Rematches are in the works for several southwest Minnesota high school football teams next week as section tournaments commence.
Except that this time the stakes are higher.
Following Wednesday night’s final regular season games, the jockeying for playoff position also ended, and it’s time to put up or wait until next year in classes AAA, AA, A and 9-Man.
The Worthington Trojans, by virtue of their 14-12 road victory against New Ulm, earned not only their first win of the season but also the right to face Luverne on Tuesday (7 p.m. in Luverne).
That obviously won’t be a walk in the park for the Trojans, who lost to LHS 29-0 midway through the regular season. But WHS head coach Geno Lais was anxious for his team to enter the postseason on a winning note, and by virtue of several late fourth-quarter clutch plays on both sides of the ball against the Eagles, Lais got his wish.
Luverne is 3-5 on the season. Top-seeded Fairmont (7-1), coming off a 42-13 loss to Blue Earth Area (which is state-ranked in Class AA), has a first-round bye.
This is Minnesota postseason high school football, and that means there will be several first-round games (all of them begin at 7 p.m.) that look like mismatches on paper. In Section 3AA, top-seeded Pipestone Area hosts eighth-seeded St. James Area on Tuesday.
The Arrows are undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the state for Class AA. St. James Area is winless.
Other one vs. eight matchups include Murray County Central against Wabasso in Section 3A and Mountain Lake Area against Madelia in Section 3 9-Man. Murray County Central, another unbeaten team, is ranked No. 1 in Class A and it beat Wabasso (1-7) 42-16 in the second week of the regular season. Mountain Lake Area is ranked No. 8 in the state 9-Man ranks and will take its 7-1 record into its game with Madelia (0-8) having beaten Madelia 68-12 only two weeks ago.
Some other games look more interesting, on paper. In Section 3 9-Man, fifth-seeded Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda contends with fourth-seeded Red Rock Central. On Wednesday, RRC (4-4) shut out HL-O/F (3-5) 28-0 and no doubt the Coyotes would like another crack at the Falcons. In the same section, third-seeded Edgerton (4-4) hosts sixth-seeded Westbrook-Walnut Grove (3-5), which beat the higher-seeded Flying Dutchmen 30-16 in the regular season.
Here are the matchups (with seeding and records) for the southwest Minnesota sections:
Section 3 AAA
Tuesday: Fairmont (1, 7-1) has a bye; Luverne (4, 3-5) hosts Worthington (5, 1-7); Tri-City United (3, 4-4) hosts New Ulm (6, 2-6); Waseca (2, 7-1) hosts Belle Plaine (7, 1-7).
Semifinals are 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at the high seeds. Finals are 1 p.m. Nov. 6 at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton High School.
Tuesday: Pipestone Area (1, 8-0) hosts St. James Area (8, 0-8); Minnesota Valley Lutheran (4, 4-4) hosts Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (5, 2-6); Redwood Valley (3, 6-2) hosts Sibley East (6, 1-7); Jackson County Central (2, 5-3) hosts Windom Area (7, 1-7).
Semifinals are 3 p.m. Oct. 30 at the high seeds. Finals are 7 p.m. Nov. 5 at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
Tuesday: Murray County Central (1, 8-0) hosts Wabasso (8, 1-7); Martin County West (4, 5-3) hosts Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (5, 5-3); Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (3, 6-2) hosts Adrian/Ellsworth (6, 3-5); Springfield (2, 6-2) hosts Sleepy Eye (7, 2-6).
Semifinals are 3 p.m. Oct. 30 at the high seeds. Finals are 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
Section 3 9-Man
Tuesday: Mountain Lake Area (1, 7-1) hosts Madelia (8, 0-8); Red Rock Central (4, 4-4) hosts Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda (5, 3-5); Edgerton (3, 4-4) hosts Westbrook-Walnut Grove (6, 3-5); Hills-Beaver Creek (2, 6-2) hosts GHEC/Truman (7, 3-5).
Semifinals are 3 p.m. Oct. 30 at the high seeds. Finals are 11:30 a.m. Nov. 5 at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.