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St. Cloud and Bethel advance in small college football playoffs

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The playoffs continued Saturday for NCAA Division II and Division III schools in Minnesota.

The biggest surprise of the afternoon happened in the division two playoffs between two Northern Sun schools. St. Cloud State defeated top ranked Minnesota State University Mankato Saturday 54-48 in the second round of the Super Region 3 playoffs.

The Huskies (12-1) and the Mavericks (11-1) fought like two heavyweights in a battle, down to the wire.

St. Cloud quarterback Philip Klaphake had a day to remember. The Huskies senior signal caller threw for 329 yards and four touchdowns in the game. He also ran for 144 yards and two more scores to lead the Huskies to the victory.

MSU's Jon Wolf did his best to keep pace. He threw for 335 yards and two scores and ran for another 103 yards and two more touchdowns.

The Huskies stormed to a 34-14 halftime lead before the Mavericks fought back with 27 points in the third quarter alone.

After the wild third quarter, Klaphake found Michael Walker on a 7-yard touchdown pass to put St. Cloud back on top 54-41, with 9:10 to play.

The Mavericks drove and when Wolf connected with Austin Reider on a 32-yard touchdown pass with 3:33 to play it put the Mavericks within six at 54-48.

Minnesota State had one last minute chance to win, but with :54 remaining they couldn't get the ball into the end zone, and fell to St. Cloud.

Combined the two teams put up more than 1,100 yards of total offense and 102 points tying a Minnesota State record that went back to the 1993 season in a game against South Dakota State.

St. Cloud State advances to face Northwest Missouri State next week.

Bearcats blast Bulldogs to advance

Northwest Missouri State built a 31-0 lead over Minnesota Duluth and rolled to a 45-21 win over the Bulldogs to eliminate Minnesota Duluth from the Super Region 3 playoffs.

The loss snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Bulldogs (11-2) and ends their season.

UMD's defense which had been solid most of the season, wasn't on Saturday as they gave up 425 yards of offense to the Bearcats in the loss.

"We gave up a couple of big plays defensively and offensively we couldn't stay on the field," said Bulldog head coach Curt Wiese, following the game.

Bulldog quarterback Drew Bauer completed just 13 of 31 passes for 138 yards, he was sacked seven times in the game. Bauer spent a lot of the game evading the Bearcats pass rush. He ran for 93 yards in the game, but lost 50 because of the sack, netting him just 50 on the afternoon.

Bethel scores late to beat Wartburg in division 3 playoffs

The Bethel Royals held off Wartburg on Saturday 34-27 to advance in the NCAA Division III playoffs.

With the score tied at 27 and just over 3 minutes left in the game, Royals' backup quarterback Tom Keefe started a drive he won't soon forget. He marched Bethel down the field and found Brandon Marquardt on a 24-yard touchdown pass, for what proved to be the game winning score.

Keefe playing in relief of Erik Peterson, hit on 9 of 12 passes for 148 yards and a pair of scores. The two combined threw for 387 yards and three scores in the game.

Marquart also had a solid game for the Royals he carried the ball nine times for 58 yards and a touchdown.

The Royals (13-0) with the victory advance in the NCAA Division III playoffs.

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