Fire’d up in the Dome: Tigers fall in State semis

Tiger senior Travis Chmielewski made one more highlight-reel touchdown catch which cut HFC’s lead to 35-21 early in the third quarter. Travis finished the State semifinal game with 110 yards receiving on 8 catches. Photos by Greg Hunt

In the Class 4A State semifinals at the Metrodome Nov. 16, Holy Family Catholic burst to a 28-0 outpouring in the second quarter, then had enough answers to Princeton’s charge in the second half to win 49-28. The Fire’s sophomore sensation, Chazz Johnson rolled up 146 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 210 yards and three touchdowns total in the victory.

The win sends Holy Family Catholic to the Class 4A championship for an all-Wright County Conference finale against Hutchinson Nov. 23 in Prep Bowl XXXI.

Despite being down 35-6 at the half, the Tigers kept battling. They opened the third quarter with an 84-yard drive capped by a 4-yard dive by Josh Osborn for the score. Osborn then recovered a Johnson fumble at the 17, and Zack Ludwig went right on top to Travis Chmielewski for a score which cut the deficit to 35-21.

But on the Fire’s next possession, Johnson ripped off a 45-yard run to the outside (left), setting up a three-yard TD by Connor Riddle, and that took a ton of steam out of Princeton’s sails. Osborn scored the Tigers’ final TD on a sweet 35-yard breakaway late in the fourth quarter.

Senior co-captain Kyle Ringey, one of the last Tigers out of the locker room, spoke about Princeton’s memorable 8-5 season where they won the first State game in the program’s history: “It’s just a great thing. I love how the town got behind us. Today, we got a police escort out of town, and it was just awesome. It used to be: ‘Well, Princeton’s always going to lose.’ But we proved them wrong, and we just proved that we can never give up. We set a good standard for the players coming back the next years.”