HERMANTOWN (9-1) VS. WILLMAR (9-1)
What: Class AAAA state tournament quarterfinal
When: 7 p.m.
Outlook: The last time Hermantown advanced to state, in 2015, the Hawks played a vastly different brand of football. That club, fueled by Thomas Madison, scored 50 points in a game seven times, including three 60-point outings, and averaged about 350 rushing yards. These Hawks aren't as explosive, but they've proven equally effective. Senior David Cornelius (183 carries, 1,382 yards, 15 TDs) is the headliner on offense, where fellow senior Tate Hansen (52-for-109 passing, 579 yards, seven TDs) is a nice story after overcoming a rash of knee injuries. Senior Elliott Peterson has 27 receptions for 356 yards and, along with senior fullback Caden Potter, adds more firepower out of the backfield. Senior Dalton Plaisted (92 tackles) anchors a defense allowing 9.8 points per game. Hermantown started 7-0 under first-year coach Mike Zagelmeyer before falling to Cloquet, a setback the Hawks avenged in last week's Section 7AAAA final. ... Willmar might not be a traditional state entrant (its last trip was 1988), but the Cardinals are no fluke. They are the highest-scoring team in Class AAAA at 45.5 points, and their lone setback came against then-No. 1 Hutchinson, 42-28. In the Section 8AAAA final, they routed Detroit Lakes, which ended the regular season ranked third, 50-28. Quarterback Drey Dirksen drives the offense. The 6-foot-3 senior has completed 116 of 192 passes for 1,955 yards and 25 TDs while adding 954 yards and 14 TDs rushing. His favorite targets are seniors Jake Evans (33 receptions, 416 yards, eight TDs) and Ryan Slette (31-420, six), who is 6-5. The winner of this game advances to the semifinals Nov. 16 at U.S. Bank Stadium, where either St. Anthony Village or St. Paul Johnson will await.
MOOSE LAKE-WILLOW RIVER (8-2) VS. BARNESVILLE (9-2)
What: Class AA state tournament quarterfinal
When: 7 p.m.
Outlook: Moose Lake-Willow River reached 10 state tournaments in a row before taking a year off in 2016. Despite going 3-5 in the 2017 regular season, the Rebels caught fire in time to streak to the state semifinals, where they fell to Pipestone Area. Senior Trent Juhl (183 carries, 1,233 yards, 13 TDs) is the big-play back, though his younger brother, sophomore Blake Juhl (96-507, six), and senior Anakin Oswald (92-455, seven) share the load. Sophomore QB Mason Olson has connected on 53 of 113 pass attempts for 765 yards and nine scores. The Rebels' challenge will be to stop a running attack that looks similar to the one deployed by Mora, which gashed MLWR throughout a 51-30 win on Sept. 28. Dave Louzek is 184-46 in 20 seasons as Rebels coach. ... Barnesville is at state for the third consecutive year. The Trojans started 6-0 before dropping a pair of one-point contests. They are built around a strong defense that has produced four shutouts and limited opponents to an average of 10.3 points per night. Senior Nick Detloff has rushed 117 times for 1,084 yards (9.3 per carry) and nine TDs. Turnovers have nagged the Section 8AA champs, who have lost 25 fumbles. Up next for tonight's winner is either Minneapolis North Community or Redwood Valley in a Nov. 16 semifinal.
Radio: WMOZ-FM 106.9
CROMWELL-WRIGHT (11-0) VS. NCE/ULEN-HITTERDAL (10-0)
What: Nine-Man state tournament quarterfinal
When: 7 p.m.
Outlook: At its third state tournament in as many years, Cromwell-Wright is without the services of do-it-all senior Drew Libbon, who had passed for 1,091 yards and rushed for another 453 before suffering a season-ending injury in the Section 5 title game, a 26-8 win over South Ridge. Libbon also was the Cardinals' leading tackler with 103. Cromwell-Wright's offense isn't powerless, however, not with seniors Kannon Korpela (70 carries, 998 yards, 15 TDs) and Cameron Cahoon (99-883, 15) still around. Korpela is averaging 14.3 yards per rush for the Cardinals, the highest-scoring Nine-Man team in the state at 55.1 points per game. They've gone over 60 five times. Coach Jeff Gronner owns a career record of 134-27. ... Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal senior QB Tate Maesse has thrown for 1,372 yards and 22 TDs on an efficient 80-of-135 passing (59.3 percent). Senior Noah Klemetson (186 carries, 1,331 yards, 17 TDs) does most of the damage on the ground, and elsewhere. Klemetson has 23 catches for 476 yards and five more scores. Defensively, he's intercepted three passes and averages 36.8 yards per punt. A win tonight sets up a Nov. 16 semifinal vs. either Russell-Tyler-Ruthton or Spring Grove.
Radio: WKLK-FM 96.5