Prep football: Featured area games
Game 2 in the Minnesota high school football playoffs poses interesting matchups. On one hand, lower seeds which won first-round games must temper their celebrations, mend their weary minds and bodies and get ready in just four days to play a powerful top seed that has had a week to rest and recharge.
On the other hand, the lower-seeded victors have shaken off nerves and rust, gotten their hands dirty and built confidence. They're fired-up teenagers. They don't care if it's a short week - after Tuesday's wins they probably wanted to play again the next day.
Here's a look at Saturday's second-round games:
at BOLD (8-0)
The Braves untracked their offense and handled a short-handed Lac qui Parle Valley team on Tuesday. But now it gets real: BOLD worked over Benson during the regular season, stifling the touchstone of the Braves' offense, quarterback Matt Ahrndt, and winning 36-6. Even if Benson can gear up its offense it still has to contend with BOLD's relentless offensive attack. Quarterback Tyler Rock has been a model of efficiency all season, completing 64 percent of his throws for 720 yards and a remarkable 16 touchdowns to just one interception ratio. Running back Chaz Roush led the area with 1,158 rushing yards and Tyler Seehusen ran for 677 yards and combined with Roush to score 18 rushing touchdowns.
Litchfield (4-5) at
New London-Spicer (5-4)
Both the Dragons and Wildcats don't believe they're sub-.500 teams and they have some issues to address following their first meeting this season. Litchfield won 20-14 despite holding the Wildcats to 63 total yards. NLS won thanks to two big special teams plays but the Wildcats certainly don't believe that's the only way they can beat their new Wright County Conference rival. Litchfield's Zach Kinny is one of the area's top passers this year, throwing for 1,191 yards and 8 TDs. He has thrown 15 interceptions, though. Devin Schliemann ran for 207 yards and 2 TDs in the Dragons playoff opener. NLS' Austin Stone rushed for 769 yards and 10 TDs in the regular season, and Adam Essler is a constant threat.
at Minnewaska (5-4)
There isn't a hotter team in the area than Minnewaska, which was 0-9 last year and started this season 0-4 before whipping off five straight wins, including a 14-6 victory over Paynesville in the season finale last week. The Bulldogs have played top conference teams like Morris/CA and ACGC tough, and rushed for 369 yards Tuesday to win its playoff opener. Paynesville back Nathan Meyer just missed a 1,000-yard regular season (982 yards) and he's scored 11 TDs. Backfield mate Anthony Johnson gained 673 yards on just 80 carries (8.4 yards per carry) and scored 6 TDs. The Lakers' Austin Ostrander has thrown for 646 yards and Jake Amundson averaged 30 yards per catch and pulled in 2 touchdowns.
at Morris/CA (8-0)
Morris/CA has been one of the area's best, most consistent teams this season. They have a solid quarterback, Jacob Torgerson, who manages a good game, and the Tigers have three good backs to call on. They have the added advantage of playing a former West Central Conference team at home. But Albany is still Albany, and the Huskies can be tough, even in an off-year. MCA's Tom Holland is a tough back who gained 707 yards on 97 carries (7.2 yards per carry) and scored 10 touchdowns.