Forreston was making their 2nd trip to the state finals in the past 3 seasons, while St. Teresa came in their first title game in 30 years. Both teams featured All State running backs with AJ Christensen from Forreston and Jacardia Wright from St. Teresa. Something had to give in this 1A title bout.
Both teams would have slow starts to the game, getting a feel for what each other would do. St. Teresa looked to get on the board first, as on their 3rd drive they would get down to the Forreston 1 yard line before the Cardinals D stiffened on consecutive drives and halted St. Teresa at the 4 yard line. The first quarter would end with a scoreless tie.
On Forreston's next drive they would have 7 plays for an 80 yard drive capped off by a Hunter Daws to Sam Barkalow 54 yard TD pass. Forreston jumped out to a 7-0 lead. St. Teresa responded quickly, with a 3 play 61 yard drive as Ryan Fyke hit Simon Brinkoetter for a 67 yard TD pass to tie it back up at 7 with 5:57 left in the first half.
AJ Christensen would answer with a 93 yard kickoff return for a TD, which set a state championship record. Forreston took that 14-7 lead into the half.
To start the 2nd half the Cards would begin to distance themselves from St. Teresa as they put together a 9 play 55 yard TD drive that was punctuated with a 2 yard TD run by Matt Akins. The ensuing 2 point conversion failed, but Forreston was up 20-7, a lead they took with them into the 4th quarter.
After a 4th quarter stop by Forreston and change of possession the Cards would quickly go on the run again on a 5 play 59 yard drive that ended with a Gavin Fuchs 41 yard TD scamper down the left sideline. This time the 2 point conversion was successful and Forreston had a 28-7 lead with 8:17 remaining between them a 2nd state title in 3 seasons.
After a quick Fuchs interception on the next St. Teresa drive, Forreston would put their final exclamation point on the game and their perfect season as AJ Christensen would end a 4 play 66 yard drive with an unbelievable 47 yard TD run as the Cards wrapped up the game with a 35-7 Class 1A State Championship.
Forreston's state title gives the NUIC 11 state titles over the last 14 seasons, and gives the NUIC teams 18 state titles total.
For the game AJ Christensen led all rushers with 183 yards on 18 carries with 1 TD, plus another TD on his 93 yard kickoff return. Gavin Fuchs finished the day with 75 yards on 9 carries with 1 TD and a big INT on defense to set up the last scoring drive. Matt Akins chipped in with 52 yards on 17 carries and 1 TD. Hunter Daws was 1-3 passing for 54 yards and 1 TD to Sam Barkalow on Forreston's first scoring drive.
For St. Teresa Ryan Fyke finished 19-40 passing for 209 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT. Jacardia Wright had 46 yards on 16 carries and 2 receptions for 10 yards. Wright would finish the day with 65 total yards. Mike Davis had 8 receptions for 68 yards, Jack Hogan had 5 receptions for 48 yards, Simon Brinkoetter had 2 receptions for 65 yards and the lone Bulldog TD, and Zach Jarrett finished with 2 receptions for 18 yards and 2 carries for 3 yards.
Forreston out gained St. Teresa 422 yards to 231 yards. Forreston had 368 yards rushing and 54 yards passing, while St. Teresa had 209 yards passing with 22 yards rushing.
Forreston ends their season with a perfect 14-0 record, and will be a huge favorite in the NUIC next season.
Congrats to the Cardinals on a stellar season!
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