Lourdes, Pine Island set to meet again
Lourdes has come on of late and meets a team it beat to end the regular season — Pine Island — to begin the Section 1AA playoffs on Tuesday.
PINE ISLAND at LOURDES
SECTION 1AA QUARTERFINALS
7 p.m. Tuesday
At Rochester Regional Stadium
Seeds, records: No. 4 Lourdes is 3-5 overall, No. 5 Pine Island (2-6)
Last meeting: The teams met on Wednesday, with Lourdes beating Pine Island 42-0.
Last game: Lourdes beat Pine Island 42-0.
Pine Island notes: It’s been a struggle for the Panthers. Their only two wins have come against 1-7 Zumbrota-Mazeppa and 0-8 La Crescent-Hokah. There were some solid showings in a pair of losses to strong teams, though, 31-29 to Triton and 27-14 to Lake City. Pine Island has one of the top athletes in southeastern Minnesota, speedy running back Jarod White. The Panthers had a very talented quarterback in Nick Grande. He’d thrown for nearly 1,000 yards this season, but is now out for the year with an injury.
Lourdes notes: Lourdes struggled to win games the first two-thirds of the season, beginning 1-5, the only win against winless La Crescent-Hokah. Things have gone much better since. The Eagles barely lost to strong teams Caledonia and Plainview-Elgin-Millville, then blasted Zumbrota-Mazeppa and Pine Island by a cumulative score of 84-0 to end the regular season. Lourdes has played strong defense all year and is allowing just 17 points per game. Pine Island managed just 93 yards of total offense against Lourdes. The Eagles average 25 points per game. . . Lourdes eighth-grader Caleb Akinbolu provided a boost on Wednesday, rushing for 81 yards on just 10 carries. Seth Haight is Lourdes’ go-to running back. He had 123 yards rushing against Pine Island.
Lourdes coach Mike Kesler says: "We felt we had a good football team to begin the year. But it's good now to be playing our best football at the end of the year. We're just executing a lot better than we were earlier. We've cleaned up a lot of mistakes and the kids are playing for the guy next to them — that's the most important thing. Plus, we've gotten healthy. . .Pine Island has a very talented tailback (Jarod White) who we need to be mindful of. He is a game changer with his speed and explosiveness."
Up next: The winner plays at No. 1 seed Cannon Falls at 7 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals.
— Pat Ruff • Post Bulletin