Minneota 43, Springfield 22

Ready and Steady

Minneota claims second straight Class A title and fourth in seven years

by Malik Mitchell

“We ready, we ready, we ready for y’all!”

That was the Minneota Vikings chant as they took the field against the Springfield Tigers Friday morning in the Class A Prep Bowl. It was a rematch of the 2022 Prep Bowl when Minneota won 38-21. It was Minneota’s third consecutive Class A title game and their second back-to-back title run (they also won titles in 2016 and 2017), giving them four titles in the past seven years.

This year the result was similar as the Vikings ran past the Tigers, taking advantage of several turnovers and getting five touchdowns from junior running back Ryan Meagher to win 43-22.

They didn’t waste time in setting the tone, taking a big shot on the first play of the game on a trick play with a wide-open man downfield. Although the ball was  overthrown it was a sneak peek at what the Vikings had in store.

Junior running back Ryan Meagher did the groundwork leading Minneota downfield on the opening drive. But Springfield stayed poised and forced a fumble on the 3-yard line. But on the next drive, Meagher struck back with a 25-yard gain to land them in the red zone and finished the drive with a touchdown and a 7-0  lead with 5:37 left in the 1st quarter.

Minneota’s Ryan Meagher was tough to catch as he ran for five touchdowns to lead the Vikings to their second straight Class A title in a 44-23 win over Springfield. PHOTO BY JACKSON BOLINE

Not to be outdone, Springfield responded with their passing game, creating some momentum. With a huge 15-yard penalty that put them on the 18-yard line, Samuel Rummel tried rumbling his way into the end zone but fumbled and was recovered by Minneota’s Alex Depastel on the 5-yard line, halting an impressive response to Minneota’s first score.

In the second quarter, Springfields’ defensive line tried to keep up with Minnesota’s sound offensive line. Minneota’s offensive front created running room for Meagher and Junior Destin Fier to thrive in the backfield. An offside penalty led to a 4th & 1, which led to Fier speeding to the outside and scoring the Vikings second touchdown on the day with eight minutes left in the 2nd quarter. The Vikings defense then began showing their dominance giving their offense another chance to put points up on the board. After stopping the Tigers, they picked up a huge gain after Ryan Dalager completed a short pass to Sawyer DeSmet for 23 yards, landing them on the 26-yard line. On first down, the Vikings offensive line created a big hole for Meagher to stride 21 yards for a 21-0 lead.  After another defensive stop, Springfield was forced to punt, but Carter Olsen dropped the snap that was recovered by Alex DePestel with 2:39 left to play in the quarter. Minneota set up on Springfields’ 37-yard line and with incredible blocking, Meagher found his way in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown and a 29-0 lead. Hanging in there, Springfields’ passing game marched them downfield on a 7-play 67-yard drive ending with Senior Jakob Nachreiner throwing a short touchdown pass to Brayden Sturm to make it 29-6 at the half.

In the 3rd quarter, Minneota’s defense continued to be a force as Kaden Neyens recovered a fumble at the Springfield 1-yard line. It was Springfields’ fourth fumble of the day. Meagher finished what the defense started diving in for his fourth touchdown on the day as the Vikings led 36-6.

In the fourth quarter, Minneota’s defensive line struck again. DePestel tracked down Nachreiner to back them up for a 4th & 14th, later holding Springfields’ offense to a turnover yet again. Still trying to exercise the passing game, Springfield’s Nachreiner hit senior Carter Olson after a nice in-route making it 36-14 after a successful 2-point conversion. The Vikings responded on the first play of the next drive with Meagher scoring a 48-yard touchdown to extend their lead 43-14 with six minutes left to play. Meagher became the third player in Prep Bowl history to score five touchdowns in a game. Refusing to give up, Springfield continued to fight with urgency, scoring in nine plays for 64 yards in two minutes to cut Minneota’s lead to 43-22.

But time was not on their side as Minneota claimed the Class A title with a  43-22 win.

Nachreiner completed 17 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns for the Tigers. Sturm caught two touchdown passes and Carter Olson finished with nine catches for 163 yards and a touchdown.

Meagher finished with 199 yards on 29 carries and five scores. Fier finished with 77 yards and a touchdown as the Vikings finished with 362 yards of total offense to Springfield’s 277.