wrapped up the scoring on a one yard keeper touchdown from Stanger. The Packer offense, virtually nonexistent throughout the game, finally came to life when Pietruszewski threw a 27 yard completion to Jeremy Richie and the quarterback headed into the end zone on a one yard keeper touchdown. Pietruszewski would also succeed in the passing department as he fired an 11 yard pass to Austin Brandecker and they cut the Becker lead to 21, South St. Paul would get the ball back on an onside kick but they couldn’t convert on fourth down and 15 with :51 remaining and the Bulldogs would get the ball back and go to a knee to end the game.
Stanger completed 12 of 18 passes for 218 yards. Milan Kent was the recipient of four completions, accumulating 87 yards. Kent also excelled on defense as me made 10 tackles.
Becker completed their season 13-0 and South St. Paul wrapped up the season with a record of 11-2.