High-SchoolMinnesota: Football

2011 football champions, state by state

December, 20, 2011
Across the country, the high school football season is now complete, and Minnesota's football champs join the list of state champions in every classification throughout the nation.

To see the full list of state champions as well as how this state stacks up, click here.

Five Days of List-Mas: MN's underclass football players

December, 13, 2011

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: The top underclassmen in high school football.

The state championships are over and the Class of 2012 had a great run, but it’s never too early to start looking at the impressive players in the Class of 2013 and beyond. Who’s going to rule the gridiron in Minnesota next season? We give you the early rundown of who to watch for.

5. Jake Disterhaupt (JR), Moose Lake/Willow River, RB
Credentials: Associated Press All-MN first-teamer, led team to state finals, rushed for more than 2,200 yards and 33 TDs

4. John DeMarais (JR), Winona Cotter, QB
Credentials: Second in the state in passing yards with 1,818, threw 59.9 percent completions, 19 TDs

3. Jason Williams (JR), Washburn, DL
Credentials: Posted 14 sacks this season, had 65 total tackles (46 solo), four forced fumbles, one blocked punt

2. Karl Finkel (JR), Lakeville North, DL
Credentials: Led team to Class AAAAA quarterfinals; posted 60 tackles, 11 sacks, made All-St. Paul Pioneer Press first team

1. Ryan Marotz (JR), Highland Park, WR
Credentials: Conference Player of the Year, 60 receptions, 867 yards, six TDs

Tomorrow: The POWERADE Minnesota Weekly Rankings.

Mankato West's Philip Nelson named Gatorade POY

December, 1, 2011
Mankato West quarterback Philip Nelson was named the Gatorade Minnesota Football Player of the Year this morning.

Nelson, a senior, thew for 35 touchdowns this season and racked up more than 2,500 yards through the air, helping Mankato West go undefeated in the regular season and advancing to the Class 4A state semifinals. He is verbally committed to Minnesota.

For the breakdown on Nelson's award, click here.

POWERADE Minnesota Rankings (Final)

November, 28, 2011
After games ending Sunday, Nov. 27

NOTE: With the playoffs having ended, this will be the last Minnesota weekly ranking of the season.

Minnesota now has four new state champions following an exciting postseason, but perhaps the most shocking win came from a repeat state champ. Eden Prairie, which had already lost to Wayzata this season before the Class AAAAA title game rematch, winning 13-3 to knock off the reigning state champs. Rocori, St. Croix Lutheran, Dawson-Boyd and Edgerton-Ellsworth (9-man champ) are all first-time winners, while Caledonia won a fifth state title.

1. Eden Prairie — defeated Wayzata, 13-3 (final regular season rank: 2)

2. Wayzata — lost to Eden Prairie, 13-3 (final regular season rank: 1)

3. Rocori — defeated Bemidji, 17-10 (final regular season rank: NR)

Click here for the full POWERADE Minnesota Weekly Rankings.

Minnesota Preps Pick'em: Championship Edition

November, 23, 2011
No time for chit-chat; there's turkey to be had. So let's get to it.

Class AAAAA: Wayzata 13, Eden Prairie 6

Class AAAA: Bemidji 24, Rocori 17

Class AAA: St. Croix Lutheran 20, Fairmont 14

Class AA: Caledonia 26, Moose Lake/Willow River 17

Class A: Mahnomen 17, Dawson-Boyd 10

Previous Record: 20-9

A guide to Minnesota's football title games

November, 23, 2011
Another exciting season is just about in the books, and now it's time for the state championship games. We'll give you our preps pick'em previews later this week, but let's break down the matchups and learn about the players in the championship games.

Class AAAAA: Wayzata (12-0) vs. Eden Prairie (11-1)

And here we are again. It's been the best rivalry in the state over the last two seasons. It's a rematch of last year's state title game. It's a rematch of the excellent regular season matchup from earlier this year. Every time we think Wayzata might have finally met its match, the Trojans have stepped up in a big way. Consider the state semifinal matchup against a very good Cretin-Derham Hall team; we thought it would be close. The 42-0 shellacking wasn't close at all. The only team to stay close to Wayzata? Eden Prairie, which fell in a 9-0 loss earlier this season. And it's been the defense for Wayzata that has been so tough to solve, but it's the offense that has come into its own this season. Senior QB Nick Martin and senior WR Jeff Borchardt were stellar in the semifinal game and will be tough to defend in the title game as well.

Eden Prairie is not a team to be taken lightly though. It's another stellar defense (just 101 points allowed all year) and the Eagles toppled Totino-Grace in the state semifinals to advance to the finals. Each team has a stellar defense and a strong offense. Each team won by 42 points in the state semifinals. These two teams are the class of the state, and this match seems predestined.

