"They get a lot of mileage out of their quarterback." That's what Owatonna football coach Jeff Williams says about Apple Valley signal caller Noah Sanders.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound senior is a threat through the air and with his feet. Sanders has thrown for 1,752 yards this season with 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He also has rushed for more than 600 yards. Williams says, "They have a quarterback who can run. He can throw."

The Eagles (7-3) play a challenging schedule, facing exclusively Class 6A teams during the regular season. Two teams that Apple Valley lost to, Rosemount and Lakeville North, are in the big school quarterfinals. The Pioneer Press reports that the Eagles have won three times in the closing minute, including their 42-35 victory over Park for the Section 3-5A title Friday.

Six-foot, 205-pound senior Mario Lewis leads the Eagles with nearly 700 yards rushing. Their top receiver is Luke Martens with 32 receptions for 484 yards and eight touchdowns. Nathan Macho has caught 22 passes for 387 yards and four scores. Each is a 6-foot-4 junior.

Owatonna's defense has stepped up during the Huskies' (8-2) seven-game winning streak. The Huskies contained Northfield during their 38-20 Section 1 championship matchup. Defensive coordinator Marc Achterkirch said it with the defensive line. He says the team has improved overall with Chandler Buckhalter being healthy and Dade Serbus earning a starting spot on the line. Achterkirch adds, "Outside linebackers holding the edges, get them in third and long and then the secondary locks them down."

He also stated, "Doesn't matter that we're running. We have kids communicating to start with. We have everyone pursuing to the football." Achterkirch says Apple Valley is explosive, "All the teams that are coming out are going to be really good."

Fans can purchase tickets for Saturday's state quarterfinal game in advance at the Owatonna High School office this week from 8AM to 4PM. Student tickets are $6. Adults are $9. The game is Saturday, November 12, at Lakeville North High School and can be heard on Kat Kountry 105FM. The winner advances to U.S. Bank Stadium for the semifinals on Friday, November 18, at 2PM.