Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s the time of year that all high school football fans, love: It’s the playoffs.
This is the time of the season where the team leaders come out and make the plays that help their team win big games. There’s that much more pressure to perform, knowing that if you miss that key tackle or fumble away a potential scoring opportunity, the season could be over.
For the final time this season, every team in the state was in action Tuesday night other than the top seeds in sections that had first-round byes.
There were plenty of players who had big nights in big victories, and we could only choose four. Here’s our best of the best from the opening round of playoff action:
Maple Grove senior leads Crimson past STMA
After a shaky 3-5 regular season, senior Roman Collins embraced what football is all about Tuesday night as Maple Grove shut out St. Michael-Albertville 36-0 in the Section 5AAAAA playoffs. Collins had three touchdowns on the night, including runs of 57 and 24 yards. He also returned his own blocked punt 15 yards for a touchdown and had an interception that stopped an STMA scoring drive deep in the Crimson zone. Maple Grove advances to face rival Osseo on Saturday in the section semifinals.
Eagan RB Runs Over Minneapolis South
Drew Bauer is usually the name to remember on the Eagan football team this year, but Tuesday night a senior running back made a name for himself as the Wildcats shut out Minneapolis South in the Section 4AAAAA playoffs. Michael Busch had 14 carries for 76 yards and four touchdowns, all in the first half, as Eagan rolled to a 50-0 win over the Tigers. The Wildcats will face Woodbury Saturday night in the section semifinals.
Minnehaha QB leads team to comeback victory
The Minnehaha Academy football team knew not to give up when it found itself down 20-0 to St. Paul Johnson in the Section 4AAA quarterfinals Tuesday night. Junior quarterback Bjorn Halverson ran for scores of 1 and 7 yards and also threw for another touchdown as the Redhawks came back to beat the Governors 28-20. Minnehaha Academy advances to play St. Croix Lutheran, the No. 1 team in Class AAA, on Saturday.
Freshman kicker clutch as Edina edges Hopkins
Patrick LeCorre likely woke up Wednesday morning with a few bruises after being mobbed by his teammates after Edina beat Hopkins 38-35 in the Section 6AAAAA playoffs. LeCorre, just a freshman who wasn’t even on the football team at the start of the season, kicked a 36-yard field goal with less than four seconds left in regulation to lift the Hornets to the victory. Edina moves on to face Eden Prairie, the No. 2-ranked team in Class 5A, Saturday night.
Extras: Michael Roane’s performance can’t go unnoticed as Holy Family Catholic shut out Jordan 42-0 in the Section 2AAA playoffs Tuesday night. Roane ran for 175 yards and two touchdowns and also threw for 100 yards and a touchdown, but that’s just scratching the surface. He made seven tackles on defense, kicked two extra points and also had a 65-yard kick that went for a touchback. Holy Family, the top seed in that section, hosts Waseca Saturday afternoon.