Individual stars were the theme during the early portion of Friday’s state football semifinal games at the Metrodome. Impressive performances and big numbers were put up as Edgerton/Ellsworth, Mahnomen and Bemidji advanced to Prep Bowl XXX with dominant victories.
A total of six games were on tap today, with six more on Saturday as the Prep Bowl lineup is set. Here are some highlights from Friday’s games …
--Class 4A/ Bemidji pulled off the first big surprise of the semifinals, beating top-ranked Mankato West 45-26. West quarterback Philip Nelson had received the pregame acclaim, and rightfully so, since he will play for the University of Minnesota next year. But the star of this game was Bemidji’s Carey Woods. The senior receiver caught five passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, including scoring plays of 61 and 67 yards on passes from Mitchell Hendricks. Nelson completed 24 of 42 for 307 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions; he also led all rushers with 25 carries for 183 yards.
--Class 2A/ Moose Lake/Willow River 35, Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 14: Jake Disterhaupt stole the show, scoring four touchdowns for the Rebels. Disterhaupt scored on runs of 80 yards (on the game’s first play), 7 yards and 66 yards, and caught a 10-yard TD pass from Tony Adamczak. Disterhaupt finished with 23 carries for 252 yards.
--Nine-Man/ Edgerton/Ellsworth 48, Ada-Borup 20: Edgerton/Ellsworth quarterback Isaac Heard was stellar, completing 17 of 19 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Casey Schilling and Devin Hulstein each caught a TD pass and Hulstein ran for 105 yards. Ada-Borup QB Jace Hennen completed 12 of 30 passesfor 238 yards and one score.
--Class 1A/ Mahnomen 32, Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s 12: Mahnomen quarterback Jacob Pavek was all over the field, scoring four touchdowns while running 17 times for 173 yards and completing three of four passes for 26 yards. Mahnomen led 24-6 at halftime and held off the Knights, who were led by QB’s Jordan Anderson 19-for-34 performance for 257 yards and two scores.
I arrived at the Metrodome more than an hour before the first game’s 8 a.m. kickoff. Here’s some of what happened from that point on …
6:58 a.m./ “Did you run away from home?” A security guard poses that question, seeing me entering the Metrodome with two backpacks full of essential journalism gear … and a big bag of candy for my press box colleagues.
7:09 a.m./ The Edgerton-Ellsworth Flying Dutchmen take the field for warm-ups. One of the band hosts for the games is Dean Verdoes, a longtime coach and administrator. Dean played on Edgerton’s 1960 boys state championship basketball team, and this is the first time in his memory since then that he has witnessed a team from Edgerton playing in a state tournament.
7:10 a.m./ The day’s first Twitter message asks me how many Diet Cokes I have consumed. Answer: None.
7:42 a.m./ Second Diet Coke inquiry via Twitter. Answer: None.
7:48 a.m./ I chat with the chain gang that will work the first two games. It’s a crew from Hopkins, including Brian Cosgriff, coach of the defending 4A state champion Royals girls basketball team.
8:01 a.m/ Kickoff between Ada-Borup and Edgerton/Ellsworth.
9:17a.m./ Edgerton/Ellsworth leads Ada-Borup 32-6 as the day’s first Diet Coke is cracked open.
9:42 a.m./ Continuing a long-standing tradition, I dump a pile of fun-size candy bars on a table in the back of the press box.
11:35 a.m./ Gastronomic highlight of the day so far…A nice box lunch is handed to me.
1:44 p.m./ Message on Twitter from someone in the stands… “Let me know when you'll need that next Diet Coke!”
2:55 p.m./ As I circle the field taking photos, a bunch of elementary-age Mankato West fans hang over the barrier behind one end zone. I reach up, they reach down and we do a series of high fives. I tell them, “Pretend I’m somebody famous!”
3:10 p.m./ Luke Sleeper, a talented journalism student from the University of Minnesota, arrives to help me get through the day and write about a couple of the games. How about this for dedication? Luke came right to the Metrodome after his classes ended. On a Friday. And he’s a college student. My hero.
4:10 p.m./ An, uh, colorful character from the Fairmont video crew attempted to move me out of the press box seat I had been occupying since 7 a.m. He said he may have to talk to security and have me moved. Good luck, dude.
5:35 p.m/ Dinner is a taco bar with all the fixin’s, provided to MSHSL employees and tournament workers.
8:20 p.m./ Cracked open favorite soft drink No. 5.
10:31 p.m./ During the 5A game between Eden Prairie and Totino-Grace, someone posted this comment on the MSHSL Facebook page: “Go Eagles!!” This was either a brilliant piece of satire, or someone didn’t realize that both teams are the Eagles.
(A Diet Coke aside: During the girls state swimming and diving championships Thursday, Farmington coach Jen Marshall asked me this question at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center: “How many today?” I was sitting at a table with 1) an empty plastic plate that had earlier contained some pizza and 2) an empty Diet Coke can. That was No. 1 for this weekend’s state tournaments.)
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 139
*Miles John has driven: 4,888
*Diet Coke Count: 5 for the day, 44 for the fall tournaments
--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn