It should be a playoff-like atmosphere in St. Paul Saturday when No. 18-ranked St. Thomas hosts No. 21-ranked Concordia (Moorhead) as both teams are fighting for their postseason lives. The Tommies (6-2, 4-2) will have their playoffs ended with a loss, less than a year removed from a run to the Division III national championship game.
There are 56 high school football teams still playing in Minnesota, and all of them will be in action between Thursday and Saturday night as the state playoffs get underway at various sites.
The Tommies, ranked No. 18 in Division III, survived a sluggish offensive day that featured four turnovers and left Minneapolis with a 17-14 victory over the Auggies. They also got some help from Gustavus, who beat St. John’s 23-20 in double overtime.
After handling Hamline 43-7 last week, the St. Thomas football team faces one of its tougher games of the 2013 schedule this Saturday. The Tommies (5-2, 3-2) face a must-win situation when they head to Minneapolis Saturday to face Augsburg (4-3, 3-3). Then again, when you have two MIAC losses and need to win out to have any shot at the NCAA Playoffs, every week is a must-win.
Before football teams hit the field Friday night, there are 16 squads left in seven classes across the state who all have a shot at the state tournament. By the end of the night, that number will get cut in half. This is the week that pretty much every kid who grows up playing football dreams about.
For the second time this season, the St. Thomas football team got a lopsided win on its home field the week after a tough loss in the MIAC. Back in Week 4, the Tommies crushed Carleton 65-6 one week after a devastating 20-18 loss to St. John’s in their MIAC opener. St. Thomas suffered a tough 28-21 loss at Bethel last weekl, and it was followed by a dominating 43-7 win over Hamline on Saturday.
The St. Thomas football team knows it’s probably on the outside looking in when it comes to earning a playoff berth this year. The Tommies, which dropped to No. 15 in the latest Division III poll after losing 28-21 at Bethel last week, need to win their last four games and have Bethel go undefeated and win the MIAC to have any chance at the postseason.
Friday and Saturday marks the semifinal round for sections in all seven classes around Minnesota. It means teams are one win away from playing for a trip to the state playoffs. It’s what every player who puts on pads in August dreams about.
The Tommies lost at Bethel 28-21 Saturday to drop to 4-2 on the season, but more importantly 2-2 in the MIAC. The win for the Royals also gives them the inside track at a league title and the MIAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Playoffs.
The regular season in high school football is over, which means there are no more guarantees for anything anymore. We’re in the playoffs, where the ultimate goal is to survive, advance and hopefully win a championship.
What exactly is the standard in the Catholic Church these days? Among the lurid revelations in the past few weeks there is one that I keep coming back to. It is not the most graphic, but it is one that those at the highest levels of the Archdiocese knew about.
If the St. Thomas football team has any hopes of playing in the NCAA Division III Playoffs, it knows winning out is pretty much the only option. That got a lot more difficult this week despite a 20-12 win at Gustavus last Saturday.
It’s hard to believe the final week of the regular season is here, but that means it won’t be long before some players are handing over their pads after season-ending losses. This is the last chance for many teams to gain some momentum before the start of the postseason. It’s also a week where some teams can clinch a conference championship.
The excitement of a road win for the St. Thomas football team at Gustavus was a bit tempered Saturday as the Tommies headed back to St. Paul. St. Thomas, ranked No. 6 in Division III headed into the game, actually dropped three spots in the polls despite claiming a 20-12 win over the Gusties.
It’s probably been a very, very long time since St. Thomas had to look up at Gustavus in the MIAC football standings, but that’s exactly the case as the two teams square off Saturday afternoon in St. Peter. The Gusties have made quite a turnaround in the last year and are 3-1 entering Saturday’s contest.