Jason’s Blog: Week 6 Preview….
Posted By: Jason Iacovino
Well, what a difference a week makes.
We enjoyed tremendous summer-like weather for New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva's Homecoming last Friday and everything this was perfect except the last minute of the game (The Panthers lost 21-20 when Waterville-Elysian-Morristown scored a touchdown with 27 seconds remaining).
Now four of our area teams will celebrate Homecoming on Friday and the air will feel like winter. Temperatures will likely be in the low-40s at kickoff, with a strong northwest wind making things feel even worse. There's also a chance of rain and maybe even a rain / snow mix. While I expect the weather will not stop the students from making the most of the festivities, I imagine some of the adult fans may be taking cover--so it's a good thing we will have the Owatonna and Blooming Prairie games on the radio!
The Huskies (4-1) have a huge game with Section implications against Rochester Mayo (3-2). Owatonna is 3-0 against Section 1AAAAA, with Mayo and John Marshall yet to go. Owatonna bounced back nicely against the Austin Packers and welcomed the return of center Sam Noeldner. The Huskies were able to mix in the passing game as well, but a lot of attention will be given to the status of running back Julius Franklin, who sat out the second half of the Austin game with an injury.
Roy Koenig and Brad Fischer will have all the action from Owatonna on KRFO-AM 1390 and krforadio.com. Remember, you can hear all of our local broadcasts using the free RadioPup app for your mobile device.
Meanwhile, Blooming Prairie (5-0) moved up to No. 5 in the AP poll and No. 3 in the QRF ranking this week following their 40-13 win in Faribault over Bethlehem Academy last Friday. The Cardinals once again used a cover-4 defensive scheme to attempt to minimize BP's explosive passing game, but quarterback John Rumpza operated like a surgeon in completing 29 of 35 passes for 370 yards and 3 touchdowns.
All six Blooming Prairie touchdowns were scored by senior Jake Decker, including a fumble recovery in the Cardinals' end zone.
The Blossoms host United South Central (1-4) at McFarlin Field for Homecoming and can clinch their 10th straight Gopher Valley A title with a win. BP beat the Rebels 40-0 at home last season and find themselves in a battle with Rushford-Peterson, who is ranked No. 5 in the QRF, for the top seed in Section 1A. The weather might be the only thing that can slow the Blossoms down on Friday night. Brennen Toquam and I will have all the action starting at 6:40 p.m. on Kat Kountry 105 and katkountry105.com.
Medford (0-5) will have a special Homecoming against Bethlehem Academy (4-2) in the annual Battle for the Paddle. The Tigers are still searching for their first win of the year after blowing a 21-7 halftime lead against Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop last Friday night. The Cardinals have held the Paddle since 2011, but the games have been close each of the last two seasons, with B.A. winning 21-17 last season and 20-14 in overtime in 2012.
Triton (4-1) will also celebrate Homecoming at the new Wally Hitt Field on Friday when they entertain a Winona Cotter team that has really struggled this season. The Cobras have been the exact opposite since their opening week loss to Kasson-Mantorville. Triton overcame a slow start against Zumbrota-Mazzeppa last week before winning going away, 42-0.
Finally, NRHEG (1-4) will try to bounce back from its heartbreaking loss to rival WEM last Friday when they hit the road to take on GFW (1-4). The Panthers dominated the first half of last week's game and couldn't come up with the stop they needed to celebrate in front of a huge crowd in New Richland. The Panthers will host Medford and Blooming Prairie to close out the regular season, so this is a must-win for Dan Stork's club.
Jason Iacovino can be heard Tuesdays and Fridays on KRFO-AM 1390 at 3:50 p.m. Leave a comment below and follow him on Twitter @JasonIacovino.