By Mike Max

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. (WCCO) — They are the darlings of the state football playoffs.

That’s what happens when you beat a team that beat you 40-17 during the year in the section finals.

And that’s what happens when you qualify for your first ever state football playoff.  That’s what’s going on at St. Louis Park.

It all came down to this. Cooper, the favorite, goes for the two point conversion and the win. But this time St. Louis Park linebacker Jariel Lopez-Barrera is there to make a stop and win a section title.

“They had momentum and that last play, them going for two, not going for one. They could’ve gone to overtime. But that last drive I made the stop, it was just so hype. Super good. Good feeling. Amazing, just going to state,” Lopez-Barrera said.

For the first time in the school’s history, they are heading to the state football playoffs, and that’s special.

“I’d start with the word ‘character.’ Just a lot of resiliency. They love each other, they love playing the game and they love to compete. Just a lot of special kids,” coach Ben Wolfe said.

Seems they’ve developed a chemistry that matters, and they are making plays when they have to. And they are celebrating together.

“We really believe in three components: attitude, preparation and effort. And, I mean, we did that to our best ability and we saw the outcome,” quarterback Johnny Sorenson said.

Johhny Sorenson is Johnny Football this week and he, along with others, have added to the experience by bleaching their hair blond.

“The hair was just kind of just another testament to recognize what we’ve done here,” Sorenson said.

They hope this is the start of something special. What they know for sure is it can only help.

“I think it’s certainly exciting and it’s fun and we’ll take all this stuff in stride but we play for love of the game,” Wolfe said.

The Orioles take on Brainerd Saturday night in St. Cloud.


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