Predictions for the country match in the quarter-finals – the Twin Cities
Class 6 A
Woodbury (9-1) vs Maple Grove (9-1), at Eden Prairie, 7 p.m.
Woodbury is the last Maroon District team standing in the Big Schools division. Members of the royal family have proven that they belong to the best members of the state. The Royals conceded just three points in their post-season game, and that defense combined with an attack led by George Billos makes Woodbury dangerous. But the royal family faces a difficult task in Maple Grove. All nine Crimson wins have come in at least 18 points. They have scored more than 35 points eight times, and have not yet allowed more than 21 points. Two full teams will do battle, as the state quarter-finals should be. Our selection: Maple Grove 24, Woodbury 17
Class 4 A
Semley (7-3) vs Hutchinson (9-1) at Hopkins, 6 p.m.
Simley competed in the state championship for the second time in as many attempts, making this a benchmark of sorts for the program. Hutchinson has long been a standard in the 4A, and has the appearance of a legitimate competitor to ownership. The hope for the Spartans was that if they could slow down Hill-Murray’s Sawyer Seidel, perhaps they could also slow down the attack of the Tigers’ dominant rush. Simley will definitely have to score at a high clip, too, to pull off the surprise. Our selection: Hutchinson 34, Simley 18
Class 6 A
Farmington (6-4) vs. Eden Prairie (9-1) at Chanhassen, 7 p.m.
Farmington started the season 1-3 thanks to a sinister schedule. One of those three defeats was a 37-29 loss to Eden Prairie. The Tigers’ dominant victory over Minnetonka last week is proof that Farmington is a much better team than their record indicates. Over the past month, the Tigers have beaten Minnetonka, Rosemont, and Lakeville North. The latter gave Eden Prairie bouts last week. Still, there’s a reason the Eagles are a favorite of the moniker. Their defense is great, they have a lot of talent and they find ways to win tough matches. Our selection: Eden Prairie 20 Farmington 13
Lakeville South (10-0) vs. Shakopee (8-2), at Stillwater, 7 p.m.
Shakopee deserves a lot of credit for the way he recovered from a mid-season injury to quarterback Dominic Jackson, and the Sabers have put up a panic in Lakeville South for only half a week. But it would take a near-perfect game to get rid of the cougars, who are balanced and effective in all aspects of the game. Our selection: Lakeville South 30, Shakopee 20
Class 5 A
Mahtomedy (8-2) vs Rochester Mayo (9-1) at Woodbury, 12 noon
Bennett Ellsworth has passed 2,200 yards this season to lead a powerful attack in Rochester May. This will provide a slightly different test of Mahtomidi’s defence, who has proven he can rise to the challenge many times this season. Could a floor snort match lead them to victory in a match played in the 1930s? Do you need to? Our selection: Mahtomedy 30, Rochester May 24
St. Thomas Academy (10-0) vs Mankato West (10-0), at Prior Lake, 3 p.m.
A prime example of why every state class should be ranked, as are most other Minnesota State High School League sports. The Cadets and Mankato West could be the top two teams in Class 5A, but only one of them will make it to the U.S. Bank due to random division pairings. This could be a race to 10 points. Mankato West’s defense has made seven stopping points this season, with only one opponent hitting double digits. The Cadets held four goalless teams, and no opponents beat 14 points. Our selection: St. Thomas Academy 10, Mankato West 7