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Football: A glance at the section playoffs

Playoff football begins on Tuesday. Below is a look around at sections involving area teams.

Section 1AAAA

1. Winona (7-1)

2. Stewartville (6-2)

3. Kasson-Mantorville (6-2)

4. Byron (5-3)

5. Albert Lea (2-6)

6. Red Wing (0-8)

Tuesday's games

Quarterfinals

Winona, bye

Stewartville, bye

Red Wing at K-M, 7 p.m.

Albert Lea at Byron, 7 p.m.

Saturday's games

Semifinals

Albert Lea/Byron at Winona, 7 p.m.

Red Wing/K-M at Stewartville, 7 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 4

At Rochester Mayo High School

Section championship game, 7 p.m.

Winona nearly finished the regular season undefeated, losing 42-39 to second-ranked (Class 5A) Mankato West in Week 8. Stewartville has the seventh-best offense in Class 4A, averaging 35.5 points per game. K-M's two losses were to third-ranked (Class 3A) Rochester Lourdes, and to Stewartville on the final play of the game, and the KoMets are right behind the Tigers offensively, scoring 32.6 points per game. Byron beat Stewartville in Week 2, but also lost to K-M in Week 6. Albert Lea broke a 32-game losing streak this season, and won two games for the first time since 2012 when the Tigers finished 3-7 with a playoff win. For the second time in three years, Red Wing is winless heading into the playoffs. The Wingers average just 10.8 points per game, and give up a a Class 4A-worst 41.3.

Section 1AAA

1. Rochester Lourdes (8-0)

2. Cannon Falls (4-4)

3. Plainview-Elgin-Millville (3-5)

4. Tri-City United (2-6)

5. Pine Island (3-5)

6. Lake City (1-7)

7. La Crescent (0-8)

Tuesday's games

Quarterfinals

Lourdes, bye

La Crescent at Cannon Falls, 7 p.m.

Lake City at PEM, 7 p.m.

Pine Island at TCU, 7 p.m.

Saturday's games

Semifinals

Pine Island/TCU at Lourdes, 7 p.m.

La Crescent/Cannon Falls vs. Lake City/PEM, 7 p.m. (at high seed)

Saturday, Nov. 5

At Rochester Regional Sports Stadium

Section championship game, 8 p.m.

Top-ranked Lourdes had a three-year title run interrupted last year, but the Eagles are primed for another run. Lourdes averages 34.8 points per game (sixth in Class 3A) and allows 12.1 points per game (second). Cannon Falls' defense is also stingy at 17.1 (11th), but the Bombers will have to take care of the ball to overturn a 26-6 decision Lourdes had between the two in Week 4. PEM's three wins came against teams with a combined 1-23 record, including quarterfinal opponent Lake City. TCU will need to find some offense, and soon. The Titans average a meager 8.9 points per game, and have hit double-digits just three times this season while being shut out just as many times. Pine Island started 3-1, but stumbled with four straight losses to end the regular season. Lake City's lone win was against La Crescent back in Week 3, and the Tigers nearly upset Byron in Week 4. But since, Lake City has lost by an average of 30 points per game. La Crescent has scored a combined eight points in the last three games, and have topped 14 just once this season. The Lancers allow 40 points per game, third-worst in Class 3A.

Section 1AA

1. Caledonia (8-0)

2. Zumbrota-Mazeppa (6-2)

3. Triton (5-3)

4. St. Charles (5-3)

5. Lewiston-Altura (6-2)

6. Chatfield (2-6)

7. Dover-Eyota (2-6)

8. Winona Cotter (0-8)

Tuesday's games

Quarterfinals

Cotter at Caledonia, 7 p.m.

L-A at St. Charles, 7 p.m.

D-E at Z-M, 7 p.m.

Chatfield at Triton, 7 p.m.

Saturday's games

Semifinals

Top quarterfinal winners, 7 p.m. (at high seed)

Bottom quarterfinal winners, 7 p.m. (at high seed)

Friday, Nov. 4

At Rochester Regional Sports Stadium

Section championship game, 8 p.m.

Top-ranked and defending state champion Caledonia is looking for its third straight section title. The Warriors are second in Class 2A in points per game (45.3) and points allowed (8.9). Caledonia beat six of the seven teams in the section, and the closest margin of victory was 22 points (42-20 over Triton in Week 4). Z-M's biggest obstacle to a rematch with Caledonia might be the weather. The Cougars' passing game is one of the season's biggest surprises, but Z-M struggled to run the ball against Caledonia and St. Charles, the two losses the Cougars have this year. Triton started 1-3, with losses to Kasson-Mantorville, Z-M and Caledonia. But a 28-19 win over Chatfield in Week 5 started a four-game winning streak, which included a 54-32 win over St. Charles in Week 6. St. Charles had a similar season, losing its first two games (to Rochester Lourdes and Caledonia) before winning five of six to close the regular season, including Week 7's 32-14 win over Z-M. L-A was punished for a schedule heavy on Class 1A schools, and losses to two of those teams. The question for the Cardinals will be if its offense (33.8 points per game) and defense (10 points allowed per game) translate against a great crop of Class 2A schools. Chatfield is the best of the rest, beating D-E 28-0 in Week 2, and Cotter in Week 7, allowing just seven points in those two wins while scoring 67. D-E has wins over Cotter and Pine Island, but closed the season with losses to Caledonia and Triton, getting outscored 136-15 in the process. Cotter has hit double-digits in points twice this season, and has lost ever game by at least 14 points.

Section 2AA

1. Maple River (6-2)

2. Kenyon-Wanamingo (7-1)

3. New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva (6-2)

4. Blue Earth (5-3)

5. Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (3-5)

6. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (4-4)

7. Medford (2-6)

8. LeSueur-Henderson (1-7)

Tuesday's games

Quarterfinals

L-H at Maple River, 7 p.m.

