Golden Gophers capture championship

The fourth-grade Minnesota Golden Gophers recently completed their championship run to capture the top spot overall in the Newport Mesa Friday Night Lights flag football league.

The team finished the regular season with a 7-2 record and then won four games on the way to capturing the championship. The Golden Gophers beat out 33 other teams to gain the top spot in the third- and fourth-grade division.

In the semifinal game, the team beat a scrappy N.Y. Giants team, 27-13. The Gophers scored first on a touchdown pass from Brandon Kincaid to Michael Gurka to take a 7-0 lead.

After the Giants scored, Kincaid hit Braeden Kassouf on a short touchdown throw to put the Gophers up, 13-7.

On their next drive, Luke O'Neil made a spectacular catch off a tipped ball in the end zone to put the Gophers up, 20-7.

On the play before, Kincaid hit James Allemann for a big gain to set up the touchdown.

After the Giants scored again, Kincaid took a handoff from Gurka and ran it the entire length of the field for a touchdown to put the game away. The defense was paced by a key interception by Cole McKibbin and great flag pulling by Allemann, Kassouf, Kevin Forbath and Ben Ciano.

In the finals, the Golden Gophers team beat a Notre Dame team that had only lost once all year. The Gophers dug themselves a deep hole trailing the Irish, 19-0, early in the third quarter. And that is when the comeback started.

The Gophers got the momentum going with a short throw from Kincaid to Ciano, who then took it the distance for a long touchdown catch to cut the lead to 19-6.

On the very next possession for Notre Dame, Kincaid picked off a pass and ran it back for a touchdown to cut the lead to 19-13.

After forcing another three-and-out, Kincaid then hit O'Neil on a long pass down the sidelines for the go-ahead score.

The comeback was complete but the game was far from over. Early in the fourth quarter the Fighting Irish drove the length of the field and scored with about five minutes left in the game to take a 25-20 lead.

Not wanting to lose after a great comeback, the Gophers started their march down the field for the game-winning score. With just over a minute left in the game, Kincaid hit Forbath for the game-winning touchdown pass to put the Gophers up, 26-25.

The Gophers defense rallied to preserve the victory led by Gurka, McKibbin and Kincaid.

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