With the start of the 2017 prep football season just around the corner, Northstar Football News is breaking down the biggest games in each class each week. We will start with the biggest schools and work our way down.
Week One: Wabasso v. Lac Qui Parle Valley
Wabasso took its first step toward its appearance in the Class A state tournament with a 36-0 victory over Lac Qui Parle Valley in the Section 5A opener. Wabasso, Northstar Football News’ top-ranked team in Class A, is well-positioned to make another run at the state tournament. With an offense led by quarterback Nick Altermatt and receivers Cooper Taylor and Colton Taylor, Wabasso’s high-octane offense might be too much for Lac Qui Parle Valley to handle.
Week Two: Dawson-Boyd v. Minneota
Minneota posted an 8-0 record during the 2016 season, but the Vikings’ closest game came against Dawson-Boyd in week four of last season. With quarterback Alex Poehlen and running back Isaac Hennen leading Minneota and quarterback Alex Swenson and running backs Bentley Boike and Colton Husby leading Dawson-Boyd, fans should expect little defense in what could be a shootout in week two.
Week Three: Rushford-Peterson v. Fillmore Central
Rushford Peterson, the eventual Class A runner-up, earned a state tournament berth with a 22-2 victory over Fillmore Central in the Section 1A title game. The two teams played twice last season, with Rushford-Peterson also earning an 18-8 victory during week two of the regular season. While Rushford-Peterson lost several key players from last season, namely Noah Carlson, Fillmore Central will do what it can to get an important victory over a recent rival.
Week Four: Polk County West v. Mahnomen
Mahnomen, Northstar Football News’ fourth-ranked team in Class A for 2017, earned its state berth last season with a 26-0 victory over Polk County West in the Section 8A title game. Starting defensive and offensive linemen Nick Podlak and Chris Busche figure to lead Mahnomen, while junior Jon Starkey looks to complete his first season as the starting quarterback. With several key players returning, Mahnomen will look to pick up another key victory in this matchup.
Week Five: Sleepy Eye v. Wabasso
Wabasso, led by 388 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, cruised to a 46-8 victory against Sleepy Eye last season. With a much different rushing attack without departed senior Mitchell Fulton, it will be interesting to see how Wabasso approaches the game this season.
Week Six: Goodhue v. Rushford-Peterson
In week eight of the 2016 season, Goodhue gave Rushford-Peterson the first of what turned out to be two losses last year. Goodhue trailed 21-13 at the half, but Goodhue scored twice in the second half to take the victory. With quarterback Jack Gadient and running back Mason Huemann set to again lead the Goodhue offense, Goodhue will look to again knock off Rushford-Peterson in a mid-season matchup.
Week Seven: Lakeview v. Minneota
Minneota pieced together an 8-0 regular season that was capped off by a 49-40 victory over Lakeview in week eight of the 2016 season. With Lakeview having lost many of its offensive stars from last season, namely quarterback Isaac Loe, Minneota will look to post another big win over Lakeview.
Week Eight: BOLD v. Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta
BOLD, like the other teams in Northstar Football News’ top five to begin the 2017 season, posted an 8-0 record during the 2016 regular season. While the Warriors often blew out their opponents, their closest victory came over Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta in week seven of last season. Head coach Steve Solem’s offense remains strong, with running back Austin Einerson leading the way after rushing for 930 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2016. With nine starters also back on defense, BOLD should be in good position to take another victory in this matchup.