Tigers' dream season ends with loss in title game

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Spring Grove did something no other 9-man football team in the state could do to Nevis this season.

Nevis' offense was shut out for the first time this year as Spring Grove kicked off the Prep Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis with a 32-0 win Friday.

Spring Grove, the top-rated 9-man team in the state, capped off an undefeated season with its first state football championship. Nevis, which was also seeking its first state team title, entered the state playoffs rated No. 6 in the state.

The Lions scored on their final four possessions of the first half in building a 26-0 lead.

Alex Folz opened the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run to cap a 10-play, 95-yard drive with 3:40 to play in the first quarter before Spring Grove recovered a fumble and marhed 43 yards in four plays for a 14-0 advantage. Foltz hit Ethan Matzke on a 28-yard scoring route and on the conversion as the Lions scored their second TD with :47 showing in the first quarter.

Folz hit Luke Schneider on a 25-yard scoring play to cap an eight-play, 74-yard drive to give Spring Grove a 20-0 lead with 6:58 to play in the second quarter before Noah Elton hauled in a 9-yard TD pass from Folz for a 26-0 lead with 1:29 remaining before the half. That drive covered 59 yards in nine plays.

Folz completed 14 of 17 passes for 151 yards in the first half.

After stopping Nevis on the opening series of the second half, Cullen Patterson's 6-yard TD run concluded the scoring in the third quarter.

The Lions finished with 435 yards in offense, including 239 yards on the ground, to finish off a 14-0 season. Patterson rushed 17 times for 124 yards while Folz added 112 yards on 18 carries and completed 16 of 22 passes for 196 yards. Spring Grove averaged 6.6 yards per carry.

Nevis, which ended the season at 11-2, compiled 250 yards in offense. Jack DeWulf rushed 22 times for 110 yards and completed 2 of 9 passes for 76 yards. Kyle Schmidt added 54 yards on 16 carries, Zach Henry hauled in a 44-yard pass and Michael Landquist caught a 32-yard pass for the Tigers. Tucker Roehl was in on 12 tackles, Landquist was in on 11 tackles, and Schmidt and Luke DeWulf were in on 10 tackles apiece for the Tigers, who advanced to the finals for the first time in five state tournament appearances.