Section 8AAA Football Playoff Match-ups
The path to the Alerus Center in Grand Forks and the Section 8AAA playoffs will run through top-seeded Perham (5-3) (QRF-19) if the Yellowjackets can continue the roll they started after week five with an overtime victory over Thief River Falls. Victories at Detroit Lakes and at home versus East Grand Forks have Perham set to make a serious run at the section title. Winless Staples-Motley (0-8) (QRF-62) will be Perham's first round opponent Tuesday, Oct. 25 at Meinhover Field. Only two teams are ranked lower than the Cardinals in the QRF. Only a monumental collapse will keep Perham from advancing. A potential rematch with East Grand Forks in the second round could prove an interesting game as Perham narrowly defeated -- while controlling the game -- the Green Wave 35-28 in week eight.
Crookston (1-7) (QRF-58), the #7 seed, travels to #2 Pequot Lakes (5-3) (QRF-22). Pequot Lakes has faltered late in the season after getting off to a hot start, which saw the Patriots ranked early in the AP polls. The two teams met in week six at Crookston. The Patriots came away with a 40-22 victory. Pequot Lakes has been outscored 63-6 in their last two losses to HOL-Classic Conference champions Hawley (8-0) (AA-QRF-1) and Thief River Falls. The loss in Thief River Falls gave sole possession of the HOL-North title and the top section seed to Perham. Crookston defeated a tough Warroad (6-2) (AA-QRF-10) team in week one, 28-26, in Warroad, before losing their final seven games. Warroad just missed upsetting Hawley, 55-48, in Hawley, week eight for the Classic title. If Crookston can channel what they had in week one, this game is primed for an upset. The Patriots need to regain their early season confidence, as well, to advance.
#6 Roseau (3-5) (QRF-50) visits #3 Thief River Falls (5-3) (QRF-24). Thief River Falls won this match-up in week one 35-20 and has played competitively in all games this season. Their only bad defeat came to Warroad 48-26 in week three. Their other two losses were each by one point, 21-20 to Detroit Lakes and an overtime 28-27 loss at Perham. Roseau has won three in a row to end the season, but those victories came over teams (Park Rapids, Pelican Rapids, Staples-Motley) with a combined record of 5-19. Thief River Falls should advance easily to face the winner of Crookston/Pequot Lakes.
Perham's potential second round opponent will be the winner of #4 East Grand Forks (3-5) (QRF-43) and #5 Park Rapids Area (2-6) (QRF-46). In week seven, EGF pounded Park Rapids 32-8 at home. Both teams can play better than their records indicate. Park Rapids upset a surging Pequot Lakes team in week four 29-28. EGF almost ruined Perham's hopes for the top section seed and HOL-North title hanging with the Yellowjackets in Perham 35-28 in week eight. EGF had a tough string of three games in the middle of the season versus Thief River Falls, Pequot Lakes and Detroit Lakes, all losses, before getting back on track versus Park Rapids and Pelican Rapids. The Green Wave team that played in Perham last Wednesday could upset any team in the section. Park Rapids should be a warm-up game to the rematch with Perham come Saturday.