Bishop Heelan will play for the Class 3A state championship next week after beating Grinnell, 42-14, in the semifinals at the UNI-Dome on Thursday.
The fifth-ranked Crusaders scored the first time they had the ball when quarterback Trent Solsma found Connor Niles for a 31-yard touchdown pass.
The Crusaders turned an interception by Jimmy Fitzsimmons into another quick touchdown as Solsma dove in from a yard away to make it 14-0.
Less than five minutes into the first quarter, Heelan increased their lead to 21-0 when Solsma fired to Niles for a 26-yard touchdown.
Grinnell cut the lead to 21-7 after one quarter, but Heelan added two more scores in the second quarter. The first TD came on a 23-yard pass from Solsma to Niles followed by a 52-yard scramble by Solsma to make it 35-7 at halftime.
Solsma threw another touchdown pass in the third quarter, a 29-yard score to Philip Jacobson to make it 42-7.
Solsma completed 17 of 24 passes for 229 yards and four touchdowns. Freshman Jack Wegher ran for 123 yards on 21 carries.
"I think these kids and the coaching staff rose to the occasion," said Heelan head coach Roger Jansen. "That's a pretty quality football team (Grinnell) out there. Thank goodness we played that well, because they kept battling. We're going to strive to play the perfect one."
"We came out firing," said Solsma. "It felt good to get those points out of the way and eliminate those butterflies. I couldn't imagine a much better start than we had today."
Heelan will play either #1 Decorah or #3 Williamsburg in the 3A championship game, Thursday, November 15th at 7:00 PM.
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