Prep Bowl football predictions continue onto finals

By : 
BILL BENTSON
Wheein' With Web

I didn’t wish you readers a happy Thanksgiving last week. I keep forgetting to think one week ahead and sometimes miss some of the important events and dates. Here’s hoping that all of you had a great Thanksgiving with your family and friends. I really think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And, I love the food: turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, all covered with a healthy dose of gravy. Yummmmm! And no offense to anyone else, please skip the squash, thank you.

My first day of substitute teaching at Ada-Borup on Nov. 15 went really well. Ada-Borup has an eight-period day and I had three sixth grade classes and three classes of Algebra 2. My teaching background is math and social studies so I felt very comfortable with the subject matter.

I’m finishing up my 17th year of doing volleyball stats for the Three Rivers Conference. I’ve sent out a “Top 20” for the TRC matches and am in the process of finishing up a stat-report for ALL of the matches. I’m kind of waiting for some additional numbers in serve-receive and then will put out the report.

The Three Rivers Conference will be loosing two volleyball coaches from its roster. Lisa Hovde of Southland and Mike Ernster of La Crescent have indicated to me they will not be returning for the 2019 season. In both cases they said “not being able to give the necessary time needed” was the major factor in their stepping down from the head coaching position.

I’m not sure that most people realize what it takes to be a head coach, no matter which sport you are coaching. We’d have a lot more coaches in the business if it were just dealing with the “xes and os,” but it’s much more than that. There are off-season activities, daily dealings with players, preparing stats for the media (guys like me), dealings with concerned parents, meetings with coaching staff and administration, game preparation, and more. Coaching is much, much more than getting ready for the matches or games that are on the team’s schedule. We thank you coaches for all you do, on and off the field/court/track.

You might find this hard to believe, but I got gas the other day for $2.06 a gallon. Yep, I did! Regular price was $2.45 and I had a discount from a grocery store for $.39 per gallon. If I’m doing my math right, $2.45 - $.39 = $2.06. It has been a few years since I got that good of a deal.

 If you are a baseball fan, and most specifically, a Roger Maris fan, you don’t want to miss the collection of memorabilia items that are on display at the Mall in Fargo, N.D. Maris grew up in Fargo and attended Shanley High School. There are lots of cool pictures, trophies, bats on display, plus a date-line of some of the memorable events in Maris’s life.

Congratulations to Gage Tuohy on his season with over 1,000 yards of rushing.

Football

I went 10-4 in my predictions for the semi-finals last week. I started out 2-2 in Thursday’s games and finished 4-1 for both Friday and Saturday.

In nine-man, Spring Grove didn’t have any trouble with Cromwell-Wright, winning 48-12. Mt. Lake Area beat up on Mt. Iron-Buhl, 42-8. I had Mt. Iron-Buhl winning, oops. I looked at the roster for Mt. Lake Area and saw a lot of familiar names, going back to my days in Windom. Mt. Lake was a big District Seven rival for Windom and I imagine it still is for the sports they would compete against each other, like volleyball, basketball, baseball, cross country and track.

Class A: BOLD won over Blooming Prairie, 37-7, and Mahnomen/Waubun beat Springfield, 38-0. I got both of those right. I have a couple similarities with BOLD coach Steve Solem. We both graduated from Windom High School (1962 and 1978, I’m the 1962 grad) and both attended Worthington Community College. We both got our college degrees at South Dakota colleges. He went to Huron College and I went out to Madison, S.D., and graduated from General Beadle State College (now Dakota State). He has a 291-77 record as a football coach, so the commonalities end after college. I have two years as a head basketball coach at Preston-Fountain, but didn’t get over .500 for a record. John Millea (John’s Journal) has a nice piece on Steve in his Nov. 17 article.

