Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s the fall season’s version of March Madness. The State Girls Tennis Tournament and State Soccer Tournaments are this week, and the football section playoffs are getting underway across the state.
The new Class 6A debuts with section preliminaries Friday night, and there’s some great games already on tap. It’s this time of year where we see both great joy and incredible sadness as some teams realize their goal of being state champions, while others go home disappointed.
We’ve got previews of four big football games Friday night, including High School Sports Rally’s featured match-up of Roseville at White Bear Lake. Check them out below.
Roseville (3-5) at White Bear Lake (6-2)
A pair of Suburban East Conference rivals square off in the Section 4AAAAAA quarterfinals Friday night as White Bear Lake hosts Roseville. It’s our featured game for WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally.
The two teams know each other well being conference foes, so there won’t be a whole lot of mystery between the hash marks on Friday. They faced each other in the season opener for both teams, with White Bear Lake winning a close on 13-10.
The Bears take a balanced approach to the game as they average about 106 yards a game rushing and almost 144 yards through the air. Trey Anderson leads the team in passing with four touchdowns and his favorite receiver is Beau Smit, who has 12 catches and two scores on the season. Nicholas Truen leads White Bear Lake in the run game with more than 500 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Roseville has been a very competitive squad this season despite its 3-5 record. They’re led by quarterback Jacques Perra, who has more than 1,600 yards passing and 11 touchdowns on the season. He also has four rushing touchdowns. The Raiders play a running back by committee with three backs who have at least 30 carries on the season. Matthew Peckham leads that corps with 347 yards and five touchdowns.
Roseville will come in hungry to avenge the early season loss, but I think White Bear Lake has the edge playing at home. I’ll take the Bears in a game that will probably be as close as the season opener was.
Woodbury (3-5) at Cretin-Derham Hall (6-2)
On the other side of the Section 4AAAAAA bracket, Cretin-Derham Hall will host Woodbury in another match-up of Suburban East Conference foes. The Raiders have a four game win streak going to end the regular season, which includes a 48-20 win over the Royals on Oct. 12. The game will be played under the lights at the University of St. Thomas. The Raiders have won three of their four home games this year, and I see no reason why that trend won’t continue. I’ll take Cretin-Derham Hall by a touchdown.
Anoka (3-5) at Osseo (5-3)
It’s been a frustrating year for Anoka, who is usually one of the most competitive teams in the northwest metro. Osseo comes in 5-3 after forfeiting two wins and hosts the Tornadoes Friday night in the Section 5AAAAAA playoffs. The two teams did not meet during the regular season, but I know Osseo is hungry to reach its goal of making the state playoffs. They have the athletes to get there, and it starts with a win over Anoka. I’ll take the Orioles and their fast run game to run over the Tornadoes.
Eagan (1-7) at Lakeville North (7-1)
It looks like an easy win on paper for Lakeville North, but we play the game for a reason. The Panthers, ranked No. 4 in 6A, host 1-7 Eagan in the Section 3 playoffs Friday night. When the two teams met in the regular season, the Panthers rolled to a 49-0 win. Lakeville North hasn’t allowed a point in two straight games and has only allowed seven in its last three. Defense wins championships, and playing at home also helps. I’ll take the Panthers to beat the Wildcats by at least 10.
State Soccer Tournament Begins
The Boys State Soccer Tournament starts Thursday and Friday night with Class A action at Hopkins and Roseville, and Class AA action is Thursday night at Park Cottage Grove and St. Cloud State. Champlin Park, Stillwater, Eastview, Minneapolis South and Bloomington Jefferson are the top five seeds. The Rebels are 16-0-1, and the tournament is theirs to lose.
There’s some controversy surrounding the Class A tournament, where Prairie Seeds Academy is the No. 2 seed. They got involved in a rather large brawl at the end of their section championship win over Totino-Grace. The Minnesota State High School League investigated the incident and ended up disqualifying Prairie Seeds Academy from the tournament, but not for anything to do with the brawl. During the investigation, league officials received word that one of their players had been playing while ineligible after transferring in this fall and not filing the proper paperwork with league officials.
Duluth Marshall, who is expected to face Prairie Seeds in the quarterfinals, has been told by league officials to move forward with the expectation that they’ll play Friday in the quarterfinals. Prairie Seeds may file an appeal with the league, so stay tuned. In the bracket, St. Paul Academy, Prairie Seeds Academy, Rochester Lourdes, St. Paul Como Park and St. Cathedral are the top five seeds. Three teams haven’t lost, and another team only has one loss, so it should be a fun tournament.
On the girls side, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Blake School, Totino-Grace, South St. Paul and Kasson-Mantorville are the top five seeds in Class A. It appears to be the Red Knights’ tournament to lose as they enter with an 18-0-1 record. In Class AA, Lakeville North, White Bear Lake, Wayzata and Blaine are still standing after the quarterfinals. Look for Lakeville North and Wayzata to meet in what would be a fantastic state championship match-up.
Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally at about 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max, Frank Vascellaro and John Lauritsen will have all the action covered.