Elk River vs. St. Francis

7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 19

Half of the four remaining undefeated teams in Class 5A are set to do battle in St. Francis.

Elk River (7-0) is No. 3 in the Oct. 13 Associated Press Class 5A poll. Under head coach Steve Hamilton, the Elks have often boasted high caliber offenses, which is the case again in 2022. They lead the class with 50.1 points per game, over a touchdown more than the next best, Section 7 rival Andover (44.0).

Elk River makes no bones about it: They want to run the ball. 

Last week's 59-28 win at Alexandria (2-5) was a microcosm. The Elks ran on 96% of their plays, piling up 660 yards on 48 carries (13.8 ypc). When they pass, it catches teams off guard and can result in big plays. Last week, quarterback Cade Osterman's one completion went 20 yards for a touchdown.

Osterman piled up a season high 265 yards and four TDs on 12 rushes last week. The senior is 13 of 17 passing for 331 yards with seven TDs this season. He leads Elk River with 739 yards on the ground with 10 TDs, averaging 12.3 yards a pop.

If Osterman doesn't keep it, he's got four other rushers to turn to. Senior Logan Bunker is second with 727 yards and had a personal best 284 yards and two TDs on just 14 carries last week.

Elk River is the top-ranked team in 5A based on the QRF. Its unsung defense has allowed 18.1 points per game, but has not been tested like it will against St. Francis.

The No. 6-ranked Saints (7-0) can move the ball in their own right, averaging 32.9 points per game. They're more balanced, too. St. Francis is averaging 149.4 yards per game on the ground and 127.7 through the air.

Sophomore running back Grady Brunn leads with 565 rushing yards on 92 carries and has surpassed 100 yards the last three weeks. Senior quarterback Jaxon Skogquist isn't much of a run threat, but he's racked up 820 yards through the air at a 54.9% completion rate with 12 TDs. He's got seven interceptions, while Elk River's Osterman has seven fumbles, so turnovers could play a big factor in this one.

St. Francis has the best win among the two teams with a 28-25 win in Week 6 against Sauk Rapids-Rice (6-1), ranked No. 9 in the latest AP Poll. 

Elk River won 40-27 in last year's matchup. The Elks raced out to a 28-7 lead, before the Saints made it a one-score game in the third. Elk River would tussle away control in the fourth.