Wild victory doesn’t help Mustangs in seed department

Brian Meyers
sports writer

It’s hard to imagine a more entertaining high school football game than the one Mounds View High School treated its fans to last Wednesday. The Mustangs came out on the winning side of a seesaw affair against Roseville on the night before the annual state teachers’ convention.The 50-47 contest left spectators nearly breathless and gave Mounds View head coach Jim Galvin his 100th career victory. One thing it didn’t do, however, was help the Mustangs in terms of section seedings.

Despite finishing in a three-way tie for second place in the Suburban East Conference, Mounds View (6-2) finds itself on the road for the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Not only that, but the Mustangs are playing at the home of a team that finished two games behind them in the conference standings.

White Bear Lake (4-4) wound up fifth in the SEC but its 45-25 victory over Mounds View in week seven of the regular season was enough for some coaches to vote the Bears a higher seed than the Mustangs. The final vote had four coaches voting White Bear as the No. 4 seed and four coaches with Mounds View there. Ties are broken by head-to-head results, which favored the Bears.

So Mounds View on Friday ventures to White Bear, which two weeks ago was where the Mustangs’ defense gave up the most points it had in a single game in seven years. Five days later, that distinction changed to Mustang Stadium as Roseville lit up Mounds View’s defense for 530 yards and seven touchdowns.

Luckily for Mounds View, its offense was just as potent, matching the Raiders score for score and taking the game by virtue of better success in point-after attempts. The Mustangs’ Donovan Blatz was 6-for-6 on PATs and Mounds View was successful on its lone two-point conversion endeavor.

Roseville was 1-for-2 on PATs and 2-for-5 on two-point tries.

Mounds View also kept pace with Roseville in the total yards category as the Mustangs rolled up 528 yards, 412 of which came via the ground game. Senior captain Matt Hunt set a school record with six touchdowns while rushing for 216 yards on his own.

Of the 14 touchdowns scored in the game, six of them occurred in the fourth quarter. Mounds View scored the game-winning touchdown with 32 seconds left in the game when Joe Fredrickson hit Sola Olateju for a 3-yard touchdown pass. Mounds View covered 79 yards in just over a minute. The key play was a fourth-and-five where Fredrickson found Ryan Kaczynski for 10 yards to set up the winning score.

Roseville had taken the lead with 1:50 left on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jacques Perra to Jorden Gannon. It was Perra’s fifth touchdown pass of the game to go with a rushing score and 356 passing yards.

The loss might have been demoralizing mentally for the Raiders but it didn’t cost them at the section seed meeting. Roseville wound up the No. 2 seed and hosts seventh-seeded Woodbury on Friday. Cretin-Derham Hall, which lost to Roseville but beat Mounds View this season, is the third seed and gets a shot at revenge when Stillwater comes to the University of St. Thomas on Friday. The Ponies beat Cretin in a nationally-televised game in week three.

Top-seeded East Ridge, which won its first football conference championship, hosts winless Forest Lake in the one sure-thing first-round game.

Once the first round is complete, the top two remaining seeds from Section 4-6A will host the bottom two seeds from Section 3-6A and the top two remaining seeds from Section 3-6A will host the bottom two seeds from Section 4-6A on Nov. 1. Winners from that night advance to the state tournament.

Irondale

The Knights came up short in their quest for a conference championship and this week they’re turning their attention to trying to claim a section title. Irondale’s last one came in 1981 and the road to one this year begins on Tuesday.

Irondale is the third seed in Section 4AAAAA and hosts sixth-seeded North St. Paul at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. The winner faces second-seeded Andover Saturday at 1 p.m.

The Knights fell one game shy of a share of the final North Suburban Conference football title. Back-to-back losses to Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Robbinsdale Cooper in weeks six and seven, respectively, knocked them out of contention.

Irondale got back into the win column in the regular-season finale last Wednesday against St. Louis Park. The Knights whipped the winless Orioles 48-14 to snap a two-game losing streak.

St. Louis Park gave the Knights some problems in the first half as it grabbed a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. The two teams traded first-quarter touchdowns and the Orioles went in front on a score with five minutes left in the second quarter.

Irondale responded with two touchdowns prior to halftime. Victor James got the first one on a 17-yard run while the go-ahead score in the final minute of the half came via a 53-yard pass play from Nick Nelson to Alex Kelner.

After halftime, the Knights decided it was time to stop toying with St. Louis Park and put the game out of reach. James helped out by rushing for a pair of third-quarter touchdowns. The first covered 51 yards while the second went for five yards.

James added his fourth touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run and Irondale closed out the scoring with another 10-yard touchdown run by Donovan Arthur.

Irondale’s first touchdown of the game back in the first quarter came on a 53-yard pass play from Nelson to Fatah Malone.

St. Anthony Village

The Huskies avoided entering the post-season on a four-game losing streak by winning its final regular-season game last Wednesday. St. Anthony welcomed New Life Academy to Dennison Field and walked away a 20-14 victory.

The victory snapped St. Anthony’s second three-game losing streak of the season but couldn’t keep the Huskies from landing the lowest seed in six-team Section 6AAAA.

By virtue of the No. 6 seed, St. Anthony opens the post-season on the road for the first time since 2007. The Huskies take on Blake in the first round of the section playoffs for the second consecutive year.

A year ago, the Huskies eliminated Blake from the section playoffs but are a definite underdog heading into Tuesday’s game. The Bears went 7-1 in the regular season and one of those victories was a 35-13 win over St. Anthony in week two.

Blake enters Tuesday’s game in search of its first post-season victory since 2005 when it upset St. Anthony 19-14 in the first round of sections.

St. Anthony improved its record this season to 2-6 thanks to a fourth-quarter comeback against New Life. Trailing by eight in the fourth quarter, the Huskies rallied behind a pair of touchdown passes from Justice Spriggs to Chris Schieffer. The first one covered 40 yards and pulled St. Anthony within two points at 14-12. The second, an 8-yarder, put the Huskies ahead by four and they pushed that lead to six on a two-point conversion pass from Spriggs to Schieffer.

St. Anthony took the initial lead of the game on an 80-yard touchdown pass from Spriggs to Zach Siggelkow in the first quarter but New Life answered with a touchdown in the second quarter and another early in the fourth.

The Huskies go into Tuesday’s game against Blake trying to avoid its first one-and-done in the post-season since losing at home to St. Paul Johnson in the first round in 2009.

The other first-round game in Section 6AAAA on Tuesday pits fifth-seeded Park Center (2-6) against fourth-seeded Fridley (4-4). The Park Center/Fridley winner advances to Saturday’s semifinals at top-seeded DeLaSalle while the St. Anthony/Blake victor gets second-seeded Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

The section final is Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at the higher seed of the two remaining teams.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.

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