Cloquet quarterback Tim Pokornowski rushed 30 times for a career-high 249 yards and a touchdown to lead Cloquet to a 40-21 victory over the South St. Paul Packers in the Class AAAA state tournament semifinals Friday night in the indoor comfort of U.S. Bank Stadium.
Cloquet advances to its first state championship game since 1976. In fact, the Lumberjacks could become the first team from Northeastern Minnesota to win a larger-school state football title since 1973 when Eveleth won in Class A, the second largest classification at the time.
While Pokornowski did a lot of the legwork, Aahsan Maigag added touchdowns rushing and receiving in the Lumberjacks' pivotal 23-point second quarter. The reception came on a 45-yard strike from Pokornowski.
Maigag is one of 21 seniors on the squad.
Senior Spencer Wehr added 18 carries for 89 yards and two scores, while junior Elijah Benson connected on field goals of 21 and 24 yards to keep the lead safe.
As good as Pokornowski was, both he and Packers coach Chad Sexauer were quick to credit the Lumberjacks up front, including seniors Dylan Lauer, Bryce Turnbull and Jordon Peil.
Cloquet (12-0) will play Holy Angels Academy (11-1) for the championship at 4 p.m. Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Read the full story and a preview of next week's championship game in Wednesday's Pine Journal.
South St. Paul 7-7-0-7—21
C — Spencer Wehr 17 run (Elijah Benson kick)
SSP — Chase Bentson 5 run (Samuel Rohrer kick)
C — Aahsan Maigag 1 run (Benson kick)
C — Maigag 45 pass from Pokornowski (Benson kick)
SSP — Alex Rabello 58 pass from Cade Sexauer (Rohrer kick)
C — Pokornowski 59 run (kick failed)
C — Benson 21 field goal
C — Benson 24 field goal
C — Wehr 3 run (Benson kick)
SSP — Cade Sexauer 1 run (Rohrer kick)