It’s Week 3 in high school football and things are already starting to take shape around the state on the prep football landscape.
That’s right, many schools aren’t in session yet in Minnesota but we’re already almost halfway into the high school football season. Before we start previewing any games, we must highlight a high school football team that left the field winners Friday night for the first time in five years. Staples-Motley broke a 39-game losing streak with a 24-14 win over Frazee.
Finally, the Cardinals could celebrate in their postgame huddle after so many games of disappointment. They came close in Week 1 but lost to Pequot Lakes 38-30. That winning feeling is contagious, so keep an eye on them the rest of the season and see if that squad can get something going.
There are several big games on the schedule this week, many that have undefeated teams meeting each other. There are even a few rivalry games, which tend to mean just a little bit more than others in the course of a season. Every game is big, but it’s that much more important to beat a familiar team that’s always a good test, that always gives you trouble.
Here are this week’s top match-ups as we have games split up between Thursday and Friday night ahead of Labor Day weekend.
Armstrong (2-0) at Cooper (2-0) (Thursday)
There is a big game between old rivals Thursday night, and both teams are undefeated as Cooper hosts Armstrong in a battle for bragging rights in Robbinsdale. The two squads who used to be Classic Lake Conference rivals haven’t since the 2010 season, when Cooper snuck out a 19-13 overtime win in the playoffs.
The Hawks are off to a 2-0 start after beating Bloomington Jefferson 40-0 in Week 1 and Benilde-St. Margaret’s 34-27 last week. Cooper is led by quarterback Phillip Howard, who is committed to play football at Minnesota next year. Howard had a rushing touchdown and two passing touchdowns in last week’s win over the Red Knights.
Armstrong started its season with a 38-10 win over Chanhassen and followed it up with a 52-8 win over St. Louis Park last week. The Falcons are led by quarterback Collis Barber, who is averaging 131 yards per game and thrown for four touchdowns in two games. He and Amadu Dunbar also each have two rushing touchdowns on the season. The Falcons are also led on defense by linebacker Thomas Barber, who has committed to play for the Gophers.
It should be a great game between two squads in the Suburban Red District.
Rogers (2-0) at St. Michael-Albertville (1-1) (Thursday)
Two big-time rivals meet in the northwest Twin Cities metro Thursday night as St. Michael-Albertville hosts Rogers. When the two squads met last year, the Knights escaped with a 22-21 win over the Royals. Rogers is 2-0 on the season with victories over Sartell-St. Stephen and Princeton. St. Michael-Albertville lost its opener to Moorhead 26-16 and bounced back last week with a 41-0 win over Big Lake. Rogers is led by running back Blayne Kasper, who is averaging 106 yards on the ground per game and has one rushing touchdown. The Knights are led by the running back duo of Mitchell Kartes and Eric Sjelin, who combine to average about 200 yards rushing per game and have three rushing scores.
Lakeville North (2-0) at Burnsville (2-0) (Friday)
Burnsville is one of the early surprises of the fall at 2-0, and the Blaze will get a huge test Friday night by hosting unbeaten Lakeville North. Burnsville went just 4-6 last year, but started this fall with a 28-0 win over Roseville and knocked off Lakeville South 24-6 last week. Lakeville North was a state tournament team last year and is unbeaten after wins over East Ridge and Eagan. The Blaze are led by quarterback Kamal Martin, a Gophers commit, and running back Steph Olson Jr., who averages more than 80 yards rushing per game and has three touchdowns. The Panthers are led by quarterback Drew Stewart, who is throwing for more than 156 yards per game and has three passing touchdowns.
Wayzata (2-0) at Prior Lake (2-0) (Friday)
It should be a great game south of the Twin Cities metro Friday night between a pair of unbeaten teams as Prior Lake hosts Wayzata. The Trojans went just 3-7 last year, but are 2-0 this season after wins over Blaine and Shakopee. They shut out the Sabers 47-0 last week and they are led by quarterback Jake Marsh, who has five passing touchdowns over those two games. The Lakers were a state tournament team last year and have started the season with wins over Centennial and Minnetonka. They shout out the Skippers 38-0 last week. Prior Lake is led by quarterback Jimmy Larson and running back Andrew Owudunni. Larson is passing for about 120 yards per game with three touchdowns. Owudunni is running for nearly 100 yards per game with four scores.
Tune into WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally at about 10:20 p.m. Friday as Mike Max and Frank Vascellaro will have all the action covered.