7 state titles in the last 10 years, Caledonia is on top of the Minnesota football world

By Dugan Thomas

, MN
- 11/25/2016

If there was any question about who was the best quarterback in the State of Minnesota, it ended today at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Class AA championship game. Caledonia quarterback Owen King came out firing and his incredible receivers caught every ball thrown their way. King was 17-25 for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns, with all 5 touchdowns and most of his yardage thrown in the first half.

The Warriors throttled Eden Valley-Watkins 61-12 to go back-to-back (2015, 2016), and to cement their AA legacy in the Prep Bowl by winning 7 state championships in the last 10 years (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016). Caledonia with multiple players in the NFL, and multiple Division I recruits has to be considered one of the most elite football programs in the State of Minnesota regardless of division.

Caledonia received the opening kickoff and Owen King went right to work. A 26 yard strike across the middle to Sam Barthel, 10 yards to Andrew Goergen, and then up top 18 yards to Jordan Burg touchdown Warriors. These 3 receivers had a day for Caledonia, King was incredibly on point, and his passes stuck like glue to these 3 speedsters hands. Yardage was tough to come by on the ground right away, so head coach Carl Fruechte just kept dialing up the air game.

After a 3-an-out by the Warriors defense, and a 26 yard punt, Caledonia had great field position at Eden Valley-Watkins 45 yard line. All-State quarterback Owen King went back up top again. After scrambling out of the pocket and breaking an arm tackle, King looked up and found Jordan Burg wide open behind the Eagles defense. A 39 yard bomb hauled in by Burg and his second touchdown of the first quarter to make it 13-0 after the missed extra point. The Warriors had the Eagles on their heels, and it was just a glimpse of what was more to come.

Eden Valley-Watkins quarterback Reese Jansen had a great season and an incredible playoff performance coming into this one, but today was different. North Dakota Football recruit Ezekiel Ott was in his sights on every play, and he had him rattled. Jansen had to identify Ott on every play, and the Warriors rush defensive ends with Ott and Ethan Zahn had him scrambling on every dropback. His accuracy just wasn't there today, and the Eagles were giving it back to the Warriors quickly.

King had a hot hand and Carl Fruechte knew it, back up top again they went. This time it was Sam Barthel flying down the sidelines and hauling in a 41 yard bomb to the Eagles 23 yard line. Enter Andrew Goergen to the stage on the very next play, a 23 yard leaping highlight reel catch for another Warrior touchdown. The Eagles had no answer for Cal's speed and athleticism. The Austin Werner extra point was good, and Caledonia had Eden Valley-Watkins down 20-0 with 4:18 still left in the first quarter.

Caledonia's defense was shutting down the Eagles spread attack, and the Warriors special teams were getting their opportunities in the return game. Ben McCabe grabbed a punt on his 19 yard line and took off like a rocket cutting and dashing through defenders like butter. 76 yards down to the Eden Valley-Watkins 5 yard line. A couple plays later, Owen King rolled out to his left and found his favorite receiver Andrew Goergen for a 3 yard touchdown. 27-0 all Cal, the Eagles were shell-shocked and had no answer.

With 5:44 left before halftime the Warriors had the ball back, and Carl Fruechte was looking for the dagger. Out of his bag of tricks came the flea-flicker. Handoff to Ben McCabe, immediately back to Owen King, and missile strike down the sidelines to Sam Barthel. A 59 yard pitch and catch perfectly executed all the way down to the Eagles 3 yard line. Ben McCabe finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown run and it was 34-0. Dagger Warriors, an offensive onslaught that Eden Valley had no answer for.

The Eagles had to ditch the run and they had to pass to catch up, and the Warriors were ready for them. A Reese Jansen pass to the flats had #21 coming like a missile. Alex Goergen let everyone in the building know who was boss when he completely blew-up #44 Dominic Schlangen to force an incompletion. One of the most violent collisions I've ever seen on a football field. A play later linebacker Jordan Burg cut in front of a slant route to intercept Jansen, and the Warriors were in business again with 3:38 left in the half.

Owen King went to work slinging it around just like he did all year long. Passes to Burg, Goergen, and Ben McCabe, with a facemask penalty thrown in to get the Warriors into the red zone. This time it was Alex Goergen with his hand in the air right down the middle from his tight end spot, and King put it on him touchdown Warriors. A 40-0 first half for the ages. I haven't seen this kind of dominance in the Prep Bowl since...well last year. The 2015 Warriors lit-up Pipestone 40-0 behind a dominant defense and the arm of Owen King. These guys are exceptional, and Caledonia's coaching staff led by Carl Fruechte and Brent Schroeder had them prepared for everything.

