Two schools, Bemidji and Edgerton/Ellsworth, advanced to the Prep Bowl for the first time in their school’s history during Friday’s early state semifinal games at the Metrodome. Mahnomen, the other Friday afternoon winner, is making their 11th trip to the championship game.
In Class 4A, #3 Bemidji stormed back after giving up two early touchdowns to top-ranked Mankato West, defeating the Scarlets 45-26 to advance to their first state championship game in school history. The game featured over 600 yards in passing offense, with Bemidji’s Mitchell Hendricks throwing for 295 yards and three touchdowns. Carey Woods was Hendricks’ favorite target, hauling in five passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns; he also added 106 yards on the ground, including a 92-yard touchdown run. Mankato West’s Philip Nelson threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns; Hunter Friesen caught both those touchdowns en route to a nine catch, 115 yard game. Nelson added 183 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Edgerton/Ellsworth, the #1 team in the Nine-Man division, scored the first 24 points of the game against #8 Ada-Borup and cruised to a 48-20 victory over the Cougars. Quarterback Issac Heard had a nearly perfect game for Edgerton/Ellsworth, completing 17 of 19 passes for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns. Devin Hulstein racked up 105 yards on the ground for the Flying Dutchmen, and Casey Schilling caught 10 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown. Jace Hennen threw for 238 yards for Ada-Borup, who finished their season 11-2.
In Class A, Mahnomen is back in the finals for the first time since 1998 as the second-ranked Indians defeated Sleepy Eye Saint Mary’s 32-12. Mahnomen piled up 333 yards of rushing on the game, with quarterback Jacob Pavek leading the way with 173 yards and Avery Fairbanks adding 129. For Sleepy Eye Saint Mary’s, Jordan Anderson led their passing attack with 257 yards through the air and two touchdowns; both Sean Mathiowetz and Adam Sellner had 102 yards receiving.
The Nine-Man and Class 1A finals are scheduled for Friday, November 25 at the Metrodome; the Class 4A championship game will be on Saturday the 26th.