Prep Bowl: Lakeville South rallies to beat Maple Grove 13-7 in Class 6A state title game

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There is nothing mythical about Lakeville South’s championship this season.

A year ago, the Associated Press declared the Cougars the Class AAAAAA champion in the absence of a state tournament, which was canceled because of a global pandemic. The Cougars earned this one, their first in program history, with a powerful, impressive run in 2021 that was capped by a dramatic 13-7 victory over Maple Grove in the big-school title game on Friday, Nov. 26 at U.S. Bank Stadium.

To finish the season 13-0 and record their 21st consecutive victory, the top-ranked Cougars had to outslug No. 2 Maple Grove, which was also seeking its first state title. It was a heavyweight-type battle with each drive, each play and each defensive stand crucial while waiting for flashes of offense.

Senior quarterback Camden Dean had two of those snapshots, including the clinching touchdown that snapped a late deadlock. He scored with 3 minutes, 50 seconds remaining on a 52-yard run up the middle on a play that looked like he was stopped for a short gain. After deftly disguising where the ball was, he advanced to the second level of defenders and found plenty of daylight to complete the scoring run. But the Cougars, 31-2 over the past three seasons, could only celebrate momentarily.

Maple Grove (11-2) came right back with a 14-play drive that reached Lakeville South’s 26-yard line, which was one yard short on a fourth down play.

Dean finished with 109 yards on eight carries and scored two touchdowns. Junior running back Ian Segna added 57 yards on 14 carries and junior running back Carson Hansen chipped in 53.

Maple Grove snapped the scoreless deadlock with an 11-play, 66-yard drive on the opening possession of the third quarter. On the play, Maple Grove junior quarterback Jacob Kilzer scrambled to his left and found junior receiver Tanner Albeck, who had slipped behind the Lakeville South defense for a 24-yard scoring play. Kilzer completed 11 passes for 101 yards.

But Lakeville South answered quickly, traveling 63 yards in nine plays, a drive that ended with a 28-yard run around the right end by senior quarterback Camden Dean.

An evenly-played first half resulted as such on the scoreboard which showed zeroes for each side, which is a rarity in a high school football championship game. Neither team gave very much, but that didn’t mean there weren’t scoring opportunities. Among them, Maple Grove missed on a field goal attempt with 2:50 remaining in the first quarter when the snap was bobbled. Late in the second quarter, Lakeville South went for it on 4th-and-goal from the 2, but the pass failed to connect.

In the first half, Lakeville South generated 115 yards of offense in 31 plays while Maple Grove mustered 96 yards in 27 plays. Maple Grove senior running back Derrick Jameson led all offensive players with 49 yards on nine carries. Senior running back Joshua Jacobson had 34 yards rushing for the Cougars.