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Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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St. Croix Lutheran

Prep Bowl XXXVI Preview: 3A

By Ryan Phelps
US Bank Stadium - Minneapolis, MN

Prep Bowl Previews

9M / 1A / 2A / 3A / 4A / 5A / 6A


State Tournament Brackets

9M / 1A / 2A / 3A / 4A / 5A / 6A


Head coaches

St Croix Lutheran: Carl Lemke, 45th year, 298-145 career record

Pierz: Leo Pohlkamp, 32nd year, 264-83 career record


Where they rank

St Croix Lutheran: #1 in QRF, #1 in AP

Pierz: #2 in QRF, #2 in AP


Head to Head

11-19-16: St Croix Lutheran defeated Pierz in the state semifinals, 35-28

11-3-06: St Croix Lutheran defeated Pierz in the section finals, 28-13

11-4-05: St Croix Lutheran defeated Pierz in the section finals, 69-20


Previous Prep Bowl Success

St Croix Lutheran

  • 4th state championship appearance (2011, 13, 16, 17)
  • 2 state championship wins (2011, 13)


  • 3rd state championship appearance (2004, 15, 17)
  • 2 state championship wins (2004, 15)


Points Per Game

St Croix Lutheran: 48.8 points per game (#1 in 3A)

Pierz: 43.9 points per game (#3 in 3A)


Points Against

St Croix Lutheran: 17.5 points against (#15 in 3A)

Pierz: 8.8 points per game (#1 in 3A)


Margin of Victory

St Croix Lutheran: 31.3 margin of victory (#2 in 3A)

Pierz: 35.1 margin of victory (#1 in 3A)


Road to the Bank

St Croix Lutheran

Section finals: defeated Cannon Falls, 49-12

State Quarterfinals: defeated Rochester Lourdes, 61-29

State Semifinals: defeated Pequot Lakes, 45-7



Section finals: defeated New London-Spicer, 40-14

State Quarterfinals: defeated Proctor, 42-13

State Semifinals: defeated Jordan, 55-26


The Skinny

Saturday, November 25, 1pm at US Bank Stadium

These teams met in the semifinals last year, with St. Croix Lutheran Academy winning 35-28. The Crusaders of St. Croix Lutheran Academy return to make their seventh consecutive and eighth appearance overall appearance. The Crusaders, who claimed runner-up honors last year, won previous titles in 2011 and 2013. The Pioneers of Pierz return for their fifth consecutive appearance and 14th overall. The Pioneers have also earned two previous championships – in 2004 and 2015.

St Croix Lutheran Academy prefers to keep the ball on the ground. The Crusaders rushed for 2,943 yards and completed 28 of 59 passing attempts for 753 yards this year. Senior Michael Stern rushed for 1,363 yards and scored 26 touchdowns on 134 carries. Junior quarterback Jonathan Liesener ran the passing game with 720 yards and 12 touchdowns on 55 completions. Senior Garett Maag collected 15 of Liesener’s passes for 524 yards and nine touchdowns. Stephen Kletscher, a senior, held down St. Croix Lutheran Academy’s defense with 37.5 tackles. The Crusaders did not provide scoring averages.

Pierz accumulated 3,784 yards on the ground and 557 in the air. Senior Jalen Jansen led the Pioneers with 17 rushing touchdowns on 132 carries for 869 yards. Reese Kapsner, a junior, added 15 rushing touchdowns with 990 yards on 124 attempts. Kapsner also led the Pierz defense with 86 tackles and two fumble recoveries. Senior quarterback Preston Rocheleau completed 33 of 60 passing attempts for 557 yards and seven touchdowns. Pierz averages 43.1 points per game while their opponents average 8.8 points against them.

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