Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball preseason rankings

The season begins with Battle Lake at the top of the area boys basketball rankings in Minnesota and Hawley at the top of the girls rankings.

Here’s why:

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake

Last season: 27-1, lost in Class 1A, Section 6 championship to Park Christian 62-59

This was the scene Battle Lake had to watch in the section championship as Park Christian celebrated going to state. Photo by David Samson/Forum

That one on the end of the record is going to sting Battle Lake for awhile. The Battlers were ranked No. 2 in Class 1A and the only undefeated team in Minnesota when Park Christian beat them by three in the section title game.

Worst part about it was Battle Lake was without starting senior shooting guard Daniel Marso and his replacement missed two free throws with 59.4 seconds to go that would have tied the game.

The Battlers lose Tyler Ukkelberg and Marso to graduation, but return three starters. Petric VanErp, Tony Ukkelberg, Andrew VanErp and Nick Trosdahl should lead the way. Battlers also have Micah Rogness for more size down low if Trosdahl isn’t enough.

 

2. Hawley

Last season: 15-11, lost in Class 2A, Section 8 subsection semifinals to Perham 66-55

Ben Ellefson was a double-double machine last season for Hawley. He returns for his senior year. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Last season was a nightmare season for Hawley. Came in highly ranked, started 4-8, had some starters quit in the middle of the season and finished 15-11.

Hawley has a new coach, size and seniors. There was just two seniors on the team last season, but eight juniors.

Ben Ellefson averaged 24.1 points and 11 rebounds last season for the Nuggets. He returns, along with seniors Jordan Harms, Dawson Tusow, Aaron Regnier, Ben Steichen and Dillon Omberg.

Expectations have been all over this senior group for football and basketball since they were sophomores. This is their last season.

 

3. Moorhead

Last season: 12-12, lost in Class 4A, Section 8 first round to St. MIchael-Albertville 75-60

Cody Dorow fell one point short of the Moorhead school record for points in a season as a junior. He returns with a lot of colleges looking at him. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Moorhead was full of juniors last season and return 70 percent of their scoring from last season.

Much of that comes from shooting guard Cody Dorow, who fell one point short of the school record for points in a season. Aaron Lien’s record was 689 points in 26 games. Dorow had 688 in 24 games. The knock on Dorow is his defense, so he decided to play football for the first time ever this season. One would imagine that toughened him up, seeing as colleges were looking at him for football after three games at wide receiver.

Around Dorow will be guard Shane Steckler, forward Matt Bye and big man Nick Weismann, all of whom saw a lot of playing time last season. This is a very experienced Spuds team with two players (Dorow, Weismann) getting a lot of attention from colleges.

 

4. Detroit Lakes

Last season: 18-9, lost in Class 3A, Section 8 first round to Fergus Falls 47-43 in overtime

Ben Hokanson gives Detroit Lakes a lot of size down low. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Season ended on a terrible note for Detroit Lakes, losing in overtime in a game the Lakers led 30-22 at halftime. Good thing there was a lot of juniors on that team to come back a season later with that memory.

As a sophomore, Ryan Cihak had 285 points. He was the leading DL scorer as a junior. He’s now a senior, as is Sam Champa, Corbin Duncan, Christian Hedstrom and Connor Johnson, all of whom saw playing time last season. In fact, 12 of the 15 players on DL’s roster are seniors.

As for size, there’s 6-foot-5, 290-pound Briton Thompson, 6-foot-5, 200-pound Trey Lyngaas and 6-foot-7 Ben Hokanson.

 

5. Breckenridge

Last season: 12-14,lost in Class 2A, Section 8 first round to Hawley 73-61

The Cowboys started last season 3-11. They closed the season winning nine of 12.

Forward Nate Lorenz surpassed 1,000 career points in the season finale and is 158 away from the school record. He’s already the school’s all-time leader in rebounds, averaging about 12 rebounds a game. He’s committed to the University of Minnesota-Crookston to play basketball.

With Lorenz and Nate Blaufuss, the Cowboys have their senior leaders. Junior guard Ashton Hegge came on strong at the end of last season, so he could be the X-factor for the Cowboys.

Season starts tough at Fergus Falls, Perham and Wahpeton and hosting Hawley and Barnesville.

 

GIRLS

1. Hawley

Last season: 21-7, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 championship to Pequot Lakes 81-64

Jody Noreen returns for her senior year at point guard for Hawley. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Hawley was one game away from the state tournament and the Nuggets had one senior.

The Nuggets return everyone, including senior point guard Jody Noreen and senior shooting guard Olivia Olson. Junior Mira Ellefson is 5-foot-10 and can be seen in the post or bringing up the ball. The Nuggets also have 6-foot senior Karyssa Hovelson.

