Posts Tagged ‘Northwest Suburban Conference’

Here is a list of Football players that have made their 2011 college football commitments…

Justin Emmerich, Andover:  University of Minnesota-Crookston

Ryan Emmerich, Andover:  University of Minnesota-Crookston

Dylan Garski, Coon Rapids:  Concordia University-St. Paul

Jameer Jackson, Osseo:  University of North Dakota

Ryan Kelley, Centennial:  University of Minnesota-Duluth

Eric Kline, Blaine:  South Dakota State University

Alex Meier, Anoka:  United States Military Academy at West Point (Army)

Ryan Peterson, Centennial:  University of Minnesota-Duluth

Logan Sargent, Coon Rapids:  Concordia University-St.Paul

Floken Sirleaf, Coon Rapids:  Valley City State University (North Dakota)

Joey Sonnenfeld, Osseo:  North Dakota State University

Chris Thomas, Blaine:  Winona State University

Gabe Wolfe, Andover:  Minnesota State University-Mankato


Congratulations to all these young men and best of luck as they begin the next phase of their lives!



Several teams dominated in section play, but now the margin for error shrinks considerably.

By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune

The eight football teams that emerged victorious from last Friday’s Class 5A section championship games did so by an average of three touchdowns. Only two games were decided by fewer than 23 points.

“I was surprised by how handily all the teams won last week,” said Mounds View coach Jim Galvin, whose Mustangs rolled to a 32-6 victory against Stillwater. “But I don’t think we’ll see that again.”

In theory, a rash of lopsided section championship games should make the big-school state tournament quarterfinals on Thursday and Friday more competitive. The eight teams boast a combined record of 75-6. Four teams — Blaine, Brainerd, Rosemount and Wayzata — are undefeated.

The marquee game pits No. 2-ranked Blaine against No. 1 Wayzata at 7 p.m. on Friday at Osseo. But intrigue flows throughout the big-school bracket.

“The matchups are great,” Blaine coach Shannon Gerrety said. “Everybody’s got a shot, and that’s what so great about this field.”

Despite facing Wayzata in the first round while Mounds View and defending Class 5A state champion Cretin-Derham Hall linger on the same side of the bracket, Gerrety is opposed to seeding. He said a lack of common opponents makes it tough to properly judge the teams.

And his underdog Bengals fought through a tough bracket in 2008, beating Eden Prairie and Cretin-Derham Hall to reach the championship game against Wayzata. Though Blaine ultimately lost and the roster is largely turned over, Gerrety hopes to harness the same spirit.

“Like we told them two years ago, we said, ‘The coaches wouldn’t have watched film for 12 hours on Sunday or had you guys under the lights at Spring Lake Park [on Tuesday] if we didn’t expect to compete hard and win,'” Gerrety said.

Blaine’s Eric Kline is the state’s top dual-threat quarterback, piling up 3,002 yards of total offense and 34 touchdowns out of the Bengals’ spread offense. But he has not seen a fast and disciplined defense like that of Wayzata, led by safety David Boegel. Offensively, Wayzata gets big plays from running back Aaron Roth.

Six-time state champion Eden Prairie, meanwhile, faces Brainerd. The Eagles were No. 1 most of the year until falling to Wayzata by one point in overtime. The Rosemount vs. Lakeville South and Cretin-Derham Hall vs. Mounds View games are replays from the regular season. Rosemount won 35-3 on Oct. 1 and Cretin-Derham Hall won 17-7 on Oct. 15. Galvin said his seniors beat the Raiders as sophomores but have not solved them on the varsity stage.

“The key for us is — can we move the ball?” Galvin said. “They’ve bottled us up pretty well.”

The Raiders’ success against the Mustangs starts with 300-pound defensive tackle Jonathan Harden. His size and quickness are tough to neutralize inside. Speaking of inside, the Mustangs reached the semifinals last season for the first time and made their Metrodome debut. A group of 13 juniors logged significant playing time.

“Once you get to the next step, it’s easier to take that same step again,” Galvin said. “It happened once we made it to state for the first time. We hope that happens again.”


