Southern Minnesota’s finest big-school teams square off in what, in any other sport, would likely determine the Big 9 Conference championship. In football, these teams are grouped in the Big Southeast Red subdistrict. District/subdistrict/conference name aside, this figures to be a thriller, even though No. 2-5A Owatonna’s 20-game winning streak in the regular season was snapped last Friday in a 7-6 loss to Monticello.
Owatonna, Class 5A state champion in 2017 and 2018, suffered special teams woes in its loss to the Magic last week. The Huskies (3-1, 3-0) had an extra-point attempt blocked in the first quarter and failed on a 30-yard field goal try with two seconds left after the snap was botched.
The closest game this season so far for four-time state champion Mankato West (1999, 2002, 2008, 2014) was a 20-0 triumph over intracity rival Mankato East on Oct. 16. The No. 5-5A Scarlets (4-0, 3-0) are led by quarterback Zander Dittbenner (10 TD passes through Week 3) and game-breaking wideout Mekhi Collins (5 TDs, 84 receiving yards per game through Week 3).