Section 5AA football: Minnewaska looking for a spot at state
The Minnewaska Lakers are looking to return to the state tournament for the first time in 12 years after earning a place in the Section 5AA football championship tonight, Friday, at the University of Minnesota-Morris, where they will face the top-seeded BOLD Warriors.
The Lakers used a 28-14 win over Paynesville last Saturday to advance to the final at Big Cat Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.
Minnewaska had back-to-back state appearances in 1999 and 2000, but hasn't returned since. The Lakers looked as if they would struggle again this season after starting 0-4, including a 35-0 loss to BOLD on September 7, but regrouped midway through the season, winning their last six contests.
The Warriors, who are 9-0 this season, have a storied history of competition at the state level. They won the Class B championship in 1990 and 1991, then finished in the runner-up position in 1992 before switching to Class AA, where they again finished second.
Most recently, BOLD competed four straight state tournaments from 2001-2004.
The Warriors had to hold on to defeat Benson last Saturday, using a field goal on the final play of the game for a 23-20 win to advance to the section final.
BOLD found itself susceptible to the pass in that game, allowing Brave quarterback Matt Ahrndt to hit 11 of his 18 attempts for 157 yards and three touchdowns.
But the Warriors have a dominating rusher in Chaz Roush, who accounted for nearly half of his team's ground yardage, running for 159 yards and a touchdown as BOLD accumulated 346 total yards rushing.
Minnewaska evenly divided its action between the air and the ground last week, rushing for 116 yards and passing for 117.
They are led by Sam Long, who had nine carries for 48 yards, and Jake Amundson, who had four catches for 57 yards.
The Laker defense also relies on Nathan Snider, who had nine solo and three assisted tackles against Paynesville.
The last time the two teams met, BOLD had 231 yards rushing and 100 through the air as the Warriors held the Lakers scoreless.
Roush was at the forefront of that attack with 92 yards rushing and two touchdowns
Long led Minnewaska's rushing effort with 26 yards, while Jayden Beecher had 53 yards in receptions and Austin Ostrander tacked on 44 yards.
Snider had seven solo and seven assisted tackles in that game.
SEEDINGS - 1. BOLD, 2. Minnewaska, 3. Paynesville, 4. Lac qui Parle Valley, 5. Benson, 6. Eden Valley-Watkins, 7. Yellow Medicine East.
OCTOBER 23, 7 P.M.
Paynesville 34, Eden Valley-Watkins 27
Minnewaska 42, Yellow Medicine East 6
Benson 33, Lac qui Parle Valley 8
OCTOBER 27, 7 P.M.
Minnewaska 28, Paynesville 14
BOLD 23, Benson 20
7 p.m . - Minnewaska vs. BOLD