In a word, Blaine senior inside linebacker Chris Thomas is different.

Some linebackers are bigger. Some make more tackles. But few, if any, change games like Thomas. His five forced fumbles and four defensive touchdowns (two interception returns, two fumble recoveries) this season set him apart.

“He is the Eric Kline of our defense,” said Bengals’ football coach Shannon Gerrety. Kline, Blaine’s quarterback, has accounted for 3,002 total yards and 34 touchdowns this season. “Anytime Chris is around the ball, something good happens.”

With Thomas leading the defense, No. 2 ranked Blaine (10-0) opens play in the Class 5A tournament quarterfinals against No. 1 Wayzata (8-0) at 7 p.m. Friday at Osseo High School. The game is a rematch of the 2008 Prep Bowl game won by the Trojans.

Thomas would like to see a different outcome this time.

“This is my first time ever making it to a state tournament,” Thomas said. “It’s a good feeling, and I want to make the best of it.”

Thomas spoke with Star Tribune reporter David La Vaque about making plays and going to state.

Q I know there’s a lot to come, but talk about the ride this team has been on so far.

A It’s been a surreal season. We have great players on this team, and together we did what we set out to do so far — win the conference title and win the section title. We still have a long road ahead of us against the good teams that are in the state tournament, but we know we can do it.

Q Each year the Blaine football team has a slogan. What is it this season?

A We’re all in this year. We work hard every day.

Q Talk about your season. Four defensive touchdowns is impressive.

A I just try hard to get turnovers. The touchdowns are just bonuses. I made some good plays last season, but nothing like this. It’s an amazing feeling to score touchdowns, especially when you’re not an offensive player.

Q Do your friends on the defense call you their version of Eric Kline or anything?

A No [laughs]. Eric is an amazing player, and he’s the captain of our football team. He gives off amazing energy, and I respect him for that.

Q Your two interceptions that led to touchdowns — did those start with your film study and knowing what to look for?

A As a linebacker, I have certain reads to go through. And I pretty much just followed through with my reads and they took me right to where I needed to be. Fortunately enough I’ve made the plays.

Q As you look ahead to Wayzata, what have you and your teammates talked about in terms of that matchup?

A Wayzata is a great team, and we have a lot of work ahead of us. We’ll put the work in at practice and whatever happens, happens. I think we’re a pretty confident team. And we have a great defense. We do what we have to do to take care of business.

Q What do you remember about the Blaine-Wayzata championship game from 2008?

A Actually I was living in Louisiana. I came to Blaine as a junior.

Q So what do you think of football in Minnesota compared to what you experienced in Louisiana?

A There is a big difference. The athletes down there are a lot bigger. And football down there is life. Football is important up here, but it’s a hockey state.

This season we’ll have a weekly segment called “The Big One” where we feature a game with post-game articles and/or analysis including video from our friends at Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube.  Our next “Big One” of the 2010 season will be Centennial @ Coon Rapids on Tuesday, October 26th (7:00pm).

A season ago Coon Rapids gave heavy favorite Centennial a game for a half before the Cougars flipped the switch and pulled away 34-15.  Centennial was the #2 seed then and it was the first of three playoff wins that resulted in a trip to the State tournament.  This season their positions are somewhat reversed.  Coon Rapids (5-3) is the #3 seed and has the home field advantage while Centennial (3-5) is the #6 seed and is on the road.  They did not meet during the regular season so this will be the first time they have seen each other since that playoff game.

Highlight videos of last seasons Coon Rapids vs Centennial playoff game courtesy of Coon Rapids Sports on YouTube

Coon Rapids had a respectable season but they’ve only beaten one quality team (Andover).  The same could be said for Centennial if you consider a Champlin Park team without it’s best offensive player, running back Michael Sales (So), a quality team.  If Coon Rapids can limit their mistakes and control the ball they should win this game.  They are the better team and they are playing at home.  The last time they were in this position however they lost to Blaine in the 2007 playoffs and turnovers were a big factor.

