A look at some high school football conference races

October 6, 2008

by Aaron Schultz

The 2008 Minnesota High School football season has been flying by, and with just weeks left before the playoffs, it is setting up to be an exciting final couple of games.

Now, I’m not going to jump into any playoff scenarios yet, but I am curious to see how the regular season ends, and who will emerge on top of the area conferences.

For no real reason I am going to start my look at the various conferences with the Central Minnesota Conference, which has the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers in the hunt for a possible share of a title.

Assuming the Lakers took care of business against Kimball Friday, they would enter the final two weeks of the regular season with a 4-1 CMC record, tied with Maple Lake and Pierz in second place, behind 5-0 Eden Valley-Watkins.

In reality, the Eagles should be able to cruise to the conference title as they have already beaten Pierz and the Lakers.

However, the final regular season game of the year has Maple Lake traveling to Eden Valley-Watkins.

Should the Lakers be able to beat Maple Lake Oct. 10, then come away with a tough road win at Pierz Oct. 15, and the Irish could find a way to upset the Eagles, then the Lakers would finish in a tie for the CMC title with EVW.

Not the most likely of scenarios, but still possible.

If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on Eden Valley-Watkins winning out to claim the CMC title outright.

Meanwhile, I believe that the Lakers will top Maple Lake, which would mean the Lakers/Pierz game Oct. 15 would be for second place, which is still a pretty strong finish in the always tough CMC.

Next up on my list of conferences to look at is the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association, which has a pair of unbeaten teams sitting atop the standings.

The Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Bulldogs and Providence Academy both should emerge from Friday’s games with wins, which would set up this Friday’s game for all the marbles.

LP/HT hosts Providence Academy Friday, Oct. 10 in Winsted for Holy Trinity’s homecoming.

If Providence would win Friday’s game, they would clinch the MCAA title as this is their final conference game of the season. In week 8, Providence plays Mankato Loyola in non-conference action.

However, should LP/HT win Friday, they would assure themselves of, at minimum, a tie for the MCAA title.

The Bulldogs wrap up the regular season Wednesday, Oct. 15 at New Life Academy, which currently only has one loss in MCAA play.

Now, if LP/HT would beat New Life after topping Providence, they would have the conference championship all to themselves.

However, should LP/HT beat Providence, then fall to New Life, the Bulldogs would tie with Providence and possibly New Life in the standings.

One way or another, this Friday’s game is a big one in the MCAA, and will determine at least one winner.

Taking a look at it, I’d have to say that LP/HT has the advantage, and would be my pick to win their final two games, and come away with the inaugural MCAA championship.

This brings us to the Wright County Conference, which pretty much seems like a foregone conclusion now that Glencoe-Silver Lake has a loss on their resume.

The Orono Spartans are the team to hand the Panthers that loss, and they seem to be well on their way to the WCC crown.

Left on their schedule are Litchfield, Annandale, and Delano.

Of those three games, Delano appears to be their biggest roadblock, but that game will be played at Orono – a nice home field advantage.

Not looking to get into too many scenarios here as I see Orono going undefeated the rest of the way to win the championship.

However, should the Spartans falter, that brings Waconia, GSL, and Delano all back into the picture – all one loss teams heading into this past Friday.

Should Orono drop a game, the scenarios are just too numerous at this time to get into, so stay tuned.

The WCC is going to be either real simple or real complicated, not the case for the Minnesota River Conference, which just appears to be real complicated.

Everything in the MRC should become much clearer after this past Friday’s action, however.

Heading into Friday, there were four teams with 3-1 conference marks, but all four are in action against another 3-1 team.

Holy Family is at Jordan, while Norwood Young America is at LeSueur-Henderson.

Whichever two teams come away with wins Friday should stay in first place the following week as all four of the tops teams will battle teams from the bottom half of the conference this Friday.

In the final week of regular season action Wednesday, Oct. 15, Jordan travels to Norwood Young America, while Holy Family is at LeSueur-Henderson.

One or maybe both of those games will be the determining factor into who comes out on top of the MRC.

I guess, if I was forced to pick who I think will come out on top, I’d lean to LeSueur-Henderson.

They have been the cream of the crop in the MRC for several years now, and they play their two biggest games of the season at home.