Coach Mark Esch called Minnetonka's victory Friday “our most complete football game.” The Skippers are ranked No. 5 this week. [Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine]
The regular season concludes Wednesday (with a few games sprinkled in Thursday), as it traditionally does, to make room for Minnesota Educator Academy weekend and to give teams an ample time to prepare for the first round of the postseason, which begins Tuesday, Oct. 26 for all classes except Class 6A.
The final game of the season is a chance for some teams to jockey for section seeding. Let’s take a look at some of the more important games around the metro this week.
In Class 6A, the No. 1 seeds are set, with Lakeville South (Section 3), Stillwater (4), Maple Grove (5) and Eden Prairie (6) locked into the top spots in each of the four sections. There are games of note, however, as teams look to earn a No. 2 seed.
In Section 3, East Ridge could lock up the No. 2 seed with a victory over St. Michael-Albertville while Farmington’s chance to move into the second position depends on winning at Wayzata Thursday. In Section 4, Woodbury travels to Centennial with the winner earning the No. 2 seed.
In Section 5, Osseo could move into the No. 2 spot if it beats Blaine in a Thursday afternoon matinee and St. Michael-Albertville loses at East Ridge Wednesday. Shakopee will lock up the second seed in Section 6 if they beat surging Eagan, which has won two in a row. If the Sabers fall, Minnetonka would move up the No. 2 seed by beating winless Roseville Thursday.
In other classes, Cooper could leapfrog Armstrong for the No. 1 seed in Section 5, Class 5A with a victory over Benilde-St. Margaret’s and an Armstrong loss to Spring Lake Park. Fridley plays at Columbia Heights Friday with the No. 1 seed in Section 4, Class 4A, at stake. Two teams still have a shot at the top spot in Section 5, 4A. Holy Angels will secure the No. 1 seed if it beats Waconia. If it doesn’t, SMB could do it if it finds a way to get past undefeated Providence Academy.
Providence would earn the top seed in tough Section 2, Class 3A with a victory.
1. Lakeville South (7-0): def. Shakopee 30-22. The Cougars shook off a tough second quarter and responded the way a top-ranked team should, scoring 17 straight points.
2. Eden Prairie (6-1): def. Edina 35-0. The Eagles allowed 71 combined points across two games early in the season, only 20 total in their five other games. with three shutouts.
3. Stillwater (7-0): def. Mounds View 49-13. Improving QB Max Shikenjanski had his best passing game of the season, going 11 for 19 for 213 yards and two TDs.
4. Maple Grove (6-1): def. St. Michael-Albertville 38-17. RB Derrick Jameson gets the pub, deservedly, but the Crimson don’t go anywhere without QB Jacob Kilzer’s arm AND legs.
5. Minnetonka (6-1): def. Centennial 31-7. Coach Mark Esch called their victory Friday “our most complete football game.” The Skippers’ defense is the real deal.
6. Shakopee (5-2): lost to Lakeville South 30-22. The Sabers broke out the old Single Wing and gashed Lakeville South with it. RB Jadon Hellerud makes it go.
7. Woodbury (6-1): def. Hopkins 38-0. The Royals face a huge test Wednesday, traveling to Centennial with the No. 2 seed in Section 4, 6A on the line.
8. St. Thomas Academy (5A, 7-0): def. Apple Valley 49-0. Shutter-speed quick WR/QB/KR Grady O’Neill scored two TDs and might be the most versatile player in the metro.
9. Andover (5A, 7-0): def. Monticello 49-14. Friday was the fifth time Andover has scored 42 or more points. QB Connor Develice had a career-high 6 TD passes.
10. Centennial (4-3): lost to Minnetonka 31-7. The downside of the Cougars’ run-heavy attack was exposed Friday: They’re not a team built to come from behind.
Also receiving consideration: Wayzata (5-2), White Bear Lake (5-2), Prior Lake (4-3),