Monday, October 22, 2018

2018 Section 5AAAAA Football Tournament Preview

Many teams throughout Minnesota begin the Road to the Prep Bowl Tuesday as section play gets underway in high school football.  The fourth seeded St. Louis Park Orioles open up Section 5AAAAA quarterfinal play as they host the fifth seeded Minneapolis Southwest Lakers in a 7 PM game.  Here is a preview of Section 5AAAAA.

St. Louis Park opens up section play on a two game winning streak after dropping a pair of road games to the Benilde-St. Margaret's Red Knights and the Orono Spartans.  Last Wednesday, the Orioles drubbed the DeLaSalle Islanders 51-13.  Akili Farris took two kickoff returns into the end zone.  They will need to continue their momentum against the Lakers and play strong defense.

Looking at the Lakers, they enter section play with a 3-5 record.  They were routed by the combined team from St. Paul Academy, Minnehaha Academy and Blake, the SMB Wolfpack 42-14.  SMB is the top seeded in Section 5AAAA that also includes defending state champion Holy Angels and Providence Academy.  As for Mpls. Southwest, they have been playing .500 football since they started the season 1-3.  The Lakers are a predominately running team led by TK Marshall, who rushed for a season high 249 yards against Minneapolis Washburn on October 12.  Marshall is 10 yards away from the 1000 yard mark and he is very likely to surpass it against the Orioles.

The winner will head up to New Hope on Saturday, October 27 to take on the top seeded Cooper Hawks.  The Hawks lost their first regular season game since 2016 last Wednesday to the Irondale Knights but they still got the number one seed.  Cooper is led by quarterback Trashawn Marshall and running back Nascier Borden.  Jerrell Smith-Shannon, Aki Mulbah and Charles Washington anchor the Hawk defense.  Should St. Louis Park win on Tuesday, it will be a rematch of the September 7 game where the Hawks routed the Orioles 42-14.  Borden ran for 217 yards and scored three touchdowns.  Will there be hope in New Hope as Cooper looks to win the section title trophy?

Over to the lower bracket as the sixth seeded Park Center Pirates head down I-694 to face the third seeded Irondale Knights.  The Pirates have gone through rough waters as they take a four game losing streak into section play.  In their last four games, they have been outscored 170-17.  It won't get easier against the Knights, who pulled off the upset last Wednesday with a 41-13 win over the Cooper Hawks.  The big story of the game was running back Parker Freiberg, who rushed for 278 yards.  In the game against Park Center on September 28, Freiberg reached the end zone twice and ran for 147 yards in a 65-0 rout.

Waiting in the wings for Saturday's semifinals is the second seeded Spring Lake Park Panthers.  If the Knights and Panthers battle on the 27th, it will be a rematch of the season opener where Spring Lake Park beat Irondale 35-13.  Derric Bergman scored three touchdowns and ran for 135 yards.  The Panthers are a team with outstanding backfield depth and they could wear down the Knights defense.  Zach Dubar and Brian Orellana-Lopez have also contributed to Spring Lake Park's success.  Dubar has run for seven touchdowns and Orellana-Lopez has crossed the goal line six times.  Two years ago, the Panthers played in the Class AAAAA title game and lost to the Elk River Elks.  Don't count out Spring Lake Park,  They could head into a potential section final with Cooper on Friday, November 2.  It could be a big one.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

DeLaSalle Demolition

Wednesday night was Senior Night for the St. Louis Park Orioles football team and one of the 13 seniors honored in a pregame ceremony, Akili Farris had a big night as he scored three touchdowns to lead the Orioles to a 51-13 rout of the DeLaSalle Islanders.

Farris would be a factor in the first St. Louis Park touchdown as he scored on a 11 yard run up the middle.  The Orioles would get the ball back following a McCabe Dvorak interception and Sajid Nathim would cash in on a 22 yard run that would spot the ball at the Islander one yard line and a one yard run that put their lead at 14.

It looked like Nathim would score his second touchdown as the Orioles lined up in a split T formation but it was called back because of an illegal shift penalty.  Milkaso Dedefo, who made some outstanding tackles on defense, also excelled on offense as he caught a nine yard pass from quarterback Aaron Ellingson to extend the lead to 21.  The news would be better for Nathim as he bulldozed his way into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game and St. Louis Park led at halftime 28-0.

