skip navigation

Metro Top 10: Big football games loom as regular season ends

By JIM PAULSEN, Star Tribune, 10/15/17, 7:45PM CDT


Believe it or not, Wednesday is the final night of regular season prep football

Wednesday is the final night of the regular season — yes, already — but let’s reflect on what we witnessed Friday.

• Andover experienced the difficulties of dealing with Elk River’s unique Straight-T offense and the Elks’ precision ballhandling and penchant for deception. Elk River ran for 593 yards and had 651 yards of total offense in a 69-54 victory. The last time Andover had played Elk River was in 2014, so it’s a safe bet few, if any, of the Huskies had seen anything like it.

• What’s up, Lakeville North? The big, physical Panthers were ranked as high as No. 2 in Class 6A early in the season, but after falling to Prior Lake 8-0 have lost three regular-season games for the first time since 2008. Granted, the losses have come to quality programs (Eden Prairie, Maple Grove and Prior Lake), but the Panthers have scored only six total points in their past two games.

• It was noted a few weeks ago that Prior Lake needed a signature victory to be considered a serious state tournament contender. That came Friday, when it held Lakeville North to 209 total yards. That defense will make its mark in the postseason.

• No one was paying much attention to Northfield when talk turned to the top teams in Class 5A, but the Raiders (7-0) made a resounding statement with their 21-17 victory over No. 1-ranked Owatonna. They did it with stingy defense, becoming the first team to hold the Huskies to fewer than 42 points this season.

• How do we gauge Totino-Grace? Offensive shortcomings leave a slim margin for error if the normally tough defense has a breakdown. That’s what happened Friday, when Blaine, trailing 14-13, got a 77-yard fourth-quarter TD reception from Sam Browne, forcing the Eagles out of their comfort zone. They couldn’t rally, eventually falling 28-16.

Metro Top 10

1. Eden Prairie (7-0): It was the defense that rescued the Eagles on Friday, bailing out a mistake-prone offense. Next: at Edina, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

2. Edina (6-1): The Hornets defense stiffened after halftime, held Maple Grove scoreless and rallied for a 28-17 victory. Next: vs. No. 1 Eden Prairie, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

3. Centennial (6-1): The Cougars have learned how to win. They rallied past Champlin Park with two fourth-quarter TDs one week after beating Blaine in OT. Next: vs. East Ridge, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

4. Rosemount (5-2): This is a dangerous team. The Irish have won five in a row and have allowed only 13 points in that span. Next: vs. Shakopee, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

5. Roseville (6-1): If not for a holding penalty that negated a two-point conversion in their one-point loss to East Ridge, the Raiders would be undefeated. Next: vs. Cretin-Derham Hall, Wednesday, at Univ. of St. Thomas, 7:30 p.m.

6. Minnetonka (6-1): They played well enough to beat Eden Prairie, but three interceptions killed the Skippers’ chances. Next: vs. Burnsville, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

7. St. Michael-Albertville (6-1): The Knights have diversified since the loss of Mitch Kartes, with great results. Four different players scored in a comfortable victory over Stillwater. Next: vs. Osseo, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

8. Cooper (5A, 7-0): In four road games, the Hawks have outscored opponents 190-20. Next: vs. Irondale, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

9. Cretin-Derham Hall (5-2): The Raiders have won three in a row, setting up a showdown with Roseville with huge section seeding implications. Next: vs. No. 5 Roseville, Wednesday, at Univ. of St. Thomas, 7:30 p.m.

10. Chaska (5A, 7-0): How the Hawks would fare against Class 6A teams such as Totino-Grace, Blaine and Lakeville North is a legit question, but you have to reward them for their body of work. Next: vs. Armstrong, Wednesday, 7 p.m.