Hundreds of high school skiers were in Taylors Falls Friday for one of Minnesota’s biggest and most competitive downhill ski competitions — the Wild Mountain Invitational. It’s a good, early test to see who will be contenders at the state meet in February.
Mankato West quarterback Ryan Schlichte has been picked as the Minnesota Associated Press Player of the Year for high school football. The award was announced Tuesday with the AP’s all-state teams. Schlichte led the Scarlets to the Class 5A championship with a 42-19 victory Saturday over Simley.
Ryan Schlichte threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Mankato West beat Simley 42-19 for the Class 5A football championship Saturday at the Prep Bowl.
It’s a new feeling at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights — winning on the football field. At this school, most of the success has come indoor on mats. Quarterback Michael Busch says his team finally gets to feel like the wrestlers. “They’re always in the state, competition for a state championship, and we got the opportunity and it’s like the atmosphere of wrestling season,” Busch said.
It’s state championship week in high school football, what every kid who ever puts on pads and a helmet dreams about. It’s also a bittersweet time for coaches and players because now there’s a certainty: This is the last football game of the year.
It’s a huge week for the four teams that are left in each class. You’re playing for something that might have only seemed like a dream in August: A chance to play for a state championship. The teams that advance this week head to TCF Bank Stadium to play in the Prep Bowl, while the others wonder what might have been after getting so close.
Every high school football player that steps on the field in August has the goal of playing football in November. That means you’re in the state tournament, where anything is possible.
There’s a huge match-up west of the Twin Cities Friday night that has Wright County Conference title implications later this year as Orono hosts Hutchinson. Both teams are unbeaten at 3-0, and the Spartans are ranked No. 5 in Class 4A, while the Tigers are the top-ranked team and the defending state champions.
TCF Bank announced Wednesday that they will close eight branches locating inside Cub Foods stores by the end of March. According to a company spokesperson, the branches affected are located in Chanhassen, Elk River, Forest Lake, Hastings, Lakeville South, Mankato West, Northfield and Rogers. Chanhassen, Elk River and Forest Lake will still have free-standing TCF locations.
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.
There is no better time for a high school football fan than between late September and early October. It’s when the conference favorites emerge and when all the hard work in offseason starts to show.
Down at Mankato West, they have a reputation for good football teams and good quarterbacks. Signal caller Ryan Schlichte is filling some big shoes that were left behind. However, he should be a good QB, given his family tree.
We’re now two games in for every team, and for some teams it’s three games. By now, most teams have a sense of what they can do and what their identity is. Now it’s just a matter of implementing that every week against the opponent.
Philip Nelson was a gifted quarterback from Mankato West, where he was turning heads in the Big Ten. He committed to Minnesota, and in his sophomore season he’s progressing like he did in high school. “It’s a lot like high school when it comes to each year you play, it slows down noticeably, and that’s where I’m at right now. It’s taken a step slower for me, and I think as an offense we all feel the same way,” Nelson said.
When Jerry Kill was hired as the University of Minnesota football coach, he said one of his early goals was to close the borders on in-state recruits.
Philip Nelson would prefer not to be the featured attraction. When asked about his greatest strength, he simply describes himself as a team player. But he’s going to have to get used to the attention.
There are 48 high school football teams still playing in Minnesota after section champions were decided last Friday and Saturday around the state. But the celebration is over and the preparation is back underway as those teams will do battle Friday and Saturday in the state quarterfinals.
When championships are on the line, that’s when leaders step up and carry their teams forward. That was never more evident than Friday night as some of the state’s top players emerged to lead their teams to victories in section championship games around the state.
It’s section championship Friday. It’s one of the best days in the year for high school football. It comes second probably only to Prep Bowl Friday, which is the day after we stuff ourselves full of turkey on Thanksgiving.
It was a huge Friday night in high school football with several big match-ups, and several players and teams stepped up to the challenge.