This could be a huge season for Hawley.

 

2. Ada-Borup

Last season: 28-2, lost in the Class 1A quarterfinals to Goodhue 65-58

Miki Lee (left) returns to help Ada-Borup revamp their starting lineup. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Ada-Borup has won seven section titles in the last nine seasons. The Cougars lose their ball handlers in Monica Vega and Shaina Stevenson and post Haley Gehrtz, but return starting forward Haley Poehler.

The Cougars destroyed teams last season, so everyone got playing time, meaning seniors Lexi Merkens and Miki Lee and junior Morgan Miller are ready to take over starting roles.

 

3. Pelican Rapids

Last season: 19-7, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 first round to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 75-71 in overtime

Pelican Rapids was never the same after guard Mackenzie Korf tore her ACL. She’s back for this season. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Pelican Rapids was ranked No. 9 in Class 2A and 18-2 before they lost sophomore guard Mackenzie Korf to a torn ACL. She was averaging nearly 25 points a game for the Vikings.

From there, the Vikings went 1-5 and were out in their first playoff game. Good news is Pelican Rapids had just three seniors on last season’s team and have a lot of talented post players back, mainly in senior Lincoln Haiby and junior Grace Forsgren.

 

4. New York Mills

Last season: 19-6, lost in the Class 1A, Section 6 subsection semifinals to Lake Park-Audubon 61-47

Lydia Rutten (left) and her sister Ellie will lead New York Mills this season. Photo by David Samson/Forum

New York Mills has sisters Ellie Rutten and Lydia Rutten. Ellie is a 6-foot-1 senior and Lydia is a 6-foot sophomore.

They are a tough combo to stop. Opponents are happy, after this season, half of the duo will be gone.

 

5. Verndale

Last season: 25-4, lost in the Class 1A, Section 5 subsection championship to Browerville 79-54

Verndale had just two seniors on last season’s team. The Pirates return senior Elyssa Kern, juniors Jordyn Glenz, Sarah Moenkedick and Keila Schmitz, along with sophomore Shania Glenz.

They were young last season and still went 25-4. This season, the Pirates are built to be scary and should be even scarier in two years.

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or cmurphy@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.

NDSU commit Ben Ellefson gets offer from Purdue

Ben Ellefson picked up an offer from Purdue on Friday. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Hawley senior Ben Ellefson picked up an offer Friday from Purdue. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end and linebacker for Hawley gave a verbal commitment to North Dakota State on July 11 and said that commitment hasn’t changed.

“It doesn’t change my commitment right now,” Ellefson said.

Ellefson had offers from Air Force, Fordham, New Mexico, Wyoming and South Dakota State before committing to NDSU.

Purdue is the first offer he’s received after verballing to NDSU.

 

THE NUMBERS

Ben Ellefson finished with over 1,000 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons at Hawley Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Here are the stats for Ellefson in his junior and senior seasons at Hawley.

Games: 23

Passing: 4-for-9 for 110 yards with a touchdown and an interception

Rushing: 75 rushes, 467 yards, 11 touchdowns

Receiving: 60 catches, 1,122 yards, 15 touchdowns

Defense: 141.5 tackles, five interceptions, 4.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss


Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or cmurphy@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.

 

Live blog: Minnesota section championships at the Fargodome

Live Blog Minnesota football playoffs at Fargodome
 

Thursday

  • 9-man, Section 8 championship: No. 4 Kittson County Central vs. No. 3 Win-E-Mac, 12:30 p.m.
  • 9-man, Section 6 championship: No. 5 Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal vs. No. 2 Nevis, 3 p.m.
  • Class 3A, Section 8 championship: No. 1 Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton vs. No. 2 Pequot Lakes, 5:30 p.m.
  • Class 1A, Section 8 championship: No. 1 Mahnomen vs. No. 2 Fosston, 8 p.m.

Friday

  • 9-man, Section 4 championship: No. 1 Verndale (9-1) vs. No. 2 Underwood (9-1), 12:30 p.m.
  • Class 1A, Section 6 championship: No. 1 Upsala-Swanville (10-0) vs. No. 2 Royalton (9-1), 3 p.m.
  • Class 2A, Section 6 championship: No. 1 Ottertail Central (9-1) vs. No. 2 Holdingford (7-3), 5:30 p.m.
  • Class 2A, Section 8 Championship: No. 1 Hawley (9-0) vs. No. 2 Frazee (9-1), 8 p.m.

Forum prep sports chat (Oct. 24)

Live Blog Prep Sports Chat
 

State champion contendors in Minnesota football

With the playoffs beginning today, here’s a look at the football teams in the area with the best chance of winning a state title.

