Brendan McFadden, of St. Thomas Academy. File photo: Cheryl Myers, SportsEngine
Five more games on Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium to settle the Prep Bowl lineup for next Friday and Saturday. Staff writers Jim Paulsen and David La Vaque give their takes.
CLASS 1A: BLOOMING PRAIRIE (12-0) VS. BOLD (12-0), 9 a.m.
Jim says: BOLD asserted itself as the Class 1A favorite with a 49-7 whipping of Minneota, which had won three of the past four 1A state titles, in the Section 5 finals. BOLD 40, Blooming Prairie 21
David says: A Prep Bowl berth would be a fitting send-off for outgoing BOLD coach Steve Solem. Brothers Dawson and Gavin Vosika lead the way. BOLD 35, Blooming Prairie 28
CLASS 1A: SPRINGFIELD (8-4) VS. MAHNOMEN/WAUBUN (11-0), 11:30 A.M.
Jim says: Mahnomen/Waubun does what it’s always done — run hard and run often. The Thunderbirds have 4,168 yards rushing in 11 games. Mahnomen/Waubun 34, Springfield 7
David says: Mahnomen/Waubun’s six shutouts prove the Thunderbirds (great name, by the way) are pretty good at stopping the other guys, too. Mahnomen/Waubun 41, Springfield 14
CLASS 3A: ROCHESTER LOURDES (12-0) VS. PIERZ (11-0), 2 p.m.
Jim says: Lourdes (2014, 2016) and Pierz (2015, 2017) have split the past four state championships. Pierz was No. 1 in the final AP state poll, Lourdes No. 2. Shouldn’t this be the Class 3A final? Pierz 28, Rochester Lourdes 20
David says: Eight rushing TDs last week, four from Carson Huls alone, propelled the Pioneers into the semifinals. Expect fewer end zone trips but the same outcome. Pierz 30, Rochester Lourdes 14
CLASS 3A: PERHAM (9-2) vs. FAIRMONT (10-1), 4:30 p.m.
Jim says: If he played in the metro, Perham QB Jenson Beachy would be a household name. He’s elusive as a runner, accurate as a passer and is a difference-maker. Perham 33, Fairmont 28
David says: First-year Fairmont QB Garrett Myren has shown a veteran’s moxie throughout the playoff. The Cardinals, ranked No. 5 in the final AP poll, have followed his lead. Fairmont 24, Perham 21
CLASS 5A: BEMIDJI (10-1) vs. ST. THOMAS ACADEMY (11-0), 7 p.m.
Jim says: The rough-and-ready Cadets aren’t spectacular, but they don’t need to be. They just grind down their opponents’ will. St. Thomas Academy 24, Bemidji 12
David says: Bemidji sophomore James Williams scored five touchdowns last week. Senior senior Ryan Bieberdorf has 1,049 receiving yards and 10 TDs. Explosive elements could be the Cadets’ kryptonite. Bemidji 28, St. Thomas Academy 21