WACONIA -- Only once before had Willmar scored as many as 42 points and lost the game but it happened Tuesday night at Waconia.
The Cardinals just couldn't get a handle on the Wildcats trifecta of Maxx Williams, Logan Baumann and Riley Trnka who together piled up 421 of the team's 444 yards rushing.
Williams, the Wildcats' sturdy 6-4, 225-pound quarterback and sometime tailback, ran for four touchdowns and threw for another.
Williams, the son of 1988 Gophers captain and center Brian Williams, smashed through the Willmar defense for 206 yards in 20 carries, better than 10 yards per snap.
Willmar's offense also produced six touchdowns and had a 27-15 lead late in the first half and was driving for another. But Williams, also the Cats' middle linebacker, stepped in front of an Alex Grove throw and returned it to their 39. Baumann broke loose for a 59 yard TD run and the half ended 27-23.
Out of halftime, Waconia (5-4) went on a Williams' burst 31-27 but Alfred Richards' third touchdown run of the game and the kick by Kristian Suves made it 34-31, Willmar's favor again.
Williams busted through the Cardinals for two more TDs and a 45-31 lead before Grove found Patrick Courtney for the final score plus a two-point conversion pass to Dean Stier.
The game ended with the Cats taking a knee just outside the Willmar end zone.
No. 4 Waconia, who plays at No. 1 Mankato West on Saturday, outgained No. 4 Willmar 530-431. Richards rushed for 140 yards and Grove 91.
The 42 points in a losing outcome is second to the 2005 playoff loss to Mankato West at Hodapp Field by a 44-43 score.
Willmar's third-year head coach Jon Konold was defensive at West at that time.
Konold loses 13 seniors, 10 of those starters, but will return Grove for a third season behind center and four wide receivers with only top pass catcher Dean Stier graduating.
Most of the defensive leaders will be graduated, including tackle leader and punter Zech Streed returns.
Waconia 45, Willmar 42
Willmar (4-5) 7 20 7 8 -- 42
Waconia (5-4) 7 16 15 7 -- 45
Wil - Alex Grove 1 run (Kristian Suves kick)
Wac - Maxx Williams 49 run (Youri Kaufmann kick)
Wil - Alfred Richards 13 run (Suves Kick)
Wac - Wylie Ferron 22 pass from Williams (pass good)
Wil - Austin Rambow 42 pass fromGrove (run fail)
Wil - Richards 12 run (Suves kick)
Wac - Baumann 59 run (Cody Clark run)
Wac - Williams 2 run (Baumann run)
Wil - Richards 3 run (Suves kick)
Wac - Williams 13 run (Kaufmann kick)
Wac - Williams 5 run (Kaufmann kick)
Wil - Patrick Courtney 8 pass from Grove (Dean Stier pass from Grove)
First downs: 15 ... Rushing: 34-231 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 9-21-200-2 ... Fumbles lost: 0 ... Penalties: 6-45
Rushing: Alex Grove 8-91, Alfred Richards 26-140 ... Passing: Grove 9-21-200-2 ... Receiving: Austin Rambow 2-72, Dean Stier 2-46, Brandon Christianson 2-48, Zech Streed 1-23, Richards 1-13, Patrick Courtney 1-8 ... Punting: Streed 3-40.0 ... Interceptions: none ... Fumble recoveries: Seth Pollock ... Tackles (solo-assist): Brandon Zuidema 0-2, Chris Cunningham 2-2, Kyle Sokulski 1-1, Zech Streed 7-6, Alex Grove 3-3, Jordan Geurtz 3-7 (1 tfl, forced fumble), Seth Pollock 5-6, Esai Flores 1-4, Mitch Johannes 3-8, Josh Kelly 1-2, Bryce Enstad 4-5, Kenny Pachke 0-5, Leon Richards 2-2, Matt Cordes 1-1, Kristof Jensen 1-1 ... QB sacks: none
First downs: 15 ... Rushing: 52-444 ... Passing (com-att-yds-int.): 2-8-86-0 ... Fumbles lost: 1 ... Penalties: 6-45
Rushing: Maxx Williams 20-206, Logan Baumann 17-99, Riley Trnka 11-116, Ryan Mattson 4-23... Passing: Williams 2-8-86-0 ... Receiving: Wylie Ferron 1-22, Tommy Gove 1-64 ... Punting: Williams 5-28-2 ... Interceptions: Williams, Gove ... Fumble recoveries: none