Houston, Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley kick off today’s action

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Four Minnesota state football champions will be crowned today. Underway is the nine-man championship: Houston (13-0) vs. Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (13-0). Our two prep football experts take a look at how the teams match up.

John Millea says: Everyone had an eye on Kittson County Central after the Bearcats knocked off Stephen-Argyle in the Section 8 playoffs. But then Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley upset the apple cart further by beating the Bearcats 8-7 in the state semifinals. This is an extremely tough game to predict, with both Houston and C-G-B recording one blowout and one narrow escape in the state tournament. Houston is known for scoring early and often, and that’s why I’m leaning toward the Hurricanes today.

• Pick: Houston 23, C-G-B 18.

Jim Paulsen says: How low under the radar can an undefeated team fly? Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley has done everything asked of it, beating all comers, yet still it gets little respect. Sure, the Wolverines are not flashy – they have no 1,000-yard rusher, and stingy defense is their calling card – but they’ve shown resiliency and a penchant for winning tough games. If the Wolverines can hang with Houston early, they should be in great shape to pull things out at the end.

• Pick: C-G-B 33, Houston 23

Wrapping up the state football semifinals

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Twelve games, two days, almost 30 hours of football, and we’re finally done.  I’ve been here at the Metrodome for what seems like about a week straight, I’ve seen one heck of a lot of pigskin – and though I love watching football, I’m ready to go.

Here’s your Prep Bowl XXVII Schedule:

Friday, November 28
9-Man: Houston vs. Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley – 10:00 am
1A: Royalton vs. Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg – 1:00
2A: Caledonia vs. Luverne – 4:00
5A: Blaine vs. Wayzata – 7:00

Saturday, November 29
3A: DeLaSalle vs. Glencoe-Silver Lake – 12:00
4A: Northfield vs. Mankato West – 3:00

Signing off from the Metrodome… we’ll see you in two weeks for the Prep Bowl.

5A Final: Wayzata 34, Rosemount 10

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Wow, has Wayzata been impressive.  The Trojans put together touchdown drives of 81, 74, 49, and 64 yards, marching almost unwaveringly down the field on each one – and on defense, they smothered the explosive Rosemount offense.  Jack Egan added an exclamation point for the Trojan defense, scooping up a fourth-quarter fumble and dashing for a touchdown.

Do not doubt the Wayzata Trojans; they are for real.

Chris Kroeten and Garrett Engelhardt each scored two touchdowns on the ground for Wayzata.  Quarterback John Ries was effective all night, stretching the field when he needed to and finding receivers in the flats when he needed to.  Ries finished 13-19 for 142 yards.  And give the Wayzata line plenty of credit – nobody got near Ries all night, and Kroeten and Engelhardt were running through big holes all evening.

Blaine’s win last night might have been more exciting, it’s true, but the Bengals will likely enter the Prep Bowl as distinct underdogs.  Given that they’ve already knocked off Eden Prairie and Cretin-Derham Hall, they probably wouldn’t want it any other way.  All I know is this: any team that beat Wayzata would deserve the state title.

End 3rd: Wayzata 21, Rosemount 3

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

The Trojans stuffed the Irish to start the half, then returned the resulting punt into Rosemount territory.  From there, they rolled 49 yards to the end zone, easy as you like.  Grant Olson, a junior fullback, rumbled for 25 yards after a pass in the flat, and Garrett Englehardt scored to extend the Wayzata lead.

Rosemount QB Chase Vogler came up cradling his injured arm after a particularly hard hit, and did not return to the game for the next Irish possession. (Update: he’s back in, at the start of the fourth quarter.) Even with Vogler in the game, though, it took an 18-yard pass on a fake punt to get Rosemount a first down; the Irish just aren’t able to move the ball against this Wayzata defense.

For the night, Wayzata has 14 first downs to Rosemount’s 5, and has outgained the Irish 263-111.

Halftime: Wayzata 14, Rosemount 3

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Wayzata fell behind 3-0, but since the Rosemount field goal midway through the first quarter, it’s been all Trojans.  A pair of long touchdown drives have Wayzata up 14-3.  Both of those possessions were capped off by Chris Kroeten, who has touchdown runs of 13 and 29 yards.

Apart from one long screen pass that set up the field goal, the Irish have been unable to get anything going offensively – and falling behind against Wayzata is not a good idea, especially when the Trojans seem like they’re rolling, like they do tonight.  Remember, QB Chase Vogler is playing with a broken left (non-throwing) hand for Rosemount, and the Irish can ill afford their leading rusher and passer to be playing at less than 100%.  Irish cornerback Jack Pauly did intercept a Wayzata pass with nine seconds to go in the half, but two shots at the end zone came up empty.

At least one of the Wayzata students is wearing a Santa hat tonight; the way things are going, Rosemount may need a few gifts from the Trojans to get back into this game.