Does Coon Rapids repeat 2007 with a first round playoff exit at home or will they have their revenge on the Cougars?  Can Centennial make a few big plays on defense and recapture some of the magic from their 2009 season?  We’ll find out tomorrow!

Other A-B-C Playoff games this week:

* Anoka @ Andover

Here’s what I “think” now that the 2010 football regular season has ended…

  • Blaine is the team to beat in Section 7AAAAA and I just don’t see any team beating them.  But that’s why they play the games.  They have a bye the first week and will play the winner of the St. Francis @ Forest Lake game.
  • This season has not been kind to Anoka but they have a 2-game winning streak heading into the post-season and open on the road against rival Andover.  In their regular season matchup Anoka led 17-14 in the 4th quarter but Andover scored two touchdowns, one on an interception that was returned for a touchdown just over three minutes remaining, to win the game 27-17.  Anoka is the 7th seed in the Section but anything is possible.
  • Coon Rapids rebounded from a road loss at Osseo by scoring 21 4th quarter points at home to pull away from Maple Grove for a 28-6 victory.  The Cardinals finished the regular season 5-3 which was good enough for the #3 Section seed.  Their opponent will be the Centennial Cougars, a team that knocked them out of the playoffs a year ago and went on to win the Section championship. But this is not the same Centennial team.  They are 3-5 and are ahead of only Park Center and Robbinsdale Armstrong in points allowed (24.9) this season.  Coon Rapids has a much improved defense (17.9 points allowed per game) and they are unbeaten at home which is where this game will be played.  Time for some payback!
  • Two straight losses at Coon Rapids and Blaine after a 5-0 start had the Andover Huskies on the ropes but in their season finale against Osseo they finally seemed to find themselves offensively.  Quarterback Tyler Finnes (Sr) stepped up with a monster game on the ground and made some some big throws in leading them to a 29-26 victory over the Orioles who were unbeaten in the conference at the time.  If they can get that kind of production from Finnes they might end up meeting Blaine in the Section championship.


Results from Week 8 (home team in bold):
Andover over Osseo, 29-26
Anoka over Park Center, 35-3
– (3) Blaine over Robbinsdale Armstrong, 35-6
– Centennial over Champlin Park, 27-13
Coon Rapids over Maple Grove, 28-6


Northwest Suburban Conference Standings (Final)

School Conf Overall Pts For Pts Agst Streak
Blaine 8-0 8-0 293 86 W8
Osseo 6-1 6-2 242 115 L1
Andover 6-2 6-2 208 161 W1
Coon Rapids 5-3 5-3 171 143 W1
Centennial 3-4 3-5 177 199 W1
Champlin Park 3-5 3-5 145 184 L4
Maple Grove 3-5 3-5 97 181 L1
Anoka 2-6 2-6 179 237 W2
Robbinsdale Armstrong 2-6 2-6 80 168 L1
Park Center 1-7 1-7 98 244 L3


Momentum can pay dividends for teams heading into the playoffs. But Andover head coach Rich Wilkie’s team was clearly headed in the wrong direction.

After a 5-0 start to the season, the Huskies’ hopes were derailed by back-to-back loses heading into Wednesday’s home game against Osseo. Andover QB Tyler Finnes was determined to reverse his team’s woes.

Finnes directed the Huskies’ option offense to perfection, giving the Osseo defense fits all night in Andover’s 29-26 victory. The senior carried 30 times for 246 yards and three touchdowns. He also finished 11-for-21 passing for 178 yards and another score.

“Finny was just fantastic tonight,” Wilkie said. “That was just over the top, especially against a team like Osseo. We knew we had to get the ground game going and were able to do just that.”

Osseo, which suffered its first conference loss of the season, stayed close throughout, aided by a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns by RB Sam Conner.

But Andover placekicker Tyler McLaughlin nailed a 19-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter that proved to be the game-winner. It was the junior’s first field-goal attempt of the season.


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


by Jason Olson

It is simply amazing what winning can do for a high school football team.

