In the first round only the smallest classes got a chance to play. This Saturday the quarterfinals are for all classes. Out of the first sixteen games of the playoffs there were four games I picked wrong. Noone saw top rated Harvey/Wells County becoming a first round casualty but Maple Valley-Enderlin showed that anything can happen in the playoffs.
Here are my quarterfinal picks:
Minot at Devils Lake
Devils Lake has the best chance of any of the EDC schools to pull out a win. It's amazing that Devils Lake is the top seed after just one year back in triple A. Austin Nelson and Austin Schall have gotten better as the year matures for Devils Lake but Minot is one of the best teams in the state despite their 5-3 mark.
THE PICK: Minot by 12
Fargo South at Bismarck Century
The Bruins have looked more like the storied program that they are in recent weeks winning four of their last five. They are a much improved team since losing to Grand Forks Central in early September. Zach Reich has been among the biggest impact players for South. I see a lot of people who smell an upset in this game but I'm not biting. The game will be won on the line and Century will win that battle
THE PICK: Century
Fargo Davies at Bismarck
Davies has made it much further than anyone thought. A playoff berth in just their second year of football is very impressive. Coach Thielges has a lot to be proud of as Davies moves in the right direction. But Bismarck is just at another level and will beat them just like they did earlier this season.
THE PICK: Bismarck
Mandan at Grand Forks Red River
Mandan has been up and down over the past two weeks but they are still among the elite in the state. Grand Forks Red River has been one of the biggest surprises in the class and if Taylor Steen and the running game get enough offense going could make this one tight.
THE PICK: Mandan
Beulah at Grafton
Beulah has done a nice job just to make the playoffs but they got a tough draw playing the most complete team in the state. Grafton has finished second in multiple sports last year and this senior class is bound and determined to take it to a championship level this year.
THE PICK: Grafton
Wahpeton at Bottineau
I haven't seen anyone picking Wahpeton yet but I believe that the Huskies have a chance. The key will be if Bottineau lets them hang around. The two games Wahpeton has lost they've been blown out, but every close game they've won. If this game is close late Wahpeton will win.
THE PICK: Wahpeton
Kindred at carrington
Quarterback Cole Hendrickson will have to play well to keep Carrington's title run alive. They love to run but Kindred prides themselves on stopping the run. This should be a low scoring close game. If Hendrickson doesn't make mistakes Carrington will win.
THE PICK: Carrington
Minot Ryan at Fargo Shanley
I would be shocked if Ryan comes across the state and takes out Shanley. The Deacons have found their stride and are primed for another title run and Ryan hasn't played consistently enough to pose a real threat.
THE PICK: Fargo Shanley
Milnor-North Sargent at Linton
These two met up on September 9th and Linton pulled it out 14-7. I have a feeling that Milnor-North Sargent will have a different result this time. Josh Hansana will carry the Bulldogs to a road upset victory.
THE PICK: Milnor-North Sargent
Maple Valley-Enderlin at Oakes
Oakes defense doesn't get enough credit. They have been stout and will try to shut down a hot Maple valley/Enderlin offense. These two playe just a couple weeks ago when Oakes came back in the fourth quarter to win 28-22.
THE PICK: Oakes
Heart River at Stanley-Powers Lake
This one could be the best matchup of the day. Heart River is the classic quick strike offense with Seth Ewonuik dominating on the ground. But they may meet their match against Stanley/Powers Lake the tightest defense in the class. The Bluejays haven't given up a point in almost a month. Can't wait to see this one.
THE PICK: Stanley-Powers Lake
Velva at Hazen
Hazen is the other undefeated team with the rock star defense. The Bison will try to dismantle the defending champs who have won six in a row. Velva will not be an easy win but Hazen will play them tough on d.
THE PICK: I'm sooo close to picking Velva but I'll take Hazen
North Border at Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter
THe Imperials have new life after winning region one. All of the sudden they could be the team to beat. North Border has been solid with great leadership. North Border will try to run Napoleon into the ground but the Imperials will try to pass it all over the field. Should be interesting.
THE PICK: Napoleon in a close one.
Wyndmere-Lidgerwood at Cavalier
This is the most interesting game on the slate. Wyndmere will have to play a perfect game to defend their title against Alex Hartz and a tough Cavalier running game.
THE PICK: Wyndmere-Lidgerwood in a slight upset
Central McLean at North Star
Dylan Ruff and Justin Hagler are two of the best players in the class and each will try to lead their team to a victory. Ruff will run Central McLean up and down the field while Hagler will be winging the ball for North Star.
THE PICK: North Star
Mott-Regent at Divide county
I still think Divide County is the most underrated team in the state. Isaac Jacobs and their running attack has been outstanding. Mott-Regent has put up unheard of numbers in their passing game. There are a lot of games like this one where one team will be running and the other chucking the ball.
THE PICK: Divide County