Schultz Column: Prep football by the numbers
Nothing says fall has officially arrived like the release of Minnesota-Scores' football QRF rankings. Nine area teams made the top-25 in their respective class, 10 if you bump it to top-26, and all that says is there's some quality football nearly every Friday night.
Week three displayed the quality at full force, featuring offensive domination from a trio of area teams, some eye-popping numbers from local athletes and more incorrect picks on Pigskin Pick 'Em by this guy. Every Friday night there's a lot of number to digest, so here's a list of some of the best numbers three-eighths of the way through the regular season.
Jacob Zosel won the Hengstler-Ranweiler Award, visited state tournaments like it was his job and ran for 3,020 career rushing yards as a Tiger. But on Friday, Morris/Chokio-Alberta's Camden Arndt did something Zosel never did: he ran for more than 300 yards. That's 305, to be exact. He also scored four touchdowns in his team's 26-25 loss to ACGC, reminding teams he's one of the area's best athletes. He's rushed for 480 of his team's 836 rushing yards so far and happens to be the team's leading passer with two completions and 56 passing yards. Also, fun fact: 305 is the area code in Miami.
The Willmar Cardinals and Paynesville Bulldogs each tallied 54 points in dominant victories on Friday. Willmar's high-flying offense has scored plenty of points in the past but that's the most for the red-and-white since Oct. 11, 2013, when they defeated Rocori 56-13 before the Spartans became the state tournament dream killers. Paynesville, on the other hand, dropped 62 points on Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted in a 2015 victory.
Both teams excelled in the air, as Willmar's Donald Jurek fired four touchdown passes and ran for another while completing 10 of his 14 passes for 224 yards against Hutchinson. Max Weidner showed his ability to run last year but the Paynesville quarterback threw a party against Rockford, going 14-of-20 passing for 254 yards and five total touchdowns.
Three games in, both teams sport a 2-1 record and favorable QRF rankings, according to www.Minnesota-Scores.com. The Bulldogs are No. 11 in Class AA and the Cardinals sit at No. 15.
Three for 3-0, obviously. BOLD and Minnewaska are the last area teams standing with an undefeated record through the first three weeks and one has to fall this week because they play each other Friday night at Minnewaska High School. Hey, I don't make the rules. The Warriors have hardly broken a sweat with three dominant performances so far this season, outscoring their opponents 130-29. That type of performance earned the top QRF ranking in Class A, according to Minnesota-Scores. Also, with the number three on the mind, BOLD's Gavin Vosika scored three touchdowns in Friday's win over Sauk Centre and the sophomore now has 12 (eight rushing, four receiving) so far. Top target Luke Ryan caught another three passes on Friday as well, two of which went to the end zone.
Minnewaska can play, though. The Lakers are 3-0 in large part due to a frightening defense and an improving offense. That leads to a No. 5 ranking in Class AA. Speaking of Minnewaska...
That's the number of points the Lakers have allowed per game so far this season, which is tied for the second-lowest number in Class AA with United North Central. Barnesville leads with a line of 4.7.
Second year head coach Jeremy Christensen's defense has a eye for turnovers, shown in week two when the Lakers picked off ACGC quarterback Michael Trebil three times and forced four fumbles.
Minnewaska started the season with a big chip on the shoulder following a 2-7 2016 season where the Lakers allowed an average of 25.8 points per game and struggled to score on a consistent basis. The offense still has some question marks this season, but Friday's 35-6 win over Montevideo reminds fans that Minnewaska's last trip to the state tournament wasn't that long ago. It's a bit too soon to announce Minnewaska is back like the Steve Hill days, but Friday's home game against BOLD should be a battle.
Also known as 75 percent, which may get you a C on your report card but gets an A on the Jake Schultz Report Card of Efficiency, patent pending (not really, but please don't take it). Renville County West's Jack Howard completed four passes for three touchdowns in his team's 50-7 win over MACCRAY Friday night that promptly busted all the "experts" picks in Pigskin Pick 'Em. He threw for 125 yards and ran for another 54 as the Jaguars ran away in the second half of RCW's first win of the season. Speaking of efficiency, Axel Zaragoza also ranks highly in the Efficiency Power Rankings, running three times for 94 yards and two touchdowns.