STEWARTVILLE, Minn. — It's hard to win a championship without a few things.
"Defense has been lights out," said Ayden Helder, Stewartville's quarterback. "It makes it really easy for me as a quarterback when the defense is lights out like that."
Lights out has translated to blowouts for much of Stewartville's season. With one more win, they can end the year undefeated.
"We've played a lot of different schemes throughout the year," said Helder. "So being able to get some experience against every kind of scheme you could throw at us, I think that's gonna help us down the road."
"Not to have an eye for the destination, but to have two eyes for the journey and making sure we did what we had to do to get the job done," said Stewartville head coach Garrett Mueller.
Helder is near the top in Minnesota in passing touchdowns. He got a surprise recently, being named a finalist for the Mr. Football award.
"Coach Mueller called me down and kinda told me," remembered Helder. "Just him and me in the office., And it was crazy. Just him and me in the office. We had a little party in there the two of us. It was crazy. But then telling my family, my parents were just as shocked as I was. And everyone on the team has been really supportive of it."
"His stats speak for themselves," said Mueller. "But I think from a skill standpoint It's not that he's a product of the system or bad competition or anything like that. He truly is an outstanding football player and more than deserving."
Stewartville was the state runner-up in 1977 and 1986. They have not been back to the championship game since then. So this week it'll either be another runner-up or school history.
"It would be insane," said Helder. "It would be great for the community, The community deserves it. Every single game they give us that pregame where they introduce us and the crowd goes absolutely nuts. They show out every game. So third time being back in that position, hopefully, third time is the charm."
Stewartville plays Annandale on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the AAA championship game.
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