What a difference a couple of months can make. Throughout September, Cannon Falls, and the rest of Minnesota for that matter, was under the impression it would be playing its football season in the spring.
Then, the Minnesota State High School League reversed course and approved the football and volleyball seasons to begin play in the fall.
Just two weeks into the announcement football was coming back and with only one week of practice, the Bombers hosted Pine Island for its first game of the year. Cannon Falls won that game by nine points. They wouldn’t lose a game the rest of the way and the closest game was won by 20 points — which happened twice, one against Stewartville the other against Plainview-Elgin-Millville.
Not only did Cannon Falls finish the season undefeated for the first time in school history, the Bombers also won a section title for the third consecutive year. Just as impressive, of their seven wins, two were against top-10 Class AAA teams. Going one step further, five of their seven wins were against teams in the top 20 of Class AAA. There were no easy wins for the Bombers, but they made it look easy week in and week out.
“It was really a grind. Once we got past that Lourdes game, the shot at going undefeated was real then because Lourdes was ranked second in the state at the time,” Cannon Falls head coach Dan Meyers said. “There's a couple games where we got down in the first quarter, gave up an early touchdown. But our kids, it just didn't faze them, they just came right back and scored — they led at halftime in every single game.”
For those unable to watch the Bombers this year, a quick look at the team stats gives a good indication of their dominance. The offense scored an average of 44.6 points per game (the most in Class AAA) and averaged 447.6 yards per game — a school record. The Bombers had more rushing touchdowns than pass attempts, three games with more than 500 offensive yards, and three rushers that averaged more than 7 yards per carry.
Leading the attack was senior Marcus Banks. He had 597 rushing yards, 152 receiving yards and 15 total touchdowns. Riley Keenan added 501 rushing yards, Riley Miller finished with 462 rushing yards and six touchdowns, and Carson Hammel had 442 rushing yards and five touchdowns. As a team, the Bombers ran for 2,710 yards in just seven games.
Perhaps just as impressive is that the team didn’t have one or two superstar players that carried the team. Instead, it was a collection of players that truly played each game as a single unit.
“Our effort is number one. They don't play for themselves, and they don't play for me. They don't play hard because coach Meyers says to,” Meyers said. “They really love playing football together. They just go hard every single play because they're all friends, they all care about each other.”