Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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Section 1A playoffs No. 1 Blooming Prairie (7-1, 5-1 Gopher Valley A) - Blooming Prairie head coach Chad Gimbel said he is unsure if prolific senior quarterback Luc Zellmer can return from a broken bone is his throwing hand to face Medford Tuesday in the first round of playoffs, but if he can come back, now is the right time. Zellmer, a three-year starter for the Awesome Blossoms, is eight touchdowns shy of Minnesota's record for touchdown passes in a career. His return is crucial if Blooming Prairie is going to make a run at the state tournament. No.
The hottest topic right now in Minnesota high school football is not the on-field play but a standardized formula used for section playoff seeding. The new, QRF -- quality results formula -- is in its first year of implementation by the Minnesota State High School League. The method is a way of objectively and uniformly seeding section playoffs for football and other sports, MSHSL officials said. The adopted formula was developed by Ryan Weinzierl, creator and operator of Minnesota-Scores.net.
ZUMBROTA - More than a decade had passed since Lake City won a conference title outright. The Tigers (6-2, 6-0 HVL Gold) clinched the conference championship Wednesday with a 34-14 victory over Zumbrota-Mazeppa (4-4, 4-2 HVL Gold). Lake City boasted an undefeated conference record in their first season after leaving the Hiawatha Valley League Blue Division. The Tigers' last co-championship came in 2002 and most recent outright title came in 1998. "I'm feeling pretty good," Lake City head coach Trevor Narum said after the game. "I'm so proud of them.
Red Wing head volleyball coach Neal Newman expected to honor the 13 seniors on his team Tuesday night at home against Chanhassen. It was senior night against the previously-ranked Storm and Newman wanted the spotlight to shine on his team, but instead the players decided to pay tribute to their coach with a surprise ceremony before the final regular season match of his career. "We didn't want to leave knowing we didn't let him know we appreciate him," Red Wing senior Morgan Lyons said. "We needed to tell him thank you.
CANNON FALLS - Cedric Dicke spent the beginning of the season trying out for starting quarterback. He learned the Cannon Falls football team's plays and attempted to understand defenses before losing the competition to senior Braxton Lindow. Dicke, also a senior, never expected to get a second chance at the position until a rash of injuries to key players, including Lindow, thrust Dicke into the spotlight.
LAKE CITY - Lake City football is making quite the statement. After losing its 21st straight game earlier this season, the Tigers are undefeated in conference play and clinched at least a share of the conference title Friday night by beating Goodhue 21-10. The Lake City (5-2, 5-0 HVL Gold) offensive line opened up holes against the Wildcats (5-2, 3-2 HVL Gold) and the Tigers piled up 401 yards of total offense, 302 yards coming on the ground. Sophomore Elliot Cox led the Tigers with 130 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
Paige Haley dreamt of playing hockey for the University of Minnesota and after verbally committing to the Golden Gophers, she will get her chance. Haley, a junior at Red Wing High School, made the commitment a week ago to join the Gophers for the 2013-2014 season. She made the verbal commitment on the same day the University of Minnesota coaching staff offered her a scholarship. Because of NCAA rules, she cannot officially sign to play for the University of Minnesota until her senior year with the Wingers. "It's really something special for me," Haley said.
LAKE CITY - The Lake City volleyball team challenged seventh-ranked Kasson-Mantorville Thursday but fell in straight sets 25-14, 25-20, 25-21. Seniors Haley Vaith and Alicia Kjos paced the Tigers (12-13, 5-7 HVL) on senior night. Vaith led Lake City with four ace blocks and added three kills, while Kjos dove all over the court from her libero position en route to 17 digs. Junior Tiffany Hoops contributed a team-leading six kills and senior Maggie Balow had 18 set assists. "They never gave up," Lake City head coach Kim Bobb said. "I am very pleased. I think they (battled).
Former Red Wing High School standout Andy Gibart received Minnesota's 12th annual U.S. Attorney's Office Law Enforcement Recognition Award Tuesday for his continued work on large mortgage fraud cases. Gibart's efforts as a special agent for the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division led to the effective federal prosecution of multiple companies and defendants, including one of the state's largest mortgage fraud investigations against Parish Marketing and Development with 10 defendants and more than 200 properties. "It's very humbling," Gibart said of winning the award.
GOODHUE - Goodhue senior Erica Tipcke played away from her middle hitter position Tuesday against La Crescent, but still managed to take over the volleyball match and lead the Wildcats to a straight-set 25-13, 25-16, 25-19 victory. The effects of homecoming weekend made the Wildcats (17-5, 8-3 HVL) look lethargic on Parent's Night but with Tipcke's help they put together enough offense to beat the Lancers handily. Tipcke led the Wildcats with 13 kills. "We didn't play our best," Tipcke said.