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Becker rushes past South St. Paul 35-14 to claim Minnesota Class 4A title


MINNEAPOLIS — Becker finished its perfect season Friday with a 35-14 win over South St. Paul in the Minnesota Class 4A football championship at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

It was the Bulldogs' second consecutive state championship and third in school history.

"You go out there and you play your heart out — the last game of your life — and you go out as champions," Bulldogs senior lineman Dillon Radunz said. "That you have to be proud of."

Radunz said Becker (14-0) came in knowing South St. Paul (12-2) would focus on its running game, but it was Becker that set the tone with its physicality and ball control.

The Bulldogs relied heavily on senior tailback Gabe Dertinger, who rushed for 151 yards on the night. Dertinger produced 119 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.

"We came in with a mindset of confidence, but not overconfidence," Dertinger said. "And I think we just executed well tonight."

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 28-0 halftime lead and held a 35-0 edge with 5:15 remaining in the fourth. They outgained the Packers 452-199 and left little doubt, on this night, which team earned this year's Class 4A crown.

It began with a nearly six-minute, 97-yard drive to start the scoring in the first, capped off by a 1-yard run by senior fullback Beau Pauly. The Bulldogs never looked back.

"That's a darn good football team over there, regardless of class," South St. Paul coach Chad Sexauer said. "The bodies they had out there, they'd hold up with a lot of teams and a lot of states and a lot of classes."

Bulldogs senior quarterback Andrew Stanger added 219 yards passing, including a 77-yard touchdown strike to senior receiver Clayton Gallus in the second quarter. Stanger also had a rushing touchdown.

South St. Paul senior quarterback Dan Pietruszewski rushed for a touchdown and threw for another to senior receiver Austin Brandecker, both in the fourth quarter.

This was Becker's 15th state tournament appearance, and longtime coach Dwight Lundeen has produced a strong tradition of winning over the years.

And while he's not picking favorites, even Lundeen had a hard time hiding how much he appreciated what this team accomplished.

"They have to rate close up to the top," Lundeen said. "We're going to really miss them (the seniors). They've won a lot of football games at Becker."

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