Every lineman dreams of a chance to get his hands on the football. For Medford junior Brennon Hoffman that happened Saturday night with his team up by four points late in their Section 2AA semifinal game against Maple River in Mapleton. The Tigers were threatening to go up by two scores when an interception was thrown deep in Eagles territory.

On third down, Maple River quarterback Caden Ochsendorf was in the end zone and threw a screen pass to a receiver who was also in his own end zone. As he was being tackled, he desperately attempted to lateral the ball but it landed in the hands of Medford's Hoffman for a touchdown with 1:10 to go and giving the Tigers a 37-27 win for their second straight road win in the playoffs.

The sixth-seeded Tigers (5-5) will face top-seed Blue Earth Area (8-2) Friday, November 1 at 7 pm in Janesville for the 2AA championship. Medford opened the playoffs with a 27-13 win at St. Clair/Loyola October 22. The Tigers last section finals appearance was in 2006 when they lost the Rushford-Peterson.

In Saturday's game, Medford befitted from a Maple River fumble on their first play from scrimmage. The Tigers drove the ball inside the five yard line but had to settle for a 24-yard field goal on Jacob Andrews for a 3-0 lead.

Medford went ahead 10-0 after an 80-yard drive that included a mix of long Willie VonRuden runs and passes. Maple River scored a pair of second quarter touchdowns, surrounding a VonRuden-to-Kael Hermanstorfer scoring strike. Medford led 17-14 at the half.

The teams traded third and fourth quarter touchdowns back and forth. Medford went up by ten points a couple of times only to see the Eagles respond with a score. Maple Rivers' Ochsendorf had three touchdown passes. VonRuden ran in two scores for the Tigers. He also threw a pair of TD passes, the second one to Josiah Hedensten, who had another big game on both sides of the ball.

Two of Medford's touchdown drives included a fourth-down-and-short conversion.

VonRuden left the game late in the fourth quarter due to a lower body injury. He returned to the field but was noticeably limping on the final drive.



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