 

FAVORITES

Mahnomen (8-0)

Mahnomen has plenty of reason for pride with the longest active winning streak in the state heading into the 2014 playoffs. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Until Mahnomen proves otherwise, Class 1A belongs to the Indians. They’ve won 36 straight games and two straight state titles. They’ve been ranked No. 1 in the AP polls every week except one.

The Indians have outscored teams 361-40 this season with the closest game being a 21-point win against Fosston in Week 3. Fosston is the No. 2 seed in Class 1A, Section 8, so the Indians’ fifth straight section title seems imminent.

The health of quarterback Tom Pavek is big for the Indians. They proved this season they can win without him, but they can roll teams with him.

 

Hawley (8-0)

Hawley is look for its first team state title to call their own. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

This is what the Nuggets have been waiting for. Even last season when the Nuggets were good enough to make it to the Class 2A quarterfinals, they still had this season in the back of their heads with returning seniors all over the field.

Their offensive line is healthy with senior Logan Alm back. Senior Cody Cook has been a monster defensively with 42 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss on the season.

Quarterback Jordan Harms and tight end/North Dakota State commit Ben Ellefson are seniors. Running back Dillon Omberg is a senior.

Omberg’s health is the one question heading into the playoffs. He hurt his ankle in Week 7, didn’t play Week 8, but is practicing again this week. Coach Peder Naatz says he isn’t sure if or how much Omberg will play in the section semifinals.

If it ends up being Hawley-Frazee in the section title game, the Nuggets will need Omberg.

 

Waubun (8-0)

This is the Waubun offense behind Jordan Spaeth (left) and Ryan Weber (right). All teams know it. No team has stopped it. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Teams simply can’t stop Waubun’s read-option offense with Jordan Spaeth at QB and Ryan Weber at running back.

When Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal somewhat stopped it, the Bombers proved they could adjust. That was the only game Waubun ever trailed in this season.

There’s a lot of talk about the read-option offense, but the defense, behind Weber and Dairus Woods-Steichen, has given up 47 points all season.

Bombers haven’t won a section title since 2007.

 

CONTENDERS

Moorhead (7-1)

Jade Lawrence leads Moorhead into the playoffs Saturday. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Cody Dorow has made the Moorhead offense balanced in his first year ever playing football this season. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Getting to the section title game is what Moorhead coach Kevin Feeney does. He’s been at Moorhead for four years, been to four section title games and won two of them. He even did that last season when the Spuds had lost 31 seniors from the season before.

Last season’s team was young. This season’s Spuds are experienced. And the scary thing is, the Spuds have a lot of juniors.

There’s no looking toward next season for running back Jade Lawrence, wide receiver Cody Dorow. They are the playmakers for the Spuds and this is it for these two seniors, along with Ben Lien, Brandon Bundgaard, Ethan Marquart and Brady Emerson, all of which are big pieces to Moorhead.

Moorhead was cruising through the season until a 56-21 loss to Brainerd. Questions began and the Spuds answered them with a 52-25 win over Bemidji.

So Bemidji destroyed Brainerd 40-14, Brainerd destroyed Moorhead and Moorhead destroyed Bemidji. Lucky for Moorhead, the Spuds wouldn’t seen any Class 5A, Section 7 team until the state title game and the Spuds would gladly take that.

Spuds will most likely have to get by a Sartell team they haven’t faced this season. The Sabres, however, lost to Bemidji 31-0.

 

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (6-2)

D-G-F’s defense has given up eight points in its last three games. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

D-G-F does what’s big with the weather this time of year. The Rebels run the ball and play defense. The Rebels have given up eight points in their last three games, including a 13-0 shutout at Pequot Lakes, who the Rebels will most likely see in the section championship.

The Rebels have 1,842 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns on the ground between Brandon Wayne, Alex Matthews and Joe Flatt.

D-G-F hasn’t won back-to-back section titles since Dilworth did it in 1988 and 1989.

 

Ottertail Central (7-1)

This was the scene last season when Holdingford knocked off Ottertail in the section championship game. Bulldogs are looking for redemption. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The Bulldogs have won seven straight and given up 18 points in those seven games. OTC will probably have to get by Holdingford in the section title game.

The two haven’t faced this season, but OTC will be out for revenge after losing to Holdingford in last season’s section title game.

 

Verndale (7-1)

Dillon Card (right) will lead Verndale to possible redemption over last season’s section championship loss. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Pirates remember this feeling. They’ve waited to redeem last season’s 13-12 loss on the final play of regulation to Underwood in the section championship since it happened.

