MINNEAPOLIS — With its opponent making a charge, Cole Hennen made sure he and his teammates would go home as champions.
Hennen had a game-clinching 51-yard run with 2:17 to play and Minneota held off Dawson-Boyd 28-14 Saturday in the Class 1A Championship at the Prep Bowl.
Garrett Hennen, Cole's cousin, rushed for 179 yards and Nicholas Esping had a touchdown reception and recovered a fumble in the end zone for the Vikings (13-0), who won their fifth state title and first since 2009.
Dawson-Boyd pulled within 20-14 when Hunter Olson caught a 10-yard score to start the fourth quarter. After punts by each team, Minneota was going for a game-clinching drive when Cole Hennen took a handoff on third down, cut to the right and raced down the sideline for the touchdown.
"I had to beat one guy," Cole Hennen said.
"When I saw Cole scoring that touchdown, it was the most excited I've been in my life," Garrett Hennen said. Minneota held a 283-20 rushing advantage.
Jess Hansen was 23 for 39 and 170 yards for Dawson-Boyd (12-2), which lost the title game for the second straight year. Michael Lee had nine receptions.
It was this year's second meeting between the Little Sioux Conference rivals. Minneota beat Dawson-Boyd 33-21 Sept. 26. The schools are separated by 28 miles in southwest Minnesota.
Garrett Hennen scored from 6 yards out and Alex Pohlen and Esping connected for a 7-yard touchdown late in the first quarter to give the Vikings a 12-0 lead.
Dawson-Boyd responded when Dalton Palmer scored on a 3-yard run to get the Blackjacks within 12-7 midway through the second.
Palmer, the Blackjacks' leading rusher with 1,830 yards and 20 touchdowns, left the game with a right knee injury after the team's first offensive play, before returning in the second quarter. He then hurt his arm and was done.
"He carries the load for us, it put a little more pressure in the passing game," said Dawson-Boyd coach Cory Larson. "It forced us to become one-dimensional and let them pin their ears back."
Minneota had seven sacks, four by Leo Buysse.
Three plays after Daniel Harrison recovered a fumble, Garrett Hennen was bulldozing his way to the end zone when the ball was knocked out by Noah Stelter inside the 5-yard line. Stelter nearly fell on the ball in the end zone, but the ball squirted away and Esping fell on it.
Dawson-Boyd moved the ball inside the Minneota 10-yard line in the waning seconds of the first half, but a pair of fourth-down passes — a penalty provided for a second opportunity — fell incomplete.
"We needed to make some big plays and our kids did that," said Minneota coach Chad Johnston.
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