The section finals across the state of Minnesota are here. Here is a look back at the players and teams that made it this far and some upcoming matchups that are sure to provide another great week of Minnesota high school football. Games take place Friday and Saturday across the state.
TROJANS TAKE CONTROL: After a first-round bye, Wayzata rebounded nicely from its season-ending 3-0 loss to Minnetonka. And they also rebounded nicely from a 7-0 first-quarter deficit against Osseo in the section semifinals (running its scoreless streak to 5 quarters), to finish with a 40-7 win and a berth in the section finals. In that win over Osseo, the Trojans did things in two. Sasha Doran threw for two touchdown passes, Chris Lindsey ran for two touchdowns and A.J. Tarpley intercepted two passes. The defending state champions look to get back to the state tournament against Champlin Park Friday in the Section 5 finals.
MOUNDS VIEW VS. STILLWATER: Stillwater defeated Mounds View 19-7 in the second game of the season. That win helped propel the Ponies to the Suburban East Conference title, while Mounds View finished third with two losses. Now, the two teams meet again in the 5A, Section 2 finals. Mounds View’s trio of Kyle Mauricio, Jerise Washington and Jordan Dornbush have ran for over 1,200 yards and 25 touchdowns to lead the Mustangs. Stillwater quarterback Miles Heller has passed for 1,226 yards and nine touchdowns, and Jesse George has run for 1,001 yards and 15 touchdowns.
NINE-MAN MATCHUP: Houston defeated Grand Meadow 23-14 in Week 4, giving the Superlarks their only loss. Friday, Grand Meadow gets a chance for revenge when it hosts Houston in the Section 1, 9-man finals. Houston is the two-time defending section champion and led by the passing of quarterback Dustin Uhlendorf (666 passing yards), and running of Tye Carrier (798 yards), Sonny Eisenhuth (613) and Chris Stackhouse (453).
SECTION 6 REMATCH: Albany (9-1) plays New London-Spicer (10-0) for the Section 6, Class 3A championship Friday at St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium. New London defeated Albany 30-0 in the section finals last season. Jake Essler, a talented passer and runner, leads the New London attack, while Albany’s run game is led by a trio of standouts, including Adam Harlander, B.J. Bueckers and Bryan Schlangen, among others.
EASTVIEW EXPLODES: Eastview defeated Bloomington Jefferson 47-6 in a 5A, Section 5 semi-final. Leading the way was Peter Burk with three touchdowns and Rex Sanders with two to lead the Lightning.
THREE TO WATCH
Sartell vs. Alexandria: The battle for the Class 4A, Section 8 championship game features two teams that are a combined 19-1. Sartell is 10-0 and Alexandria 9-1. Matt Peterson ran for 152 yards in Alexandria’s 21-7 win over Detroit Lakes in the section semifinals.
Henry Sibley vs. Cretin-Derham Hall: Sibley is led by running back Drew Shows (133 yards, three touchdowns in a section semifinal win over Woodbury), while Cretin has Seantrel Henderson, the nation’s top recruit, protecting Mark Alt. Cretin squeaked by Eagan 21-20 in the semifinals, which could give underdog Sibley confidence.
Buffalo: The Bison head to the Section 8 finals against Brainerd, led by Josh Gaughan (189 yards, 2 TDs in win over St. Cloud Tech), and a tough defense that has given up no more than 10 points in its last three games.
TWO HOT TO HANDLE
Robert Cannady, Minneapolis North: Cannady ran for 152 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries in North’s 48-20 win over Breck in the 3A, Section 5 finals.
Eric Kline, Blaine: Kline was 15-for-17 for 198 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-14 win over Anoka in the 5A, Section 7 semifinals.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
211 – The number of rushing yards St. Croix Lutheran’s Jeff Dubose ran for in a 55-8 win over Minnehaha Academy, setting up a rematch with second-ranked De La Salle in the finals of the Class 3A, Section 4 playoffs.
181 – The number of rushing yards by Champlin Park’s Brandon Marquardt in a 28-17 win over Armstrong in the 5A, Section 5 semifinals.
140 – The number of rushing yards Armstrong’s Prince Kanu ran for in the loss to Champlin Park.
4 – The number of Lake Conference teams in the sections finals: Eden Prairie, Eastview, Rosemount, Lakeville North