MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s yet another huge week in high school football in Minnesota as we are in Week 6. There are three games to go for most teams before we enter the postseason, which means every play is magnified and every possession matters.
Add to it that it’s a rivalry week for many teams, and a lot of those games get even more important with bragging rights on the line as well as playoff positioning and conference championships. Another wrinkle this week is that the weather conditions don’t sound very favorable for football. Highs on Friday throughout Minnesota will be in the high 40s and low 50s, it’s expected to be very windy and yes, we could even see some snow.READ MORE: Owner Reunited With Dog After Her Car Was Stolen In Downtown Minneapolis
It’s safe to say there will be a lot of running plays this week in those conditions, and probably a lot of turnovers as well. It’s a big week for a lot of football teams, and here’s our big match-ups for the week.
Cretin-Derham Hall (3-2) at Stillwater (5-0)
A great rivalry in the Suburban East Conference will be renewed Friday night as Cretin-Derham Hall travels to Stillwater, with the Ponies looking to stay in the hunt for a league title. It’s our featured game for WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally.
The Ponies are unbeaten and ranked No. 6 in Class 6A after cruising to a 35-7 win over White Bear Lake last week. Stillwater’s defense might be the most impressive part of its season so far. The Ponies have recorded two shut outs and allowed a total of 29 points in five victories. Stillwater is led by quarterback D.J. Skie, who throws for about 144 yards per game and has nine passing touchdowns on the season. He’s also their second-leading rusher. The Ponies are led in the run game by Zach Knox, one of the better backs in the Twin Cities, who averages about 134 yards per game and has 10 touchdowns.
Cretin-Derham Hall, usually one of the top teams in the Twin Cities, got off to an unusually slow 1-2 start with losses to East Ridge and Mounds View. The Raiders have rallied with two straight wins, including a 40-7 win over Park Cottage Grove last week. Cretin-Derham Hall is led by dual threat quarterback Maxwell Jackson, who throws for about 200 yards per game and has 13 touchdowns with just four interceptions. He’s also one of their top rushers. Maxwell’s favorite targets are Aitor Flood and Tony Adamle, who have combined for 10 receiving touchdowns this season. The Raiders are also led on defense by Ohio State commit Jashon Cornell.
Stillwater won last year’s match-up 21-7. Anything is possible when these two teams meet, but Stillwater will need its best defense of the season to come out with the win.
Lakeville North (4-1) at Lakeville South (2-3)
City bragging rights are on the line south of the Twin Cities metro Friday night as Lakeville South hosts Lakeville North in South Suburban Conference action. The Panthers, who reached the Class 6A State Playoffs last year before losing to Eden Prairie, beat the Cougars 7-0 in last year’s match-up. Lakeville North has won the last four meetings between the two schools.READ MORE: Dozens Of Homes Flooded After Water Main Breaks In St. Louis Park
They’ve all been fairly close games with defensive battles and mostly low-scoring games. Lakeville North enters the game ranked No. 8 in Class A. The Panthers rebounded from their first loss of the season two weeks ago to Prior Lake with a 14-7 win at Eastview last week. They can also stay alive in the conference title race with a win over their rivals. The Panthers are led by quarterback Drew Stewart, who throws for about 122 yards per game and has three passing touchdowns despite five interceptions. Running backs Austin Hegseth and Luke Branson combine to average about 100 yards per game and have three touchdowns. Division I prospect Jesse Cardenas leads a tough Lakeville North defense with 53 tackles.
Lakeville South is coming off a 21-7 loss at Eagan last week and hasn’t been able to string anything together this season. The Cougars are led by Division I prospect Josh Corcoran, who has four rushing touchdowns on the season and leads the team at linebacker with 47 tackles.
Lakeville North will have too much depth in this one and should pull away in the second half for a road victory, its fifth straight in the series.
Elk River (5-0) at Totino-Grace (4-1)
Elk River moved up to No. 5 in the most recent Class 5A poll, and the 5-0 Elks will have their toughest test yet Friday night as they travel to Fridley to take on Totino-Grace. The Eagles were undefeated until getting shut out 28-0 against a high-powered Maple Grove squad last week. Elk River does not face Maple Grove in the regular season, so the Elks will have to win out to stay in the Northwest Suburban Conference race. They’ll be looking for a big game from running back Zach Ernst, who runs for more than 200 yards per game and has 13 touchdowns. Quarterback Trent Pink also runs for about 92 yards per game and has 14 rushing touchdowns.
Elk River will also have to make stopping Totino-Grace running back Kez Flomo a priority. Flomo runs for more than 170 yards per game and has nine touchdowns on the year.
Duluth East (0-5) at St. Michael-Albertville (4-1)
St. Michael-Albertville is looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season last week as it hosts winless Duluth East in Mississippi 8 Conference play. The Knights were 4-0 and mostly dominating opponents before losing 24-21 at Chisago Lakes last week. They can still contend for the league title with games against Cambridge-Isanti and rival Rogers to end the regular season. Duluth East has had a rough season, losing five games and scoring a total of just 12 points. The Greyhounds firs three losses were by a combined 140-0.MORE NEWS: Next Weather: Frost Advisory Issued For Western, Northern Minnesota
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.