Behind quarter back Dillon Card and running back Colter Ehrmantraut the Pirates can do just that. They’ve already beaten Underwood this season 14-13 in overtime. It’s shaping up for a rematch.

 

SLEEPERS

Underwood (7-1)

It was this extra point at the end of regulation that ended Verndale’s season in a 13-12 loss to Underwood with state on the line. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The Rockets one loss is a 14-13 loss in overtime to Underwood. That was in Week 2. In Week 7, Underwood beat a Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley team 40-0 on the road a week after C-G-G beat Verndale 28-8.

The Rockets went to the state title game last season behind the running game of Noah Thompson. Now, the Rockets have Thompson and Dylan Kalenze with Justin Masloski. It’s a tough trio to stop.

Big problem for Underwood is they will have to go through Wheaton-Herman-Norcross to get to Verndale. Verndale and Underwood were separated by 0.2 in the QRF, but Verndale owned the tiebreaker thanks to the 14-13 overtime win.

One point separated Underwood from a No. 1 seed. Verndale doesn’t feel bad for the Rockets. One point separated the Pirates from state last year.

 

Frazee (7-1)

Hesston Bachmann (right) will lead Frazee at QB and the Hornets want top-ranked Hawley in the section title game. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

No team in Class 2A has been closer to knocking off top-ranked Hawley than the Hornets this season. It’s hard to beat a team twice.

With Hesston and Tanner Bachmann the Hornets can run with any team. If there’s a hiccup for Hawley on the road to state it would be Frazee in the section title game.

Frazee has wanted another chance at the Nuggets since their 25-12 loss to Hawley in which the Hornets had three drives inside the Nuggets 10-yard line go for zero points.

Frazee has not won a section title since 1990.

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or cmurphy@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.

The X factors for each top-seeded area football team in Minnesota

These area top seeds need these guys to perform big on the playoff stage to get to the Minnesota football state tournament.

Cody Dorow/Jade Lawrence – Moorhead (Class 5A, Section 8)

Jade Lawrence leads the run game into the playoffs for the Spuds. Photo by Jun-Kai Teoh/St. Cloud Times

Cody Dorow has made it so teams must respect the pass for Moorhead. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

The Moorhead offense runs on these two. Dorow has 36 catches for 555 yards and seven touchdowns in seven games for the Spuds in his first year every playing football. Lawrence has 91 carries for 1,061 yards and 22 total touchdowns for Moorhead. That’s 11.66 yards per carry.

 

Tony Ukkelberg/Nick Trosdahl- Ottertail Central (Class 2A, Section 6)

Nick Trosdahl (44) will lead the rushing attack/defense of Ottertail Central in the playoffs. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

OTC has won seven straight behind Ukkelberg at QB and Trosdahl leading the Bulldogs defense that has given up 18 points in those seven games and the running game.

Ukkelberg has thrown for 843 yards and 12 touchdowns, rushed for six touchdowns and returned a punt for a touchdown. Trosdahl has rushed for 684 yards and 19 total touchdowns for OTC.

 

Tom Pavek – Mahnomen (Class 1A, Section 8)

Tom Pavek hasn’t been healthy all season, but he has the chance to lead Mahnomen to its third straight state title. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The quarterback hasn’t been healthy all the season, but he has Mahnomen undefeated and in line to make a run at the Indians third straight state title and the second with him at quarterback.

Pavek has played in seven games, throwing for four touchdowns and rushing for 12 TDs and 833 yards on just 67 carries, mostly coming in the first half of games. That’s 12.4 yards per carry. Mahnomen can win if Pavek gets hurt, but they dominate with him even somewhat healthy.

 

Ben Ellefson/Dillon Omberg – Hawley (Class 2A, Section 8)

Ben Ellefson is the go-to guy for Hawley. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Hawley starting RB Dillon Omberg (ball) left Week 7′s game with an injury and hasn’t played since. The Nuggets will need him come playoff time. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

The health of Omberg will alter the role of Ellefson. Omberg has 839 yards and nine touchdowns on 90 carries and two touchdowns and 115 yards on five catches. He was injured early in Week 7 and sat out Week 8. When he’s healthy, the Nuggets offense is a machine.

Ellefson – a North Dakota State tight end commit – hasn’t had massive numbers this season. He’s rushed for three touchdowns and 48 yards on 12 carries and caught 21 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns. Where he has been a monster is at linebacker. He has 64.5 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and one interception.

A healthy Omberg means Ellefson isn’t totally relied on offensively, which frees him up to run wild on defense. However, Ellefson is still the go-to target come crunch time. That’s what playoff time is.

