Posted On: 11/22/18 11:59 PM

(Cover Photo: Nick Gerhardt/Northstar Football News) 

 Rochester LourdesFairmont
Head CoachMike KeslerMat Mahoney
Final Rankings (NFN, AP, QRF) 2, 2, 48, 5, 8
State Championship Apparances51
State Titles4 ('79, '10, '14, '16)0
Points Per Game36.233.4
Opponents Points Per Game8.216.3
Opponents Win Pct60-69 (.465)62-63 (.496)

Rochester Lourdes has been in this spot before. 

The Eagles appeared in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 title games, earning a championship in 2014 and 2016. They’ve been one of Class AAA’s best this decade along with St. Croix Lutheran and Pierz.

Fairmont lost the 2011 state championship to St. Croix Lutheran, but the fifth-ranked Cardinals have adopted the motto: “Fight On Fairmont” this season hoping to take it a step further. The Cardinals have definitely fought on, overcoming an early 6-0 deficit against Perham in the semifinals, and similarly trailed 14-6 in the quarterfinals against Cannon Falls in the third quarter before winning 27-21.

Lourdes and the Cardinals have a common opponent — Jordan — this season. The Eagles dismissed the Hubmen in the state quarterfinals with a dominating 24-0 victory where they turned Jordan over five times. Fairmont lost 49-26 to Jordan back in the second week of the season. The Cardinals gave up 488 yards of total offense in that contest, 205 of which came on the ground. 

What will be interesting to watch will be how the No. 2 Eagles come out against Fairmont following last week’s 25-20 win over 2017 Class AAA champion Pierz, the top ranked team at this level.

Key Matchup
Rochester Lourdes DBs vs. Fairmont WRs

Fairmont won’t surprise Rochester Lourdes with its passing game, which is robust with quarterback Garrett Myren and wide receiver Dustin Schultz. But do the Eagles have the pieces to stop it? Pat Leary might be the one who draws Schultz as his assignment. Leary’s the type of veteran Rochester Lourdes will want in that spot. Leary was part of the 2016 championship team and intercepted two passes against Jordan in the quarterfinals while defending Ryan Samuelson, a 1,000-yard receiver with 14 touchdowns. Samuelson had just one reception for minus-1 yard.

Lourdes Pat Leary will be the fulcrum in the Eagles pass defense against Fairmont. (Nick Gerhardt/Northstar Football News)

Rochester Lourdes RBs

The Eagles run the option as well as any team in the state, electing to use a variety of running backs every game. Six different players carried the ball against Pierz. Jake Groteboer led the team in carries and yards in the regular season. He has 1,120 yards on 141 carries to go with 14 touchdowns.

Lourdes will use quarterback Matthew Hayford, Zach Jungels, Andrew Peine, Noah Wienke and Leary in the backfield as well. If Fairmont can slow any combination of them on Saturday will be the key to the game. The Cardinals have given up an average of nearly 200 yards in the state tournament on the ground.