After an 0-6 start to the 2010 season against some tough teams, Anoka won back-to-back games for the first time in a year with Wednesday’s 35-3 win over Park Center.

“It’s a lot more fun,” Anoka coach Jeff Buerkle said watching his players celebrate with the traveling Pumpkin Bowl trophy that will stay in Anoka for at least another year, a tradition that began in 1948. Wednesday’s win gives Anoka back-to-back Pumpkin Bowl victories after it outlasted Elk River 44-41 in 2009.

For any Anoka senior, playing in the Pumpkin Bowl means a little more than a regular win. This was epitomized by senior running back Jared Kurtz, who blasted out on a 49-yard touchdown run during opening possession. Kurtz emerged from the mass of bodies and confusion and was 10 yards past the nearest Park Center player before anyone realized he was in full sprint to the end zone.

Fellow Anoka senior teammate Matt Pint said after the game:

“It really means a lot to us seniors and the fact that it’s only the second win of the season doesn’t take anything away from it.” Pint went on to say the best part of the game came late. “It was just fun to see everyone get a chance to play.”

The team celebrated the win by hoisting 5-foot, 3-inch senior defensive lineman Kendrick Denson into the air after the game. Denson saw some action on the line late in the contest when he faced up on a towering 6-foot-2 tackle from Park Center named Demetrius Sims.

Buerkle said the short week of practice only made a bad week of practice worse, but the end result was what he expected.

Winning the Pumpkin Bowl means a lot to him, his staff and players.

“I know as dumb as it might sound, it is important for us to keep [the trophy] or else the other team takes it and does whatever [it wants to do] with it,” he said. “We’ve had it come back to us in pieces the next year.”

During the week, Buerkle challenged his players to make a decision about what would be etched onto the trophy for 2010:

“It’s your team that goes on there forever. A lot of these kids have had parents and even grandparents play for the trophy.”

Park Center tried to make the most of its bruised and battered roster, which didn’t include quarterback Michael Hintze who suffered a concussion the previous week. This opened the door for senior running back Curtis Larkins to carry the offense, which he did.

Larkins lined up in a variation of the Wildcat with some success both running and passing from the spot, but also took a beating.

After Larkins rushed for 150 yards on Anoka in 2009, Buerkle knew the best way to contain him would be to physically stop him from moving.

“We talked all week about him and not knowing if he would be the quarterback or running back.”

Either way, Anoka ‘s goal was to make his day miserable.

“No question about it, I’m not going to lie to you, the game plan was to get four or five guys hitting him because he is that good,” Buerkle said.

The Pirates scored their lone points on a 30-yard field goal by Alex Helfricht, 27 seconds into the second quarter.

Anoka ‘s Nick Morrison capped off an ensuing drive by leaping over the goal-line pylon on a sweeping run from approximately 15 yards out to give Anoka a 14-3 lead at the half.

Park Center moved the ball again during the next drive, moving even closer to the end zone after a pass interference penalty was called on Anoka ‘s Adam Bachler who was covering the receiver on a fade pass to the corner of the end zone on third down and 19. After refreshing the downs, Park Center started with the ball on Anoka ‘s 15 yard line but couldn’t translate it into points. Anoka linebacker Michael Wilkinson recognized a quick pass play and jumped up into the lane, knocking the ball incomplete with his fingertips. After a couple failed attempts to score Park Center quarterback Terrance Elmore scrambled on fourth down and goal from the 17 only to come up three yards short of the end zone.

Three plays into the second half Tornadoes quarterback Ben Britton threw an interception, but once again Park Center turned the ball over on downs at Anoka ‘s 31 yard line.

Anoka junior Josh Werness punched in a touchdown of his own to cap off the drive from five yards out before senior running back Pint scored the first of his two touchdowns with 14 seconds left in the third quarter from one yard out.

The final scoring sequence from the game came with 10:18 remaining. Pint began the drive with a 40-yard run into Park Center territory setting up a 26-yard scamper by Morrison. Pint finished the drive on the third long running play, scoring from 11 yards out.