John's Journal
A Big Day Of Football Heroics At The Metrodome11/18/2011
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
Report From Friday's Class 3A Game At The Metrodome 11/18/2011
John's Journal correspondent Luke Sleeper reports on the big game in Class 3A...

Fairmont Advances to Prep Bowl
Eden Prairie Marches On11/18/2011
Eden Prairie rolled past Totino-Grace in Friday's 5A semifinals, and Luke Sleeper has the report...

Eden Prairie 49, Totino-Grace 7
Lots Of Action This Weekend, And You Can See It11/17/2011
This will be a big weekend of high school sports in Minnesota, and you and your computer can watch much of the action live.

Football will take over the Metrodome on Friday and Saturday, with six state semifinal games held each day. The girls state swimming and diving championships are underway at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center (diving preliminariesThursday, swimming prelims Friday, finals on Saturday).

All 12 football games, as well as Saturday’s swimming and diving finals, will be streamed lived on the internet. Go to http://prep45.com/, click "Live Schedule" and find your favorite event.

The state adapted soccer tournament also will be held this weekend. Competition in the CI and PI divisions will be held Friday and Saturday at Stillwater High School.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 127
*Miles John has driven: 4,844
*Diet Coke Count: 0 for the day, 38 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
Things To Know About The State Football Semifinals11/15/2011
Every high school football player in Minnesota dreams of playing in the Metrodome, and 24 teams will do just that this weekend. The state semifinals will be held Friday and Saturday, with six games each day.

Here is the schedule …

Friday
8 a.m. Nine-Man/ Ada-Borup (11-1) vs. Edgerton-Ellsworth (12-0)
10:15 a.m. 1A/ Mahnomen (12-0) vs. Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s (9-3)
12:45 p.m. 4A/ Bemidji (11-0) vs. Mankato West (11-0)
3:15 p.m. 3A/ Annandale (7-5) vs. Fairmont (11-1)
5:45 p.m. 2A/ Moose Lake/Willow River (12-0) vs. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (11-0)
8:15 p.m. 5A/ Eden Prairie (10-1) vs. Totino-Grace (11-1)

Saturday
8 a.m. Nine-Man/ Kittson County Central (9-2) vs. Wheaton/Herman-Norcross (11-1)
10:15 a.m. 1A/ Dawson-Boyd (12-0) vs. Blooming Prairie (11-1)
12:45 p.m. 4A/ Rocori (10-1) vs. Hill-Murray (9-2)
3:15 p.m. 3A/ Providence Academy (10-2) vs. St. Croix Lutheran (12-0)
5:45 p.m. 2A/ Warroad (9-2) vs. Caledonia (11-1)
8:15 p.m. 5A/ Wayzata (11-0) vs. Cretin-Derham Hall (11-0)

This week’s winners will return to the Metrodome a week later for Prep Bowl XXX. The state championship games will be held over two days, with the 1A, 2A, 3A and 5A games on Friday, Nov. 25 and 3A and 4A on Saturday, Nov. 26.

Here are some facts, figures and assorted tidbits to prepare us for this weekend’s games…

Defending State Champions
--2A Caledonia
--5A Wayzata, Totino-Grace (4A champ last year)

Undefeated vs. Undefeated
--2A/ Moose Lake/Willow River (12-0) vs. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (11-0)
--4A/ Bemidji (11-0) vs. Mankato West (11-0)
--5A/ Wayzata (11-0) vs. Cretin-Derham Hall (11-0)

Other Undefeated Teams
--Nine-Man Edgerton-Ellsworth (12-0)
--1A Mahnomen (12-0), Dawson-Boyd (12-0)
--3A St. Croix Lutheran (12-0)

No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the Associated Press Rankings
--2A/ No. 1 Waterville-Elysian-Morristown vs. No. 2 Moose Lake/Willow River
--5A/ No. 1 Wayzata vs. No. 2 Cretin-Derham Hall

Unranked Teams Still Alive
--1A Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s
--2A Warroad
--3A Annandale, Providence Academy
--4A Hill-Murray

State’s Longest Current Winning Streak
--Wayzata, 22 games

First Time at State
--Nine-Man Bigfork
--1A Dawson-Boyd
--3A Annandale, Providence Academy
--4A Faribault

First-Year Head Coaches
--2A Gabe Richards, Warroad
--4A Brooks Bollinger, Hill-Murray

Former Head Coaches Who Played in the NFL
--4A Brooks Bollinger, Hill-Murray (Jets, Vikings, Cowboys, Lions)

Nickname vs. Same Nickname
--3A Warroad Warriors vs. Caledonia Warriors
--4A Annandale Cardinals vs. Fairmont Cardinals
--5A Eden Prairie Eagles vs. Totino-Grace Eagles

Most Unique Nickname Matchup
--Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks vs. Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms

Longest Distance Between Opponents
--506 miles between Warroad and Caledonia

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 127
*Miles John has driven: 4,844
*Diet Coke Count: 38 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