From SportsPrepZone.com

by Tom Yelle

By virtue of its 45-14 Friday night win over Andover , Blaine clinched the No. 1 seeded position for the coming Section 7AAAAA playoff.

Consequently, the Bengals receive an first-round playoff bye and won’t open 7AAAAA play until the semifinal round Saturday, Oct. 30. If successful that night, Blaine will host the section championship game the first weekend of November.

“We are glad to get it,” said head coach Shannon Gerrety. “It’s a very big deal. Some coaches don’t like it, we love it!

“The season is a marathon and we look at it [getting the first-round bye] as a hard-earned reward, a break in the schedule that enables us — players and coaches — to refresh our minds. We realize a team has to be mentally sharp to do well in the post season.”

Gaining the top-seeded position is only step one in a series of steps the Bengals hope to take by season’s end. The next step is wrapping up at least a share of the conference title, which Blaine can do this Wednesday with a win over Armstong to finish the Northwest Suburban undefeated.

“It will then be a matter of sharing it [with Osseo, a team Blaine did not have on its schedule] or winning it outright,” noted Gerrety. “Either way, winning this conference — a very tough conference — means a lot.”

The ensuing steps, which Blaine will attempt to take after the game with Armstrong, will be winning the two more titles — the section and state AAAAA championships. But first, Armstrong.

“We will go after that game just like we went after the game with Coon Rapids and the game with Andover ,” the coach emphatically added.

On the scoreboard — at least — the Week 7 victory over Andover came a little easier than expected thanks to a huge second-quarter during which Blaine scored 25 of the 31 points it collected during the first half.

Furthermore, after falling behind 7-6 in the first quarter when Andover quarterback connected with Jake Wagner on a 30-yard touchdown pass play, the Bengals scored 39 unanswered points before the Huskies scored again on a 10-yard Finnes-to-Wagner pass play in the fourth.

Gerrety refused to call it a blow out, instead crediting Andover with a very determined and well-planned effort to keep Blaine ‘s offense off the field. The only problem for Andover was the fact Blaine attacked from all aspects of the game — offense, defense, special teams.

“We are playing very well right now — an all-around team effort,” he said.

Ben Pigorsch opened the evening’s scoring with a four-yard touchdown run and went on to score three more touchdowns from two and 28 yards in the second quarter and from a yard out in the third. In addition, Pigorsch rushed for 122 yards before his night was complete.

Nate Mortenson collected Blaine ‘s only touchdown pass from quarterback Eric Kline in this game, a pass play that covered 10 yards in the third quarter. Kline finished with just 94 yards passing, but did have 104 yards rushing.

Defensively, Blaine collected eight points at Andover ‘s expense. The big play, perhaps back-breaking play early in the second quarter was a fumble recovery and 43-yard return by linebacker Chris Thomas. Later, the defense picked up a two-point safety by trapping the Andover punter in the end zone.

And from the special teams perspective, kicker Jon Ketola booted a 28-yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining in the first half.

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Highlight videos of the Andover vs Blaine game courtesy of Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube

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