Wayzata's Nick Pedote joins his teammates in celebration after defeating Minnetonka at home 31-28 Friday, October, 24, 2014. ] (Matthew Hintz, 102414, Minnetonka)
On paper, the Wayzata football program is always formidable. With three state championships in a six-year span from 2005 through 2010, any game involving the Trojans is always noteworthy.
But things went south for Wayzata this season. The Trojans lost games they normally win and even found themselves on the receiving end of beatdowns they were more used to dishing out. Their 2-6 regular season record was their worst since 1992. Many thought their trip to Minnetonka in the first round of the Class 6A, Section 6 playoffs, a team that had defeated them 17-6 nine days earlier, would bring a merciful end to a forgettable season.
Thing is, no one thought to tell the Trojans they weren’t supposed to win.
They played their most complete game of the season in Friday’s 31-28 victory, running with grit, playing with abandon and looking far more like the Wayzata teams of old.
“A big part of the game is belief in yourself,” Wayzata coach Brad Anderson said after the game. “You win a few games, you start to believe you’ll find a way to win. It’s the same thing with losing. When something goes wrong, you start to believe you’re going to lose. I think that’s a part of what happened to us this year.”
Wayzata’s reward for beating Minnetonka and regaining the Bay Bell Trophy? A date Friday at Class 6A’s No. 2-seeded Rosemount, which many already have penciled in as Prep Bowl finalist.
Anderson knows Wayzata has a long and huge task ahead, but coming off a big playoff victory is a nice way to approach it.
“We’ll get back to work. Rosemount is very tough opponent,” Anderson said. “We talked about believing in ourselves. We’ll put everything we have out there and live with the result.”
Here’s a look at three upcoming west metro football section finals that may have slipped under the radar but are certainly worth noting.
Class 5a, Section 3
Minneapolis Southwest at Bloomington Jefferson
This matchup is exactly what the Minnesota State High School League had in mind when it bumped the 32 largest schools into Class 6A. Neither Southwest nor Jefferson would have dared dream about a state tournament berth when they were stuck in sections with much larger football factories. But the chance to advance to the state tournament has kept hope alive in these communities. Southwest, the No. 2 seed, has never been to the state tournament. Jefferson, the top seed, was 0-9 three years ago and hasn’t made the state tournament field since 1994.
class 4a, Section 6
Benilde-St. Margaret’s at DeLaSalle
Expectations have long been high at DeLaSalle, but the Islanders have developed a troubling tendency to fall short of hopes in recent years. In 2011, they were upset by Rockford in the first round of the section playoffs. In 2012 DeLaSalle was 10-0 before falling to Becker in the Class 4A state quarterfinals. Last year Holy Angels’ speed surprised them a 32-21 loss in the Class 4A state semifinals. Fast-forward to Oct. 2 earlier this year, when DeLaSalle defeated a tough Benilde-St. Margaret’s team 63-31. Coach Sean McMenomy said he thinks this might be the best team he’s had. The Islanders will get another shot to prove they can take care of business when necessary.
class 3a, Section 3
Glencoe-Silver Lake at Providence Academy, 3 p.m.
Providence gets the chance to prove its gaudy 9-0 record is more than just the product of a mediocre schedule. The Lions have all the right pieces — size, experience and a leader in RB/LB Ryan Richelsen, who could start for any school in the state. But most coaches agree that playing a tough schedule is the best preparation foe the postseason. Traditional power Glencoe-Silver Lake started 1-3, but the Panthers have reeled off six straight victories, including a 27-13 victory at No. 2-seeded Watertown-Mayer.
Jim Paulsen • 612-673-7737