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Today's featured prep football playoff games

TODAY'S FEATURED FOOTBALL PLAYOFF GAMES GRAND RAPIDS (7-2) AT BEMIDJI (8-1) What: SECTION 7AAAA CHAMPIONSHIPWHEN: 7 P.M.OUTLOOK: THE THUNDERHAWKS OVERCAME A 12-0 DEFICIT TO ELIMINATE DULUTH CENTRAL 16-12 IN SATURDAY'S SEMIFINALS. QB AUSTIN POHLEN...

TODAY'S FEATURED FOOTBALL PLAYOFF GAMES

GRAND RAPIDS (7-2) AT BEMIDJI (8-1)

What: SECTION 7AAAA CHAMPIONSHIP
WHEN: 7 P.M.
OUTLOOK: THE THUNDERHAWKS OVERCAME A 12-0 DEFICIT TO ELIMINATE DULUTH CENTRAL 16-12 IN SATURDAY'S SEMIFINALS. QB AUSTIN POHLEN (133 COMPLETIONS, 290 ATTEMPTS, 2,153 YARDS, 24 TDS) THREW FOR 183 YARDS AND TWO TOUCHDOWNS TO WR PATRICK FLAHERTY (34 RECEPTIONS, 718 YARDS, 12 TDS). POHLEN LEADS THE TEAM WITH 443 YARDS RUSHING, WHILE FOUR RECEIVERS HAVE MORE THAN 25 RECEPTIONS APIECE. THE THUNDERHAWKS HAVE THREE PRIOR STATE TOURNAMENT APPEARANCES, MOST RECENTLY IN 2006. ... THE DEFENDING CHAMPION LUMBERJACKS OUSTED HERMANTOWN 34-6 AS KEVIN NELSON (623 YARDS RUSHING, 4.9 YARDS PER CARRY, 10 TDS) RAN FOR FOUR SCORES AND QB MITCHELL HENDRICKS (1,230 YARDS PASSING, 12 TDS) CONNECTED WITH CAREY WOODS ON A 50-YARD SCORING PASS. BEN HENGEL (28-580, 6 TDS) IS HENDRICKS' MAIN TARGET. WHILE BEMIDJI QUALIFIED FOR STATE IN 1978, 2000 AND 2009, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IT HAS HOSTED THE TITLE GAME SINCE 1998.

MILACA (8-2) VS. VIRGINIA (10-0)

What: SECTION 7AAA CHAMPIONSHIP
WHEN: 6:30 P.M.
WHERE: MALOSKY STADIUM
OUTLOOK: MILACA ELIMINATED UNBEATEN PINE CITY 12-0 IN THE SEMIFINALS AS SENIOR RB MITCH RUIS SCORED ON A 25-YARD RUN IN THE FIRST QUARTER AND JUNIOR QB BRANDON KIEL RAN 8 YARDS IN THE FOURTH QUARTER. KIEL (103-598, 7 TDS) RUSHED FOR 127 YARDS ON 16 CARRIES AND SENIOR SAM JOHNSON (180-904, 11 TDS) PICKED UP 84 YARDS ON 32 CARRIES. KIEL (58-FOR-117, 994 YARDS PASSING, 9 TDS) HAS A FAVORITE RECEIVER IN MARCUS HANENBURG (23-334). THE WOLVES INTERCEPTED FIVE PASSES AND RECOVERED TWO DRAGONS FUMBLES TO NOTCH THEIR SECOND STRAIGHT SHUTOUT AND MOVE WITHIN ONE VICTORY OF THEIR FIRST STATE APPEARANCE. ... THE TOP-SEEDED BLUE DEVILS ROLLED OVER GREENWAY/NASHWAUK-KEEWATIN 54-22 BEHIND TWO RUSHING TDS AND ONE INTERCEPTION RETURN BY TROY NICHOLS. QB NATE ANDERSON (80-128, 1,347 YARDS PASSING, 22 TDS) HAS AN EXCELLENT TARGET IN DREW NORRI (36-813, 17 TDS). ALL-AROUND THREAT CAVAN STACKPOOL HAS 979 YARDS RUSHING, 272 RECEIVING, 1,783 ALL-PURPOSE YARDS AND 16 TDS. VIRGINIA'S LAST OF THREE STATE TOURNAMENT TRIPS CAME IN 2004.

