John's Journal
Owatonna, Holy Family, Eden Prairie Advance To Prep Bowl11/16/2012
In a back-and-forth game that went down to the wire, Owatonna held off St. Thomas Academy 30-27 in the Class 5A football state semifinals Friday at the Metrodome. In 4A, Holy Family Catholic defeated Princeton 49-28. In 5A, Eden Prairie defeated Wayzata 21-7. Read coverage by Luke Sleeper by clicking here
Rematch: Caledonia, Moose Lake/Willow River Will Meet Again In Prep Bowl11/15/2012
Caledonia senior Levi Schmitz had to think for a second or two when I posed this question to him Thursday at the Metrodome: When was the last time you guys were in a game like this?

The two-time defending Class 2A state champions had just defeated BOLD 26-24 in a game that went back and forth and wasn’t decided until the final seconds. Caledonia stretched its winning streak – the state’s longest currently – to 25 games in a row. Their last defeat was against Plainview-Elgin-Millville in the opening game of the 2011season.

So Schmitz had to think. He was surely tired at this point in the day, having returned five kickoffs, one punt, caught two passes for 77 yards and a touchdown, punted four times and recorded seven tackles. Oh, he also blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown.

“Oh, uh, against Chatfield in the regular season we won 6-0 so that was close but it wasn’t the exchange of scores like this one,” he said.

Exchange of scores, indeed. Caledonia scored four touchdowns and BOLD had three touchdowns and a field goal but neither scored back-to-back points. Caledonia led 20-17 after three quarters, and sealed the victory when Alex Varney scored on a 4-yard run. Or did they? Tyler Rock scored on a short run for BOLD with 5:06 left, cutting Caledonia’s lead to 26-24. The Caledonia defense held firm after that.

It was the first time Caledonia has given up more than 14 points this season. Last season they have up more than 14 only twice. So seeing an opponent hang two dozen points on the board was something new.

“They had drives, we had drives, but in the last five minutes we dug deep, we had passion and heart and we came out on top,” Varney said.

--In the second 2A semifinal, Moose Lake/Willow River beat Jackson County Central 27-20. A key touchdown was scored by Moose Lake’s Jake Disterhaupt on a 28-yard second-quarter run that put the Rebels ahead 20-13.

When Caledonia and Moose Lake/Willow River meet in the Prep Bowl the day after Thanksgiving, it will be a familiar matchup. Last year Caledonia beat the Rebels 27-0 in the Prep Bowl, and Disterhaupt is ready for the rematch.

“This meant everything to us,” he said. “We would give up anything to get another shot at Caledonia. And we got it. And we’re going to make it happen. We’re going to go out there and do our best and win a state championship.

“We’ll have to step our game up even more. Caledonia has to prove that they’re the best team in the state, and we’re going to play them and we’re going to match ourselves with them.”

Moose Lake/Willow River was also the state runner-up in 2009, losing to Waterville-Elysian Watertown in the Prep Bowl.

“It’s a great feeling getting back into the Prep Bowl,” said Disterhaupt, who rushed 20 times for 105 yards and caught five passes for 68 yards Thursday. “ We just need to go win one.”

HUTCHINSON ADVANCES IN CLASS 4A

Hutchinson, which is no stranger to the state playoffs, led 21-7 at halftime and defeated Becker 28-14. The Tigers will play in the Prep Bowl against the winner of Friday’s Princeton-Holy Family Catholic game. Hutchinson outgained Becker 443-16 on the ground.

I had guessed that Becker and Hutchinson had probably faced each other several times, including in the Metrodome. But no. Coaches Andy Rostberg of Hutchinson and Dwight Lundeen of Becker said this was their first meeting.

Hutchinson is making its 20th appearance in the state playoffs and the Tigers won state championships in 1983, 1984 and 1998 and took second in 2003. Becker was making its 13th state appearance. The Bulldogs won a championship in 2005 and finished second in1990, 1994, 2001 and 2006.

LAKEVILLE NORTH TOPS ROSEMOUNT IN 6A

Jamiah Newell scored two touchdowns and rushed 14 times for 103 yards as Lakeville North moved to the Prep Bowl with a 28-7 victory over Rosemount in a battle of South Suburban Conference teams.

