1 SEEKING RESPECT
None of the Northwest Suburban Conference teams advanced to the Class 6A state tournament last season. When the sections crossed over, Blaine, Champlin Park, Maple Grove and Osseo lost to Lake Conference teams. Totino-Grace, which won the 5A title, opted up to play 6A this fall.
2 COACHING SONS
Andover coach Rich Wilkie and Dave Frisell, his counterpart at Robbinsdale Armstrong, are once again entrusting the offenses to their sons. For good reason. veteran quarterbacks Connor Wilkie and Quinn Frisell were all-conference selections last season. Wilkie ranked as one of the metro area’s most prolific passers. They square off Oct. 16 in the regular-season finale.
3 SAVE THE DATES
Totino-Grace gets several opportunities to gauge itself against the best in its bigger class of schools. The Eagles play Sept. 6 at Edina and six days later welcome two-time defending big-school champion Eden Prairie to town. Two games critical to winning the West Division will be Oct. 4 at Andover and Oct. 16 against Osseo. … North Division favorites Maple Grove play Sept. 6 at Hopkins, Sept. 20 at Blaine and close Oct. 16 with Champlin Park.
4 PLAYERS TO WATCH
Osseo’s identity last season on offense, Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year Bridgeport Tusler, graduated. Running back Jamien Hampton will help carry the load, but watch for the Orioles to take flight. Quarterback Matt Miedtke welcomes receiver Josh Goldschmidt, a fellow basketball standout, to the huddle. Elk River “Russian Rocket” Denis Bardashevskiy, who torched Rogers for 370 yards in the playoffs last year, returns. Totino-Grace also boasts veteran talent in the backfield in running back Kai Barber.
DAVID LA VAQUE
Tag(s): Star Tribune Hub Exclusive North Lake Eden Prairie Edina Hopkins Rogers Northwest Suburban Blaine Champlin Park Maple Grove Andover Elk River Osseo Robbinsdale Armstrong Totino-Grace Park of Cottage Grove