Spring Grove vs. Cleveland

7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 31

A deeply competitive Section 1 left Spring Grove out of the 9-Man state tournament five years in a row before last year’s slump-ending breakthrough season. The Lions reeled off 14 wins, finished the season undefeated and took home the Prep Bowl title. Whether they reach another state title, however, could depend on the all-important quarterback play.

Spring Grove will have its work cut out this season, as the team’s varsity roster boasts just 17 names. The Lions do, however, bring back senior quarterback Alex Folz, the dynamic athlete who led the program to its first state title as a two-way starter and kicker.  

The Clippers (1-0) aren’t lucky enough to return their star quarterback. They graduated Carter Kopet, who set Minnesota’s career passing touchdown record (186) and now plays for Gustavus Adolphus. His loss doesn't necessarily cause concern: sophomore Alex McCabe dominated in his zero week showing, throwing for 345 yards and five touchdowns in a 41-16 win Aug. 24 over Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart.

The two programs met twice last year, with the Lions winning both games by a single point, including a 36-35 win for the section title.