Read More »

Minnesota's Preps Pick'em: Playoffs Week 3

November, 17, 2011
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

We're back after a brief hiatus and ready to pick the state's best games. So let's get right to it.

(Ranks are based on ESPNHS state rankings)

Wayzata (11-0) vs. Cretin-Derham Hall (11-0)

Could this game have any more name recognition? It's the reigning state champ against a perennial juggernaut with a trip to the Class AAAAA state finals on the line. Just when you think the defending champs have finally reached the end of their winning streak, the Trojans surprise you. They're the only team to beat Eden Prairie this year and they've been outstanding even despite replacing several key pieces from last year. But CDH has been equally impressive even after losing a few key players to injuries throughout the course of the season. Who's going to win? (Shrug.) We'll take the reigning champ and hope for the best. PREDICTION: Wayzata 24, Cretin-Derham Hall 20

Eden Prairie (10-1) vs. Totino-Grace (10-1)

Alright, admit it. Unless you go to Totino-Grace or Cretin-Derham Hall, you want to see the Eden Prairie-Wayzata rematch. Who wouldn't? The two teams have already played an epic tilt; there's no reason to not want to see them play again. Well, you don't need to tell Eden Prairie that, the team that fell on the losing end of that outstanding contest. But if the team finds itself looking past Totino-Grace, it'll find itself looking at the exits. Totino-Grace has a team worthy of a title berth appearance and has the talent to beat E-P, led by senior quarterback Bob McDaniel. But it's not easy to score on Eden Prairie — the Eagles have given up just 94 points all season. PREDICTION: Eden Prairie 27, Totino-Grace 14

Bemidji (10-0) vs. Mankato West (10-0)

Speaking of reigning state champs, Mankato West is the Wayzata of Class 4A — fresh off a title, unbeaten and favored in the state semifinals. Bemidji is a strong team, no doubt about it. The Lumberjacks have a strikingly balanced offense and a quarterback in senior Mitchell Hendricks who can throw the ball as well as anyone in the classification. But Bemidji hasn't played anyone quite on Mankato West's level. Minnesota recruit Phillip Nelson has the Scarlets playing as well as anyone in the state, and it'll take a Herculean effort to top the defending champs. PREDICTION: Mankato West 31, Bemidji 17

Previous Record: 18-8

Minnesota fall postseason update

November, 15, 2011
We've been MIA for a little while, but the Minnesota postseason has been in full swing, so it's time to get back on track and find out what's going on around the state.


The state semifinals will take shape this weekend, and it won't be surprising to see many of these names. Eden Prairie. Totino-Grace. Cretin-Derham Hall. Wayzata. Of those four, just one will emerge victorious in Class AAAAA. One step down, reigning champ Mankato West has advanced to the semifinals as well. In Class AAA, St. Croix Lutheran survived a game against fellow unbeaten Plainview-Elgin-Millville to advance to the semis. In Class AA, two unbeatens — Moose Lake/Willow River and Waterville/Elysian Morristown — meet up with the winner playing in the title game. And all four Class A teams look primed for a big semifinal showdown (but we like Mahnomen's chances).


You can find full coverage of the Minnesota state meet here. Local teams continued to do work at the NXN Heartland Regional, especially Stillwater. The Ponies won the team regional title and were one of two teams to make it to the national race — Burnsville was the other.


Eden Prairie's offense was never a problem this season, and it wasn't a problem in the Class AA title game either. The team scored twice late to put away a 3-1 victory over East View for the state crown. In Class 1A, just 15 minutes before the start of the state title game, Prairie Seeds got back a player whose age eligibility was questioned. It didn't matter; Benilde-St. Margaret's handed the reigning state champs a loss and took the title home.

Minnesota Preps Pick'em: Playoffs Week 2

November, 3, 2011
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks are based on ESPNHS state rankings)

Owtatonna (9-1) vs. No. 6 Lakeville North (9-0)

These are the types of games where teams like Owatonna, which doesn't play quite the same slate as Lakeville North, gets to find out just how good, disciplined and talented the team can be. Lakeville North hasn't always looked pretty, but the team has found ways to win and has been exceptional in big games. Owatonna's strength is in its defense, with four shutouts in the last six games, and the team's only loss was by one point. Still, playing Lakeville North is much different than playing teams such as Faribault, Winona and Austin. PREDICTION: Lakeville North 27, Owatonna 24

Osseo (9-1) vs. No. 1 Wayzata (9-0)

Since a season-opening loss to Centennial, Osseo has gone 9-0 this fall and has beaten some pretty impressive opponents. This is a very tough test for the reigning state champs early in the postseason. But if we've learned anything about Wayzata this year, it's not to underestimate them. A huge win against Eden Prairie, formerly the state's top team in the POWERADE Minnesota Weekly Rankings, was a message to the rest of the state that the Trojans mean business again this season. PREDICTION: Wayzata 34, Osseo 21

