|Damon Gibson, CGB's No. 9, calls the signals in the state semis win. Photo by Dan Hinrichs of The Examiner.|
The Wolverines are considered No. 1 in state nine-man. On Friday (11/23) they'll get to affirm that status for real in the Twin Cities.
Minnesota prep football continues to reach its apex each year at the Metrodome. That facility may be fading toward its end as a big-time sports facility. But it's still the home of the Vikings who make it truly big-time. The Vikings' home turf is where the blue-themed CGB unit will seek to cap its rise on Friday. All the marbles will be there for the gathering.
The state championship game will have CGB matched against Grand Meadow (12-1 record). Fans will be on edge of seats at 10 a.m. Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.
Forget about "Black Friday!" The day is one for student athletes to shine under the Teflon roof. Yours truly remembers covering the MAHS Tigers, C-A Spartans and UMM Cougars there. Those are special memories. And I fail to see why the facility has to be pushed aside in favor of the new Vikings stadium.
The surging Wolverines improved to 12-0 on Friday, Nov. 16. Their task on that day was to get past Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke, the No. 7-ranked team. It wasn't close. The Wolverines worked to a 38-8 win in this semis clash.
There's no secret how CGB asserts itself past foes. It's a good old-fashioned running game. Opponents know this and they still can't do anything about it.
Quarterback Damon Gibson is proud to talk about that running game. He's a junior student-athlete and he put the first points on the board for CGB Friday, getting in from the one.
Gibson also lauds the "team" aspect of how it all comes together.
Gibson's score was the first of four running touchdowns for the blue crew in the first half. Meanwhile the opponent was totally dormant.
This was a suspense-free game as CGB built a 32-0 lead in the first half. The running game was predictably reliable. It churned out 189 yards in that half, of the game-total 363.
Jason Montonye was a cog carrying the football, finding the end zone on runs of four and 13 yards. He picked up his third touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a 13-yard scamper.
It's hard to anticipate how the CGB running attack will come at you. The Star Tribune quoted Montonye citing "so many (rushing) weapons."
And those ballcarriers can find mighty inviting holes in front of them, thanks to an imposing "O" line. "Huge" describes it. Montonye called that line "the heart and soul" of the team.
It was a junior, Austin Maanum, who completed CGB's first half scoring work. Maanum scampered into the end zone from the six with less than a minute 'til halftime.
Maanum's first half work was 15 carries for 100-plus yards. When the four quarters were done his stats were 25 carries for 180 yards. He was quoted in the Star Tribune article (by Ron Haggstrom) saying "if we sustain and hold our blocks, we're an explosive team." He continued: "When we jump on a team like we did in the first half, it's tough to come back against our defense."
Shall we refer to the opponent as "GGG?" GGG was not without a reputation for offensive potential. Opponents are wise to keep an eye on senior Daniel Polansky. He has credentials, as he entered the semis game with 2,454 yards this season. He wasn't nearly such a potent force in the face of the CGB defense. He was tamed, rushing for just 46 yards on ten carries. He did break free to make a 20-yard touchdown catch from junior Hunter McMillin in the third quarter.
CGB quarterback Gibson, who I seem to recall from when he was a little tyke, exudes optimism going into the Friday climax at the Dome.
CGB fans hope to feel "home sweet Dome" as they watch Gibson call the signals for the supremely confident but focused Wolverines. Gibson says "we're a well-oiled machine. It's going to take one heck of a team to beat us."
Grand Meadow would appear to be a team commanding respect. My, they rolled up 61 points in their semis success which was versus South Ridge. Grand Meadow advanced with a 61-6 win, so they're not likely to feel fazed taking the field vs. CGB.
Grand Meadow has the quite appealing "Superlarks" nickname. As for the CGB nickname, it's the same as for the insurgents in the "Red Dawn" movies. I say "movies" plural because the re-make is about to be released, and the trailer makes it clear that "Wolverines" continues to be the rallying name.
The Metrodome is quite the different setting from where the CGB Wolverines play at home.
A trademark of the Graceville facility is the lack of lights, or at least that's the way it was when I made trips there as a media person. That 4 p.m. starting time was quite appealing for me. As a photographer it was a godsend. My, you can actually see all the action crystal clear, all so well-illuminated. Compare that to the MACA Tigers who wear black uniforms and play at night!
I loved that Graceville field. Mostly I was there to photograph the Hancock Owls but I might have made a couple trips to cover the C-A Spartans. The Spartans are no more, having been absorbed by Morris.
It's nice to see Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley continuing to field a solid and successful program. And maybe by the end of Friday, they can proclaim being No. 1! Good luck, boys.
CGB runs the ball with abandon but they're familiar with the passing game. Granted they didn't turn to it often in the semis. But Gibson completed four of five pass tries for 90 yards. He connected with four different receivers.
The Wolverines succeeded on two-point conversions to go with all four of their first half touchdowns. Each of the CGB first half possessions ended in a touchdown.
The defense was hardly second-fiddle. The Wolverines applied the clamps, restricting GGG to 56 total yards (just 12 rushing) in the first half.
GGG's only touchdown was scored late in the third quarter. Hunter McMillin passed for that score.
Polansky had four catches on the day but his rushing output was much less than what his team needed.
GGG closed out the season with a 10-2 mark.
The Wolverines are aiming for perfection and the once in a lifetime celebration of a state championship. All eyes will be on the Mall of America Field come Friday. It's a far more exciting and fulfilling way to spend the day than to join in with the Black Friday hordes.
Click on the link below to view a slideshow of the CGB semis game with photos taken by Dan Hinrichs of The Examiner. You'll see an arrow on the first photo, which you click on to proceed. You will have some ads come at you.
Click on the link below to see the roster for CGB football, fall of 2012, from the Maxpreps website.
Viva Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley football, the Wolverines, for 2012!
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - firstname.lastname@example.org