Justin Erdmann drives to the end zone. He scored three touchdowns in the section quarterfinal game against St. Charles.
by Bruce Huber
The section quarterfinal game between the Cobras and St. Charles could not be decided in the normal 48 minutes of action. An overtime period consisting of a possession for each team was necessary to decide who earned the opportunity to take on number one section seed and the number one state ranked Caledonia Warriors. Triton prevailed in extra time when senior receiver Alex Head recovered a Justin Erdmann fumble in the end zone for the score to take the lead. The Cobras converted the two point conversion when Zach Otto threw to Bradley Myers to extend the lead to 8. Four great defensive plays later, Triton held the Saints out of the end zone to preserve the victory 41-33.
On an unusually warm October night, the Saints and Cobras met for the first time since the 2000 state semifinal game in the Metrodome. It appeared as though the game would be decided early when the Cobras drove the ball the length of the field and scored on their second possession in a rather easy fashion to take the 7-0 lead.
Senior running back Ayrton Henderson scampered 18 yards for the score and Garrett Dahms converted the point after touchdown. Just eight seconds into the second quarter and on Triton's next possession, Erdmann rambled up the middle for 19 yards and the score. Again Dahms converted the kick to extend the lead to 14.
That's about the point where momentum moved from the north sideline to the south. The Saints using a mix of run and pass moved the ball down the field to get on the scoreboard on a 15 yard scoring run. The kick was good. Triton was pounding the ball with their rushing attack when a missed handoff between Otto and Henderson ended up being scooped up by a Saint defender and returned 63 yards for the score. St. Charles missed the extra point to close the gap to one point.
A late scoring drive with just 44 seconds remaining in the half on a seven yard scoring toss found the Cobras down at halftime for the first time since traveling to Lake City for game three. It could have been worse had the Saints not been called for a procedure call to end the half after recovering an onside kick.
Henderson picked up his second score of the evening on a hard-earned two yard run with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter. That score gave the Cobras the lead 21-20 with a quarter of play remaining.
St. Charles regained the lead with a few seconds off the clock in the fourth quarter on a ten yard run from scrimmage. On Triton's next possession, Erdmann picked up his second score with a four yard run to return the lead to Triton. That lead was again short-lived as the Saints returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for the score and a 33-27 lead.
Erdmann score touchdown number three with six minutes remaining in the game to tie the score at 33 all. Dahms' extra point kick attempt never got off the ground because of bad snap. Both teams moved the ball to within striking distance but neither team could convert in regulation.
Triton now travels to Caledonia on Saturday night at 7 PM for section semifinal play. The Warriors are the two time defending Class 2A State Champions and have won the title four of the last five years.