Today's prep football playoff games
By: Rick Weegman, Duluth News Tribune
Today’s prep football playoff games
PRINCETON (6-4) AT HERMANTOWN (7-2)
What:Section 7AAAA championship
When/where:7 p.m.; Corey Veech Field
Outlook: hird-seeded Princeton beat Cloquet 35-29 in overtime on quarterback Zack Ludwig’s second 1-yard touchdown sneak of the game. Ludwig completed 12 of 23 passes for 154 yards and one scoring pass. Chase Lindenfelser led the Tigers’ running attack with 92 yards on 10 carries. The Granite Ridge Conference team is rebounding off an 0-9 season and seeking its sixth state tournament berth in school history and first since ending a four-year run in 2005. … The No. 1-seeded Hawks reached their second section final in a row with a 42-22 over North Branch. Running back Mitch Hiner (78 carries, 391 yards rushing in regular season) had TD runs of 73 and 85 yards in the first quarter to break the game open and senior QB Kevin Folman (71-413, 7 TDs) added a pair of short TD runs and his fourth TD pass of the season. Zach Royer (59-655, 11.1 yards per carry) and Adam Olson (98-450, 6 TDs) led the Hawks in rushing during the regular season. The last of Hermantown’s five state appearances came in 2003.
CROMWELL (6-4) VS. SOUTH RIDGE (9-1)
What:Nine-Man Section 5 championship
When/where:6:45 p.m.; Public Schools Stadium
Outlook: hird-seeded Cromwell invoked memories of its 2010 state-title run by beating Floodwood 30-12 on the road in Saturday’s semifinals, avenging a regular-season loss to the Polar Bears. Senior QB Jared Hutar (64-for-129, 1.079 yards) ran for two short TDs and threw for another. He has an 11-to-2 TD-to-interception ratio this season, with Josh Oliver (17-348) and Joe Couture (19-288) his favorite receivers. Zach Kinstel (109-771, 9 TDs) and converted receiver Mitch Talley (76-530, 6 TDs) are the leading rushers for the Cardinals. Hutar (78 tackles), Oliver (74 tackles) and Austin Pfisthner (eight interceptions) head up the defense. Cromwell’s rich tradition includes 15 state tournaments and four titles (1995, ’96, ’96 and 2010). … Top-seeded South Ridge routed McGregor 41-6 for its ninth win in a row. QB Kody Karppinen threw two TD passes in the first quarter and RB Devon Lee ran in three more for the Panthers. First-year coach Tony Deleon took over a program that went 0-8 in its final season as AlBrook High School and 1-8 in its first season as a combined AlBrook and Cotton school. AlBrook totaled seven state tournament appearances from its debut in 1977 to 2004.
ELY (8-2) VS. BIGFORK (8-2)
What:Nine-Man Section 7 championship
When/where:4:30 p.m.; Public Schools Stadium
Outlook: econd-seeded Ely scored 26 unanswered points after an early Kelliher-Northome touchdown to win 26-6 in Saturday’s semifinals for its sixth straight victory. Junior RB Louie Gerzin (1,204 yards rushing in regular season, 10 TDs), held to 25 yards rushing in the first half, ran for three TDs and caught another in the win for the Timberwolves. QB Sean Jordan passed for 133 yards and three TDs in a 30-20 victory at Bigfork during the regular season. Carter Manning was on the receiving end of two TDs in that game, while Mark Heiman also had two scores. This marks the school’s first appearance in a section final since 1994, and one more win would vault the Timberwolves into their first state tournament since 1988. … Top-seeded Bigfork avenged a regular-season loss with a 14-6 victory over Chisholm in the semifinals. Senior RB Zac Lovdahl (1,301 yards rushing, 15 TDs) scored both TDs, including running back the opening kickoff 85 yards. Lovdahl rushed for 1,998 yards and scored 16 TDs as a junior, when the Huskies reached their first state tournament in school history and lost 36-20 to Ada-Borup in the quarterfinals.
RICK WEEGMAN, NEWS TRIBUNE