There are just two weeks left in the regular season for high school football, and things are heating up as teams pursue district championships and home playoff games.
It’s a crucial last two weeks for prep football teams. After play is over Friday night, there won’t be much time to prepare for Week 8 with most games being played next Wednesday. Practices tend to be a little lighter physically, and there’s more time game planning and watch film.
But this week, it’s all about being ready for Friday night with several big games across the state. Here are four of the top match-ups around the Twin Cities.
Mahtomedi (6-0) at Park Cottage Grove (5-1)
Park of Cottage Grove isn’t the typical big rival of Mahtomedi, but it’s a huge game when a district title is potentially at stake. That’s the case Friday night as Park of Cottage Grove will host Mahtomedi, which is unbeaten and ranked No. 4 in Class 5A. The Zephyrs currently share the lead in the East Metro Red Division. The Wolfpack are right behind at 5-1. It’s our Featured Game for WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally.
The Zephyrs are winning this year with one of the better defenses in the state. They’ve held opponents in single digits three time this year and are allowing, on average, a little more than 10 points per game. And when they have the ball, they’ve been able to get to the end zone frequently. Mahtomedi has scored at least 31 points in five of their six victories. The Zephyrs rush for about 250 yards per game, and it’s an attack led by Jalen Frye and T.J. Tumbleson. Frye is running for 148 yards per game and has eight touchdowns, while Tumbleson averages about 67 yards per game and has 10 touchdowns.
Mahtomedi’s defense will be tested by a Park offense that’s been putting up big numbers all season. The Wolfpack have won four straight since a Week 2 loss at South St. Paul, and they’ve at least 27 points in every game this season. They’re about as balanced as a high school offense can be, passing for 243 yards per game and rushing for 213. It’s on offense led by dual threat quarterback Brandon Alt, who has 15 passing touchdowns on the season. He’s also rushing for 67 yards per game with nine rushing touchdowns. Lucas Liljedahl is averaging nearly 93 yards rushing per game with six touchdowns.
The Zephyrs are looking to avenge a 42-14 loss to the Wolfpack last season. It’s a classic match-up on paper, and it’s a huge game for both teams.
Burnsville (5-1) at Rosemount (5-1)
There is a huge game in the south Twin Cities metro Friday night between a pair of teams with only one loss. Rosemount, ranked No. 4 in Class 6A, hosts No. 7-ranked Burnsville. The Irish will be playing angry after an inexplicable loss to Farmington last week, just the second win of the year for the Tigers. Rosemount will look to run the ball with Cody Hogan, Alec Schimmel and Connor Kleiber each having five rushing touchdowns on the season. Quarterback Blake Tamminem throws for about 98 yards per game and has five passing touchdowns.
The Blaze have won three straight since a Week 2 loss at Lakeville North. Burnsville is led by running back Jackson Martens, who is rushing for 103 yards per game and has seven touchdowns.
Totino-Grace (6-0) at Centennial (3-3)
Totino-Grace, unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in Class 6A, heads into a hostile environment Friday night as they travel to face former North Suburban Conference rival Centennial. The Eagles have won six straight games since coming up short in last year’s Prep Bowl. Quarterback Kyle Halverson is passing for 123 yards per game with six touchdowns. Gayflor Flomo and Ivan Burlak share the rushing duties with a combined 160 yards rushing per game and 12 touchdowns on the season.
Centennial had lost three of its last four games, but beat defending state champion Osseo last week 35-23. The Cougars are led by running back Riley Trettel, who is rushing for 100 yards per game with seven touchdowns.
Lakeville North (6-0) at Apple Valley (4-2)
It’s a big game for both teams in the south Twin cities metro Friday night as Apple Valley hosts Lakeville North, the No. 2-ranked team in Class 6A. The Panthers are led by running back Wade Sullivan, who rushes for 155 yards per game and has 20 touchdowns on the season. Quarterback Reed Smith is passing for about 130 yards per game and has six touchdowns. The Panthers also feature a stingy defense as they’ve allowed single digits in points in four of their six wins.
The Eagles have won two straight since a Week 4 loss at Burnsville. They’re led by quarterback Noah Sanders, who is throwing for nearly 210 yards per game and has 14 passing 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.