LCWM at Blue Earth, 7 p.m.

WEM at NRHEG, 7 p.m.

Medford at K-W, 7 p.m.

Saturday's games

Semifinals

Top quarterfinal winners, 7 p.m. (at high seed)

Bottom quarterfinal winners, 7 p.m. (at high seed)

Saturday, Nov. 5

At New Ulm High School

Section championship game, 1 p.m.

Maple River claimed the top seed thanks to a 13-12, overtime victory over NRHEG in Week 8. The Eagles' two losses were to on of the top teams in Class 1A (ninth-ranked Mayer Lutheran) and and Class 3A (second-ranked Jackson County Central). K-W was dinged for a Class 1A schedule, including a 33-7, season-opening loss to Goodhue. The Knights shut out three straight teams earlier this season, and closed with a convincing 42-14 win over Blooming Prairie in Week 8. In addition to Maple River, NRHEG also lost to Mayer Lutheran. The Panthers did beat WEM, 30-22, in Week 3, and would, like that game, get the rematch at home. Blue Earth is the defending section champion, started 1-3, including a 26-20, overtime loss to JCC in Week 4. The Buccaneers did not play a section foe all season. LCWM split its four section games, losing to Maple River and NRHEG, and defeating WEM and L-H. The Knights's offense will determine their fate as LCWM has not scored more than 14 points in a loss. WEM was blown out by Maple River, but played NRHEG tough in a 30-22 loss in Week 3. Medford's wins were against Mankato Loyola and United South Central, teams with a combined two wins. In their lone section game, the Tigers were blasted, 47-0, by K-W. L-H is a hard-luck 1-7, with two losses by seven points (27-20 at Sibley East) and three points (14-11 vs. NRHEG). The Giants were also competitive with LCWM (lost 21-7).

Section 1A

1. Rushford-Peterson (7-1)

2. Fillmore Central (7-1)

3. Goodhue (6-2)

4. Blooming Prairie (6-2)

5. Southland (3-5)

6. Wabasha-Kellogg (3-5)

7. Hayfield (3-5)

8. Kingsland (0-8)

Tuesday's games

Quarterfinals

Kingsland at R-P, 7 p.m.

Southland at Blooming Prairie, 7 p.m.

Hayfield at Fillmore Central, 7 p.m.

W-K at Goodhue, 7 p.m.

Saturday's games

Semifinals

Top quarterfinal winners, 7 p.m. (at high seed)

Bottom quarterfinal winners, 7 p.m. (at high seed)

Saturday, Nov. 5

At Rochester Regional Sports Stadium

Section championship game, 5 p.m.

R-P scores a lot of points (35.9 per game), Fillmore Central doesn't give up many (6.9 per game) and, along with Goodhue, the three teams went 1-1 against each other. R-P will have an easier path to the section final, while Fillmore Central and Goodhue would have to battle once again in the semifinals. The Falcons beat the Wildcats, 10-7, at home in Week 3, and would get the rematch at home as well. Defending section champion Goodhue beat W-K in Week 2, and lost its two games by a combined nine points. Blooming Prairie bookended its season with losses to R-P and Kenyon-Wanamingo, but dominated an otherwise weak schedule. Southland lost four straight at one point this season, but does have wins over W-K and Kingsland. W-K also beat Kingsland, with a win over Hayfield also among the Falcons three wins. Hayfield's key wins were Southland and Kingsland. Kingsland scored six points in its season-opening loss to United South Central, but has not scored since while giving up 47.5 points per game.

Section 1 9-Man

1. Grand Meadow (8-0)

2. Spring Grove (7-1)

3. Mabel-Canton (6-2)

4. Houston (6-2)

5. Lanesboro (4-4)

6. Randolph (3-5)

7. LeRoy-Ostrander (2-6)

8. Lyle-Pacelli (0-8)

Tuesday's games

Quarterfinals

L-P at Grand Meadow, 7 p.m.

Lanesboro at Houston, 7 p.m.

L-O at Spring Grove, 7 p.m.

Randolph at M-C, 7 p.m.

Saturday's games

Semifinals

Top quarterfinal winners, 7 p.m. (at high seed)

Bottom quarterfinal winners, 7 p.m. (at high seed)

Friday, Nov. 4

At Rochester Regional Sports Stadium

Section championship game, 5 p.m.

In the only game that really mattered, Grand Meadow won its 44th straight game with a 47-34 victory over Spring Grove in Week 8. The Superlarks, the three-time defending state champion, last lost was Oct. 5, 2013, a 47-36 win for Lanesboro. Spring Grove might be the second-best 9-Man team in the state, but like the last few years, the Lions simply cannot beat Grand Meadow. Spring Grove's only losses for years have been to the Superlarks, including the 2012 section title game after beating Grand Meadow three weeks earlier. M-C, as the No. 3 seed, would appear to be the biggest threat to Grand Meadow or Spring Grove, but the Lions beat the Cougars 42-0 in Week 6. M-C beat Randolph 46-40 in Week 4. Houston missed Spring Grove, but Grand Meadow beat the Hurricanes, 56-26, in Week 7. Lanesboro is looking to avenge a 46-14 loss to Houston in Week 8, but will have to return to Houston to do so. Other than lopsided losses to the top two seeds, Randolph has had a win within sight. The Rockets lost by two to Houston, by six to M-C and by three to Alden-Conger. L-O has not had the same chances, losing all six games by double digits, with its closest being a 14-point loss to Randolph in Week 8. Somehow, L-P had its highest-scoring game of the season against Grand Meadow (78-22 loss), but has scored just 14 points since that Week 4 game.

Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at kstevens@republican-eagle.com, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
(651) 301-7879
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