SPRINGFIELD - The Springfield Tigers/Mankato Loyola Crusaders Section 2A football playoff game Tuesday night had a George Foreman air about it.
The Tigers provided the knockout and the Crusaders got grilled.
It was all Springfield in a 54-0 pasting of Loyola, moving the Tigers to 7-2 and a match against New Ulm Cathedral in Springfield at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Springfield’s Zach Mickelson (4) carries the ball during the Tigers’ Section 2A playoff win against Mankato Loyola Tuesday in Springfield.
The Tigers scored their first touchdown less than five minutes into the game on a seven-yard pass from quarterback Jacob Menage to a wide open Christopher Kretsch, followed by a two-point conversion by Zach Wells to make it 8-0.
A high snap to the Crusaders' punter on fourth down led to a safety and a 10-0 lead for Springfield. With less than a minute to play in the first quarter, Zach Mickelson went right, broke two tackles and ran in from 24 yards out to increase the Tigers' lead to 16-0.
Menage kept the ball and scored the two-point conversion, increasing the margin to 18-0.
The Springfield defense then took the spotlight, keeping Loyola from scoring on a fourth-and-two from the four-yard line. Then, with just 1:38 left in the half, the Tigers got the ball on their own 42 and drove 58 yards in less than a minute, capped by a 25-yard Menage pass to Taylor Frank for the touchdown, followed by a two-point run by Mickelson.
Mickelson then took the opening kickoff of the second half 85 yards for the fourth Springfield touchdown of the night, and the rout was on. Wells added another two, and it was suddenly 34-0.
The Tigers defense reared its head again with a blocked punt, putting the ball on the Crusaders 26. It took just three Dylan Salonek runs to make it 40-0, the final scamper a 12-yard touchdown. Salonek then kicked the extra point for a 41-0 lead.
The final possession of the third quarter found the Tigers with Michael O'Callaghan at running back. He promptly ran for 47 yards on five carries, the final one a two-yard touchdown, followed by an extra point for a 48-0 lead.
The final Springfield score came from quarterback Carter Erickson, who ran a 47-yard keeper into the end zone for the 54-0 final.
The Springfield defense had seven sacks of Loyola quarterback John Fink, with four of them coming from Lance Briard. Nick Runck had three solo tackles and seven assists. Salonek led the Tigers with 66 yards on the ground, with O'Callaghan adding 62. The Tigers gained 283 yards rushing, 397 yards overall.