Football | Century-Mayo prebox
Mayo at Century
Saturday, 7 p.m., at Century Stadium
Seeds/Records:No. 5 seed Mayo is 6-3, and No. 1 seed Century is 8-0.
Coaches: Mayo, Kevin Landherr (third season, 16-11); Century, Jon Vik (ninth season, 54-29).
Last game:Mayo opened the section tournament with a 14-7 on the road over No. 4 seed Owatonna on Tuesday. Century had a bye on Tuesday; the Panthers won their last regular season game 58-44 at Winona.
Last meeting:Century beat Mayo 31-14 in the second week at Mayo. The game started on Friday night and was completed Saturday after a 24-hour lightning and rain delay. The Panthers built a 17-0 lead early in the third quarter and never trailed. Mayo had an edge in total yards, 318-296. Century RB Chad Zastrow rushed for 132 yards on 14 carries and also returned an interception for a TD. Mayo QB Nate Penz completed 19-of-39 passes for 248 yards.
Matchup history:Mayo has won 10 of 14 against Century, although the Panthers have a two-game winning streak, including this season and last year's 32-6 win in the regular season.
Playoff history:Century and Mayo have met just twice before in the playoffs. Mayo won both times, 42-0 in the first round in 2002, and 21-7 in the first round in 2007. In the '07 game, Century took an 18-7 lead into the fourth quarter but couldn't hold it. Mario Butler ran for 195 yards and two long TDs for Mayo, and Leon Clark had 150 yards and one TD on 29 carries for Century.
'C' notes:Century will try to end a four-year streak of losing its first playoff game. The Panthers were the top seed a year ago as well, but were crushed in the semifinal round by Owatonna after losing a whopping nine turnovers. The Panthers' last playoff win was in 2005. ... Century's offense is varied with four RBs who have rushed for 230 yards or more, and three WR/TEs who have over 250 yards receiving. ... Century has four kickoff returns for TDs, two each by senior Kyle Riggott and junior Brian Christenson, and one punt return for a TD by Riggott. The defense also has returned two interceptions for scores, by Austin Gray and Brendan Coker. Senior DB Jake Acker had five pickoffs in the regular season.
Mayo notes: The Spartans' six victories this season are their most since winning the Big Nine Conference championship in 2006 and finishing 8-2 overall. … Mayo's most recent trip to the Section 1AAAAA championship game was in 2003, when the Spartans suffered a 34-17 loss to Lakeville at Mayo Stadium. … Very few Mayo players have been on a team that has beaten Century. Tight end Michael Idso and running back Ethan Johnson are among the current Spartans who were on the varsity roster when Mayo last topped the Panthers, a 27-14 victory in the final game of the 2008 regular season.
Coach Landherr says: "It's a quick turnaround, but we've had a couple of good practices. Physically, we're in pretty good shape and the kids are really focused. They've been that way the second half of the season. Century has a lot of team speed and we have to be able to control that."
— Donny Henn and Jason Feldman