 

Dillon Card/Colter Ehrmantraut – Verndale (Class 9-man, Section 4)

Dillon Card (right) will lead Verndale to possible redemption over last season’s section-championship loss. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The Pirates offense, which is averaging more than 34 points a game, runs through quarterback Dillon Card and running back Colter Ehrmantraut. Card was relied on heavily last season, but Ehrmantraut was able to take the burden off Card.

The two were both on the field last season when Underwood scored a touchdown to tie the game with no time remaining in the section championship. The Rockets won it with the extra point.

 

Jordan Spaeth/Ryan Weber – Waubun (Class 9-man, Section 6)

This is the Waubun offense behind Jordan Spaeth (left) and Ryan Weber (right). All teams know it. No team has stopped it. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Spaeth and Weber have run the read-option offense to perfection this season. Spaeth has 694 yards and nine TDs on 93 carries to go along with 280 yards passing and six touchdowns and Weber has rushed for 903 yards and 10 touchdowns on 131 carries.

They not only hold the ball for Waubun, but the key to the state tournament.

 

Ben Nordmark/Ryan Cihak – Detroit Lakes (Class 4A, Section 8)

DL has two senior backs that can run the ball, but it could be a freshman that takes them to the top in Ben Nordmark. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newpapers

With a backfield of seniors Sam Champa and Forrest Schleske, freshman Ben Nordmark could really change things for the Heart O’Lakes North champion Lakers. He leads the team in rushing and has been getting more carries each game and torched Pequot Lakes for 163 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries in the regular-season finale.

Cihak is the leading receiver for DL. He had a 90-yard punt return and a 29-yard TD catch in that win against Pequot Lakes. He keeps defenses from focusing completely on the DL run game.

 

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton running game (Class 3A, Section 8)

D-G-F’s run game is getting going at the right time. Alex Matthews (ball) is a big part of a trio of Rebel runners. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

There’s really no hiding what the Rebels do. They run the ball a lot behind Brandon Wayne, Alex Matthews and Joe Flatt.

Wayne has rushed for 716 yards and eight touchdowns on 112 carries, Matthews has 477 yards rushing, four rushing TDs and two receiving TDs without playing in the regular-season finale and Flatt has 649 yards and nine touchdowns on 97 carries. They even have a fourth option with Alex Fuchs.

 

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or cmurphy@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.

Forum prep sports chat (Oct. 17)

Live Blog Prep Sports Chat
 

Top 10 area football rankings for Minnesota (Week 8)

Here are the area football rankings for Minnesota, heading into the last week of regular-season football.

Moorhead’s huge loss to Bemidji will switch things up a bit at the top.

 

1. Mahnomen (7-0)

Last week: 39-6 at Red Lake County

Next up: host Pillager (4-3), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Mahnomen has not lost a regular-season football game since Oct. 9, 2009. The Indians have won 41 straight in the regular season and look to close their fifth straight perfect regular season Wednesday.

Quarterback Tom Pavek was out with a hip pointer in Week 7. Indians did just fine with Blake Kahlbaugh at QB. The defense held Red Lake County to six points and 102 yards of total offense.

According to coach John Clark, Pavek will probably sit out the final week just to be safe.

 

2. Hawley (7-0)

Last week: 28-0 win at Moorhead over Barnesville

Next up: at Warroad (1-6), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Hawley starting RB Dillon Omberg (ball) left Week 7′s game with an injury. The Nuggets will need him come playoff time. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

The good news is Hawley is one win away from clinching the Heart O’ Lakes Classic outright and locking up a No. 1 seed.

The bad news is the Nuggets are still waiting on results from tests on starting running back Dillon Omberg’s right ankle. Either way he most likely won’t play against Warroad, which Hawley will still win, but the bigger question is what this will do to him for playoffs.

Hawley still has options with Austin Koenig and Anthony Loegering, but Omberg would be a big loss. He opens up a lot offensively for the Nuggets.

 

3. Waubun (7-0)

Last week: 44-6 win at Cass Lake-Bena

Next up: host Rothsay (1-6), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Waubun is looking for its first perfect regular season since 2008. Ironically, that season they fell to familiar foe Ada-Borup in the section championship.

That’s been how it goes for Waubun, who looks like they have a one-way ticket to the section title game in Class 9-man, Section 6. It may, once again, come down to overcoming Ada-Borup to get to state for the first time since 2007.

 

4. Underwood (6-1)

Last week: 40-0 win at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley

Next up: host Hancock (0-7), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

The hardest thing to do has been to find separation between Underwood and Verndale. Week 7 may have been it.

One week after C-G-B beat Verndale 28-8 at home, Underwood shut out the Wolverines 40-0 at the same venue.

