Barnesville advances to finals

Barnesville football coach Bryan Strand spent Saturday getting all sorts of phone calls and text messages, but some of them had very little to do with his team trying to win a state championship.

Barnesville football coach Bryan Strand spent Saturday getting all sorts of phone calls and text messages, but some of them had very little to do with his team trying to win a state championship.

Strand along with quite a few Barnesville football fans were upset to read what Goodhue coach Clair Austin said about the team following Barnesville's 49-30 win to advance to the Minnesota Class 1A state football championship game next Friday at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

"It hurts. I take a lot of pride in our team being good sports," Strand said. "We're the type of team where we are taking out kids early in games that we are ahead in. After a tackle, our guys will pick up guys and tell them, 'Good job.' They are about being clean."

Austin questioned the ways the Trojans (13-0) tackled one of his players. Barnesville's defense went low on the running back, which is normal, leaving him shaken up after the play. Austin alleged the Trojans constantly chopped blocked his players throughout the game.

Strand denied his players did anything harmful to stop Goodhue's offense.


If anything, Barnesville hasn't had to do much to stop anyone's offense this season by making it look effortless on defense. The Trojans have put up five shutouts this year en route to the school's first state championship appearance since 1978.

Aside from Austin's allegations, there was plenty to take from the game.

The Trojans had more than 500 yards on 39 plays.

Strand said Barnesville averaged 14 yards a play while Goodhue ran an astonishing 96 plays while averaging five yards a play.

Though Goodhue entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed, it appears it wasn't good enough.

"We made our mistakes here and there and we had some guys fall down at the wrong time," Strand said. "But our guys played well. We're not the biggest team, so for us to get here, it's something to be proud of."

Since Strand took over the program six years ago, Barnesville has become one of the best Class 1A programs in Minnesota. The Trojans had been in a co-op with Rothsay for 18 years until 2009 when they split up.

Barnesville pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the state last year by beating perennial Class 2A powerhouse Hawley in the regular season en route to appearing in the state tournament, where it was eliminated in the first round by Minneota.


The Trojans came back with a number of players returning from that 11-1 team. Strand got his players to buy into 6:45 a.m. practices at least three times a week, and the results have been more than successful.

Barnesville has scored more than 20 points in all but two games this season, with one of those games being a 2-0 forfeit to open the playoffs. A potent offense and a solid defense, which allowed a season-high 30 points against Goodhue, is what has allowed Barnesville to be one win away from securing a perfect season.

"We're going to practice Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday," Strand said. "Then we're going to head down Thursday and keep the same schedule that we had last week. We need to get healthy because we did get some players hurt. We are proud of our kids for getting here. They played with a lot of heart."

State results

Nine-Man Semifinals

Lanesboro 34

Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke 26

Cromwell 18


Underwood 12

Class 1A semifinals

Barnesville 49

Goodhue 30

New Ulm Cathedral 34

Minneota 33

Class 2A semifinals

Caledonia 55


Ottertail Central 7

Triton 12

Eden Valley-Watkins 6

Class 3A semifinals

Rochester Lourdes 22

Albany 7

Holy Family Catholic 35

DeLaSalle 29


Class 4A semifinals

Totino-Grace 28

St. Thomas Academy 21

Rogers 45

Mahtomedi 28

Class 5A semifinals

Rosemount 28

Brainerd 14


Wayzata 21

Mounds View 16

What To Read Next
Get Local