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The St. Paul football team advances to the second round of the 1A playoffs with win

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - St. Paul's offense proved too much for Elgin in the first round of the Class 1A state football playoffs Friday evening at home. The Huskies hung with the Bucks for the first half, but were overwhelmed in the second half and lost 58-6.

Lopsided wins have become commonplace for St. Paul football this season and that was the case in its playoff opener as well. The Bucks beat Elgin 58-6 on Friday in front of their home fans despite a comparably slow start – leading just 24-6 at halftime.

A 14-yard rushing touchdown for senior running back Gianni Grasso got the scoring started for St. Paul; a two-point conversion on the run by senior quarterback TJ Crawford made it 8-0 Bucks early.

Elgin would respond with a score of its own, the only one of the night for the Huskies. A 50-yard touchdown pass and failed two-pointer made it 8-6 St. Paul – the slimmest margin the Bucks have faced in quite some time during their undefeated run.

After that, it was all Bucks – even if the first half wasn't as high-scoring as the second. A six-yard run from Grasso plus another keeper on the two-pointer by Crawford made it 16-6. In the second quarter, a 27-yard pass from Crawford to senior running back Mitch Curtis plus a run from Curtis on the two-pointer made it 24-6 at the half.

The floodgates opened for St. Paul in the second half. A 23-yard pass from Crawford to sophomore tight end Bryce Williams and a two-point conversion on the run by Curtis made it 32-6. A few minutes later, the Bucks were in the end zone again on a 24-yard pass from Crawford to hulking senior tight end Alex Dela Cerda, leading 40-6 after Dela Cerda converted the two-pointer on a run.

Two more points were tacked on the board when three St. Paul defenders stormed the backfield and tackled an Elgin player for a safety, making it 42-6.

A pair of touchdowns were scored to finish off the third quarter before St. Paul took out its starters. Senior Saul Martinez had a 16-yard run and Grasso had another from seven yards out. A pair of two-point conversions after those runs brought the game to its final score of 58-6.

No. 1 St. Paul's next opponent is No. 9 Days Creek, with kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at the rodeo grounds.

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