For the first time this season Underwood and Verndale have similar opponents in which one team lost and one team won, outside of their one-point overtime game in which Verndale defeated Underwood.

This time last season, Underwood had lost to Verndale 44-13 in Week 2, only to top the Pirates 13-12 in the section title on their way to a state championship game appearance. This season, Underwood only lost to Verndale 14-13 in overtime in the regular season.

 

5. Moorhead (6-1)

Last week: 56-21 loss at Brainerd

Next up: host Bemidji (7-0), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Moorhead suffered its first loss of the season in a big way in Week 7. Photo by Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch

Well, that wasn’t good for the Spuds. That tied for the worst loss for coach Kevin Feeney as Moorhead’s head coach. Can’t even find the last time Moorhead gave up 50 or more points, but it’s at least a decade.

Now, the doubt starts to set in with the Spuds. Outside of Brainerd, the Spuds have played one team above .500 and are 6-0 against teams that are 12-30 combined.

The section will still come down to them, Sartell-St. Stephen and St. Cloud Apollo, but they were just dismantled by the No. 2 team in Section 7AAAAA.

How they do against Bemidji, ranked in the top 3 in the state, will be a big preview as to what the Spuds can do if they get to state.

 

6. Verndale (6-1)

Last week: 33-8 win at home over Brandon-Evansville

Next week: host Ortonville (3-4), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

The good news is Verndale rolled a Brandon-Evansville team that beat Wheaton-Herman-Norcross in overtime the week before. The bad news is Underwood just rolled a Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley team 40-0 that beat Verndale 28-8.

Thanks to four touchdowns from quarterback Dillon Card, the Pirates were able to separate themselves from W-H-N, but Underwood was able to get a slight edge on them.

Who gets the No. 1 seed for the section tournament will be big because neither wants to deal with W-H-N in the semifinals.

 

7. Frazee (6-1)

Last week: 68-34 win at home over Pelican Rapids

Next up: Barnesville at the Fargodome, Thursday, 5 p.m.

Tanner Bachmann (ball) went off in Week 7 with 271 yards and three touchdowns rushing. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Frazee has shown that they can keep up with Hawley, but the Hornets are going to have to get to the section title game first if they want another chance at the Nuggets.

Bagley or Barnesville will be in the way. Frazee lost to Hawley 25-12, whereas Barnesville just lost to Hawley 28-0.

Hesston and Tanner Bachmann seemingly get better every week. The two had seven touchdowns in Week 7 with Hesston throwing for two and running for two and Tanner rushing for 271 yards and three TDs on 26 carries.

 

8. Otter Tail Central (6-1)

Last week: 67-0 win at home over Wadena-Deer Creek

Next up: at West Central Area (1-6), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

OTC is averaging 5.6 points against per game, which is fifth in the entire state. The Bulldogs continue to get production from all over the field on offense.

In Week 7, five different OTC players scored on offense with two different players throwing touchdown passes. Between Andrew VanErp, Nick Trosdahl and Tony Ukkelberg there’s plenty of weapons for the Bulldogs.

 

9. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Last week: 41-0 win at home over Roseau

Next up: host East Grand Forks (1-6), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

D-G-F’s run game is getting going at the right time. Alex Matthews (ball) had 116 yards on eight carries and caught a touchdown pass in Week 7. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

The Rebels are in full force at the right time of the season. In Week 7, they had five rushing touchdowns scored by four different guys and three guys with over 60 yards rushing.

D-G-F is a win over 1-6 East Grand Forks away from locking up a No. 1 seed for the section tournament.

The last time any part of D-G-F went to state in back-to-back seasons was when Dilworth did so in 1988 and 1989.

 

10. Detroit Lakes (7-0)

Last week: 9-7 win at Perham

Next up: host Pequot Lakes (6-1), Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Detroit Lakes’ defense is seventh in the state in average points against this season. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

DL is averaging 5.9 points against per game, which is good enough for seventh in the state.

The Heart O’ Lakes North comes down to Wednesday. If DL wins, the conference belongs to them, but if they lose they will share with Pequot Lakes and could share with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.

 

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or cmurphy@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general. 

Players of Week 7 in Minnesota

Here are your top area performances from Week 7 of the Minnesota high school football season.

Mason Deal – Wheaton-Herman-Norcross

Deal had 258 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries in W-H-N’s 46-18 win over Bertha-Hewitt.

Tanner/Hesston Bachmann – Frazee

Tanner Bachmann (ball) ran for 271 yards and three touchdowns in Week 7. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Tanner ran for 271 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries in Frazee’s 68-34 win over Pelican Rapids. Hesston threw for 99 yards and two touchdowns on 8-of-12 passing and rushed for 72 yards and two touchdowns on eight carries.

