The Rogers Royals routed St. Michael-Albertville 41-0 on Saturday and advanced to the section finals against Becker.
Rogers receiver Derek Vidor (21) outreached STMA's Christian Lemke to snag a touchdown pass in the third quarter, when the Royals scored 28 points. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
After a nice 10-day break, the Rogers Royals got back to work Saturday and pounded out another resounding victory.
Sparked by Alex Meixell with three touchdowns and two fumble recoveries, the Royals pummeled St. Michael-Albertville 41-0 in the section semifinals at home.
After nine straight wins by an average margin of 39, the No. 3 ranked Royals will play in the Section 5AAAA finals against the No. 9 Becker Bulldogs (9-1). That's coming up Saturday at St. Cloud State, starting 6 p.m.
With just seven teams in the section, top-seeded Rogers was idle for Tuesday's quarterfinals while almost everyone else in the state played football in cold, wet, windy conditions.
Rogers fullback Alex Meixell picked up yardage near the goal line in the first period, pursued by Vontaine Gardner. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Asked if he wouldn't rather have been playing, Meixell scoffed: "No, not in that weather! We had a 30-minute practice on Tuesday and that was enough for me. And it was good to have 10 days off."
Meixell scored on runs of three and seven yards and gained 58 yards in eight totes. The fullback/lilnebacker's other TD came defensively with a 13-yard fumble recovery return after Matt Weber sacked Knight quarterback Jared Moran.
"Matt knocked the ball out and it was just rolling around and I had a wide open shot to end zone," said Meixell about perhaps the easiest play he made all day.
The Royals looked refreshed and raring to go, holding STMA to just 56 yards of offense and posting their fifth shutout.
"The kids were excited to be back on the field. It's hard to just practice for that long," said coach Marc Franz.
Rogers yielded just 55 yards rushing and exactly one yard passing. STMA twice had a chance for a long touchdown in the first quarter but overthrew an open receiver each time, and those would turn out to be their only scoring chances.
"Our defense was able to control their running game, which is huge," said Franz. "We played very well. And we got lucky a couple times when they overthrew open receivers, and who knows would would have happened from there."
Knight halfback Miles Fricke lost the ball and Rogers defenders Clay LeVasseur, Charlie Hines (50) and Devin Waters (11) took notice. The recovery was made by David Miller. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Rogers scored on short drives of 42 and 48 yards in the first quarter after David Miller and Meixell recovered fumbles. Running for the TD's were Meixell from three yards and Derek Vidor from 10.
Up 13-0 at the half, Rogers broke loose for four TD's in the third period, Meixell had the first two, then Josh Wickoren scooted 14 yards for a score and Vidor outjumped a defender for a seven-yard TD pass from Bjorn Bloom.
STMA finished 7-3. The Knights were 7-1 against everyone else but got blanked twice by the Royals 32-0 and now 41-0.
Becker, which held off Delano 20-14 in the semifinals Saturday, has lost only to Rogers 53-26. The Bulldogs have scored half the points allowed by Rogers this year, 52.
Rogers, the defending section champion, is in position to repeat, taking on a team they've beaten before. The Royals have done a good job of focusing on each week's foe and not looking ahead.
"We just going one at a time and now we've got Becker next week," Meixell said.
Bjorn Bloom (12) launched a pass while Lukas Belflower (middle) and another lineman (right) took on rushers. In front are Jamal Brown (52) and Josh Wickoren (25). Knights' No. 87 is Micah Sickmann. (Photo by Bruce Strand)
Rogers 41, St. Michael-Albertville 0
STMA …………. 0 0 0 0 — 0
Rogers ……… 13 0 28 0 — 41
Rog — Alex Meixell 3 run (kick failed)
Rog — Derek Vidor 10 run (Austin Koeppe kick)
Rog — Meixell 7 run (Koeppe kick)
Rog — Meixell 13 fumble recovery return (Koeppe kick)
Rog — Vidor 7 pass from Bjorn Bloom (Koeppe kick)
Rog — Josh Wickoren 14 run (Koeppe kick)
First downs — Rogers 19, STMA 6
Rushing — Rogers 41-249, STMAA 35-55
Passing — Rogers 6-11-84-1, STMA 2-10-1-0
Total offense — Rogers 333, STMA 56
Fumbles-lost — Rogers 1-0, STMA 3-3
Punts-average — Rogers 4-21.0, STMA 8-33.9
Rushing leaders — Miles Fricke 10-26, Shaun Little 3-13
Passing — Jared Moran 2-6-1-0, Dain Krutzig 0-4-0-0
Sacks — Nick Edling
Interception — Chris Kleven
Rushing — Tyler Brisbin 11-60, Meixell 8-58, Wickoren 11-55, Vidor 5-52, Bloom 4-15, Mitch O'Neill 1-9, Kyle Williams 1-0
Passing — Bloom 6-11-84-1
Receiving– Andrew Smith 3-57, Vidor 3-27
Sacks — Matt Weber 2
Fumble recoveries — Meixell 2, David Miller