Caledonia and Wayzata are the only two defending champions that have survived the first two rounds of tournament play. The Caledonia Warriors are in the hunt for their second consecutive and fifth overall Class AA title. If the Wayzata Trojans win, it would be their second consecutive and fourth overall Class AAAAA title. Seven teams that made it to their respective championship games still boast unblemished records.
The 2011 Prep Bowl will be conducted over two days, Friday, Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26, at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. KSTC-TV, Channel 45 will broadcast all six games live, as well as feed numerous cable systems around the state. The games will also be streamed live for free Web viewing at www.45.GrandStadium.tv.
Friday, Nov. 25
[All statistics are current through the quarterfinals only]
Class 9-Man: Edgerton/Ellsworth (13-0) vs. Wheaton/Herman-Norcross (12-1) @ 10 a.m.
The Flying Dutchmen of Edgerton/Ellsworth are making their second consecutive appearance as a combined program, although Edgerton made three consecutive appearances between 2004 and 2006. This is the second state appearance for Ellsworth, and the Dutchmen came in at No. 1 in this year's final Associated Press (AP) poll. Last year Edgerton/Ellsworth lost in the quarterfinals.
The Warriors of Wheaton/Herman-Norcross are making their first appearance as a co-op. Wheaton made eight appearances between 1989 and 2007 and Herman made one additional appearance in 1977. The Warriors tied for eighth place in the final AP poll. Both teams are still looking for their first state championship.
Edgerton/Ellsworth plays a well-rounded game. The Flying Dutchmen have rushed for 3,372 yards on 425 attempts and completed 128-of-251 passing attempts for 2,268 yards. Junior Derek Voge has 86 rushing attempts for 761 yards and has scored nine touchdowns. Devon Hulstein, another junior, added another 701 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Isaac Heard ran the passing game with 2,061 yards and 28 touchdowns on 126 completions. Edgerton/Ellsworth has averaged 54.7 points per game while holding opponents to 16.2 points per game.
Wheaton/Herman-Norcross has a formidable ground game, gaining 3,559 yards on 435 attempts. Senior Wolfgang Brink scored 19 rushing touchdowns for the Warriors this season and garnered 945 yards on 120 attempts. Senior quarterback Tyler Schwagel completed 36 of 66 passing attempts and tallied 10 touchdowns. Evan Ellison, another senior, leads the defense with 74 tackles and one fumble recovery. Wheaton/Herman-Norcross averaged 37.6 points per game this season and their opponents scored an average of 7.5 against them.
Class A: Mahnomen (13-0) vs. Dawson-Boyd (13-0) @ 1 p.m.*
The No. 2-ranked Indians of Mahnomen return to make their second consecutive and 20th overall appearance. They lost in the quarterfinals in 2010. They are looking for their seventh state title, having won previously in 1980, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1998. The Blackjacks of Dawson-Boyd are making their first tournament appearance and were ranked No. 3 in the final AP poll.
Mahnomen gains most of its yardage and scores most of its touchdowns on the ground. Junior quarterback Jacob Pavek has scored 24 rushing touchdowns and netted 1,009 yards on 128 attempts. Senior Avery Fairbanks added 19 rushing touchdowns and has tallied 1,466 yards on 200 attempts. When Pavek took his game to the air, he completed 30-of-68 attempts and scored an additional six touchdowns. Junior Jacob Herstrom leads the defense with 72 tackles and one interception. Mahnomen averages 40.2 points per game while opponents average 5.6 points per game.
The Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks averaged 47.3 points per game this season and held their opponents to an average of 7.2 points. Senior Esten Weber and sophomore Joey Lee lead the offensive charge. Weber is the main ball carrier and has gained 1,473 yards and scored 24 touchdowns. Lee completed 54 percent of his pass attempts and connected with receivers for 1,163 yards and 21 touchdowns, primarily to senior Zach Stelter, who is credited with 404 yards and 11 touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Weber has accounted for 132 tackles and one interception. Junior Justin Lee had an additional 98 tackles and three interceptions.
Class AA: Moose Lake/Willow River (13-0) vs. Caledonia (12-1) @ 4 p.m.*
The Rebels of Moose Lake/Willow River, who were No. 2 in the final AP poll, are making their sixth consecutive and seventh overall appearance under this name. Moose Lake made one appearance in 1977. Last year Moose Lake/Willow River lost in the quarterfinals. The Rebels are still looking for their first title. The defending champion Caledonia Warriors return for their fifth consecutive and eighth overall appearance. In addition to last year they also won championships in 1974, 1975, 2007 and 2008. They were ranked No. 5 in this year's final AP poll.
Moose Lake/Willow River relies heavily on its running game. The Rebels compiled 5,334 yards on the ground this year with junior Jake Disterhaupt accounting for 1,998 of them. Disterhaupt also tallied 30 rushing touchdowns on 124 carries. Junior quarterback Tony Adamczak completed 50 percent of his pass attempts and tossed 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Senior Spencer Clough had a team-high 88 tackles for the Rebels. Moose Lake/Willow River averages 53.0 points per game while holding opponents to 13.3 points per game.
Caledonia also likes to keep the ball on the ground with seniors Kennan Bruening and Matt Petersen. Bruening accounted for 15 touchdowns and 658 rushing yards, and Petersen added another 13 touchdowns and 627 rushing yards. Bruening also completed 42 of his 77 passing attempts and connected with senior Travis Frank for four receiving touchdowns. Senior Houston Halverson led the Warriors with four interceptions and junior Zach Kasten had a team-high 71 tackles. Caledonia averages 33.0 points per game and their opponents score an average of 9.0 points against them.
