St. John's tops Coe to reach national quarterfinals

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COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. -- St. John's scored less than three minutes into the game and didn't stop until the beginning of the fourth quarter as the Johnnies advanced to the regional finals by defeating Coe 45-14 at Clemens Stadium.

The Johnnies (11-1) blocked a Kohawks punt on the first possession of the game and were in the end zone two plays later. They extended their lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter.

Although Blake Elliott didn't reach the end zone, his presence was felt in the first half, as he caught eight passes for 84 yards before halftime.  After that it was all Kent Crowley, as the senior running back rushed for a career-high 183 yards and three touchdowns.

"They keyed on (Elliott) like a lot of teams do," said senior quarterback Ross Denne. "It opened things up. We can't be one-dimensional and say 'Let's see what Blake can do today'."

Denne, who finished 18-for-35 for 226 yards and three touchdowns, found Lee Clintsman for two scores on three catches in the second half, when Elliott was bottled up in double teams.

"If we can get the ball to every one of our players it makes us better," Denne said. 

Coe (10-2) made a drive to get back into the game in the second quarter, as senior running back Fred Jackson scored on a 1-yard run to cap a seven-play scoring drive. But despite driving to Johnnie territory two possessions later, Coe was unable to convert, with a pair of incomplete passes and a sack on fourth down killing the drive.

"We felt like we had a couple of chances to get back into the game," said Coe head coach Erik Raeburn, "but they made a couple plays when they needed to."

St. John's opened up the lead to 31-7 on a Crowley 34-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter and never looked back.
Coe was led by Jackson's 150 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Joe Brannen was 11-for-32 passing for 150 yards and four interceptions, all coming in the second half when he was just 6-for-19. Jon Rife was his leading receiver with five catches for 50 yards.

St. John's was led defensively by senior cornerback Jason Pflipsen, who had eight tackles (six solo). Jeremy Goltz added eight tackles, three pass breakups and an interception, while linebacker Cam McCambridge broke up three passes and had an interception as well.

St. John's advances to play at Linfield (10-0) in the West region final on Dec. 7.

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