Updated: 11/16/2013 11:29 PM KSTP.com By: Chris Long
Brainerd and Chaska captains shake hands prior to the Class 5A State Football Semifinal at the Metrodome
In his 52nd season as a high school football coach - Ron Stolski and his Brainerd Warriors are Prep Bowl bound for the first time.
Despite being outgained 477-81 Stolski's Brainerd squad held on in a hard-fought Class 5A Semifinal win over Chaska by a 20-19 final score.
Stolski, who is in his 39th season at Brainerd, was one of the coaches who helped spark the concept of the Prep Bowl in the early 1980's.
No coach in the state has been at his post longer than Stolski. None have more wins, either. Stolski's 355 career wins are the most for a coach in Minnesota's prep football history.
Neck-and-neck the entire game, Chaska had a chance to take a 2-point lead with 5 minutes to go, but a 27-yard field goal attempt sailed wide.
Chaska had also missed an extra point and two-point conversion try earlier in the game.
Those miscues came back to haunt when Brainerd's Connor Gessell ran in a 41-yard touchdown put Brainerd up 20-19 mid third-quarter, and that's how it ended.
The reward for Brainerd? Their first-ever State Championship appearance which comes in two weeks against Owatonna.