MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- In what has been a tournament dominated by offense, Blaine and Alexandria got defensive in their Class 5A Semifinal matchup Saturday night.
Each defense held the opposing offense to season-lows in points scored, but Blaine (12-0) was able to scratch together 17 second-half points to edge by the Cardinals (11-1) with a 17-10 victory at the Metrodome.
"Defense is where it starts," Blaine coach Dave Nelson said. "They had some nice drives, but when you look up at the scoreboard, we gave up only 10 points."
Blaine quarterback Tony George, who threw two first-half interceptions, bounced back in the second half, completing 3-of-5 passes for 73 yards and one touchdown.
The Bengals were facing a third-and-11 from the Alexandria 13 when George found sophomore receiver Steven Moore in the corner of the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, Moore, who caught three passes for 63 yards, intercepted a Keith Eckhoff pass at the Alexandria 47.
"He's an incredible player," Nelson said of Moore. "I think he's the best sophomore in Minnesota. He plays all over the field for us. It's kind of like we put him wherever we need a big play."
Eckhoff completed 13-of-21 passes for 176 yards and a late touchdown to lead Alexandria.
Coming into the game, Alexandria had not scored fewer than 21 points all season. Blaine's 17 tied a season low.
"We wish we could have gotten some more points, but we couldn't control the ball in the third quarter," Alexandria coach Dennis Kalpin said. "They made a couple of big plays and that was it."
The Blaine defense was led by Moore and senior linebackers Billy Ray Kirch and Travis Johansen while Alexandria relied on the big plays of senior linebacker Amos Hartsell, who had an interception.
The Bengals will meet Hastings (11-2) in the Prep Bowl next Friday.
In other tournament action:
Pillager rolled up 402 yards rushing as they beat Osakis (12-1) 34-26 in Class 1A. The Huskies were led by Steve Bethel's 181 yards while Jeff Pace added 129.
Pillager (12-1) will face McLeod West (13-0) for the title.
Kent Anderson caught a pair of touchdown passes and added an interception on defense as Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (13-0) defeated Breckenridge (10-3) 28-7 in the Class 2A Semifinals. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City will play Windom Area (9-4) for the championship.
In Class 3A, Kyle Potter rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns as Becker defeated Greenway (11-1) 24-12. The Bulldogs (11-2) will face Jackson County Central (12-1) in the Prep Bowl.
Junior running backs Tim Serviss and Garrett Raboin combined for 282 yards and four touchdowns, leading Detroit Lakes to a 34-14 win over St. Michael-Albertville (12-1) in the Class 4A Semifinals. The Lakers (10-2) will face Mankato East (12-0) in the Prep Bowl.
In Nine-man, Ada-Borup's one-two punch of running backs Paul Nelson and Jared Heitman suffered a blow when Heitman went down with an ankle injury in the first half against Stephen-Argyle.
Nelson picked up the slack, rushing for 201 yards and four touchdowns as the Cougars defeated the Storm 35-17.
"I knew I had to step it up and would get about twice as many carries," Nelson said. "I told the guys I'd put them on my back and I tried to do that."
Nelson did just that, scoring on runs of 3, 26, 20 and 37 yards to lead the Cougars to a win in their first state tournament appearance.
Ada-Borup coach Mike Gullingsrud said he wasn't worried when Heitman went down.
"Nelson's been a workhorse for us all year," he said. "The front five has done the job all year and Paul would be one of the first to compliment those guys."
Stephen-Argyle (11-1) lost six fumbles in the game, including five in the first half when it trailed 14-3.
"If you don't play well at this level you don't win," said Storm coach Jim Guetter. "They outplayed us today."
Ada-Borup (12-1) will face Hillcrest Lutheran (9-4) in the Prep Bowl.
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