If Eden Valley-Watkins had any magic left in the 2nd half, the Warriors put that to bay in a big hurry. Ezekiel Ott came loose off the left side and Reese Jansen had no chance. A 16 yard sack to put the Eagles back at their own 10 yard line forcing another punt. Then it was the Ben McCabe show. The holes that weren't there in the first half were there now, and McCabe was hitting it hard and breaking tackles. A 22 yard run brought him to the Eagles 4 yard line, and he finished it off on the next play touchdown Cal 47-0.

Eden Valley-Watkins just didn't have any life left, and they couldn't get anything going on Cal's defense. Before you knew it Caledonia had the ball back and McCabe and Alex Goergen were trading off pounding the ball down the field and grinding the clock just like Coach Fruechte wanted. Alex Goergen took out two defenders blocking on a pitch sweep, and Ben McCabe took care of the rest, touchdown Warriors on a 10 yard scamper to make it 54-0.

Eden-Valley Watkins best playmaker Matt Schindler was shut down by the Warriors all day long, but eventually good players make plays and he got behind the Caledonia defense. The shutout was over, but with the score 54-6 Warriors, it was tough for Carl Fruechte fret much about that one. Going into the 4th quarter Cal had one more drive left in them, and senior Alex Goergen became a wrecking machine.

Goergen took handoff after handoff from Owen King, and he plowed through the Eagles putting guys on their backs along the way. He started on the Warriors 35 yard line and ended in the Eagles end zone. 65 yards of rushing, and a short 1-yard touchdown to go with it. 61-6 Caledonia, a dominant way for Goergen to go out after an incredible 3-year starting career.

The Caledonia starters received a huge ovation, and the Warriors second teams came in to finish this one out eventually giving up another touchdown to Eden Valley-Watkins to make the score 61-12.

Caledonia came into U.S. Bank Stadium like it was their new home, and put on a dominant display from start to finish. Led by Quarterback Owen King's 328 yards and 5 touchdowns, his receivers balled out all day. Andrew Goergen had 7 receptions for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead the group. Jordan Burg with 5 receptions for 99 yards and 2 touchdowns. Sam Barthel had 3 receptions for 126 yards, and Alex Goergen with a 13 yard touchdown.

Ben McCabe led Caledonia's rushing attack with 99 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 84 punt return yards in an incredible performance. The machine Alex Goergen had 74 yards rushing and a touchdown to go with 10 kickoffs averaging 50.3 yards. He also had 4 solo tackles, with 2 tackles for loss and a pass breakup.

Austin Heim had 5 solo tackles and a tackle for loss to lead Cal's defense. Ezekiel Ott had a 16 yard sack and 2 quarterback hurries spending all day in the Eagles backfield. Alex Goergen, Isaac Denstad, and Ben McCabe all had 4 solo tackles, and Jordan Burg had an interception.

Caledonia had 24 first downs, 195 rushing yards, 328 passing yards for 523 yards of total offense. They gave up 326 yards, and only 12 points with most of that yardage coming in the second half.

In the press conference afterward Owen King was asked whether he had any thoughts about a college football career, after already committing to South Dakota State for basketball.

"No, I love playing football. I love playing with these guys, I wouldn't want it any other way...but I'm sticking with basketball and I'm committed to South Dakota State".

I bet head coach T.J Otzelberger at SD State is breathing a sigh of relief, because after two years of dominance and a 28-0 record as a starter, with 2 state titles, Owen King has cemented himself as the best quarterback in the State of Minnesota...and he's only a junior. Let that sink in for a second.

Caledonia head coach Carl Fruechte was asked where this team stacks up to former championship teams in the past.

"I don't do that...that's not fair to the other teams. We love every team. I'm just proud of our guys...they did everything we asked them to do. They deserve all the credit".

After a 61-12 performance at U.S. Bank Stadium to go back-to-back, and to win 7 in 10 years. Yes coach they deserve all the credit in the world, and so do you.

Carl Fruechte, Brent Schroeder, and all your staff. The support of Caledonia High School, and the communities of Caledonia, Brownsville, and Eitzen. Your hard work, your dedication, and your excellence. Congrats on being the best football program in the State of Minnesota.