The Prep Bowl has arrived as championship football will be played at TCF Bank Stadium over the next two days.
The lineup, and what Minnesotans are saying about the teams involved:
10 a.m. Friday – #1 Grand Meadow vs. # 3 Underwood
Grand Meadow is the two-time reigning 9-Man champion and this marks the fourth straight year they've played in the title game. According to WDAY, Underwood wouldn't want another opponent because they're out for revenge after Grand Meadow ended their season each of the last two years.
The Post Bulletin notes that Grand Meadow is riding a 35-game win streak, the longest streak in the state.
1 p.m. Friday – #1 Caledonia vs. #2 Pipestone
Caledonia already has five championship trophies in the last eight years and they're won 96 of their past 100 games. Earlier this week, a group of former Caledonia players – most of them in their 20s – participated in Caledonia's practice by running Pipestone's offense, the Winona Daily News reports.
KELO profiled Pipestone, which local residents say will be a "ghost town" Friday as busloads of fans make the nearly four-hour trip to Minneapolis for the game. It's been more than 30 years since Pipestone won a football championship.
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4 p.m. Friday – #1 Becker vs. #5 South St. Paul
Becker is defending its 2014 title against a team that's never been this far. South St. Paul head coach Chad Sexauer thinks Becker could compete with most teams in 6A.
"We're playing one of the top two or three teams in the state in any class," Sexauer said, via the St. Cloud Times.
Both David La Vaque and Jim Paulsen of the Star Tribune predict Becker will win.
7 p.m. Friday – #2 East Ridge vs. Osseo
Osseo might have the most difficult job in the state this weekend: Finding a way to slow down the Pioneer Press East Metro Player of the Year, Dominik London. The junior running back has rushed for 2,085 yards and 20 touchdowns this season.
Per the Star Tribune, Osseo running back Prince Kruah is a dynamic runner, too. He's averaged 36 carries and 225 yards per game in the state tournament.
“I’ve been coaching this sport for 20 years dreaming about this,” East Ridge coach Dan Fritze told the Woodbury Bulletin. “To be able to help these kids reach that dream is an amazing feeling.”
10 a.m. Saturday – #3 Minneapolis North vs. #1 Minneota
This one is simple: How will Minneota stop Gopher recruit, North quarterback Tyler Johnson?
According to the Marshall Independent, Minneota coach Chad Johnston hopes his team can wear down North because the Polars are "known to bicker at each other when things don't go well."
FOX 9 notes that North is urging other Minneapolis students and fans to come to the game in North's colors to show support.
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1 p.m. Saturday – #1 Pierz vs. #9 Jackson County Central
Pierz has outscored opponents 128-0 in the first quarter this season and they've pitched four shutouts. They're motivated after losing on a two-point conversion to Rochester Lourdes in last year's state semifinals, the Star Tribune says.
Jackson County Central has won 10 straight after starting 0-2 due to player suspensions and kids missing time with injuries. According to the Brainerd Dispatch, Jackson County Central running back Keegan Moore is a beast, and his two state wrestling championships and wrestling scholarship to Oklahoma State back that up.
4 p.m. Saturday – #5 St. Thomas Academy vs. #4 St. Michael-Albertville
St. Thomas Academy has trailed at the half in three of four playoff games and St. Michael-Albertville needed fourth-quarterback comebacks in both of their state tournament wins, according to the Star Tribune.
St. Michael-Albertville lost in the state semifinals each of the last two years.
The Pioneer Press picks the Cadets to win 29-28.