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Totino-Grace and New London win state football titles

Totino-Grace's John Crockett (23) rushes into the end zone for a touchdown against Sartell-St. Stephen during the Class 4A championship. Saturday in Minneapolis. AP Photo/A.J. Olmscheid

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- It took less than a quarter for Totino-Grace to prove it would be fine without standout running back John Crockett dominating a game.

But opposing teams aren't going to shut him down for long either.

Crockett ran for 145 yards and tied a Prep Bowl record with four rushing touchdowns as the Eagles won 45-7 over Sartell-St. Stephen in the Class 4A championship game Saturday, finishing off the 2009 Prep Bowl. Crockett was mostly held in check in the first half, settling for short touchdowns to end drives built on big plays from his teammates.

"I can't do it without them," Crockett said. "That's what I care about; those boys out there on the field. I don't care what I do as long as we get the W."

Jeremy Klein returned a fumble 76 yards for the opening score, and Ashford Kromah ripped off a long run as Totino-Grace (13-0) won its third Class 4A state title in four years, and its fifth in seven seasons. With Crockett slow to get going, the Eagles still managed a 21-0 lead after the first quarter and a 31-0 lead at halftime.

"I think if you do some things to hold him, then you might create some room in some other areas," Totino-Grace coach Jeff Ferguson said. "And our other guys then stepped up. We have other good football players and I think you saw offensively some other guys that have the ability to make some plays as well."

Kromah had 103 yards rushing on just six carries. His 66-yard run in the first quarter led to Crockett's first touchdown.

Crockett would eventually make his presence felt. The senior had 109 yards and two touchdowns in the third quarter alone, including a 69-yard scoring run to give the Eagles a 45-0 lead.

"No matter how much they focus everything on me, I know my guys will open up the holes and I'll run right through them," Crockett said. "Whenever the time comes, I'm available and I'm going through it. I just wait. Patient. It's what you've got to be."

For Ferguson, the third quarter was just a repeat of what he's seen all season. Crockett had over 2,000 total yards and 36 touchdowns coming into the game.

"I don't think there's anybody better in the state," Ferguson said.

Joshua Kremer had 113 yards rushing and a touchdown for Sartell-St. Stephen (13-1). But the Sabres couldn't overcome Totino-Grace's early flurry.

The Eagles outscored their competition 136-21 in the state tournament.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- New London-Spicer quarterback Jayme Moten saw the defense blanketing his favorite target.

It didn't matter. With the Class 3A state title on the line, Moten knew he was throwing the ball to Aaron Jenny.

Jenny hauled in a 4-yard touchdown catch among six defenders late in the fourth quarter as New-London Spicer came from behind for a 28-21 victory against Glencoe-Silver Lake in Saturday's Class 3A championship game.

"I saw Aaron Jenny and he's been my man all year," Moten said. "It doesn't matter if he is double or triple covered. I'm going to force the ball into him and I have faith that he's going to catch it over anyone."

Jenny caught five passes for 100 yards, a touchdown and converted two 2-point attempts as the Wildcats (14-0) won their first state title. Jayme Moten was 14 of 17 passing for 242 yards and three touchdowns.

With just over three minutes remaining, Moten scrambled to his right and lofted a ball into the end zone where the 6-foot-3 Jenny went up and pulled it in with six Panthers defenders surrounding him.

"He usually has been making the right read," New London-Spicer coach Dan Essler said of his quarterback. "He threw it into double and triple coverage sometimes today, but he put it right in there. So in the end, I guess he made the right read."

Aaron Lueders scored three touchdowns for Glencoe-Silver Lake (13-1), which was trying for its fourth straight Class 3A championship.

With Moten and Lueders taking over, there was an unexpected fourth-quarter scoring outburst.

Both teams entered the contest allowing less than four points a game, and through three quarters the game played out as the defensive battle expected of the two previously unbeaten teams.

Lueders changed all that when he gave the Panthers a 14-6 lead late in the third.

New London-Spicer answered quickly on a 29-yard touchdown catch from Luke Peterson early in the fourth. Lueders added his third score just nine seconds later.

But, the Wildcats had a few more big plays left. Erik Tengwall caught a 54-yard touchdown pass and Jenny finished the scoring.

"We were having trouble running the ball after the first drive or two," Essler said. "So we went shotgun spread, opened everything up and it worked out for us. We have a lot of tremendous athletes running around out there and it's tough to cover them all."

Lueders hauled in touchdown receptions of 39 and 65 yards and added a 3-yard scoring run, while finishing with 153 total yards.