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Prep football: Key contests are on tap

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota high school football teams are embarking on the second half of their regular seasons tonight (Friday, Sept. 30), and that means some key contests are on tap.

WORTHINGTON -- Minnesota high school football teams are embarking on the second half of their regular seasons tonight (Friday, Sept. 30), and that means some key contests are on tap.

In Pipestone, a pair of 2-2 teams go head-to-head in a storied rivalry. Luverne and Pipestone Area will put pride on the line as they contend for the traveling Battle Ax, which each year goes to the winner of the game.

Also tonight, 3-1 Worthington will host 4-0 Marshall in a game that will severely test the Trojans’ newfound strength.

In a big 9-man contest, Mountain Lake Area (3-1) takes on host Edgerton/Ellsworth (4-0). To the north, Wabasso travels to play Red Rock Central in a showdown of 3-1 teams. And in northwest Iowa, unbeaten Harris-Lake Park (5-0) goes on the road to play a 4-1 West Bend-Mallard squad.

There’s no doubt that the Trojans will have their hands full with the Marshall Tigers. The Tigers have dominated four teams this year, beating Jordan 63-14, Waseca 45-6, New Ulm 58-14 and Fairmont 50-14. Both Waseca and Fairmont are 3-0 in their other contests.

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“They’re pretty physical. They’re pretty tough. They do a lot of things right,” WHS head coach Gene Lais described the Tigers this week.

Marshall is big, with a quick backfield. The Tigers will try to establish the run but they’re also efficient with the pass. “They kind of pass when they want to,” Lais said.

The Tigers come to Worthington on a Friday where the Trojans are feeling good about themselves. They’re riding a three-game winning streak and they appear ready for their next opportunity.

“They respect the challenge that we have,” Lais said, adding, “We can’t make mistakes, and we’ve got to take advantage of every opportunity. And (the Tigers) don’t give very many.”

The Luverne Cardinals haven’t wrested the coveted Battle Ax from Pipestone Area in three years. The two teams have taken opposite routes to their 2-2 records this year, with Luverne winning its first two games but losing its last two, 28-21 to Jackson County Central and 35-20 to Redwood Valley. Pipestone Area -- which appears to be recovering nicely from deep graduation losses -- lost its first two but won its last two, 37-6 against Windom Area and 48-7 against St. James Area.

Edgerton/Ellsworth has been unstoppable in all four of its games thus far, having outscored opponents 222-31 behind a devastating rushing attack. Mountain Lake Area is keyed by senior do-everything quarterback Levi Stoesz, who was slowed last week by an ankle injury in a 52-22 loss to Hills-Beaver Creek.

Today begins a rigorous two-week stretch for the Flying Dutchmen. They play 3-1 H-BC next week.

Something’s gotta give when Wabasso and Red Rock Central square off. Both teams are coming off three-game winning streaks. The Rabbits’ most impressive game, however, might have been its first, which resulted in a 22-17 loss to a very strong Minneota team.

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Finally, if there’s one area team which might rival Edgerton/Ellsworth in impressive performances, it may be Iowa’s Harris-Lake Park 8-man squad. The Wolves have never been threatened in five games, but here are a couple of interesting scores to contemplate: West Bend-Mallard lost to Remsen St. Mary’s 35-12 in Week four. H-LP beat Remsen St. Mary’s 49-14 in Week three.

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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