Class AA: Caledonia downed Paynesville Area, 40-6, and Barnesville upset (based on rankings) Minneapolis North, 34-20. I went against the odds (Barnesville win) and got both of these games right too. Head coach for Barnesville is Southland native Bryan Strand. Bryan is the son of Dick Strand, long-time coach for the Rebels. Bryan is also the principal at Barnesville. Caledonia has won three straight AA titles, and has not lost a game since the state semi-finals on Nov. 15, 2014. They have won 53 games in a row. Their last loss was to BOLD, 21-0.

Class AAA: Rochester Lourdes 25, Pierz 20. Pierz was the number-one-ranked team in AAA and Lourdes was at the number-two spot. They went 1-2 all year. I got this one wrong. Fairmont topped Perham, 29-14, in the other semi-final game. I got this one right.

AAAA: SMB (St. Paul Academy/M’haha Academy/Blake) downed Waseca, 23-15, and Willmar beat-up on St. Paul Johnson, 62-20. I went with Waseca and Willmar.

AAAAA: Owatonna beat Elk River, 39-8, and St. Thomas Academy beat Bemidji, 33-21. Went 2-0 in this class.

AAAAAA: Eden Prairie defeated Blaine, 34-14, and Lakeville North downed “in-district” rival Lakeville South, 35-13. Had Blaine over Eden Prairie (wishful dreaming).

Here are the Prep Bowl XXXVII match-ups, along with my pick. I planned on being at the games on Friday, but we’re having Thanksgiving gathering on Saturday in St. Michael.

Nine-man: In the Spring Grove (13-0) versus Mt. Lake Area (12-0) game, I’m choosing Spring Grove. If Mt. Lake can stop Alex Folz (but I don’t think they can) they have a chance at winning.

Class A: BOLD (13-0) versus Mahnomen/Waubun (12-0). I’m going with BOLD. This has the makings of a classic, but I think BOLD has too much experience in the line-up, on both sides of the ball.

Class AA: Caledonia (12-0) versus Barnesville (11-2). It has to be Caledonia. Barnesville needs to get to Noah King to win. I’m not betting against the tradition of the Warriors.

Class AAA: Rochester Lourdes (13-0) versus Fairmont (11-1) – I’m choosing Lourdes. I went against the Eagles in the semi-finals, but not in the finals.

Class AAAA: SMB (12-0) versus Willmar (11-1). I think it’s going to be Willmar. I just now decided on my winner in 4A. Don’t know if I should go against Jalen Suggs (SMB).

Class AAAAA: Owatonna (12-0) versus St. Thomas Academy (12-0). I choose Owatonna. I’m going with the running game of Jason Williamson (Owatonna) and not just because he wears number 22. Hoping he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle at the U!

And finally, Class AAAAAA: Eden Prairie (10-1) versus Lakeville North (12-0). I choose Lakeville North. They beat them once, 14-0, and I think they can do it again. But it’s really tough to bet against Eden Prairie and their history.

Six of the seven Prep Bowl games are undefeated, or one-loss, match-ups. I’m looking forward to two super days of high school football and they’re inside! Yeah!

Did you happen to see the Monday night NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams? What a shoot-out. Wow! LA won 54-51. It was the most points scored in a Monday night game, the first time in NFL history that both teams scored 50 points, or more, and the third most points in a NFL game, all-time. It was like Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali standing toe-to-toe in the center of the ring for the heavyweight championship. If you like offense, and I do, it was a great game. Keeping in mind, too, that three touchdowns were scored by the defenses. It was a great game!

This has been another Wednesday deadline for my weekly Reader column. This isn’t too bad, and works even better when I start writing notes for the next column the minute I send this one off to Melissa.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I’m giving thanks to my lovely wife, Carol, the Great Eight, my Fab Four and to all of you. Thanks for reading and a big thank you to all of the sponsors. Getting done before noon, I’ll even be able to get in a couple games of pinochle. I’m wishing a belated happy birthday to Craig Manahan. Hope you had a great call at the Prep Bowl games. Hasta la vista friends. Have a great week, one day at a time. WEB

 

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