Bill Bentson: Teams sorted out for playoffs, state tournaments

Bill Bentson
Wheelin' with WEB

Halloween day, Burger King, University Ave., Fargo, North Dakota – I’m having some work done on my truck, and this Burger King is only a ½ block away from the garage.

The morning shift manager wanted to give me a "crown," take a picture, and post it, but I declined. I don’t want my publicity status to get too high!

The next few Thursdays are going to be on the road, so I will post the dateline to let you know where I’m at which will include state volleyball next week, and then football the following two Thursdays (state semi’s and state championship). Football state championships are on Nov. 29 and 30.

Yikes ... just had a brief power outage here at BK, and I see I have lost my internet connection. Better hurrah and get this done, just in case I have to go somewhere else to send it out. Whew, it’s back on.


By the time most of you read the WEB, the champions will have been crowned, but I’ll go with the final two anyway.

Class 9-man top 10: 1) Mt. Lake Area, 2) LeRoy-Ostrander, 3) Renville County West, 4) Hancock, 5) Win-E-Mac, T6) Verndale, T6) North Central, 8) Brandon-Evansville, T9) Hills-Beaver Creek, T9) Fertile-Beltrami. Honorable Mention; Nicollet, Grand Meadow, Mt. Iron-Buhl.

Here are the Section championship pairings around the state. Section 1; Houston vs. Grand Meadow. Section 2; Renville County West vs. Nicollet. Section 3; Mt. Lake Area vs. Hills-Beaver Creek. Section 4; Hancock vs. Brandon-Evansville. Section 5; South Ridge vs. McGregor. Section 6; Win-E-Mac. Section 7; Mt. Iron-Buhl vs. Silver Bay (Wm. Kelley HS) Section 8; and North Central vs. Warren-Alvarado-Oslo.

Leroy-Ostrander (No. 2) got beat out by Houston in the semi-finals. Houston is the No. 5 seed in section one, and wasn’t ranked state-wide.

Grand Meadow is the No. 2 seed in Section 1, so now has become the favorite (who knew, Grand Meadow in the finals? Surprised? Not me).

Verndale (No. 3 seed in Section 4) got beat out by Brandon-Evansville in Section 4. Brandon-Evansville is the No. 2 seed in Section 4, so not a big surprise, except to the pollsters.

Sections 2, 3, 4 and 6 each have two teams that are ranked in the top 13. North Central is my "Cinderella" team.

Nine-man has five unbeaten teams remaining and six, No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-ups. Section 2 is a No. 1 vs. No. 3 and Section One is a No. 2 vs. No. 5.

Class A top 10: 1) BOLD, 2) Blooming Prairie, 3) Springfield, 4) Ada-Borup West, 5) United South Central, 6) Mahnomen-Waubun, 7) Underwood, 8) Minneota, 9) Mayer Lutheran, 10) Braham. HM; Browerville-Eagle Valley, Deer River, Polk County West and Rushford-Peterson. The only thing that changed this week was the records of the teams.

All 10 places stayed the same as each of the teams all picked up another win from last week.

Pairing for the Section finals: Section 1; Blooming Prairie vs. Goodhue. Section 2; United South Central vs. Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop. Section 3; Springfield vs. Martin County West. Section 4; Browerville-Eagle Valley vs. Mayer Lutheran. Section 5; BOLD vs. Canby. Section 6; Underwood vs. Breckenridge. Section 7; Deer River vs. Braham. Section 8; Ada-Borup West vs. Polk County West (this one’s for you Molly).

Goodhue knocked out Rushford-Peterson in Section One, Canby bumped off Minneota in Section 3, Polk County West "squeezed" past Mahnomen/Waubun, in triple-overtime, in Section 8.

Sections 1, 2, 3, 5 and 5 have just one "ranked" team, while the other sections have both teams in the top 14. Class A has the No. 1 seed "alive" in all eight sections and four No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-ups and four No. 1 vs. No. 3 games. Boy, does that make for some GREAT competition.

