After a handful of rare losses from some of Class 6A's best teams last week, the state's biggest football contenders have been tossed in a blender. Hit the puree button and, voila!, there is no clear title favorite. A dozen teams seemingly have a shot at this year’s championship. Maybe more.
Which brings us to Totino-Grace and Champlin Park; both of which have one loss and are now part of that potential championship concoction. The winner of Friday’s matchup will no doubt rise near the top of that strange brew, and that makes it our Top Game of the Week.
Totino-Grace, a Class 6A state champion in 2016, has been trending upward since its 13-10 loss to Lakeville South in the season opener on Aug. 29. The Eagles (5-1, 5-0), ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press statewide poll from Oct. 2, are the only unbeaten team in Metro North Subdistrict play.
Heading into last week’s 41-14 drubbing of Anoka, junior quarterback Kristoff Kowalkowski had passed for 765 yards and 10 touchdowns, and junior running back Luke Delzer had rushed for a team-best 312 yards on 72 carries.
Champlin Park is a couple points from an undefeated season (the Rebels lost 21-20 to Centennial on Sept. 13) and the No. 7-6A Rebels (5-1, 3-1) also are slowly making their way up the state rankings. A Class 5A state runner-up in 1998 and 2002, Champlin Park has fashioned a season reminiscent of those glory years, with last week’s 17-14 triumph over No. 10-6A Rosemount as the signature victory thus far.
Rebels senior quarterback Jaice Miller has thrown for 880 yards and nine touchdowns, and two of those scoring throws came in the triumph over the Irish. Junior Shawn Shipman (766 rushing yards) is the top running back option.