The playoff brackets are set in North Dakota. This Saturday 9-man and Class A get started with first round games. I'll be picking each and every playoff game.
9-Man First Round Games
New Rockford (6-3) at Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter (8-1) 2:00pm in Napoleon
Napoleon has only scored 22 points in the last two weeks but found a way to clinch the number one seed in Region 1. They are susceptible to defeat but should win.
THE PICK: Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter
LaMoure-Litchville-Marion (7-2) at North Border (8-1) 2:00 pm in Pembina
North Border looks like a team that could shake the playoffs up, the problem is that they face a tough first round opponent who can match their size, speed and physicality. Look for a lot of running in this game.
THE PICK: LaMoure-Litchville-Marion wins a close one
South Border (6-3) at Cavalier (9-0) 2:00 pm
Cavalier leads the entire class in point differential. Alex Hartz has been a big part of the Tornadoes success. South Border’s best game this year may have been a loss. They went toe to toe with Napoleon and lost 36-30 on September 16th.
THE PICK: Cavalier rolls
Hillsboro (7-2) at Wyndmere-Lidgerwood 1:30 pm in Wyndmere
Hillsboro has had a problem stopping teams especially in their losses. Wyndmere-Lidgerwood should be able to regroup after losing to Napleon last week. Adam Bell, Luis Vasquez and Jeff Illies have powered a strong offense this year.
THE PICK: Wyndmere-Lidgerwood
Shiloh Christian (6-3) at North Star (8-1) 2:00 pm in Cando
This is Shiloh Christian’s first playoff berth in school history. They face a big challenge against North Star who has Jacob Hagler at quarterback. Hagler has thrown for 1,252 yards and 21 touchdown passes this year. Daniel Grande is the best receiver in 9-man football he has hauled in 16 touchdowns this year.
THE PICK: North Star
Benson County (8-1) at Central McLean (8-1) 1:30 pm in Underwood
Benson County is coming off of a great win against North Star and Central McLean comes in off a loss to Divide County. Darren Young has passed for 14TDs and run for 7 more. Dylan Ruff for Central McLean is one of the best in class with 920 yards and 13TDs.
THE PICK: Central McLean but this game will be very close
Towner-G-U (6-3) at Divide County (9-0) 1:30 pm in Crosby
Divide County has averaged 44.2 points per game this year and their defense has been almost as good yielding just 12.8 points per game. Isaac Jacobs leads a stable full of potent running backs that should wear out the hash marks with all the yards they’ll pile up on Saturday.
THE PICK: Divide County
Mott-Regent (7-2) at Mohall-L-S (8-1) 2:00 pm in Mohall
This should be the highest scoring game of the day. MLS is the top scoring team in 9-man football and Mott-Regent can light it up with the passing attack of McCahen Schweitzer to Chad Mosbrucker.
THE PICK: Mohall-L-S
Class A First Round Games
Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn (5-3) at Linton-H-M-B (7-1) 1:30 pm in Linton
Linton has won seven in a row after an out of state loss to start their season. Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn has hung tough against almost all of their opponents.
THE PICK: Linton HMB
Milnor-North Sargent (5-3) at Larimore (6-2) 2:30 pm
Larimore has attempted only 43 passes this year, they average nearly 300 rushing yards per game this year. Chris Arvin has paced the backfield with 1,079 yards and 14 touchdowns.Milnor-North Sargent trusts their offense in quarterback Josh Hansana. He has 12 rushing and 12 passing touchdowns this year. They have multiple targets in the passing game and they utilize them all.
THE PICK: Milnor-North Sargent
Enderlin-Maple Valley (5-3) at Harvey-Wells County (8-0) 1:30 pm in Harvey
Harvey’s offense has been good. MJ Stumpf fuels this machine with his running and occasional bullet from the pocket. But the Hornets defense gets overlooked sometimes. They’ve given up 9.6 points per game and have been at their best in their biggest games. Maple Valley limps into the playoffs after losing two in a row to Milnor-NS and Oakes.
THE PICK: Harvey-Wells County
Park River-F-L (5-3) at Oakes (7-1)
No team has played Grafton as closely as Park River this year. They started the season out with a 8-0 loss to the number one team in Class AA. Park River’s hard-hitters on defense will meet their match against another tough defense. Oakes has put up four shutouts and they hang their hat on great defense. Stephen Quandt leads Oakes with 5.5 sacks.
THE PICK: Park River-F-L in a low scoring close game
Killdeer (4-4) at Stanley-Powers Lake (8-0) 1:30 pm in Stanley
Killdeer has yet to win a game against a playoff team this year (0-3). Stanley-Powers Lake has built confidence throughout the year especially after beating Velva early in the season. I think Stanley-Powers Lake could be the team left standing at the end of the tournament if the matchups go their way.
THE PICK: Stanley-Powers Lake
Lewis&Clark-Our Redeemer’s (5-3) at Heart River (7-1) 2:00 pm in Belfield
Heart River got a good matchup in this game. They’ll be able to run the ball with all-everything back Seth Ewonuik. Heart River’s only loss of the year was a close one to Hazen who has a great defense. Lewis&Clark will have their hands full this game.
THE PICK: Heart River
Williams County (4-5) at Hazen (8-0) 1:30 pm
Williams County is the only team to qualify for the playoffs with a losing record. Hazen has put up three shutouts and is getting better and better as the season wears on.
THE PICK: Hazen
New Salem-Glen Ullin (6-2) at Velva (6-2) 1:30 pm
The defense of the Aggies title begins at home. Velva got off on the wrong foot this year losing 2 of their first 3 games, but since have won five in a row. New Salem-Glen Ullin played an outstanding game last week against Heart River but came up just short.
THE PICK: Velva
The Class AA Playoff picks will be next week, but here are the matchups
Beulah @ Grafton
Wahpeton @ Bottineau
Kindred @ Carrington
Bishop Ryan @ Shanley
The Class AAA Playoff picks will be next week, but here are the matchups
Minot @ Devils Lake
Fargo South @ Century
Fargo Davies @ Bismarck
Mandan @ Grand Forks Red River