It’s hard to believe that we’re entering the closing stretch of the Minnesota high school football season.
There are just three weeks left for teams keep their undefeated seasons going, earn the rights for home playoff games or get the positive momentum going before the postseason starts. When the playoffs start, there are no guarantees and the regular season becomes meaningless.
There are no shortage of great games featuring quality opponents this week. We’re in October, which means it’s time to replace the shorts and sunglasses for blankets and hot chocolate. Here are this week’s top games.
Minneapolis Patrick Henry (4-1) at Mound Westonka (5-0)
There’s a big game in the west Twin Cities metro Friday night as Mound-Westonka, unbeaten and ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, hosts Minneapolis Patrick Henry. The Patriots are 4-1 themselves and looking to hand the White Hawks their first loss of the season. They are two of the top teams in the Red Division of the Twin City District. It’s our Featured Game for WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally.
Mound Westonka is unbeaten this largely due to its defense. Since beating St. Anthony Village 21-7 in its season opener, the White Hawks haven’t allowed more than seven points per game in their last four victories. They’ve out-scored opponents 149-20 in their last three games. The White Hawks are led by quarterback Brennen Boroughs, who is passing for about 110 yards per game. He’s also efficient as 10 of his 27 completions on the year have gone for touchdowns. Running backs Isaiah Cherrier and Conner Clark are combining for more than 130 yards per game and nine touchdowns on the season.
Patrick Henry won four straight to start the season and now must find a way to bounce back from their first loss, 22-21, to Columbia Heights last week. As a team, the Patriots are rushing for more than 250 yards per game, and it’s an attack that’s led by Haeveon Wesley’s 101 yards per game and three touchdowns. Javien Versey is rushing for about 85 yards per game and has seven touchdowns. Quarterback Todd Johnson has five passing touchdowns on the year.
It looks like a great match-up on paper, and Patrick Henry will be seeking some revenge after a 28-6 loss to Mound Westonka last year.
Spring Lake Park (5-0) at Armstrong (3-2)
Spring Lake Park is unbeaten at 5-0, ranked No. 3 in Class 5A and has been nothing short of dominant since a close 21-14 win over Chaska to start the season. What’s followed are four victories that have each come by at least 21 points. The Panthers will get a big test Friday as they head to Armstrong to face the 3-2 Falcons.
When the two teams met last year, Spring Lake Park rallied with 14 straight points in the fourth quarter to beat Armstrong, 28-23. Panthers quarterback Zach Ojile is their leader with nearly 800 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in five games.
Armstrong has won two straight since a tough 16-14 loss to their Robbinsdale rivals, Cooper. The Falcons bounced back with wins over Park Center and Irondale. They are led by quarterback Nic Svensson, a threat to run and throw. He leads the Falcons with 305 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. Through the air, he has 572 yards and three touchdowns.
It’s a big game for both teams, but it might make a bigger statement for Armstrong if it can defend its home turf with a victory.
Rogers (4-1) at Elk River (5-0)
It’s a huge game for both teams Friday night as Elk River, 5-0 and the No. 1-ranked team in Class 5A, hosts Rogers. The Elks are on a roll. After shutting out two of their first three opponents, they thumped previous No. 1-ranked St. Michael-Albertville 43-6 in Week 4, then crushed Buffalo 63-21 last week. The Royals have won two straight since a loss to their rival, STMA, in Week 3. Both were shutouts as they beat Buffalo 36-0 and St. Francis 21-0. Both teams play great defense and run the ball, so it will come down to who wins the line of scrimmage. Last year, Rogers knocked off Elk River 19-13.
Chanhassen (5-0) at Chaska (3-2)
Carver County bragging rights are on the line Friday night as unbeaten and No. 5-ranked Chanhassen heads to Chaska in a battle of rivals. The Storm has no shortage of weapons on offense. They’ve scored at least 47 points in four of their five victories. Quarterback Alex Spillum has thrown for 603 yards and eight touchdowns in five games. He’s also their leading rusher at 119 yards per game and seven touchdowns. Eddie Odanga has nine rushing touchdowns on the season. If their dominant stretch isn’t enough motivation, Chanhassen has a four-game losing streak against Chaska.
Chaska bounced back from a 14-13 loss at Waconia two weeks ago with a 21-14 win at Holy Angels last Friday. The Hawks are led by quarterback Alex Strazzanti, who has 498 passing yards, nearly 600 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns on the season.
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.