MACCRAY (3-1, 4-1)
at Adrian (4-0, 4-0)
MACCRAY has got a pretty good season going, but struck out in its first big test against a Little Sioux Conference power when it lost 25-7 to undefeated Dawson-Boyd in its third game of the season.
Now it has another - and possibly last - chance to assert itself into the conference championship chase.
Adrian, ranked No. 4 in Class A with a 4-0 mark, is averaging 30 points per game while giving up about 15 per game. If the Dragons can get by No. 10-ranked MACCRAY, they have the added luxury of not having to play Dawson-Boyd this season. After Friday, their schedule includes another toughie against Minneota/Lincoln HI (now 3-1), but also games against Lakeview and Canby, teams that currently are a combined 2-6.
MACCRAY quarterback Brady Boike is among the area's top offensive threats (417 rushing yards, 923 passing yards, 13 total touchdowns), and the Wolverines are averaging 36 points per game. The Wolverines know they can beat a top team, felling Minneota 31-13, in the week after losing to the Blackjacks.
The Wolverines outscored their opponents 98-24 their first two games, and, after scoring just a touchdown in their loss, they've outscored their last two opponents 76-27. They need to hope a third-game lull isn't again in the offing.
Murray CC (2-2, 2-2) at Dawson-Boyd (4-0, 4-0)
This is more of an internal test for the Blackjacks than a key Little Sioux matchup.
On paper, this should be a walk for Dawson-Boyd, ranked No. 5 in Class A. The Blackjacks are averaging 47 points per game and they are giving up an average of six per game. They convincing defeated a tough MACCRAY team (25-7) and outscored their last two opponents 129-11.
Dawson-Boyd has two rushers among the area's top 10 - Esten Weber, 427 yards and six TDs, and Justin Lee, 411 yards and six scores - and quarterback Joey Lee has thrown for almost 400 yards and eight touchdowns on just 17 completions. The Blackjack defense has allowed just 24 points in four games.
Murray County Central isn't a sleeper poised for an upset. The Rebels needed overtime to beat 0-4 Fulda, lost by two touchdowns against both Adrian and Canby, and claimed its second win against one-win and under-manned Renville County West.
If the Blackjacks take care of business as they are expected to, there's little reason to believe they've been lulled by their past success or doubt they are a legitimate Class A state championship contender.
BOLD (3-0, 4-0)
at LQPV (1-1, 2-2)
Before the season began, it seemed more likely that the fates of these two teams would be switched by this point.
BOLD entered the season with solid quarterback Kyle Athmann but needing to replace the area's top runner and another former 1,000-yard rusher. The Eagles came into the year with established veterans and expectations of West Central South Conference contention.
But the Warriors have won two on the road, took out West Central South rival ACGC, then cemented their status as a league contender with a 32-0 win over YME last week.
The Eagles have been enigmatic, getting hammered 41-12 in their opener at Montevideo, beating YME and Sauk Centre by a combined 73-13, but then losing 20-6 against ACGC last week.
This is an especially important game for the Eagles since this will be their last home game of the year. They close with three straight road games against Morris, Benson and Paynesville.
Glencoe-SL (3-0, 4-0)
at Litchfield (2-2, 2-2)
This is a big test for Litchfield.
GLS is the top-ranked Class AAA team this year, and the Panthers are tied with Delano and Hutchinson at the top of the Wright County Conference. GLS hasn't scored a ton, but the Panthers' defense is allowing just 7.3 points per game.
Litchfield struggled in a 41-23 loss to fellow 2-2 team, Waconia, two weeks ago, but the Dragons scored 50 in a win over Mound-Westonka last week.
Can Litch dent the Panthers' vaunted defense at home and pull an upset? Doing so might give the Dragons' momentum with the playoffs about a month away.