Heading into the third quarter, St. Louis Park also would score on defense as Tobias Davenport intercepted a James Pfarr pass and scampered 42 yards for a touchdown.  The Islanders were close to their own goal line and they backed in on a holding penalty that would award the Orioles a safety.  St. Louis Park would get another shot on offense and Farris would take the kickoff and trample down the field 60 yards to increase the lead to 44-0.

There would be good news for DeLaSalle fans who made the trip from Minneapolis.  Julian Wright, who scored a pair of touchdowns last Friday on big runs, caught a six yard touchdown pass from Pfarr and that would end the Oriole shut out.  Defense would prevail once again for St. Louis Park as Dedefo would block the extra point.  Though the game was now in running time due the large margin in the fourth quarter, it would be "Dueling Kickoff Returns" on this chilly Wednesday night.  The Orioles would score on Farris' 79 yard return and the Islanders on the next play would get an 83 yard return from Wright to conclude the scoring.

St. Louis Park ended the regular season at 4-4 and DeLaSalle concluded their campaign with a 3-5 record.  Both teams head into section play on Tuesday, October 23.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

SLP Orioles Close Out Regular Season Aganist DeLaSalle Islanders

The 2018 Minnesota high school football regular season concludes Wednesday night as the St. Louis Park Orioles host the DeLaSalle Islanders.

If you missed last Friday night's St. Louis Park-Irondale football game, you missed a classic finish.  The score was tied 28-28 going into overtime and the Orioles got the ball first.  On the first play from scrimmage at the 10 yard line, Sajid Nathim ran the ball into the end zone.  The Knights had a chance to tie or even win the game but Parker Freiberg was stopped short of the goal line and it resulted in a St. Louis Park victory 35-28.  Nathim ran for three touchdowns and 90 yards.  Quarterback Aaron Ellingson had 243 total yards.  He had 146 passing yards and 97 rushing.  He will need to have a solid game to beat the Islanders.  

As for the Islanders, they enter the regular season finale with an identical record of 3-4.  Last Friday night, DeLaSalle was beaten by the Orono Spartans 48-30.  The bright spot for the Islanders was Julian Wright, who scored a 90 yard touchdown run in the first quarter and wrapped up the scoring in the fourth with a 79 yard score.  He also reached the end zone on a touchdown pass from quarterback James Pfarr.  The Islanders has some athletic players on their roster and the Oriole defense will have to slow them down in order to get a good seed going into next Tuesday's section tournament.  

Who will finish the season with at least a .500 record?  Find out Wednesday night.  The weather picture calls for chilly weather in the 40s so once again please bundle up.  Game time is 7 PM.  

Wayzata Trojans Win Section 6AA Championship

Call them giant killers.  Three days after a double overtime win against the top seeded Minneapolis Washburn Millers, the fifth seeded Wayzata Trojans beat another top seeded team, the second seeded St. Louis Park Orioles after the host Orioles own goal with 1:36 left in overtime that led them to a 1-0 win in the Section 6AA Boys Soccer Championship Game Tuesday night.

The two teams opened the regular season on August 25 with Wayzata and St. Louis Park playing to a 1-1 tie.  But this time it would be for a trip to next week's state tournament.

Neither team would erase the zeros from the scoreboard in 80 minutes of regulation time.  Both teams goalkeepers, Perrin King of the Trojans and Leo Finley of the Orioles made some outstanding saves.  The game would then proceed to overtime.  It looked like there would be a second 10 minute overtime period but when Finley played way out of the net, Cole Beaton tried to save the ball from entering and it deflected off him after a shot by Ogle with 1:36 left in overtime at the celebration began for Wayzata.

The Trojans improved their record to 9-4-5 and advanced to the state boys Class AA soccer tournament next week.  Time, site and opponent to be determined.  The Orioles ended their season with a record of 14-2-1.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

SLP Orioles Advance to Section 6AA Final

Though Zinedine Kroeten was not in the starting lineup, he came off the bench in the first half and made a strong presence in the second as he scored the game winning goal with 3:42 left in regulation time to lead the host St. Louis Park Orioles to a 2-1 win over the Bloomington Kennedy Eagles in the Section 6AA Boys Soccer semifinals Saturday afternoon.

The two teams met at St. Louis Park September 17 with the Orioles coming away with a 4-1 victory.

The Eagles, coming off a quarterfinal upset over the third seeded Minneapolis Southwest Lakers would look like the Kardiac Kids in the first as they would take the lead on Erik Cardoso's rebound goal that would give Kennedy a 1-0 halftime lead.

