St. Anthony streaks to playoff victory over Blake

A 28-point lead turned out to be just enough for the St. Anthony Village High School football team on Tuesday night. The Huskies scored the first four touchdowns in their Section 6AAAA quarterfinal against Blake at Dennison Field en route to a 41-28 victory.

The win sends third-seeded St. Anthony to Saturday's semifinals and a 7 p.m. contest at second-seeded Robbinsdale Cooper, a 38-21 victor over seventh-seeded Park Center in the first round.

After jumping out to the commanding lead in the first half, St. Anthony watched as Blake attempted to climb back into the game. The Bears answered the Huskies' opening salvo with three touchdowns of their own to narrow the gap to seven points early in the third quarter.

St. Anthony regained control in the fourth quarter with a pair of rushing touchdowns to once again run away from Blake.

The Huskies got things rolling on their first possession thanks in part to a rushing attack that has struggled much of the season. Following a pair of incomplete passes to begin the drive, Zach Siggelkow amassed 18 yards on three carries. Facing a third-and-two, quarterback Ryan Rush threw a short pass that Billy Johnson turned into a 62-yard touchdown play.

Rush and Johnson struck for another big play later in the first quarter as they teamed up for a 36-yard scoring strike to put St. Anthony ahead 14-0. Johnson scored his third touchdown of the game midway through the second quarter on a 49-yard run and made it four scores 15 seconds later when he caught a 34-yard pass from Rush.

In between the two quick scores, St. Anthony executed a perfect onside kick. Josh Carpenter hit a popup about 30 yards downfield to an open area and Cody Bauleke beat everyone to the ball.

Blake began its comeback attempt quickly as Jack McNeill took a Logan Kline pass 62 yards for a score on the first play from scrimmage following Johnson's fourth touchdown.

The Bears capitalized on a St. Anthony fumble to score again late in the fourth quarter. After recovering the loose ball at the Huskies' 48-yard line, Blake drove to the two before Marcus Berg ran it in for a touchdown with 1:18 left in the first half.

Blake then benefitted from a pair of incomplete passes to get the ball back one more time in the second quarter. The Bears were unable to put up any more points, however, as a 40-yard field goal try as time expired was wide left.

Blake opened the second half with the ball and scored on the first play from scrimmage. Berg busted free for a 65-yard touchdown run to make the score 28-21 in favor of St. Anthony, whose early cushion had nearly vanished.

The Huskies regained control of the game after that and put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter. Bauleke scored on a 4-yard run early in the fourth and Jesus Romero added some insurance with a 9-yard touchdown run with 2:30 left in the game.

Blake closed out the scoring with a touchdown with two seconds left on the clock.

The win runs St. Anthony's winning streak over Blake to seven games and was the Huskies' second victory over the Bears this season. St. Anthony opened the season with a 21-7 win over Blake. The Bears' last win over St. Anthony came in the first round of the 2005 section playoffs.

Section 6AAAA football playoffs Quarterfinals Benilde-St. Margaret's 40, Fridley 0 St. Anthony Village 41, Blake 28 Robbinsdale Cooper 38, Park Center 21

Semifinals, Saturday, 7 p.m. Benilde-St. Margaret's at DeLaSalle St. Anthony Village at Robbinsdale Cooper

Championship, Friday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m.