The 2010 Minnesota state high school football tournament kicks off across the state Friday. All the hard work, captain's practices, weight room sessions and long practice sessions have paid off for the 48 remaining teams dreaming of a state title. For many players this is their first trip to the state tournament for others, its a return to complete some unfinished business. Click here to view MaxPreps' Minnesota football playoff brackets.
There are a total of 24 teams that competed in the 2009 state tournament, including 18 with undefeated records. Three teams are back to defend state titles - Minneota
(A), Totino-Grace (Fridley)
(AAAA) and Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul)
Quarterfinal action begins this weekend with semifinal and finals action moving indoors to the Metrodome in Minneapolis Nov. 19 and 20. It all culminates with the annual Prep Bowl, which will be played Nov. 26 and Nov. 27 at the Metrodome.
Here is some news, notes, statistics and things to watch heading into this year's state tournament:CLASS AAAAA
Five 2009 state qualifers return, including state champion Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul)
Despite the loss of the nation's top recruit, Seantrel Henderson, and a
Division I -caliber quarterback who is now playing Division I college
hockey - Mark Alt - the Raiders keep on rolling. Quarterback Kevin Miley
, a junior, enters the state tournament with 1,737 yards passing and 23 touchdowns. Running back Andre Hunt
leads the team with 1,147 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Taylor Montero
(38 catches, 764 yards, eight touchdowns) and Brian Smith
(29/425/9) lead a talented receiving corps.
The Raiders face a familiar foe in the quarterfinals, Suburban East Conference rival Mounds View (Arden Hills)
, a team they defeated 17-7 on Oct. 15. The Mustangs also qualified for the state tournament last year, as did Eden Prairie
, Blaine and Wayzata (Plymouth)
quarterback Eric Kline
who has more than 3,000 combined rushing and passing yards, is the most
electrifying player in the big school field. He will lead the Bengals
against top-ranked Wayzata Friday in Osseo.
are many familiar teams back in the AAAA field, as seven teams that
qualified in 2009 are back, including defending state champion Totino
Grace. The others are Rogers
, St. Thomas Academy (Mendota Heights)
and Mankato West
St. Thomas Academy is the state's top-ranked team. The Cadets will play
Northfield of the Missota Conference Friday at Lakeville North High
Mankato West, the state's second-ranked team, will play
Mahtomedi Friday at Chanhassen High School. West (10-0) is led by the
passing of quarterback Phillip Nelson
, wide receiver Nick Kaus
and running back/wing Drew Weber
. Quarterback Dan Ferrazzo
leads a balanced Mahtomedi team back to the state tournament.
and Glencoe-Silver Lake
are the only two teams back from the 2009 AAA field.
DeLaSalle lost its first game of the season and has since rattled off 11
straight wins. The Islanders are led by the most electrifying player in
the state tournament in running back Reggie Gandy
Gandy, who is being recruited by several Division I schools, has 2,606
yards rushing and 33 touchdowns on the season. However, he was held to
his lowest total of the season in a 16-14 section final win over St.
Paul Johnson on Nov. 5, when he rushed 18 times for 51 yards and didn't
score a touchdown. DeLaSalle plays LeSeuer-Henderson Saturday at 6 p.m.
at Farmington High School.
is making its first state tournament appearance after a 24-19 win over Virginia in the 7AAA championship game. Sam Johnson
rushed 32 times for 104 yards in that win.
Four teams - Luverne
, Moose Lake/Willow River
and Eden Valley-Watkins
- return from the 2009 tournament. Maple Lake
, meanwhile, is making its first state tournament appearance, and is led by the passing of quarterback Cameron Knudsen
, the rushing of Jesse Puncochar
and receiving of Mitch Wurm
and Brian Redemske
Defending state champion Minneota is back seeking its fifth state title - and back in a big way. The Vikings, who play Barnum
Saturday, lead Class A in scoring offense (49.5 points per game) and
are second in defense (6.2 ppg). It will be a big challenge for a Barnum
team led by the smash and dash running tandem of 6-1, 210-pound Josh Hogan
(1,600 rushing yards), and 5-6, 150-pound Hector Chavez
(1,142 rushing yards).Adrian
, the 2009 state runner-up, returns and faces Goodhue
which is making its eighth state tournament appearance but first since
2007. Goodhue advanced to the state tournament with a 28-13 win over
Blooming Prairie in the Section 1A championship game. Jared Dicke rushed
for a school single-game record 305 yards and scored three touchdowns
in that win.
are all back this year - and are all undefeated. Edgerton/Ellsworth
(11-0) is making its first-ever appearance in the state tournament as a combined program. Edgerton did qualify for the state tournament in 2004, 2005 and 2006, but this is the first time ever players from Ellsworth have qualified for the state tournament. Edgerton/Ellsworth plays Lanesboro
in their state quarterfinal game and is led by senior Jordan Gunnink. Gunnink rushed 17 times for 100 yards and had three catches for 99 yards - including a 79-yard touchdown reception in a 22-16 win over Wheaton in the 9-man, Section 3 championship game.