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The Star Tribune is celebrating 50 years of high school football state tournaments one day at a time for 50 days.

Year: 1975

Stillwater turned to trickery with its back against the wall.

Wide receiver Bob de St. Aubin caught a 6-yard scoring strike on a halfback option pass from Todd Butterfield on fourth down with 18 seconds remaining, giving Stillwater a 20-17 victory over Richfield for the Class AA state championship. It was the first of four titles for the Ponies.

De St. Aubin was on the receiving end of a 26-yard flea-flicker on a third-and-8 play from the Richfield 31-yard line with 54 seconds left. His game-winning touchdown capped a 77-yard drive after Dave Larson connected on a 30-yard field goal with 3 minutes, 41 seconds remaining to give Richfield a 17-13 lead.

"Any time a team can go 70 yards when it's behind and its back is to the wall it deserves to be No. 1," Stillwater coach George Thole said. "It was unbelievable."

In other finals:

  • Brian Skarboe intercepted a pass on a two-point conversion attempt with 2:58 left, preserving Gaylord's 14-13 victory over Onamia for the Class B crown. Onamia pulled within a point on quarterback Bob Bloomquist's 3-yard run. Bloomquist also opened the scoring with a 73-yard run.

Lee Habeisen's 5-yard scoring run on the first play of the fourth quarter gave Gaylord its first lead of the day, 14-7. Junior running back Scott Bandemeir was instrumental on both scoring drives and finished with 151 yards on 22 carries.

  • In Class A, Frank Hamel scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter as St. Thomas Academy scored the final two touchdowns for a 21-14 victory over St. Peter. It's still the lone title for the Cadets in 25 state tournament appearances.

In Class C, Esko won its first and only state crown with a 62-0 shutout of Karlstad. Quarterback Kevin Lindell threw for two touchdowns, both to Jack Campbell, and ran for two more scores as the Eskomos raced to a 36-0 lead at halftime. Campbell added a third touchdown on a 17-yard run.

  • In Nine-Man, Jeff Houselog (169 yards) and Bon Andresen (113 yards) combined for 282 rushing yards and four touchdowns as Ruthton won its first state title with a 42-20 triumph over Audubon.

State championship games

Class AA: Stillwater 20, Richfield 17

Class A: St. Thomas Academy 21, St. Peter 14

Class B: Gaylord 14, Onamia 13

Class C: Esko 62, Karlstad 0

Nine-Man: Ruthton 42, Audubon 20