Class AAAAA: Eden Prairie (11-1) vs. Wayzata (12-0) @ 7 p.m.*
These teams met during the regular season with Wayzata winning 9-0. The Eagles of Eden Prairie are making their seventh consecutive and 15th overall appearance. They lost in the quarterfinals last year and were No. 4 in this year's final AP poll. If the Eagles win it would be their seventh championship; they won previously in 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2007. The defending champion Wayzata Trojans, who were No. 1 in the final poll, are making their fifth consecutive and 11th overall appearance. The Trojans are looking for their fourth championship. In addition to last year, they also won in 2005 and 2008.
This year's Eden Prairie squad depends heavily on its ground game. Senior Andrew Larson rushed for 22 touchdowns this year and tallied 1,396 yards on 210 carries. Senior Roy McGhee added 422 rushing yards on 63 carries and accounted for four additional touchdowns. Junior quarterback Grant Shaeffer completed 62 percent of his passing attempts and connected for 625 yards and eight touchdowns. Senior RaShawn Fountain and sophomore Zach Hovey both had two receiving touchdowns for the Eagles. Eden Prairie averages 32.0 points per game while holding opponents to 8.5.
This year's Wayzata squad is competent both through the air and on the ground. Senior quarterback Nick Martin connected on 51 percent of his pass attempts for 1.334 yards and 20 touchdowns. He tossed 20 of those passes to junior Jeff Borchardt, who tallied eight touchdowns and 448 yards. Seniors Antonio Ford and Erik Roti led the Trojans' ground game this year. Ford had 194 carries for 1,269 yards and 12 touchdowns, and Roti added 804 yards and nine touchdowns. Seniors Ryan Poppitz and Alex Carlson had 96 and 84 tackles, respectively, for Wayzata. The Trojans averaged 33.1 points per game this year and their opponents averaged 13.0 against them.
Saturday, Nov. 26
[All statistics are current through the quarterfinals only]
Class AAA: Fairmont (12-1) vs. St. Croix Lutheran, West St. Paul (13-0) @ Noon
The Cardinals of Fairmont, who were No. 5 in the final AP poll, are making their first appearance under this name. They also made six additional appearances as Fairmont Area between 1978 and 1997. The top-ranked Crusaders of St. Croix Lutheran are making their second appearance; they made their first in 2006. Neither team has won a state title.
The Fairmont Cardinals played a well-rounded game this year, gaining 2,111 yards on the ground and 2,168 in the air. Junior Brandon Martin rushed for 20 touchdowns on 212 carries and netted a total of 1,254 yards. Senior quarterback Ben Kain tallied 2,055 yards on 137 pass completions and hit senior Adam Schultz and junior Bryce Holm with eight touchdown passes apiece. Senior Carson Ricard led the Cardinals' defense with 105 tackles. Jay Ruen, a sophomore, added 69 tackles and had a team-high five interceptions. Fairmont averaged 33.6 points per game and allowed opponents 16.9 points per game.
St. Croix Lutheran rushed for 4,844 yards this season while netting just 958 yards passing. Senior Wesley Tucker and junior Jackson Goplen rushed for 24 and 23 touchdowns, respectively, this year. Tucker gained 1,527 yards on 152 carries and Goplen added 1,703 yards on 162 carries. Senior quarterback Matt Olson completed 57 percent of his pass attempts and threw for 10 touchdowns. Junior Cody Sticha caught 12 of Olson's passes and turned them into 378 yards and five touchdowns. Tucker also led the Cardinals' defense with 36 tackles. St. Croix Lutheran averaged 46.7 points per game, while allowing opponents 14.8 points per game.
Class AAAA: Bemidji (12-0) vs. ROCORI, Cold Spring (11-1) at 3 p.m.*
The Bemidji Lumberjacks are making their third consecutive and fifth overall appearance. They lost in the quarterfinals in 2010 and were ranked No. 3 in this year's final AP poll. The Rocori Spartans return to make their fifth appearance, but first since 2005. They were No. 10 in this year's final poll. Both teams are still in the hunt for their first title.
Bemidji split its time evenly on the ground and through the air this season. The Lumberjacks accumulated 2,256 yards rushing and 1,795 yards passing. Three seniors ran for four touchdowns apiece this season: Mitch Brown, Mitchell Hendricks, and Carey Woods. Brown gained the most ground with 588 yards on 94 carries. When it comes to passing, Hendricks completed 65 percent of his attempts for 1,725 yards and 20 touchdowns. Woods also caught 51 passes and turned them into an additional 16 touchdowns. Senior Brandon Larson leads the Lumberjacks with 126 tackles. Bemidji averaged 36.7 points per game while holding opponents to a mere 10.6.
The Spartans of ROCORI netted 1,909 yards on the ground this year and added another 1,780 through the air. Senior quarterback Nate Meyer connected on 59 percent of his pass attempts for 1,622 yards and 15 touchdowns. Meyer also rushed for an additional 536 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior Sean Terres caught 34 passes and accounted for 434 yards and eight touchdowns. Senior Sam Moriarty gained 954 yards on the ground on 168 carries and also ran for nine touchdowns. On the defensive side, senior Evan Guggenberger had 110 tackles. Rocori averaged 27.4 points per game while holding opponents to 12.9 per game.
(Note: All game times listed with an * are approximate start times. Games could start before or after those times. There will be about 30 minutes between the conclusion of one game and the start of the next game.)