Tough slate of games for area gridders

Ask any football coach and he’ll probably say there are no easy games. That’s certainly true for the Review-area high school teams this week. Here’s a look at the Friday, Sept. 23 match-ups.

 

Hill-Murray

A week after playing their first game at the new stadium on campus, the Pioneers get to do it again this week. Hill-Murray welcomes a Mahtomedi team that appears poised to take a run at the district title this fall.

The Zephyrs got their season off to a fast start by winning in week one and week two. Mahtomedi took down 2015 state finalist St. Thomas Academy 19-7 to start the season and then blitzed Tartan 31-0 in week two.

Hill-Murray, meanwhile, went 0-2 to kick off 2016. After falling to Tartan in week one, the Pioneers ventured to West St. Paul to face Henry Sibley on Sept. 9. The Warriors, whose only win last season came against Hill-Murray, dumped the Pioneers again by a score of 34-10.

Hill-Murray stayed with Sibley for a half but couldn’t keep up after the break. The Warriors ran away with it in the second half by scoring 22 unanswered points.

After giving up the opening touchdown, Hill-Murray responded with a score on a 35-yard run by senior Patrick Kennedy. 

Sibley added a second score in the second quarter but Hill-Murray made it a two-point game when Eric Cote booted a 26-yard field goal before halftime.

The Warriors took control in the second half and scored on runs of 11 yards and one yard and also on a 35-yard interception return.

Kennedy paced the Hill-Murray offense with 90 yards rushing on 17 carries and two receptions for 20 yards. Jack Still threw for 98 yards, Zach Slaviero caught two passes for 38 yards and Duncan Roman hauled in two more for 30 yards.

Hill-Murray opened up Mary, Queen of Victory, Stadium in week three and hosted Hastings for homecoming last week. The Hastings game took place past the deadline for this edition of the Review.

 

North

The schedule maker for the East Metro Red District did North no favors when assembling the schedules for the first two years of district football. The Polars were forced to take on a pair of perennial powers in the first two weeks both years and their record suffered because of it.

Following a lopsided loss to South St. Paul in week one, North hit the road in week two and took on another team that was a state finalist in 2015. The Polars visited St. Thomas Academy on Sept. 9, gave the Cadets all they could handle but came up short on the scoreboard 13-12.

St. Thomas put up the only points of the first quarter on a 70-yard interception return for a touchdown.

North was able shake off the early miscue and took the lead in the second quarter. The Polars got on the board on a one-yard touchdown run by senior Fisayo Oduyemi midway through the second quarter. Oduyemi then gave North the lead later in the second on a two-yard touchdown run.

Finding points was much more difficult in the second half as St. Thomas clamped down defensively and kept the Polars out of the end zone. Offensively, the Cadets took the lead for good early in the fourth on a four-yard touchdown run.

Neither team generated much offense. North amassed 182 rushing yards with most of the work going to Ken Kamoga (13 carries for 55 yards), Chi Moa Cha (14 for 48) and Oduyemi (14 for 38). Jake Kubiatowicz added 41 yards on four carries.

Kamoga also caught three passes for 28 yards.

North followed up the St. Thomas Academy loss by hosting Tartan on Sept. 16, past the deadline for this edition of the Review.

Up next for the Polars is a trip to West St. Paul to take on Henry Sibley. The Warriors haven’t posted a whole lot of victories the last few years but they did beat Hill-Murray in week two after losing to Hastings in the season opener. Last week, Sibley visited Mahtomedi.

 

Tartan

Not many high school football programs have benefitted from the switch to district scheduling as much at Park-Cottage Grove. Prior to last season, the Wolfpack played in the Suburban East Conference and hadn’t posted a winning season in more than 10 years.

After being moved away from the Suburban East last year as part of district scheduling, Park went 6-2 in the regular season.

The resurgent Wolfpack come to Tartan on Friday for an East Metro Red District game.

Park went 1-1 in the first two weeks of the season and easily could have been 2-0. The Wolfpack blitzed Simley 27-18 in week one and dropped a heartbreaker to South St. Paul 29-26 in week two.

Against South St. Paul, Park fell behind by 21 points before rallying to tie the score in the fourth quarter. The Packers prevented the Wolfpack from completing the comeback by kicking the game-winning field goal as time expired.

Tartan is playing its third home game in four weeks. Because Hill-Murray’s stadium renovations weren’t completed, the Titans hosted the Pioneers in week one for the second consecutive year.

Tartan won the opener over Hill-Murray but ran into a buzzsaw in Mahtomedi in week two. The Titans kept the game relatively close in the first half but saw the Zephyrs run away with it in the second half.

Mahtomedi led by 14 at halftime and blitzed Tartan for 17 points in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. The Zephyrs ran for 246 yards, 218 of which came from Jalen Frye.

Tartan’s Marco Hernandez threw for 128 yards but completed only nine of 26 attempts. The Titans’ rushing attack managed only 64 yards.

Tartan hosted North in week three. Results of that game were not available for this edition of the Review.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

East Metro Red District week four schedule

Mahtomedi at Hill-Murray

North at Henry Sibley

Park-Cottage Grove at Tartan

Simley at St. Thomas Academy

South St. Paul at Hastings

 

East Metro Red District week two results

Henry Sibley 34, Hill-Murray 10

Mahtomedi 31, Tartan 0

St. Thomas Academy 13, North 12

Simley 24, Hastings 20

South St. Paul 29, Park-Cottage Grove 26

East Metro Red District standings
(through week two)

 

Mahtomedi 
South St. Paul 
Hastings 
Henry Sibley 
ParkCottage Grove 
St. Thomas Academy 
Simley 
Tartan 
HillMurray 
North

Dist.

2-0
2-0
1-1
1-1
1-1
1-1
1-1
1-1
0-2
0-2

Overall

2-0
2-0
1-1
1-1
1-1
1-1
1-1
1-1
0-2
0-2

Games behind

-
-
1
1
1
1
1
1
2
2

 

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