North outgained Rosemount 181-20 on the ground and 148-83 through the air. The Panthers will face either Wayzata or Eden Prairie in the Prep Bowl; those teams will meet Friday night.

TOURNAMENT TIDBITS

--This has been a big fall season for Caledonia, and especially for the Fruechte family. Carl Feuechte is an assistant football coach (and former head coach) whose son Isaac is a wide receiver at the University of Minnesota. While the Gophers were clinching a bowl berth last Saturday, Maria Fruechte was helping the Caledonia volleyball team finish as the Class 2A state runner-up. Maria will play collegiate volleyball at Iowa State.

--Other volleyball/football connections: Bethlehem Academy won the 1A volleyball title and the Cardinals’ football team will meet Dawson-Boyd in the 1A semifinals on Saturday. Lakeville North defeated Eden Prairie in the 3A volleyball title match last Saturday, and their football teams are both in the 6A semifinals.

--First pep band tune of the day: Green Day’s “Holiday” performed by the band from BOLD at 11:04 a.m. I approve.

--Photos from the football semifinals can be viewed at the MSHSL Facebook page.

Thursday’s Games
Class 2A: Caledonia 26, BOLD 24
Class 2A: Moose Lake/Willow River 27, Jackson County Central 20
Class 4A: Hutchinson 28, Becker 14
Class 6A: Lakeville North 28, Rosemount 7

Friday’s Games
9 a.m./Nine-man: South Ridge (11-1) vs. Grand Meadow (11-1)
11:30 a.m./Nine-man: Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke (10-1) vs. Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (11-0)
2 p.m./Class 5A: St. Thomas Academy (10-1) vs. Owatonna (11-0)
4:30 p.m./Class 4A: Princeton (8-4) vs. Holy Family Catholic (9-3)
7 p.m./Class 6A: Wayzata (9-1) vs. Eden Prairie (9-2)

Saturday’s Games
9 a.m./Class 1A: Dawson-Boyd (11-1) vs. Bethlehem Academy (10-2)
11:30 a.m./Class 1A: Mahnomen (12-0) vs. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (9-2)
2 p.m./Class 3A: Annandale (10-1) vs. Rochester Lourdes (12-0)
4:30 p.m./Class 3A: Perham (10-1) vs. Blue Earth Area (11-0)
7 p.m./Class 5A: Bemidji (9-3) vs. Totino-Grace (11-0)

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 323
*Miles John has driven: 4,543
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn

Hutchinson advances to Class 4A title game with victory over Becker11/15/2012
Hutchinson kept its undefeated record intact, despite having to fight off a prolific aerial assault from Becker in the state semifinals. Read Luke Sleeper's story by clicking here
On Tap: Playoff Football, State Swim/Dive, Adapted Soccer11/14/2012
This is another exciting week, with fall sports rolling toward their conclusion and winter sports beginning to heat up. The main action this week revolves around three fall activies and their state tournaments.

State football semifinals will be held at the Metrodome, beginning Thursday morning and concluding Saturday night. We will have 14 games over those three days, with the winners moving on to the 31st annual Prep Bowl the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. This week’s football schedule is below.

The girls state swimming and diving championships will be held Thursday through Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Diving preliminaries will be held Thursday in both Class 1A and Class 2A, swimming prelims in both classes will be held Friday and finals will take place Saturday. Each day, Class 1A action will begin at noon and Class 2A at 6 p.m.

The adapted soccer state tournament will be held Friday and Saturday at Stillwater High School, with CI (Cognitive Impairments) and PI (Physical Impairments) divisions. Action will begin at 5 p.m. Friday and resume at 9 a.m. Saturday. The PI championship is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday and the CI championship game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday

In addition, many winter activities have already begun practicing. The list will be complete when boys basketball, wrestling and adapted floor hockey teams begin practicing next Monday and boys swimming and diving teams do the same on Nov. 25.

