Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s another big week in high school football across the Twin Cities as now every team has a game under their belt and tangible film to look at.
Now we’re in Week 2. Some teams are looking to build on a successful opening win, while others are hoping to celebrate their first win of the fall. Regardless of the circumstance, the last thing any program wants is an 0-2 start. That’s dangerous territory for any team that has aspirations of winning a conference title or getting to the state tournament.
There are a ton of big games around Minnesota this week as most begin conference play, but one of the biggest games in the metro is also a non-conference tilt.
Featured Game: Totino-Grace (1-0) at Edina (1-1)
Edina is one of about 20 teams in the state that has already played two games due to the “Zero Week” in high school football. The Hornets, the surprise Lake Conference champions last year, started off on Aug. 23 with a 40-0 win at Holy Angels. That was followed by a tough 21-19 loss at Blaine last Thursday.
Now they’re finally home, and the reward is a date with the defending Class 5A state champions, Totino-Grace. It’s a rivalry that’s formed recently as the two squads met in Week 2 last year, a close contest the Eagles won 15-12 in Fridley. It was the start of a perfect 13-0 season.
Totino-Grace got the fall season started last week with a 23-12 win over Coon Rapids. The Eagles have a 14-game winning streak going that dates back to 2011, when they last lost in the Prep Bowl to Eden Prairie. Totino-Grace features a fast, physical defense, and it’ll be tested by Edina’s balanced run attack. Quarterback Troy Peterson leads the team in rushing with more than 81 yards per game and four touchdowns. He is also averaging 147 passing yards through two games. Colin Ritter and Kevin Placide are also options in the run game as they have four touchdowns combined.
Totino-Grace is still developing at quarterback after A.J. LaPanta graduated. The Eagles are going to run the ball and run it frequently. They ran it 48 times for 314 yards and three touchdowns in the win against Coon Rapids. Kez Flomo and Lance Benic are the two big threats so far this year.
I expect Friday’s game to be just as close as last year’s was, but Totino-Grace seems to have a few more athletes. I’ll give the close win to the Eagles.
Hutchinson (1-0) at Glencoe-Silver Lake (1-0)
Hutchinson and Glencoe-Silver Lake has always been a great rivalry west of the Twin Cities, and now it’s even better since it has Wright County Conference implications. The Tigers are coming off a 13-0 state championship season in Class 4A, capped off by a 67-7 win over Holy Family Catholic in the Prep Bowl. The Tigers won their opener at home over Becker last week, 16-13 in overtime. The Panthers got started with a far easier 34-7 win over Holy Family Catholic last week. Glencoe-Silver Lake is also looking to avenge two losses to the Tigers last year, 35-13 in Week 2 and 24-7 in the Section 2AAAA title game. The Tigers run it down your throat and can break a big one at any time. They were led last week by Tory Adams, who ran for 105 yards and a touchdown. It’s the conference opener for both teams, and I’ll take Hutchinson in a nail-biter.
Prior Lake (1-0) at Eden Prairie (1-0)
Prior Lake has a rising star in Blake Weber who is gaining Division I football interest, and they’ll need him if they have any chance to knockoff Eden Prairie, last year’s 6A state champions. The Lakers beat Eagan last week 40-21 behind Weber’s 76 yards rushing and one touchdown. Alex Feine also had 134 yards and two scores. The Eagles dominate you at the line of scrimmage with their size and use it to run the ball. Charlie Venable ran for 116 yards and three scores last week, while Anthony Anderson and Dan Fisher each also had touchdowns. Prior Lake will keep it close early, but I expect the Eagles to pull away in the second half.
East Ridge (1-0) at Roseville (1-0)
Our featured match-up for WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally is a Suburban East Conference clash of East Ridge and Roseville. I picked East Ridge as a sleeper in the Suburban East, but I think the secret might be out on the Raptors after they opened the season with a 48-15 win over White Bear Lake. They feature a sophomore quarterback in Seth Green who already has scholarship offers from Division I schools, including the Gophers. Green passed for 168 yards and a touchdown last week, but it was Nick Leach’s 228 yards and two scores that lead East Ridge to its first win. They’ll travel to Roseville Friday night, with the winner having the early edge in the conference race. The Raiders stunned Cretin-Derham Hall, the annual Suburban East powerhouse, 15-12 last week. Roseville will be counting on quarterback Jacques Perra in this one has he passed for 182 yards and two scores in the Cretin win. It should be a great game with a lot on the line this early in the season. I’ll give Roseville the slight edge playing at home.
Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally at about 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max, Frank Vascellaro and David McCoy will have all the action covered.