Prep Football: Game of the Week
Week six between Willmar and St. Cloud Apollo had a home playoff game on the line. The Cardinals walked off of the Eagles' field a 40-14 winner.
Fast-forward 22 days later, the two teams will match up in the Section 8AAAA playoffs, where third-seeded Apollo has to travel to Hodapp Field for a rematch with No. 2 seed Willmar on Saturday.
Set for a 6 p.m. kickoff, the Cardinals sport the third highest-scoring offense in Class AAAA (44.8 points/game) and have won six straight by a margin of 46.5-13.8. With an offense averaging 445.25 yards/game, Drey Dirksen finished the regular season with 1,526 yards on 89 of 147 passing while also leading the team with 672 rushing yards and 29 total touchdowns (18 passing, 11 rushing).
With a first-round bye, Willmar will be rested up with 10 days between Saturday's section semifinal and the 46-0 Week 8 win over Rocori where the Cardinals allowed just 74 yards of total offense.
In the quarterfinals, Apollo gained some momentum with a 51-21 victory against four seed Little Falls. Quarterback Logan Johnson paced the Eagles' efforts, running for 48 yards and one touchdown while going 3 of 7 through the air for 50 yards and two scores. Clifton Patterson had a team-best 77 yards and a touchdown as Apollo built a 51-0 lead at halftime.
In the Week 6 matchup, Willmar's ground game thrived in the misty conditions with 299 yards and three scores. Alex Wickliff was the leading back on the night with 127 yards on 17 carries while Ethan Roux reached the end zone twice. Dirksen was also to chuck the ball around for 189 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown to Caleb Owens. And on the defensive end, Ty Roelofs had two interceptions, including a 57-yard return for a score that sealed the Cardinals victory.