Football: The road to state is underway

It’s the time of year where Mother Nature just isn’t quite sure how to treat us. 

Will it snow, will it be 80 degrees, or will there be a monsoon? No one knows. The one thing that some do know is that the Minnesota State Football Tournament is right around the corner. The boys of fall throughout the state will look to punch a ticket to the big stage. 

Section playoffs started the week of Oct. 22 and go through Nov. 3. The state tournament will be held the following week. The event starts on Nov. 8 and runs through Nov. 24. Opening round games are expected to be at various sites. The semi-finals and Prep Bowl will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. 



The Hill-Murray Pioneers finished the regular-season with a 1-7 overall record. That record gave the Pioneers the fourth seed in Section 3AAAA. Hill-Murray hosted eighth-seeded Academy Force on Oct. 23, after deadline for this edition of the paper.

Both teams have been outscored by their opponents significantly throughout the season. Hill-Murray has given up 271 points to its opponents, while Acadamy Force has given up 387. In perspective, Hill allows almost 34 points a game, and Academy Force allows 48 points a game. It would have been hard to tell whether the game was going to be a shootout or a defensive showdown. On offense, the Pioneers averaged six points a game to Academy Force’s nine points. 

The winner of that game goes on to play first seed St. Paul-Johnson on Oct. 27 at 1 p.m. The Governors have a 4-4 record, and is the only team with at least a .500 record. The Section 3AAAA title game is set for Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. 



The Tartan Titans are coming off their best season since 2013. The Titans finished the season with a 6-2 overall record. Tartan secured the second seed in Section 4AAAAA, which honored the Titans with a first-round bye. 

Mahtomedi received the first seed in the section. That sparked some controversy considering the teams both had the same record, and Tartan beat Mahtomedi 21-17, on Oct. 12. Apparently the Minnesota State High School Sports League (MSHSL) uses a quality results formula (QRF) that determines seeding. 

An explanation for the way the seeding was determined is to take a look at each team’s wins and losses. Tartan lost to Hastings 27-7, and Simley 13-0. The only other loss Mahtomedi took was to St. Thomas Academy; The Cadets routed the Raiders 21-0. However, Mahtomedi did beat Simley 28-13. 

Tartan will host either North or St. Paul-Central on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. 


North St. Paul

The North Polars finished the year 0-8, the second winless season in a row. The Polars haven’t won a game since 2016 when North beat Hill-Murray 21-14. Also, North hasn’t won a section game since 2015 when the Polars made a state tournament appearance.  

North is in the same section and class as Tartan (4AAAAA). North could potentially play Tartan in the second round. For that to happen, the sixth-seeded Polars will have needed to get past third-seeded St. Paul-Central on Oct. 23, a game played after deadline for this edition of the paper.

Central has a 4-4 record, and is coming off a 30-12 loss to Mound Westonka on Oct. 17. The Minutemen finished fourth out of six teams in the Twin City Maroon Conference, with a 2-3 conference record. Central beat North 27-14 in the first round of the 2016 section playoffs. 

The Section 4AAAAA title game will be on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m., with the top seed being the home team. 

Keep checking in with Lillie News each week for postseason football updates. 


-Lucas Ailport can be reached at

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