--All of this week’s football games as well as Saturday’s swimming and diving championships will be webcast by prep45.com. Updates will be posted on the MSHSL Facebook page and I’ll be Tweeting like a madman. Follow @MSHSLjohn

State Football Semifinal Schedule At The Metrodome

Thursday’s Games
11:30 a.m./Class 2A: BOLD (11-0) vs. Caledonia (11-0)
2 p.m./Class 2A: Moose Lake/Willow River (12-0) vs. Jackson County Central (10-2)
4:30 p.m./Class 4A: Becker (10-1) vs. Hutchinson (11-0)
7 p.m./Class 6A: Rosemount (7-4) vs. Lakeville North (10-1)

Friday’s Games
9 a.m./Nine-man: South Ridge (11-1) vs. Grand Meadow (11-1)
11:30 a.m./Nine-man: Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke (10-1) vs. Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (11-0)
2 p.m./Class 5A: St. Thomas Academy (10-1) vs. Owatonna (11-0)
4:30 p.m./Class 4A: Princeton (8-4) vs. Holy Family Catholic (9-3)
7 p.m./Class 6A: Wayzata (9-1) vs. Eden Prairie (9-2)

Saturday’s Games
9 a.m./Class 1A: Dawson-Boyd (11-1) vs. Bethlehem Academy (10-2)
11:30 a.m./Class 1A: Mahnomen (12-0) vs. Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (9-2)
2 p.m./Class 3A: Annandale (10-1) vs. Rochester Lourdes (12-0)
4:30 p.m./Class 3A: Perham (10-1) vs. Blue Earth Area (11-0)
7 p.m./Class 5A: Bemidji (9-3) vs. Totino-Grace (11-0)

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 315
*Miles John has driven: 4,532
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn
Perham's Morris Named National Cross-Country Coach Of The Year11/13/2012
Here's news of an outstanding honor bestowed on a Minnesota coach. The story is courtesy of the East Otter Tail Focus and reporter Robert Williams...


PERHAM, Minn. – For the second time in three years, a Perham coach is receiving national attention.

Perham boys cross country coach Jeff Morris was named the National High School Coaches Association’s coach of the year after guiding the Yellowjackets to a Minnesota Class 1A state title last week and the Division II NHSCA Championship awarded by xcnation.com.

The state title is the fourth for the boys' program under Morris' direction. The national title is the first of any kind for Perham-Dent Public School's athletic programs.

Twitter was abuzz with the announcement Wednesday evening.

"So incredibly blessed to have had six amazing years under (Coach Morris)," senior Mark Huebsch said. "He deserves the national coach of the year more than anyone."

"We have the best coach ever," senior Ciarrin Covington said.

Morris was one of five finalists for the award and joins Perham head basketball coach Dave Cresap in gaining a national coach of the year honor.

"We went out there and they were prepared and they did what they were very capable of doing," Morris said of his team at St. Olaf after the state meet. "It was just so much fun. I'm really excited."

Cresap won the award from maxpreps.com in 2011 when the Perham boys basketball team won the state championship.

The announcement from xcnation.com was slated to be given in December, but the dominating performance from this year's team made an early announcement possible.

"We all felt comfortable with the choice," said xcnation.com co-founder David Taylor. "To take a school that size and make a ranking as high overall requires a level of coaching far above that of the norm or even the elite. It is anomalous so we submitted the name for boys cross country."

Perham's cross country title avenged a one-point loss in the 2011 final, a motivating factor for a team that avenged that defeat by running one of the top five races in state meet history. By way of Morris' direction, the team set out on a mission from November 2011 not to be denied this year's trophy.

"That one point, you know, that was on us all year long and now that we've beat 'em it just feels so good," senior Dalton Dahms said. "It was just so much fun being out there with all the guys."

Today (Thursday, Nov. 8) at 5 p.m. CST, on the NHSCA National High School Sports Hour, (link with this story) host Jeff Fisher talks with Morris about Perham's season. The show can be listened to live or in the archives (show #347).

According to Taylor, xcnation.com will feature Perham in an annual series beginning December 15 titled "the Program".

The intent is to have the seven varsity runners and coach share a bi-monthly individual message on their team and program.

"It should be fun and it will keep Perham's name recognition growing, as well as show other programs how to be successful," Taylor said.

The national championship trophy should arrive in Perham Friday and the banner next week.

A tentative date of Friday, Nov. 30 has been scheduled to present the trophy and banner during the Minnehaha Academy/Perham boys' basketball game.

In a bit of irony, Minnehaha Academy cross country is a rather heated rival with the Perham boys' team next to the annual battles with St. Cloud Cathedral.