Mountain Iron-Buhl football pulls off miracle comeback winning first state title in 50 years

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The Mountain Iron-Buhl (MIB) football team pulled off the comeback of their careers Saturday morning besting Spring Grove 28-25 to claim the 9-Man state football championship and finish their season undefeated at U.S. Bank Stadium.

This marked MIB’s first state championship appearance since 1972, the first year of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) state football tournament, when the Rangers also won it all.

Spring Grove would strike first just over four minutes into the game to lead 7-0 from an Elijah Solum touchdown. Then just over a minute later the Lions recovered a fumble and on the next play Tysen Grinde scored a touchdown. MIB blocked the extra point attempt to trail just 13-0.

The Rangers would struggle with possession turning over the ball three times in the first quarter to trail 19-0, after also blocking a two-point conversion attempt.

Damian Tapio, with under three minutes to go in the second quarter, carried in an 11 yard touchdown to break MIB onto the board. Tapio then took in the two-point conversion to trail just 19-8. That’s when the momentum shifted. Six seconds before halftime Asher Zubich connected with Nik Jesch in the endzone for a 20 yard completion to trail 19-14.

Spring Grove scored the first touchdown of the second half after another MIB fumble, however the Rangers would once again foil a conversion attempt to trail 25-14. In the fourth quarter Zubich would hit Riley Busch for a 63-yard touchdown to trail 25-20.

With 25 seconds to go in the game Tapio hauled in a 10 yard touchdown giving MIB their first lead of the game. They converted for two points to lead 28-25.

Zubich finished passing for 168 yards on 13 completions. Defensively MIB was led by Mason Clines recording four of the team’s 10 pass break-ups.

The Rangers finish their season with a perfect 13-0 record.