Hutchinson (9-0) vs. Mankato West (9-0)

Mankato West came into this season looking even better than it did last fall, when the team played hard but lost in the first round of the state tourney. Back in September, coach Mark Esch talked to us about his team's expectations this fall. "Our expectations are high," he said. "But they always are. We feel like we have the talent to put together enough wins to be competitive on the state level." At 9-0, we'd say the book is written on whether or not the Scarlets were competitive. But a tough Hutchinson team awaits. After beating Marshall, 42-28, the Tigers want to prove they're for real with a big marquee victory. PREDICTION: Mankato West 30, Hutchinson 20

Previous Record: 15-8

POWERADE Minnesota Rankings: Week 8

October, 24, 2011
After games ending Sunday, Oct. 23

NOTE: With the playoffs beginning, this will be the last Minnesota weekly ranking until the end of the season.

Sure, we expected the tilt between No. 1 Eden Prairie and No. 2 Wayzata to be a close affair. But only nine points combined? The defenses were among the state's most impressive. Even more impressive is that Wayzata, the reigning state champs, look as good as or better than last year's team following the 9-0 win. Now we'll see if the Trojans can hold up through the sectional playoffs and back into the state tournament.

1. Wayzata — defeated Eden Prairie, 9-0 (last week: No. 2)
2. Eden Prairie — lost to Wayzata, 9-0 (last week: No. 1)
3. Cretin-Derham Hall — defeated Roseville, 34-0 (last week: No. 3)

Click here for the full POWERADE Minnesota Weekly Rankings.
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

This week, since the majority of games will be played tonight, you get the picks nice and early to get ready for the final week of the regular season.

(Ranks are based on ESPNHS state rankings)

No. 1 Eden Prairie (7-0) vs. No. 2 Wayzata

We've been looking forward to this game on the calendar since the season began. The players probably have too. Last season Wayzata escaped with a thrilling win in overtime before winning the state championship. But this season Eden Prairie is the top-ranked team and has a measure of revenge on the mind. This is a game where playmakers shine, so expect senior RB Andrew Larson (999 rushing yards so far this season) and senior QB Nick Martin (987 passing yards) to be at their best. PREDICTION: Eden Prairie 27, Wayzata 24

No. 6 Lakeville North (7-0) vs. Prior Lake (5-2)

Prior Lake started its season 1-2. But since then the team has strung together four consecutive victories to become very competitive, punctuated by a big win against a strong Lakeville South team last week. Now the team takes on the other Lakeville — unbeaten Lakeville North. Prior Lake has played well in competitive games against Wayzata (losing 47-20) and Rosemount (losing 13-6) and could really make a statement with a win over North. But the Panthers are out to prove they're good enough to play with the state's best. PREDICTION: Lakeville North 31, Prior Lake 21

Delano (7-0) vs. Glencoe-Silver Lake (6-1)

This was very nearly a battle of unbeatens, but Glencoe narrowly lost to Hutchinson two weeks ago, 20-16. The Panthers aren't a high-scoring team but they always do enough on the offensive side and let their stellar defense do the rest. But they'll need points against a Delano squad that is balanced and impressive. This one could come down to the wire. PREDICTION: Delano 24, Glencoe-Silver Lake 20

Previous Record: 14-6

All-State Stock Watch is versatile and unbeaten

October, 19, 2011
Each week, we’ll take an in-depth look at our All-State preseason football team and let you know how a few of those athletes are faring as the season progresses. We'll highlight a blue-chipper (a first-team player), an OTP (other top player) and an under-the-radar pick (someone who didn't make the squad but is making a case to be on the team).

This week, stars from three undefeated teams do all the little things to make sure their teams remain some of the best in the state.

Blue Chip: Hunter Friesen, Mankato West, WR/DB

Friesen is like the Darrelle Revis of Minnesota high school football — throw that way at your own risk. His side of the field is not often targeted, so the senior has had to find other ways to contribute on the football field. The result? Friesen currently leads the state in touchdown receptions with 14 — one more than former cover and Vanderbilt pledge Andre McDonald. His play is one of the reasons the Scarlets are undefeated this year.

OTP: Brandon Larson, Bemidji, LB

Speaking of unbeaten teams, Bemidji's success has been due in large part to the play of Larson. The senior actually had a quiet game by his standards on Friday — five solo tackles and four assisted — but he has more than 100 tackles on the season, leading the team. It's certainly helped the Lumberjacks — the team has allowed only 65 points all season and has allowed seven or fewer in its last four games.

Under the Radar: Wesley Tucker, St. Croix Lutheran, RB

St. Croix Lutheran also remains unbeaten this season, and some big plays from Tucker were the difference in a game against St. Anthony this past weekend. Tucker came through for his team in the clutch, rushing 22 times for 356 yards and four touchdowns in a 54-14 victory. It was part of a backfield that rushed for more than 500 total yards in the contest.