Justin Masloski – Underwood

In Underwood’s 40-0 win over Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Masloski threw for a 20-yard touchdown and rushed for three touchdowns. He had 124 yards rushing on eight carries.

Ben Schindler – Fergus Falls

Schindler had 99 yards rushing and three touchdowns in Fergus Falls’ 40-7 win over Grand Rapids.

David Skari – Norman County West

Skari had 194 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries to go along with an interception on defense in NCW’s 56-22 win over Park Christian.

Nathan Blaufuss – Breckenridge

Blaufuss completed three passes, two of which went for touchdowns, and also had two rushing touchdowns in Breckenridge’s 40-0 win over Staples-Motley.

Jordan Harms – Hawley

Jordan Harms (left) stepped up big for Hawley in Week 7 against Barnesville. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

With Hawley losing their starting running back Dillon Omberg to an injury early, Harms took over. He had a touchdown pass and ran for two more in Hawley’s 28-0 win over rival Barnesville.

Reggie Undseth – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy

The sophomore had 170 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries in Hillcrest’s 34-14 win over Hancock.

Andrew VanErp – Otter Tail Central

VanErp had a 35-yard touchdown reception, took a fumble recovery back 20 yards for a touchdown and had an interception in OTC’s 67-0 win over Wadena-Deer Creek.

Zach Frost – New York Mills

Frost had two touchdowns and 141 yards on 22 carries in New York Mills’ 39-6 win over West Central Area.

Dillon Card – Verndale

Dillon Card (right) had four touchdowns in Week 7 for Verndale. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Card threw for 95 yards and a touchdown and ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries to lead Verndale by Brandon-Evansville 33-8.

Dylan Reitan – Mahnomen

Reitan had a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 52-yard touchdown run in Mahnomen’s 39-6 win over Red Lake County.

Gerome Williams/Payton Syverson – Waubun

Both players had big plays every time they touched the ball. Williams had two carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns and Syverson had punt returns of 60 and 50 yards on back-to-back punts in Waubun’s 44-6 win over Cass Lake-Bena.

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or cmurphy@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.

Top 10 area football rankings for Minnesota (Week 7)

Some movement in the area football rankings this week.

Former No. 4 Verndale and No. 10 Wheaton-Herman-Norcross losing shuffles things around a little bit. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton’s massive win over previously undefeated Pequot Lakes gets the Rebels in.

 

1. Mahnomen (6-0)

Last week: 42-0 win at home over Fertile-Beltrami

Next up: at Red Lake County (2-4), Friday, 7 p.m.

Mahnomen quarterback (right) Tom Pavek is getting better with each week for Mahnomen. Photo provided to the Forum by Tom McArthur

What a shock. Mahnomen won again. That’s 34 in a row and during the streak Mahnomen is outscoring opponents 1,468-168 with 18 shutouts.

Quarterback Tom Pavek gets better every week. He rushed for 193 yards and two TDs on 15 carries in Week 6. With him and running backs Dylan Reitan and Mitch Foss healthy, pick your poison in the run game against Mahnomen.

If you somehow limit Mahnomen’s run game then they’ll stop you on defense. The Indians gave up 28 yards of total offense to Fertile-Beltrami and forced nine turnovers.

 

2. Hawley (6-0)

Last week: 28-0 win at Concordia over Staples-Motley

Next up: host Barnesville (5-1) at Moorhead, Friday, 7 p.m.

Good news for Barnesville is they are 5-1. Bad news is the Pelican Rapids team they lost to 27-26, rival Hawley beat 42-0.

Barnesville’s wins are against five teams that are a combined 4-26. This is their chance to show the state something. Not sure they’ll be able to with Hawley’s running game.

Dillon Omberg continued to roll with 137 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries in Week 6. The Nuggets can run the ball down your throat with Omberg and Anthony Loegering, which allows North Dakota State tight end commit Ben Ellefson to run wild on defense at linebacker. If they get in a bind, quarterback Jordan Harms can throw to Ellefson all day.

The formula is unstoppable right now.

 

3. Moorhead (6-0)

Last week: 40-0 win at home over Fergus Falls

Next up: at Brainerd (4-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Moorhead’s running game featuring Mike Duginski is not the only thing opponents should be afraid of with the Spuds. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

I’m sure the Spuds are getting antsy for that final game of the season against No. 3-ranked Bemidji at home. Brainerd, however, can’t be overlooked.