Class AA top 10: 1) Caledonia, 2) Barnesville, 3) Mpls. North, 4) Lewiston-Altura, 5) Paynesville Area, 6) St. Agnes, 7) Concordia Academy, Roseville, 8) Blue Earth Area, 9) Moose Lake/Willow River, 10) Maple River. HM; Maple Lake, Redwood Valley, Osakis. There are three undefeated teams in AA; Caledonia, Barnesville and Mpls. North.

There are four No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-ups (Sections 3, 5, 6 and 8), two No. 1 vs. No. 3 games (Sections 1 and 4) and two No. 1 vs. No. 6 match-ups (Sections 2 and 7). No. 7 seed Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (0-8) upset/up-ended/’whooped’ Concordia Academy, 26-7 in the first round of the playoffs in Section 4. Section 4 is the only Section with two "ranked" teams in the finals.

I should also mention, and maybe I have before. Many of you will remember our good friend Dick Strand (Southland). His son, Bryan, is the head coach at Barnesville. He has a super team again this year. I saw them play the first game of the season against Ada-Borup West.

I know we have a few readers from some of the AAA schools, so I’ll give you the top 10 in Class AAA, too. Top 10: 1) Pierz, 2) Jackson County Central, 3) Albany, 4), Stewartville, 5) Fairmont, 6) Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 7) Annandale, 8) Breck, 9) Cannon Falls, 10) Waseca. HM; Esko, Mora, Glencoe-Silver Lake. Six of the eight sections have No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-ups (1, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7), one has No. 1 vs. No. 3 (Section 8) and one has No. 3 vs. No. 4 (Section 2). Section 6 has Albany going against Pierz, both teams are 10-0. Seven of the sections have No. 1 vs. No. 2 match-ups.

First round of the state playoffs start on Friday, Nov. 8. Check the high school league website for all of the sites, and the teams that will be playing. Everything is outdoors, let’s hope for decent weather!


Again, by the time you read this, the section champions will have been crowned, and all will be making plans for the state tournament.

Class A, Section 1, is loaded again this year. In the semi-finals we had No. 6 Mabel-Canton vs. No. 9 Caledonia and Kenyon-Wanamingo vs. Medford, both tied at No. 7 in the state. Mayer Lutheran (No. 1) has a chance of meeting Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (No. 2) in their section finals, if each won in the semi’s.

Up here in Section 8A, they "cross-bracket" the final four. The No. 2 in the south sub-district played the No. 1 in the north sub-district, and visa-versa for the other semi-final match. I’ve been proposing that scenario for Section One for years. Great job Section 8!

Section 4, Class A and AA, seed the top four teams in the third round of play. Pigtail games are played with the ‘bottom’ eight, and they move into games with seeds 5, 6, 7 and 8, and those winners go against the top four seeds.

I don’t like that; way too extreme and too much of an advantage for the top four seeds. But what do I know? I want to teams to play all the teams in their section in football. See what I mean? What do I know? It makes too much sense!

Great recognition for our friend Melissa (VanderPlas) on the front page of the News-Leader. Congratulations to Joanie Betsinger in Spring Valley, on her honor (Citizen of the Year for 2019) from the Kiwanis Club. Keep up the good work Joanie.

My wife, Carol, and I went to the Celine Dion concert in Fargo last night. What a show!

Many thanks to the Ada radio station for the complimentary tickets. Fabulous seats, too! We were 15 rows up from the floor, off to the side, probably 122 feet from the stage. I’d go again, and even pay, if I had to.

That’s it for another week. Hoping my truck is done soon, so I can head out to the Fargodome for some section football finals. The Fargodome hosts eight section final games; three nine-man, two class A, two Class AA and one AAA. Great venue. Too bad we can’t use it for the first round of the state playoffs.

Hey to the Great 8 (you are the greatest), my fab 4 (you’re the greatest too) and to my lovely wife, you are the greatest of the greatest!

Many thanks to Jordan (hope I’m not making your life too miserable? From Jordan: All good!) and to you, the greatest Reader (s) in the world (at least, my world).

Get out and support your kids. Hope everyone had a great Halloween. If you have any tootsie rolls left over, send them my way. Hasta luego my friends! Bill