Prep football: Featured area games
Albany (3-1, 5-2) at New London-Spicer (3-1, 5-2)
The West Central North Conference championship fell just beyond the reach of both these teams after Montevideo scored late and edged the Wildcats last weekend. Albany can't be anything but down after 7-0 West Central South champ BOLD kind of handled the perennially powerful Huskies, scoring 27 straight points and shutting Albany out in the second half to win on Friday.
But neither the Huskies nor the Wildcats can afford to have their chins in their chests on a short turn-around week. Section seeds are the line.
Both are 1-0 against Section 6AAA opponents and 5-2 overall. NLS is currently ranked No 3 in the section and the Huskies are No. 4.
NLS played well defensively to hold down a high-scoring Monte team, and they have a solid run-pass game featuring running back Ronnie Johnson (602 yards, 11 touchdowns), quarterback Tanner Tobkin (937 yards, 10 TDs) and receiver Mitch Ejnik (34 catches, 439 yards, 8 TDs). Tobkin threw scoring passes to Corbin Schwartz and Ejnik to put NLS ahead against the Thunder Hawks until they scored the game's final points with less than three minutes to play.
Albany is a solid team but has shown a propensity to give up points, as evidenced by the 27 BOLD hung on the Huskies last week and the 56 Monte scored against them in a wild midseason loss. If New London-Spicer catches the Huskies on a bad night, the Wildcats could put up some sparkling numbers.
Minneota/Lincoln HI (6-1) at Montevideo (7-0)
No one will be able to say Montevideo had a nice stroll into the postseason following its big win over NLS that clinched the T-Hawks the West Central North last week.
The schedule shows Monte tuning up against a Class A team, the Minneota/Lincoln HI Vikings, on Wednesday to end the regular season. On the surface, it might seem like the kind of game in which the T-Hawks could burn turf in the first half and then give their top guys the second half off.
Au contraire (Yeah, that's right, it's French. The WCT is nothing if not a classy outfit.).
MACCRAY, the only team to beat the Vikings this season, knows they are a tough bunch. Little Sioux Conference rival Adrian certainly knows it after Friday night. The Dragons were undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the state Class A poll before the Vikings punched them up 27-0.
The Vikings are 6-1 this season. Since losing to the 5-2 Wolverines a month ago, the Vikings are 4-0 and have scored 38 points per game while allowing fewer than 12.
Montevideo has played solid defense. The T-Hawks gave up just 18 to NLS, nine points under the Wildcats' average. And, of course, Monte has one of the most potent offensive attacks going, led by quarterback Brett Bergeson, who leads the area with 1,758 passing yards and 23 TD passes. Jake Douglas is the No.3 runner in the area with 1,034 yards and 10 TDs, and three of the T-Hawks receivers -- Colton Vien, Joe Bednar and Kyle TeBeest -- are ranked among the top 10 pass catchers in the area, combining for 86 catches, almost 1,500 yards and 20 touchdowns.
It should be another good night to watch ball in Monte.
BOLD (5-0, 7-0) at Morris/CA (3-2, 4-3)
BOLD always seems to show up in the featured games, but with good reason. The Warriors are 7-0 and the No. 8-ranked team in Class AA. Quarterback Kyle Athmann continues his efficient passing, completing 57 percent of his throws -- and, with 17 TDs, 37 percent of his completions go for scores. He's thrown just three interceptions. Very often, the best way Athmann gets rid of the ball is to stuff it into the gut of running back Zach Remillard, who should surpass 1,000 this week (973 on 157 carries). He's scored six touchdowns. Not that BOLD is lacking momentum, but it wouldn't hurt to wrap up the regular season with a win over a hot Morris/CA team.
The Tigers have won three straight, and they could be 6-1 had they not lost two games early this season by a combined seven points, including one in overtime. Not bad for a team that graduated virtually every starter from a year ago.
Morris/CA quarterback Jake Torgerson has joined fellow WCS junior Matt Ahrndt as the top young QBs in the area. Torgerson took over the starting job this year and has thrown for 1,029 yards and 8 TDs against just two picks, and he's got four receivers -- Logan Manska, Chandler Erickson, Tanner Picht and Tom Holland -- that he's comfortable throwing to.
Add to that the skills and leadership running back Tim Ostby, who's stepped in this year to run for almost 600 yards and 7 TDs. A big upset over BOLD would make the Tigers' a tough nut for any first-round section opponent.