Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.
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EDEN PRAIRIE — If ever a day was perfectly made for BOLD football, Saturday was it. Eden Prairie’s Aerie Field was snow-coated and slick and light snow fell throughout the day.
Moving from tight end to quarterback would seem to be a demanding switch, but for New London-Spicer’s Ethan Bohlsen it was merely getting back to what he knows best. “I’ve been a quarterback all my life,” said Bohlsen, a senior who will lead the 10-1 Wildcats against Glencoe-Silver Lake at 3 p.m. today in the Class AAA state semifinals at Eden Prairie High School. “Last year, with Ryan (Vraa) there, it was a little different for me. But I liked it.” Bohlsen, at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, is a prototypical prep tight end and he was the Wildcats’ backup quarterback behind Vraa.
New London-Spicer piled up 626 total yards and destroyed Esko 52-27 in the Class AAA quarterfinals on Saturday in St. Cloud.
ALEXANDRIA — The night was perfect for good, old-fashioned punch-‘em-up football and the BOLD Warriors proved to have the heavier hands. The one-loss Warriors and undefeated Hawley battled high winds and wet footing throughout the Class AA state quarterfinals game Friday, with BOLD emerging with a 21-9 win. The Warriors, now 11-1, advance to play Caledonia in the state semifinals at noon next Saturday at Eden Prairie High School. Caledonia (12-0) advanced with a 20-12 win over Maple Lake on Friday in Rochester. The last time the two teams — both nicknamed Warriors — met, Caledonia
The 2013 New London-Spicer football team had plenty of firecrackers it could spark up on offense: 2,400-yard rusher Adam Essler breaking ankles with his fits-and-starts style, quarterback Ryan Vraa firing passes to his fast-twitch receivers and fullback Ben Beuning bludgeoning the middle to open up all the outside stuff. Together, it was a powder keg that propelled NLS to the Class AAA state championship game. But most of those guys are gone, and this year the Wildcats’ offense has just Shane Zylstra back to reproduce all the eye-popping fireworks needed to dazzle — and defeat — opponent
New London-Spicer's Shane Zylstra scored three touchdowns and the Wildcats held Melrose's running attack in check in a 30-15 win in the Section 6AAA title game Saturday in St. Cloud
MORRIS — BOLD’s brand of smash-mouth offense, stingy defense football was perfect for the cold conditions on Friday at Big Cat Stadium. Brad Wolff scored four touchdowns and the Warriors’ defense limited Paynesville’s high-powered attack to about half its usual yards in a 34-8 victory in the Section 5AA championship game. BOLD took advantage of good field position and a Max Buchtel interception to set up four scores and the Warriors rolled up 170 rushing yards, just enough to keep Paynesville quarterback Matthew Quade and an offense that averaged 50 points per game on the sidelines. “
For the second-straight year, the Paynesville football team will take to the Big Cat Stadium turf in Morris on Friday with an undefeated record, one big game standing between them and the Minnesota State Class AA tournament. And, again, the Bulldogs will have a gigantic task ahead of them. Last year, it was Minneota scratching the only blemish on Paynesville’s 10-1 season with a 23-8 win in the Section 5AA final at Big Cat. The Vikings went on to the Class AA championship game. This year, the 9-0 Bulldogs, ranked No.
Woody Allen’s contention that “80 percent of success is showing up” fits Riley Grussing to a T. The Willmar High School senior setter could be playing the final games of her prep career this week, and what has defined that record-setting career is her willingness to show up, plan and prepare. “She’s not scared to work and to take on the challenge to be a leader on the team,” said Willmar head coach Traci Grussing, whose No. 7-seeded Cardinals open the Section 2AAA playoffs hosting No. 10 New Prague at 7 p.m. today. “She has the personality for it.
The Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks face their biggest test of the regular season when Minneota comes to Dawson on Friday. The teams are both 4-0, tied with Adrian, atop the Little Sioux Conference standings. The Blackjacks are averaging almost 46 points per game while giving up fewer than 10. But the Vikings have been even more impressive offensively and defensively, averaging almost 65 points and allowing just 6.3. Last year, the teams’ seasons played out similarly. The Vikings defeated the Blackjacks 27-6 in the fifth week of the season in Minneota.