POWERADE Minnesota Rankings: Week 7

October, 17, 2011
After games ending Saturday, Oct. 15

South St. Paul looked like one of the state's most dangerous teams. The Packers were getting it done on defense; they had allowed just 14 points all season and had posted four shutouts in six games. But a stunning 27-21 loss to Mahtomedi provides the only shake-up to this week's rankings. The other big story in Minnesota is the upcoming showdown this week between No. 1 Eden Prairie and No. 2 Wayzata. True to form, both teams held ground, leading to a battle between two unbeatens Friday night hosted by reigning state champ Wayzata.

1. Eden Prairie — defeated Edina, 35-7 (last week: No. 1)
2. Wayzata — defeated Hopkins, 40-20 (last week: No. 2)
3. Cretin-Derham Hall — defeated Woodbury, 43-7 (last week: No. 3)

Click here for the full POWERADE Minnesota Weekly Rankings.

Minnesota's Preps Pick'em: Week 7

October, 13, 2011
Each week we'll take three intriguing matchups and put our knowledge to the test with some predictions. If you think your team's game is one of the best on the schedule, let us know in the comments or on Twitter @CParishESPNHS and we'll put it up for debate.

(Ranks are based on ESPNHS state rankings)

Hill-Murray (5-1) vs. No. 4 St. Thomas Academy (6-0)

Hill-Murray's loss actually comes as quite an accomplishment — the Pioneers are the only team that hasn't lost to South St. Paul by 24 points or more. A 16-7 loss to the Packers is actually one of the most impressive things Hill-Murray has done this season. That's not to take away from a very good Pioneers program, led by QB Zach LaValle and RB Sam Becker. But it'll be equally difficult keeping pace with St. Thomas Academy. The Cadets have only given up 40 points all season. It'll be close, but the Cadets pull away late. PREDICTION: St. Thomas Academy 31, Hill-Murray 17

Red Wing (5-1) vs. No. 9 Shakopee (6-0)

Nothing about Red Wing's numbers scream out "juggernaut." In fact the Wingers have scored fewer than 20 points four times in six games this season. But you are what your record says you are, and Red Wing is 5-1, with its only loss coming to a very good Holy Angels team. And for as low as the Wingers score, they have a very efficient passing offense led by senior QB Joel Newman. But playing Shakopee is a different story. The Sabers have allowed just 74 points all season. Against a team that doesn't score much, that's a recipe for a victory. PREDICTION: Shakopee 30, Red Win 14

St. Croix Lutheran (6-0) vs. St. Anthony Village (5-1)

There's really no one star on the St. Croix Lutheran squad. Their quarterback is efficient, multiple players chip in in the run game (although junior Jackson Goplen leads the team with 490 rushing yards) and everyone helps out on defense. That kind of yoeman attitude has helped the team stay perfect at 6-0, but the team will face a stiff challenge against St. Anthony Village. The Huskies defense has given up a total of 21 points over the last four games — all wins — and will hope to hold St. Croix down as well. PREDICTION: St. Anthony Village 27, St. Croix Lutheran 17

Previous Record: 11-6

All-State Stock Watch respects the O-line

October, 12, 2011
Each week, we’ll take an in-depth look at our All-State preseason football team and let you know how a few of those athletes are faring as the season progresses. We'll highlight a blue-chipper (a first-team player), an OTP (other top player) and an under-the-radar pick (someone who didn't make the squad but is making a case to be on the team).

This week we pay homage to two outstanding offensive lineman and give a shoutout to a junior running back who might be vying to steal a starting gig.

Blue Chip: Isaac Hayes, St. Thomas Academy, OL

We admittedly don't give enough love to linemen, mostly because it's always tough to know when they have good games — they don't accrue traditional stats. But here's one — St. Thomas Academy ran all over its opponent on Friday, trouncing Holy Family Catholic by a 48-7 margin. And while some of the credit goes to the running backs who all had impressive games, Hayes and the offensive line were a big reason for the team's rushing success.

OTP: Zack Johnson, Eastview, OL

As we said above, there aren't many chances to pay tribute to offensive lineman. But here's another one. Johnson gave us another reason to pay homage when he verbally committed to a college over the weekend. The senior O-lineman verbally committed to North Dakota State. He's the fourth recruit overall and second in the state to pledge to the Bison.

Under the Radar: Quran Al-Hameed, Woodbury, RB

You know how in the NFL players play hurt because they're afraid to lose their jobs? You have to wonder if Junius Wilson is worried. After he went down with an injury last weekend, Al-Hameed filled in and had a career day. The junior rusher put up 29 carries for 234 yards and scored three times, including on a 75-yard scamper, as Woodbury beat Roseville, 37-24.