But there would be good news for the orange and black clad fans who were bundled up on this frigid Saturday.  Randy Mayele would even the score on a header.  Just when you thought there would be another overtime game, Kroeten would clinch St. Louis Park's section final berth as he got a pass from Sam Diamond near the center slot and he lined it to the net with 3:42 left to go.

The Orioles improved their record to 14-1-1 and will play the Wayzata Trojans  on Tuesday, October 16 at 5 PM.  The Trojans defeated the top seeded Mpls. Washburn Millers 2-1 in double overtime.  The Eagles ended their five game winning streak to conclude their season at 10-7-1.

Friday, October 12, 2018

First Play in Overtime Pays Off for SLP Orioles

One week after losing to the Orono Spartans in overtime, the St. Louis Park Orioles football team had another overtime affair as Sajid Nathim's 10 yard run on St. Louis Park's first possession led them to a 35-28 win over the Irondale Knights in their first home game since September 28.

Nahim would open the scoring for the Orioles in the first quarter with a pair of touchdowns.  His first would come on a five yard run.  The Orioles would get a break after quarterback Aaron Ellingson's pass was intercepted by Jack Olson and it looked like it would be a touchdown but it was called back due to a roughing the passer penalty on the Knights.  The Orioles got the ball back and Nathim would cash in from 20 yards to put St. Louis Park ahead 14-0.

In the second quarter, the Knights would strike back to tie the game at 14 as Aden price hauled in a couple of touchdown passes.  The first was on a four yard slant pass and the second was on a five yard completion toward the right pylon.  St. Louis Park had a chance to regain the lead but Trevor Bauer's field goal attempt was block as time expired.

Both teams would tally in the third quarter.  Parker Freiberg would reach the end zone on a nine yard run for Irondale and St. Louis Park would get the equalizer on Ellingson's 59 yard pass to Tobias Davenport.  The junior would break several Knight tackles and the touchdown would stand after an Irondale face mask penalty.  The score was even at 21.

The Orioles would regain the lead on Ellingson's one yard run.  But wait.  The Knights would shine once again as Freiberg, who broke the 1000 yard mark on this chilly Friday night, scored his second touchdown of the game on a 47 yard run down the left sideline.  Irondale had a chance to win the game in regulation time but St. Louis Park's McCabe Dvorak intercepted Leighton Glodek's pass with :21.3 left and for the second straight game, there would be overtime.

All it took for the Orioles was one play and it would be Nathim who would score his third touchdown of the game.  The Knights had their shot from the 10 yard line and they came up short as Freiberg was stopped near the goal line.

Freiberg ran 30 times for 192 yards, giving him a total of 1007 this season.

Both teams return to action on Wednesday, October 17 at 7 PM.  The Orioles improved their record to 3-4 and host the DeLaSalle Islanders and the Knights fell to 5-2 and host a crucial game with the Cooper Hawks.  It could have implications on seeding for the Section 3AAAAA playoffs, which begin Tuesday, October 23.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Riley's Overtime Goal Sends SLP Orioles into Semifinals

On a frigid Thursday night in St. Louis Park, the Section 6AA boys soccer quarterfinals took place between the seventh seeded Minneapolis South Tigers and the second seeded St. Louis Park Orioles that would be be scoreless until Nick Riley's goal with 3:28 in overtime that led the Orioles to a 1-0 win over the Tigers.

Neither team would tally in the first half.  The start of the second half would be delayed due to a tripped circuit breaker that darkened the visitor's side of the stadium.  The second half would go on but without any power in the center light standard between the team's benches.  Defense would prevail as Mpls. South played tight defense on the Orioles.  St. Louis Park had a chance to win the game in regulation time but Alex Ruiz-Shimada's shout bounced off the crossbar.  On to overtime.

The good news would be that the fans wouldn't have to sit in the freezing cold bleachers for a long overtime period.  The Orioles controlled the ball for much of the period and it resulted in Riley lining a shot that ricocheted off the left goal post and into the net.  And the celebration began.

St. Louis Park improved their record to 13-1-1 and will host the Bloomington Kennedy Eagles in the semifinals Saturday, October 13 at 1 PM.  The sixth seeded Eagles advanced with a 1-0 upset victory over the Minneapolis Southwest Lakers.  The second semifinal game will pit the Wayzata Trojans at the Minneapolis Washburn Millers, also a 1 PM start.  The Trojans beat the Armstrong Falcons 4-1 and the Millers had no problem with the Richfield Spartans as they dominated the game with an 8-0 win.

Minneapolis South ended their season with a record of 4-8-1.