The old adage is if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. The Hutchinson Tigers aren’t flashy. Trick plays are far and few between. They line up their best 11 players and go.

And for the sixth time in seven Prep Bowl appearances, the Tigers walked off the field as state champions. Like in back-to-back Class AAAA titles in 2012 and 2013, the performance could be classified as dominating.

Hutchinson ran the ball 55 times for 423 yards. An average of 7.7 yards per carry. That makes it pretty hard to stop. The Tigers were stopped on just one drive during a 42-14 championship win over Kasson-Mantorville Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis.

“As soon as we started practice back in June I think it was, the coaches were telling us ‘you’re a championship team,’” Hutchinson senior Sam Rensch said. “I think we always stuck to that mentality and we had confidence in ourselves.”

Hutchinson scored slow and steady, like an 11-play, 69-yard second-quarter drive, and they scored on big plays like a 90-yard touchdown run that was only two yards shy of a Prep Bowl record set by former Tiger Robbie Grimsley nearly a decade ago.

“You always say you are, but as the season goes on you start to gain confidence and believe,” Hutchinson coach Andy Rostberg said. “Early in the year we weren’t the same team we were tonight. We had kids in a lot of different positions and we finally found the positions they were going to be successful in.”

“For a team that can’t kick, can’t throw much, we’re not bad after that,” he added. “We can kind of rumble on you a little bit. We like to do that, and our kids like to do that.”

The Tigers won the line of scrimmage. Something they did often this season, posting a 12-1 record; their only loss in week four to state semifinalist Becker.

First it was 369 yards and five rushing touchdowns in a 40-0 state quarterfinal win over Simley.

The next week it was 333 yards and four running scores in a 36-6 state semifinal win over Orono.

Hutchinson saved the best for last. There was Mitchell Piehl for 128 yards on five rushes including a 90-yard score on a counter run that put the Tigers up 20-0 in the second quarter. Alex Elliott, the state tournament star, rushed for 125 yards and two scores. AJ Ladwig also scored twice with 77 yards, while quarterback Colin Nagel gained 84 yards, capping the scoring in the fourth quarter.

“They were dynamic,” Kasson-Mantorville two-way captain Kellen Wilke said. “They were fast and physical. You’re getting hit play after play. And you’re getting hit hard play after play.”

“It’s tough to simulate that when you haven’t seen it. Maybe we saw one team that was that big and stuff,” KoMets head coach Joel Swanson said. “We had a guy on the edge and they started to hit us between the tackles pretty well. We’d adjust in, and then they’d hit us out. We’d adjust out and then they’d hit us in. Great play-calling. You never know how fast someone is going to be until you play them.”

“We know we have a responsibility not just for ourselves, but for each other,” Hutchinson senior lineman Max Einck said. “It’s just a brotherhood. We feed off each other. It’s easy to play when you’re not playing for yourself, we always say.”

Alex Elliott, in the backfield after an injury to Levi Teetzel in the state quarterfinals, rushed for 341 yards and five touchdowns in three state tournament games. After carrying the ball just 14 times between week four and the section championship, Elliott’s play was a huge lift for the Tigers.

“I’m super, super proud of him,” big brother Aaron Elliott, a senior, said. “I knew he could do it. I knew he wanted to do it forever.”

Stopping Kasson-Mantorville on its opening drive, Hutchinson went right to work on the ground, running the ball out of a shotgun look versus the more traditional wishbone or power-I formations. Nagel had designed runs of 12 and 14 yards, while Elliott’s burst to the right, a cutback to the middle, produced a 40-yard score for a 6-0 lead.

Hutchinson’s second drive resulted in a Ladwig two-yard plunge on the opening play of the second quarter. The first of three Nagel conversion runs extended the advantage to 14-0.

If Kasson-Mantorville, a week after upsetting top-ranked Becker, was going to contend with Hutchinson, it needed swings in momentum. The first came in a long kick-off return, the ball spotted at the 6-yard line after a penalty.

The KoMets’ drive lasted all of one play. An unforced error, a fumble from the quarterback, recovered by the Tigers’ Logan Hoppe. A 90-yard run by Piehl two plays later had Hutchinson back in control at 20-0.

A fourth-down conversion, a nine-yard pass from Nagel to Charlie Renner, was the key play in a late first-half drive that seemed to put the game away at 28-7 on a 12-yard score from Elliott.

“That’s our mentality. Throw haymakers and see who gets bloody at the end of the day,” Einck said.

Ladwig and Nagel each added short rushing scores in the second half for the Tigers.

Rostberg knows what it is like to be a quarterback in the Hutchinson system. He was at the helm in back-to-back state championship wins in 1983 and 1984.

“Colin has been with us for a long time. He was a tight end early in his career, then we moved him to quarterback,” Rostberg said. “It’s not easy being a quarterback for Hutchinson. I’m not easy on him. I expect a lot out of him. He saved his best game for his last game.”

Rostberg, the offensive coordinator during the 1998 championship season, taking over the head coach role one year later, has now matched his father, Grady, with three Prep Bowl wins. Andy said having his dad on the head set, right there with him, meant the most.

“He’s our hugger and high-fiver,” Andy said of his dad, now 82. “He comes down and tells stories, visits with the kids. I get more joy watching him.”

Rostberg hit 200 career wins earlier this season, giving the Rostbergs a combined record of 483-137-1.

“I wanted them to experience what I experienced,” Andy said. “I wanted to sit back in a chair and watch them smile and watch them hug each other. We told everybody there is going to be tears in that locker room no matter what the outcome was. That’s the big thing for me, to watch them experience it and know that it’s forever now. They’re state champions.”

Hutchinson 42, Kasson-M 14 (Nov. 26)

Kasson-M … 0 7 7 0

Hutchinson … 6 22 8 6

First Quarter

H—Alex Elliott 40 run (pass fail)

Second Quarter

H—AJ Ladwig 2 run (Colin Nagel run)

H—Mitchell Piehl 90 run (pass fail)

K—Donovan 30 run (Donovan kick)

H—Alex Elliott 12 run (Nagel run)

Third Quarter

H—Ladwig 2 run (Nagel run)

K—Moe-Tucker 14 run (Donovan kick)

Fourth Quarter

H—Nagel 2 run (pass fail)

Team stats

Rushing — Hutch: 55-423; KM: 44-228

Passing yards — Hutch: 2-30; KM: 2-27

Total offense — Hutch: 453; KM: 255

Individual stats

Passing: Nagel 2/2-30-0-0; Sam Rensch 0/1-0-0-1

Receiving: Rensch 1-21, Charles Renner 1-9

Rushing: Piehl 5-128, Alex Elliott 15-125, Nagel 12-84, Ladwig 17-77, Levi Teetzel 5-11

Tackles: Rensch 11, Logan Hoppe 9, Dylan Wigern 7, Piehl 6, Alex Elliott 5, Grant Ketcher 5, Charles Renner 4, Kyle Schumann 4, Aaron Elliott 3, Andrew Ladwig 2, Riley Gill 2, Andrew Prieve 1, Devon Verhasselt 1

Interceptions: Piehl 1