BURNSVILLE - Not even losing a shoe could stop Rochester Lourdes senior tailback Kane Carstens from reaching the end zone during Friday night's Class AAA state football quarterfinal at Bob Pates Stadium in Burnsville.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Carstens sprinted, twisted and slashed his way to a game-leading 209 yards and three touchdowns, while teammate Adam Hannan pocketed two second-half interceptions to power the No. 1-ranked Eagles to a 28-14 triumph over the No. 9-ranked Fairmont Cardinals.
Rochester Lourdes (10-1) advances to face either New London-Spicer (8-2) or Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (8-2) in the state semifinals at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. NLS plays DGF at 5 p.m. today in a state quarterfinal clash at Husky Stadium on the St. Cloud State University campus in St. Cloud.
LEAPING?CATCH — Fairmont split end Josh Eversman (5) makes a leaping catch in front of Rochester Lourdes defensive back McKay Carstens (31) and safety Ryan Braun (9) during Class AAA state quarterfinal football action Friday night at Bob Pates Stadium in Burnsville.
Fairmont, the 2011 Class AAA state runner-up, closed out the season with an 8-3 record.
"We just made too many mistakes in a game of this magnitude," Cardinal mentor Mat Mahoney said in reference to his lineup tossing a pair of interceptions and losing three fumbles. "Their tailback (Kane Carstens) was tough to tackle, and their overall team speed and execution proved too much for us to overcome tonight."
After junior quarterback Spencer Chirpich, who completed 17 of 29 passes for 172 yards, connected for his second TD of the game - a 14-yarder to senior split end Josh Eversman - to draw Fairmont even on the scoreboard at 14-all at the 6:50 juncture of the third quarter, the two football titans traded fumble recoveries.
Linebacker Joe Weber scooped up a rare Eagle miscue on the turf to put the Cardinals in business at their own 42-yard line, but Lourdes sophomore linebacker Mason Carstens - Kane's younger brother - returned the favor only one snap later.
Wide receiver Nick Steinmetz scampered 10 yards on a key third-and-9 situation before Kane Carstens covered the final 30 yards of real estate via two option tosses. Kane Carstens broke two tackles on a high-stepping, twisting 18-yard run to reach the 12 before taking quarterback Michael Brandt's option pitch along the right side before cutting up the middle to cross the goal line. Brandt kicked the PAT to put the Eagles ahead 21-14 with 2:37 left in the third quarter.
Fairmont's quick-strike offense looked to throw into the stiff 35 mph wind on the ensuing series only to have Hannan intercept Chirpich's throw in Fairmont territory. Despite a holding infraction on the ensuing return, it took Lourdes only seven plays to cover 46 yards to put the game out of reach at 28-14 on the final play of the third quarter.
Brandt delivered a clutch 17-yard keeper up the middle before Kane Carstens hammered the football to the Cardinals' 9. After three runs inched the Eagles to the 2 to create a pivotal fourth-and-goal, Carstens delivered the most important play of the game.
Carstens took the option toss around left end, was hit at the 4, broke free, lunged forward and somehow managed to drag a defender just across the goal line for his third TD of the state quarterfinal.
"My shoe fell off during that run, so I put my toe in the ground and pushed off as hard as I could until I got into the end zone," said Carstens, who had amassed more than 1,300 rushing yards and 22 TDs prior to the state quarterfinal. "It feels great to be going back to the Dome."
Lourdes captured Class AAA state runner-up honors in 2012, falling to Blue Earth Area.
Carstens opened the state quarterfinal clash's scoring with a 24-yard option toss run in the first quarter before the gale-force wind knocked down a Fairmont punt to create a short field for Lourdes during its second possession that was capped by Brandt's 3-yard TD run.
Fairmont answered in the second quarter when Chirpich delivered a key 17-yard strike to Cole Emler before capping the six-play, 35-yard scoring drive with a 9-yard scoring connection with Eversman. Kolin Kelly kicked the PAT to slice the Cardinals' deficit in half at 14-7 with 6:20 left in the opening half.
Linebacker Jay Ruen then gave the Cardinals a golden opportunity to tie the game right before halftime by recovering an Eagles' fumble at the Fairmont 46 with 4:34 left. Chirpich then hit Ruen on a 17-yard strike and later, hit Eversman on a 10-yarder to reach the Lourdes' 13. Kane Carstens and Mason Carstens then managed to jar the football loose on the ensuing run before Will Adamson recovered to thwart Fairmont's late threat just before intermission.
Eversman made five catches for 76 yards and two TDs for Fairmont, Emler caught six passes for 37 yards, while running back Derek Edman led the ground game with 67 yards on 13 totes.
Fairmont 0 7 7 0 14
Lourdes 14 0 14 0 28
RL Kane Carstens 24 run (pass failed), 4:56.
RL Michael Brandt 3 run (McKay Carstens run), 0:49.
F Josh Eversman 9 pass from Spencer Chirpich (Kolin Kelly kick), 6:20.
F Eversman 14 pass from Chirpich (Kelly kick), 6:50.
RL Kane Carstens 12 run (Brandt kick), 2:37.
RL Kane Carstens 2 run (Brandt kick), 0:00.
Rushing: FHS 30-127; Lourdes 57-288. Passing: FHS 17-29-2-172; Lourdes 2-2-0-41. Fumbles-lost: FHS 5-3; Lourdes 4-2. Penalties: FHS 2-7; Lourdes 5-40.
Offense: Rushing: Kane Carstens (RL) 27-209, McKay Carstens (RL) 12-54; Derek Edman (F) 13-67. Passing: Chirpich (F) 17-29-2-172; Brandt (RL) 2-2-0-41. Receiving: Eversman (F) 5-76, Cole Emler (F) 6-37; Nick Steinmetz (RL) 1-37.
Defense: Interceptions: Adam Hannan (RL) 2. Fumble recoveries: James Ustby (RL), Jay Ruen (F), Will Adamson (RL), Joe Weber (F), Mason Carstens (RL).