Minnesota Section 8AAA football playoffs: Thief RIver Falls rallies for a stunning win over Crookston

Thief River Falls coach Jeff Mumm admitted that he thought about putting in substitutes and enjoying the rest of the season when Crookston took a 15-point lead late in the third quarter.

Thief River Falls coach Jeff Mumm admitted that he thought about putting in substitutes and enjoying the rest of the season when Crookston took a 15-point lead late in the third quarter.

He didn't sub out, but he surely enjoyed what was left of Saturday afternoon.

Mumm's Prowlers rallied for three touchdowns in the final 12 minutes, 24 seconds -- capped by a spectacular 20-yard touchdown catch by Jacob Mattison with four seconds to go -- to stun Crookston 37-34 in the second round of the Minnesota Section 8AAA playoffs at Memorial Stadium.

"In 26 years of coaching, we've had some awfully big wins over the years," Mumm said. "But I don't think anything tops this one today."

The Prowlers had to go 95 yards in five minutes for the winning score with only one timeout at their disposal. They overcame two penalties and two sacks to do it. Fullback Kaleb Torgerson dragged Pirate defenders to convert a fourth-and-3 early in the drive. Soon after that, a pass to Karter Trontvet picked up a third-and-19.


On the final play, quarterback Micah Schneider lofted a pass toward the corner of the end zone, where Mattison was one-on-one with a Crookston defender. It appeared that the pass was about to be intercepted, but Mattison reached over the Pirate defensive back and pulled it away.

"It was amazing," teammate C.J. Jackson said. "He made an amazing play.

"I didn't know it was going to happen like that. I'm shocked right now. I'm going to go home and always cherish this day."

Jackson certainly did his part. The senior wide receiver caught six passes for 151 yards, ran the ball 13 times for 120 yards, drew three pass interference calls and made a key interception in the fourth quarter that helped the Prowler rally.

He kept Thief River Falls in the game in the first half when the Prowlers had trouble running the ball. At halftime, Jackson had 11 touches for 203 yards. In the 11 first-half plays where he didn't touch the ball, Thief River Falls compiled minus-2 yards.

Crookston methodically moved the ball throughout the game. Pirate quarterback Mark Bittner led his team on touchdown drives in five of their first seven possessions. He threw for 158 yards and ran for another 82.

Pirate running back Josh Edlund ran for 93 yards on 15 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns. His 35-yard run with 5:35 left in the third quarter put the Pirates ahead 34-19 and firmly in control.

But the Prowlers scored on a 5-yard touchdown pass to Trontvet with 24 seconds left in the third quarter and a 13-yard run by Ralph Williams (51 rushing yards) with 8:06 left in the game.


A 60-yard punt by Nick Regeimbal had Thief River Falls pinned way back, but the long drive kept the Prowlers' season alive.

"This was our day," Mumm said. "It was just an incredible effort by our kids. It's a great reward for them. Through all of the years I've coached, this might be one of the hardest-working groups. It's a wonderful group of kids."

Thief River Falls 37,

Crookston 34

Key play: Micah Schneider's 20-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Mattison with four seconds left.

Key player: C.J. Jackson, 120 yards rushing, 151 yards receiving, two TDs.

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at
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