Brainerd has played four similar opponents to Moorhead, outscoring Fergus Falls, St. Cloud Apollo, St. Cloud Tech and Alexandria 120-58. Spuds outscored those opponents 148-33.

Jade Lawrence is having a monster season and the Spuds keep rolling. The Spuds offensive line has been huge, as quarterback Matt Bye has barely been touched and Lawrence/Mike Duginski are running all over the place.

 

4. Waubun (6-0)

Last week: 47-6 win at Park Christian

Next up: at Cass Lake-Bena (0-6), Friday, 7 p.m.

Waubun continues to run the ball down team’s throats. They had 446 yards of total offense to Park Christian’s 135 and 414 of those yards were on the ground.

Waubun has passed their tests of Ada-Borup, Win-E-Mac and Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal with flying colors. With 0-6 CL-B and 1-5 Rothsay left on the schedule, the Bombers are headed to the playoffs undefeated.

 

5. Underwood (5-1)

Last week: 33-0 win at home over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy

Next up: at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (4-2), Friday, 3:30 p.m.

Underwood really did nothing to deserve Waubun jumping them in the rankings, but Class 9-man, Section 4 is getting harder and harder to predict thanks to Underwood, Verndale and Wheaton-Herman-Norcross fighting it out.

Waubun is just a better guarantee to get to the section title game.

Underwood beat Bertha-Hewitt on the road 51-22. Verndale beat Bertha-Hewitt at home 26-6. Underwood beat Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 33-0 at home. Verndale beat HLA 35-14 at home. Underwood beat Ashby 40-6 at Ashby and Verndale beat Ashby 56-6 at Ashby.

Underwood outscored similar opponents to Verndale 124-28. Verndale outscored those opponents 117-26. It really couldn’t get closer and Verndale’s 14-13 overtime win at Underwood doesn’t help much.

 

6. Verndale (5-1)

Last week: 28-8 loss at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley

Next up: host Brandon-Evansville (4-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

That was a bad loss for Verndale. The Pirates really could have separated themselves from Underwood and put the pressure on the Rockets to beat C-G-B on the road.

Now, if Underwood is to roll C-G-B then the doubt around Verndale starts. On top of that, the Pirates have a 4-2 Brandon-Evansville team that just beat Wheaton-Herman-Norcross for the first time in two decades and the Pirates just lost to a team W-H-N beat 42-18 on the road.

 

7. Frazee (5-1)

Last week: 20-6 win at Breckenridge

Next up: host Pelican Rapids (4-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Tanner Bachmann (ball) has been big for Frazee this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

No Class 2A team has come closer to knocking off Hawley than Frazee. The Hornets face a Pelican Rapids team Hawley beat 42-0 and a Barnesville team Hawley plays this week.

If Frazee wants a shot at Hawley in the section title game, Hesston/Tanner Bachmann and company will have to prove themselves the next two weeks.

Barnesville doesn’t go down easy when it comes to having the chance to play Hawley.

 

8. Otter Tail Central (5-1)

Last week:48-6 win at Prairie Valley

Next up: host Wadena-Deer Creek(2-4), Friday, 7 p.m.

OTC is on fire at the moment, outscoring opponents 234-18 in five straight wins.

What should be scarier for opponents is quarterback Tony Ukkelberg is a junior. He’s only getting better, as he was 4-for-4 passing for 82 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns on five carries in Week 6.

 

9. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (4-2)

Last week: 13-0 win at Pequot Lakes

Next up: host Roseau(1-5), Friday, 7 p.m.

D-G-F’s defense shut out No. 3 Pequot Lakes in Week 6. PL’s lowest point total was 35 in previous five games. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

D-G-F has probably played the toughest schedule in the area. They lost to the best team in Class 2A in Hawley 18-6 and to a team in a class above them in Detroit Lakes 14-13.

The Rebels have played one team below .500 and just shut out the No. 3-ranked team in Class 3A and a team they will likely face in the section title game 13-0 on the road. Their opponents so far are a combined 24-12.

 

10. Detroit Lakes (6-0)

Last week: 21-0 at Park Rapids

Next up: at Perham (3-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

Detroit Lakes hasn’t played the toughest schedule, so winning out is a must for the Lakers. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Detroit Lakes drops to 10 to make room for a D-G-F team that has played teams with a combined record of 24-12. The Lakers have played teams with a combined record of 12-24 and only one team in Class 4A.

They have Class 3A’s 3-3 Perham and 5-1 Pequot Lakes to close the season. There’s really no room for error for DL with their schedule. The Lakers will have to prove people wrong come playoff time.

The good news for DL is they have Forrest Schleske and Sam Champa to lead the running game as the conditions get colder outside.

 

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or cmurphy@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.