The west metro is a broad expanse, with too many football teams and players to do the area justice. But here’s a look at some things to watch for as the 2013 football season gets ready to take off.
The best in the west
A look at the top three Class 6A teams in the west metro and the top three teams among the other classes.
1. Eden Prairie: Like you didn’t know. Rob Olson, Eric Dunn, Zach Hovey, Dan Fisher, Anthony Anderson, etc., etc. This team is loaded.
2. Wayzata: The word is the Trojans have simplified their playbook to improve execution on offense. In other words, “Here it is. Try to stop us.”
3. Minnetonka: The Skippers swamped a Hudson (Wis.) football team that went to the state semifinals in 2012. They have balance on offense and a mean streak on defense.
On the cusp: Edina, Maple Grove, Osseo
1. DeLaSalle: The Islanders might not have big numbers but they do have more raw talent per capita than any team in the metro. Keep track of junior receiver Marquise Bridges; opponents could have trouble doing the same thing.
2. Delano: Longtime coach Merrill Pavlovich said he thinks this might be a rebuilding year, but the Tigers have elite talent in lineman Christian Triplett and receiver Adam Kraft. They also boast a strong football tradition.
3. Cooper: The Hawks lost a lot of talent to graduation, but speed can overcome inexperience. The Hawks have plenty of both.
On the cusp: Minneapolis Washburn, Holy Family, Providence Academy.
Five worth noting
They didn’t quite make the Star Tribune metro dream team, but will make a splash this fall.
• Nick Rooney, Minnetonka, QB: He won’t go unnoticed for long if he continues to play like he did in Friday’s 43-23 rout of Hudson. He was nearly flawless, completing 14 of 18 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns.
• Adam Kraft, Delano, WR: Big (6-3, 200) with excellent hands and better-than-expected speed. Caught 20 passes in 2012, including eight for touchdowns. Intercepted six passes as a free safety.
• Keaton Stensrud, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, QB: Excellent athlete who is a dual threat to run or pass. He completed 100 of 172 passes for 1,342 yards and six touchdowns in 2012. He also rushed for 1,131 yards and 17 TDs.
• Chris Williams, DeLaSalle, RB: Runs strong inside, with incredible balance, quick feet and the ability to turn a mundane play into something highlight-worthy. Rushed for 1,427 yards and 22 TDs in 2012.
• Kolby Seiffert, Chaska, WR/DB: One of those players who always seems to be in the middle of the action. Scored a touchdown rushing and a touchdown on a fumble return in Friday’s wild season-opening victory over Hopkins.
• Don’t overlook: Khavon Hawkins, Cooper, WR; Chazz Johnson, Holy Family, RB; Nathan Johnson, Chanhassen, RB; Shaheed Hickman, Hopkins, RB; Marcus Berg, Blake, RB.
Mark the calendar
Every Friday night has worthwhile matchups, but high school football fans should attend at least one of these games.
• Sept. 6: Chaska at Chanhassen, 7 p.m. There is a buzz in the southwest metro about this one. Both teams can put up points, but does Chaska have enough defense?
• Sept. 20: Washburn at St. Paul Central, 7 p.m. See what it is about Washburn running back Jeff Jones that has recruiters all lathered up. Central likely will present his toughest test.
• Sept. 27: Hutchinson at Holy Family, 7 p.m. Last year Hutchinson defeated Holy Family twice by a combined scored of 127-14, including a 67-7 drubbing in the Prep Bowl. Not saying Holy Family will win, but the Fire has an extra spark.
• Sept. 28: Benilde-St. Margaret’s at DeLaSalle, 2 p.m. You can’t beat the setting: an afternoon game on Minneapolis’ historic Nicollet Island.
• Oct. 11: Wayzata at Eden Prairie. If you pick one game to represent Minnesota football on a national stage, this would be it. The state’s two biggest schools knock heads in a Class 6A state tournament preview.
Tag(s): Star Tribune Hub Exclusive Eden Prairie Edina Hopkins Minnetonka Wayzata Minneapolis Washburn Chanhassen Chaska Maple Grove Osseo Nicollet Southwest St. Paul Central Blake DeLaSalle Providence Academy Delano Hutchinson