MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The match-ups are set for the Prep Bowl, where high school football teams leave the Metrodome as state champions or get so close and have it go wrong in one game.
Now all high school football fans can do is wait a week as state championship games in all seven classes will be played the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. This week, the two teams left in each class will watch plenty of film, study the opponents and hit the weight room. Most of all, players who had any injuries in the semifinal round can take a week to heal up before the biggest game of their lives thus far.
We’ll preview the Prep Bowl match-ups next week, but this week we’ll take a look at each class and how the two teams got there. There are three teams next week who have a chance to repeat as state champions.
Class 6A: Eden Prairie, Rosemount Meet for Title
Eden Prairie has had little trouble with its opponents most of the season, but the Eagles toughest test yet might be for the 6A state title next week. They face Rosemount, who lost in the semifinals to Lakeville North last year. Eden Prairie beat that Lakeville North quad in the Prep Bowl last year.
The Eagles have scored in bunches this year. They’ve scored less than 30 points just once this season and have scored at least 40 in their last three wins. Eden Prairie is back in the Prep Bowl after beating Lakeville North 42-14 in the quarterfinals and Totino-Grace 47-22 in the semifinals. The Eagles pound it on the ground as Anthony Anderson and Dan Fisher are each averaging more than 100 yards rushing and have combined for seven touchdowns in the state tournament.
The Irish have won 11 straight since losing their season opener in overtime to Wayzata. Rosemount is in the Prep Bowl after beating Eastview 38-7 in the quarterfinals and Roseville 35-28 last weekend. The Irish are led by Tyrek Cross’s 81 yards per game and two scores in the state tournament. Quarterback Jackson Erdmann is averaging 123.5 passing yards per game and has two touchdowns in the state playoffs.
Class 5A: Unbeatens in Brainerd, Owatonna Clash for Title
One team will leave the Metrodome with an undefeated season as a pair of 10-0 teams in Brainerd and Owatonna meet for the Class 5A Prep Bowl.
The Warriors are in the Prep Bowl after beating Henry Sibley 35-7 and knocking off previously undefeated Chaska 20-19. Conor Gesell is Brainerd’s leading rusher and had 81 yards with a touchdown in their semifinal win.
The Huskies used a stifling defensive approach to beat Apple Valley 32-0 and St. Michael-Albertville 27-7. That unit is led by defensive lineman Andrew Stelter, who is committed to play football for the Gophers. Owatonna has not allowed more than 26 points in a single game this year and has shut out four opponents on the way to a 12-0 season.
Class 4A: Holy Angels, Hutchinson Meet at the Dome
It’s a classic David versus Goliath match-up for the Class 4A Prep Bowl next week as Hutchinson and Holy Angels will meet in the Class 4A Prep Bowl.
Hutchinson is looking for its second straight state championship as well as another undefeated season. The Tigers have won 25 straight games since falling to Mankato West two years ago in a section championship. They win with tough defense and a dominant run game, led by Tory Adams, who is averaging 139 yards per game in the state playoffs and has two touchdowns. Hutchinson is in the Prep Bowl after beating South St. Paul 48-28 and Delano 35-9.
Holy Angels is the surprise of the state tournament after finishing the regular season with five losses. The Stars are in the Prep Bowl after beating Kasson-Mantorville 21-14 and DeLaSalle 32-21. The Stars are led by the running back duo of Connor Moriarty (122 yards per game) and Connor McCarthy (84 yards per game, 2 TDs) so far in the state playoffs.
Class 3A: St. Croix Lutheran, New London-Spicer Meet in 3A
A pair of traditional powers meet for the Class 3A state championship next week when St. Croix Lutheran faces New-London Spicer.
The Crusaders escaped the quarterfinals with a 38-35 win over Glencoe-Silver Lake, and then needed only a field goal to beat Proctor 3-0 in the semifinals. They run the ball with a variety of options and aim to beat you at the line of scrimmage.
New London-Spicer is in the Prep Bowl after beating Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 56-30 in the quarterfinals and beating Rochester Lourdes 36-16. Many had pegged Lourdes to win the 3A title. The Wildcats are led by Adam Essler, who is averaging 178 rushing yards in the state playoffs and has five rushing touchdowns.
Class 2A: Minneota Gets Chatfield for Prep Bowl
Minneota is looking to complete an undefeated season with a state championship next week, but the Vikings will have to get past Chatfield to do it.
Minneota is in the 2A Prep Bowl after beating Moose Lake-Willow River 31-20 and Maple Lake 50-24.
Chatfield has won 12 straight since losing its season opener and got to the Prep Bowl by beating Jackson County Central 32-6 and Hawley 41-21. The Gophers have scored at least 30 points in all but three of their victories.
Class A: Mahnomen Looks to Defend Title
Mahnomen is looking to complete a perfect season next week as it faces a Class A powerhouse in Dawson-Boyd at the Prep Bowl.
The Indians have been nothing short of dominant in a 13-0 season thus far. They are in the championship game after beating Upsala/Swanville 28-12 and shutting out Bethlehem Academy 19-0. They’ve scored at least 30 points in all but two games this year, which happen to be their two state tournament wins.
Dawson-Boyd enters the Prep Bowl on an eight-game winning streak. The Blackjacks got there by beating Braham 27-8 and Sleepy Eye-St. Mary’s 27-18. They’re led by quarterback Joey Lee, who has combined for seven touchdowns in the two state tournament wins. Four of those are through the passing game.
9-Man: Grand Meadow back in Prep Bowl
Nine man football is among the most entertaining to watch in the Prep Bowl with less players than the bigger schools and a shorter field. Familiar faces are back next week as Grand Meadow faces Underwood in the Prep Bowl.
Grand Meadow has just one loss on the season. The Superlarks got to the championship by beating Mountain Lake Area 35-18 and Kittson County Central 21-7. They’ve scored at least 30 points in all but two of their victories this season.
Underwood has rallied from a rough early season stretch and got to the state playoffs by beating Verndale 13-12. The Rockets got to the Prep Bowl by beating Nicollet 34-21 and Ely 34-20.
Check back with the Prep Blog early next week as we preview the final Prep Bowl at the Metrodome.