November 24, 2018 08:00 PM
St. Thomas Academy bottled up Owatonna senior running back Jason Williamson for two quarters of play on Saturday, Nov. 24, limiting Minnesota’s rushing leader during the 2018 season to 38 yards on 11 carries. But the second half was another story as he broke free enough to score on two long touchdown runs to spur Owatonna to a 14-3 victory over the Cadets in the Class AAAAA championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Williamson, a University of Minnesota recruit, completed the Huskies (13-0) successful title defense on a 71-yard run that produced Owatonna’s first lead, and then he punctuated a season of dominance on a 44-yard scoring run with 1:27 left in regulation.
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He finished the championship game with 184 rushing yards on 23 attempts and completed his senior season with more than 3,000 yards and 46 touchdowns. It is Owatonna’s third Class AAAAA championship since 2013.
The Huskies’ couldn’t breathe easy, though, until stopping a staunch and stubborn St. Thomas Academy (12-1) squad that was seeking its first state crown since winning the Class A championship in 1975. The Cadets also had runner-up finishes in Class AAAA (2000 and 2006) and in Class AAAAA (2015).
St. Thomas Academy was staring at a 7-3 deficit but was driving deep into Owatonna while draining the clock late about midway in the fourth quarter. The drive stalled, though, after senior quarterback Charlie Fafinski couldn’t connect with senior running back Jack Nozel in the end zone on a 4th-and-4 with 5:25 left in regulation.
Owatonna nursed the clocked, too, on its ensuing possession, but punted to St. Thomas Academy with more than two minutes remaining near midfield. But one play into the possession, senior running back Brendan McFadden had the ball stripped by sophomore defensive back Zach Stransky. The loose ball was recovered by Owatonna junior linebacker Isaac Gefre.
Six plays into the possession, Williamson got free and bolted down the right sideline for an insurance touchdown.
McFadden finished with 105 yards on 30 carries for the Cadets. Fafinski added 60 yards passing, but was also sacked four times. St. Thomas Academy sacked Owatonna junior quarterback Solomon Havelka three times.
Updated: November 24, 2018 08:00 PM
Created: November 24, 2018 07:12 PM
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