JOHN MARSHALL at CENTURY
SECTION 1AAAAA QUARTERFINALS
7 p.m. Tuesday
Century High School Field
Seeds, records: No. 5 Century is 3-5; No. 6 JM 1-7.
Last meeting: Century beat JM 37-8 on Oct. 15.
Last game: JM closed the regular season with a 51-7 loss to Stewartville. Century defeated Winona 22-20.
John Marshall notes: The injury-ravaged Rockets lost WR Tayten Hoelzle in the regular-season finale and he will not play Tuesday. JM was down to its third QB as Jacob Brumm filled in against Stewartville. He passed for 126 yards in his first start, but also threw three interceptions. JM’s top two QBs, Gunnar Dokken and Darius Jordan, may be able to play vs. Century. “We have a number of players who might get cleared, but they won’t have gotten hardly any practice,” coach Kevin Kirkeby said. The Rockets have to limit mistakes to have a chance against the Panthers. They had six turnovers against Stewartville. "You can't have that many mistakes against anybody and win," Kirkeby said. Despite all the injuries, Kirkeby said the Rockets still have a positive attitude and are looking forward to getting a chance to play in the postseason.
Century notes: This marks the second straight season the two Rochester rivals have met in section play. Last year, Century posted a narrow 28-26 win in the lone Section 1AAAAA playoff game for each team. The Panthers enter this game having won two straight, including an easy win over the Rockets. Senior QB Matt Haun rushed and passed for more than 100 yards in the first meeting between the teams. Haun had a late TD pass to Josh Berg on fourth down and a 9-yard TD run, all in the closing two minutes, as Century rallied past Winona in the regular-season finale. Berg, an emerging junior WR, has caught TD passes in two straight games. Cole Elbing, who scored two TDs in the first meeting with JM, ran for 130 yards and a touchdown before suffering a "stinger" against Winona. Elbing has been practicing, however. Senior Nathan Miller has helped anchor the defensive line and he had a big fumble recovery late against Winona.
Kevin Kirkeby says: “They've started to get a lot more physical and you can see it. They kind of came out and really took it to us the first game and it continued against Winona. ... They have a lot of parts that are very, very good. They fly around and are physical on defense, they're defensive line is really good and their linebackers are coming on strong. And offensively, their quarterback is getting more and more comfortable running the ball and throwing the ball. .... And he's spreading the ball around a little more. We have to beware of what they can do if it's a decent night out.”
Jon Vik says: "This year we play JM for a second time in 11 days. It is never easy to play a team twice in a season and games in such close proximity make the challenges even greater. Both team's game plans are fresh in the other's mind and personnel strengths and weaknesses are simple to see watching matchups of the previous game. With that in mind, we know the JM coaching staff will thoroughly scour the video of our previous game to exploit any holes they find. While the Rockets have had many injuries this season, they have skill players with speed. We have played much more physical football and been more fundamentally sound the past four weeks. That has been a large part of our success. In our previous game with JM that was a major factor in our success. We must repeat that this week as Coach Kirkeby will certainly have some wrinkles in each phase of the game."
Up next: The winner advances to the Section 1AAAAA semifinals and will play at No. 2 Mayo on Saturday, Oct. 30.