Boys open at state tourney Friday


Takoda Boyd snuffs out the final Hurricane threat with this interception inside the Lion five yard-line. Photo by Cheryl Patterson
By : 
S. Lee Epps

Spring Grove embarks on a second straight and fourth overall state football tournament experience with a quarterfinal (final eight) game versus Section Two champion Russell-Tyler-Ruthton this Friday, Nov. 9 at New Ulm with a 5 p.m. kickoff, the first game of a double header with a Class AA quarterfinal to follow. 

The winner advances to a Thursday, Nov. 15 semi-final at 11:30 a.m. at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis versus the winner of the state-ranked quarterfinal between No. 4 Cromwell-Wright and No. 8 Norman County East /Ulen-Hitterdal.

The state championship game at U. S. Bank is slated for the day after Thanksgiving - Friday, Nov. 23 at 10 a.m.

Spring Grove (enrollment 101) is at state for the fourth time - winning the 2017 state championship after advancing to the state quarterfinals in 2011 and the state semi-finals in in 2003.

With 32 names on the roster, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (enrollment 130) brings an 8-3 record into Friday's game after a 46-0 flogging of Ogilvie (7-3) in the Section Two championship game. The Knights advanced to that title game with 60-6 and 44-16 triumphs in the section quarterfinals and semi-finals. 

All three R-T-R losses came against Section Three squads, including Section Three champion, undefeated Mountain Lake Area.

Last year

The Knights and the Lions are both making repeat trips to state. R-T-R is a recent rags-to-riches story, having gone winless at 0-8 just three seasons ago. The Knights had not been to state in 27 years (since 1990) before last year's appearance.

In last season's state tourney, R-T-R defeated Mountain Lake Area 8-6 in a quarterfinal before falling to Nevis in the semi-finals. Spring Grove then defeated Nevis in the 2017 state title contest.

Speaking about the R-T-R team that he saw on video last year, Spring Grove coach Zach Hauser told KFIL Radio, "They were a spread (formation) team and liked to throw it around a lot."  But he added (at the time of that interview), he had not yet seen a video of this year's team.

This year

R-T-R is averaging 34 points per game while giving up 16. The Lions are averaging 47 points per game while also allowing 16 per contest.

Six of the eight teams heading to state are undefeated and were included in the final Associated Press 9-man poll (before playoffs began). With three losses, R-T-R did not receive AP votes, but the Knights were No. 14 in the QRF computer rankings. SG was No. 1 in both the AP and QRF rankings.

Bus to New Ulm

The Spring Grove Athletic Booster Club is sponsoring fan buses to New Ulm on Friday. For details, contact Connie Strinmoen at 498-5259.

9-Man State Tournament

QUARTERFINALS  Nov. 9

#8 Norman Co. East/Ulen-Hitterdal (10-0) vs. #4 Cromwell-Wright (11-0)

Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (8-3) vs. #1 Spring Grove (10-0)

#2 Stephen-Argyle (11-0) vs. Mountain Iron-Buhl (9-2)

#3 Verndale (11-0) vs. #5 Mountain Lake Area (10-0)

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SEMI-FINALSat Minneapolis

NCE/U-H or Cromwell-Wright vs. R-T-R or Spring Grove - Nov. 15 (11:30 a.m.)

Stephen-Argyle or Mountain Iron-Buhl vs. Verndale or Mountain Lake - Nov. 16  (9 a.m.)

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FINALSat Minneapolis

Friday,Nov. 23(10 a.m.)

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FINAL AP 9-MAN POLL

1. Spring Grove

2. Stephen-Argyle Central

3. Verndale

4. Cromwell-Wright

5. Mountain Lake Area

6. South Ridge

7. Houston

8. Norman Co. East/Ulen-Hitterdal

9. Hills-Beaver Creek

10. Cook County

 

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