MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – We’re in the heart of October, and the regular season in high school football wrapped up Wednesday night in crisp fall weather.
Conference titles were handed out and section seedings were earned for the playoffs, which start next Tuesday for many teams and next Saturday for those that earned first-round byes. This is when the football season gets fun. Records no longer matter, all that matters is winning.
Now teams that win get one step closer to the state tournament, while the ones that lose are left to ponder what happened this year and turn in their pads for good. This is the time of the year that made two-a-days in early fall worth every drill, every weight that was lifted and every film session.
But before we preview the playoffs, we’ll look back at who stood out in the final games of the regular season. We can only choose four standout performances, and here they are:
Lakeville South Receiver Catches 3 TDs In Win
All the talk with Lakeville South early in the season revolved around Gopher recruit and QB Mitch Leidner. The senior had a big night with 258 yards passing and give touchdowns in a 43-7 win over Burnsville, but his favorite target had a big night also. Senior receiver Matt Heller had eight catches for 173 yards and three scores in the victory. Despite finishing the year 6-2 in the powerful South Suburban Conference, the Cougars got a big of a raw deal in the playoff brackets. They’re the No. 5 seed and will travel to No. 4-seeded Rochester Mayo, who finished 6-2 in the Big Nine Conference, Oct. 25.
Shakopee QB Leads Sabers To Missota Title
For the second straight year Shakopee finished the regular season undefeated and clinched the Missota Conference championship Wednesday night. The Sabers beat Northfield 35-21 to get there and rode quarterback Zak Hoffman. The senior was a bigger threat running than throwing as he had 22 carries for 155 yards and four touchdowns. Two of those scores came in the first 12 minutes. Despite going unbeaten, Shakopee is the No. 3 seed in its bracket behind Minnetonka and Eden Prairie. The Sabers will host Chanhassen next Tuesday.
Wayzata Kicker Key in Trojans’ Victory
Kickers are the hero when a team wins at the wire and they’re the goat if a team loses after a missed field goal or extra point. Tyler Scott was on point Wednesday as he kicked three field goals for Wayzata in a 9-0 win over previously top-ranked Eden Prairie. The Trojans defense dominated a powerful Eden Prairie offense and contained one of the top running attacks in the state on the way to the victory. Wayzata (8-0) earned a first-round playoff bye in the process and will host the Champlin Park/Cooper winner a week from Saturday. Look for Wayzata and Eden Prairie to tango again before the end of the year, and it will likely be for the state championship.
Glencoe RB Runs Over Delano
All Delano had to do Wednesday night to clinch a share of the Wright County Conference title was beat Glencoe-Silver Lake on the road. That proved to be too tough a task as the Panthers overcame an early 14-0 deficit on the way to a 35-28 win over the Tigers. They did it behind the running of Tony Mizuhata, who had 31 carries for 139 yards and three scores in the victory. One of his three scores was the game-winner. Glencoe-Silver Lake (7-1) will be a tough team to beat when the playoffs start next week.
Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally Friday night for a more feature-filled show and a look ahead to the section playoffs around the state that start next Tuesday. Mike Max and Liz Collin will have it all for you.