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Metro football top 10: The picture gets a little clearer

By Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune, 10/14/18, 7:58PM CDT

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Four teams — Lakeville North, Blaine, Eden Prairie and Edina — have separated themselves from the rest of Class 6A.


Prior Lake receiver Spencer Marlier was upended by Lakeville North defensive back RaJa Nelson after catching a pass during the first half Friday at TCO Stadium in Eagan. Photo: David Joles * david.joles@startribune.com

Friday night’s results clarified things in Class 6A with one night of regular-season football left to play.

Four teams — Lakeville North, Blaine, Eden Prairie and Edina — have separated themselves from the rest of the class. Lakeville North and Blaine clinched the No. 1 seeds in their sections, while the victories for Eden Prairie and Edina set up a huge game Wednesday at Eden Prairie for the top spot in Section 6.

You can make a case to add 6-1 Woodbury to that mix, based on the fact that the Royals secured the No. 1 seed in Section 5 with a victory over rival East Ridge, but the condition of injured starting quarterback Jake Wenzel is a concern.

The rest of 6A got a lot more messy, with an entanglement of slightly-better-than-average teams that seemed to trip over prosperity. St. Michael-Albertville looked to have righted its ship until getting blanked by Stillwater 7-0. Same thing for Mounds View, which lost to Roseville, and Rosemount, which needed a third-quarter rally from a 12-point deficit at home to slip past Burnsville. Minnetonka, one of the metro’s most talented teams, continues to beat itself with mental mistakes and has lost two in a row.

Meanwhile, the best of Class 5A continues to take advantage of 6A slip-ups to creep into the top 10. St. Thomas Academy, a fixture in the metro rankings for much of the season, is joined this week by two fellow 5A powers with fearsome offenses, Elk River and Cooper.

METRO TOP 10

1. Lakeville North (7-0): The Panthers beat Prior Lake for the first time in the regular season since 2011, a string of four straight losses.

2. Blaine (7-0): A 17-0 victory over Totino-Grace was Blaine’s first shutout victory since September ’14.

3. Eden Prairie (6-1): With two touchdowns on fourth-down plays, the Eagles showed they’re the best at making plays in do-or-die situations.

4. Edina (6-1): In the past two weeks, the Hornets have scored 35 of their 42 total points in the first quarter.

5. St. Thomas Academy (5A, 7-0): The Cadets allowed double-digit points in consecutive weeks but won both by more than 30 points.

6. Woodbury (6-1): With a late defensive stand to hold off East Ridge, the Royals showed the grit that coach Andy Hill has longed to see.

7. Champlin Park (5-2): With a 24-21 come-from-behind victory at Centennial, the Rebels are 4-0 on the road.

8. Rosemount (5-2): An 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Evan Geiwitz sparked an Irish rally against Burnsville for a fifth straight victory.

9. (tie) Elk River (5A, 7-0): The Elks defense saved the day, holding off Andover’s last-minute surge to preserve a 28-26 victory.

9. (tie) Cooper (5A, 7-0): The Hawks’ quick-strike offense had a 54-6 romp over North St. Paul with six touchdowns of more than 20 yards.

Others worth a mention: Prior Lake (4-3), Minnetonka (4-3), Mounds View (4-3), East Ridge (4-3), St. Michael-Albertville (4-3).

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