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CROMWELL (5-4) AT MCGREGOR (9-0)

What: SECTION 5 NINE-MAN CHAMPIONSHIP
WHEN: 7 P.M.
OUTLOOK: THE CARDINALS OPENED THEIR PLAYOFFS WITH A 28-12 SEMIFINAL WIN AT FLOODWOOD AS JORDAN SUHONEN (93-625, 11 TDS) RUSHED FOR TWO TDS AND THE DEFENSE BLANKED THE POLAR BEARS IN THE SECOND HALF. RB DYLAN MATTSON (129-589, 5 TDS) AND NICK BERG (66-403) ARE OTHER TOP OFFENSIVE THREATS, WHILE DEREK SUHONEN LEADS THE DEFENSE WITH 100 TACKLES. CROMWELL'S STATE TOURNAMENT HISTORY IS STORIED WITH 14 APPEARANCES, INCLUDING LAST SEASON. ... THE MERCURIES BEAT
HILL CITY 52-14 IN THE SEMIFINALS AS KALVIN BECKER, GARRETT COLLINS AND ALEX CARLSTROM EACH SCORED TWO TDS. CARLSTROM (114-882, 15 TDS) AND COLLINS (45-487, 10.8 YARDS PER CARRY) LEAD THE RUNNING ATTACK WHILE QB ZEREK MARSYLA (41-FOR-60, 1,071 YARDS) HAS A 16-3 TD-TO-INTERCEPTION RATIO. MCGREGOR WON THE REGULAR-SEASON MATCHUP 34-13 FOR ITS SECOND STRAIGHT WIN OVER THE CARDINALS. THE SCHOOL'S LONE STATE APPEARANCE CAME IN 2007.

COOK (9-1) AT MOUNTAIN IRON-BUHL (9-1)

What: SECTION 7 NINE-MAN CHAMPIONSHIP
WHEN: 7 P.M.
OUTLOOK: THE LITTLE GOPHERS DEFEATED LITTLEFORK-BIG FALLS FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2006 WITH A 16-0 SEMIFINAL VICTORY SATURDAY. COOK SCORED ALL 16 POINTS IN THE FOURTH QUARTER ON ETHAN OLSON'S BLOCKED PUNT RECOVERY IN THE END ZONE AND MATT BERGMAN'S 4-YARD RUN. DUSTIN LEHMAN HAD 69 OF COOK'S 152 YARDS ON THE GROUND. THIS MARKS COOK'S FINAL ATTEMPT AT QUALIFYING FOR THE STATE TOURNAMENT. THE SCHOOL WILL COMBINE WITH ORR -- LAST YEAR'S SECTION CHAMP -- IN 2011-12. ... QB RYAN BURIA AND RB TYLER GOODRIE EACH RUSHED FOR TWO TDS IN THE RANGERS' 36-15 SEMIFINAL WIN OVER BIGFORK. BURIA (169-1,212, 20 TDS) HAS ACCOUNTED FOR MORE THAN 1,800 YARDS TOTAL OFFENSE AND 28 TDS. DEVEN ROWE (72-451) AND GOODRIE (45-368, 6 TDS) HEAD UP THE BACKFIELD. THESE TEAMS HAVE SPLIT THEIR PAST TWO GAMES -- MIB WINNING 42-24 IN THE 2008 PLAYOFFS AND COOK PREVAILING 20-0 IN 2007. MIB IS SEEKING TO QUALIFY FOR THE STATE TOURNAMENT A FIFTH TIME OVERALL AND FOURTH TIME SINCE 2003. MOUNTAIN IRON ALSO WENT THREE TIMES, WINNING THE 1972 CLASS B CHAMPIONSHIP.
RICK WEEGMAN, NEWS TRIBUNE

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