ANNANDALE (10-1) VS. ESKO (8-2)
What: Class AAA state quarterfinal
When: 3 p.m.
Where: Brainerd High School
Outlook: The Cardinals dominated the Section 5AAA playoffs, steamrolling three opponents by a combined score of 139-13. They beat Mora 50-6 in the section final, one of nine double-digit victories. Alan Luna and C.J. Kuser each had two touchdown runs. The Cardinals, who outscore teams 35-11 on average, provided no individual statistics. Annandale is making its fourth state tournament appearance and second in a row after losing 60-12 to Pierz in a quarterfinal last year. … The Eskomos survived a tense 29-28 victory over Aitkin in the Section 7AAA title game at Malosky Stadium when the Gobblers missed on a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. Senior wide receiver Preston Lowe (47 carries, 526 yards) was the star, bringing back an interception for a touchdown, taking an inside reverse 87 yards for a score, adding an 11-yard scoring run and tacking on the game-winner on a 94-yard pass. Junior halfback Brock House (74-582, 5 TDs) picks up a lot of tough yards inside and senior quarterback Dylan Vinje (96-487, 11 TDs) is dangerous if he gets outside. Vinje has completed 47 of 86 passes for 843 yards and 11 TDs. Esko has had seven games decided by single digits. The winner plays either Dassel-Cokato or Cannon Falls in the semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis next Saturday.
Radio: WKLK-FM 96.5
BOLD (11-0) VS. DEER RIVER (10-1)
What: Class A state quarterfinal
Where: Brainerd High School
Outlook: BOLD waltzed through Section 5A, beating Canby 21-0 in the final for its fifth shutout this season. The Olivia-based school has a strong tradition of winning big games, including capturing three Class C titles and two runner-up finishes in six appearances as Bird Island-Lake Lillian and two more championships and three second places in 11 more trips as BOLD. Another crown evaded the Warriors in a 22-21 loss to Mahnomen/Waubun in last season’s final. Senior QB Jordan Sagedahl (103-for-155, 1,543 yards, 20 TDs) has a main weapon in senior Gavin Vosika (28-511, 7 TDs). Rushing options are many with Vosika (82-639, 11 TDs), Sagedahl (72-582, 12 TDs) and junior Tim Peppel (91-513, 10 TDs) leading the way. BOLD outscored opponents 43-7 on average. … Deer River, also known as the Warriors, routed Braham 36-0 in the Section 7A final last week to qualify for its 13th state tournament. The Warriors hope for a better fate than last year’s 42-0 loss to Mahnomen/Waubun. Senior RB Trevor Michienzi (161-1,230, 13 TDs) had a season-high 225 yards rushing on 28 carries against Braham, while junior Austin Rasley (132-886, 14 TDs) complements the backfield. Junior QB Blake Fox (57-for-106, 623 yards, 9 TDs) has thrown only two interceptions all season. Deer River averages 34.9 points per game and holds foes to just under 10 per outing, with four shutouts in the past six games. The winner faces either Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop or Browerville-Eagle Valley in a semifinal at 9 a.m. next Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
SUPERIOR (9-2) VS. KAUKAUNA (8-3)
What: Wisconsin Division 2 quarterfinal
When: 2 p.m.
Where: D.C. Everest High School, Schofield
Outlook: The Spartans rallied from a 20-0 deficit to defeat Pulaski 36-27 in the second round of the playoffs. It’s the second time under coach Bob DeMeyer that Superior has won two playoff games in the same season. Senior quarterback Jarrett Gronski (888 yards rushing, 665 yards passing, 15 TDs rushing) has been the catalyst, totaling 299 yards against each playoff opponent. Caden Stone (711 yards, 10 TDs) and Carter Fonger (389 yards, 4 TDs) are the other top rushers, with Fonger also blocking a potential tying field goal and Will Schorr running it back for a TD as time expired against Pulaski. Brady Herbst (19-442, 5 TDs) is Superior’s leading receiver. … The Galloping Ghosts are making their 13th state tournament appearance and trying to reach a state championship game for the first time since 1992. Kaukauna finished third in the Valley Football Association’s North Conference, losing to fellow state quarterfinalists Appleton North and Kimberly. The Ghosts’ other loss came to Hortonville (27-10), which they avenged with a 20-14 win last weekend. QB Noah VanAsten (1,542 yards passing, 15 TDs) was 22-for-33 for 304 yards and two touchdowns against Hortonville. Logan Fitzhugh caught eight passes for 129 yards and Austin Miller (33-303) had six receptions for 63 yards. Hank Hoffman (842 yards, 9 TDs) is the leading rusher. The winner will face either Brookfield East or Menomonee Falls, which met in a quarterfinal Friday night.