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High school football preview: Section 1, NIne-Man

SECTION 1, NINE-MAN FOOTBALL PREVIEW

All quarterfinal games at 7 p.m. Tuesday

No. 8 LeRoy-Ostrander

at No. 1 Spring Grove

LEROY-OSTRANDER (2-6) swept a pair of games from Lyle/Austin Pacelli in the regular season and secured the last playoff spot in the section. Cardinals are led by Lucas Roe and Jace Bunne. Roe scored five touchdowns in the regular season finale and had 132 rushing on 31 carries. In addition to the five rushing touchdowns, Roe also threw a touchdown pass and completed a total of three passes in the win over L/P.  Shares the passing duties with Roe and also completed three passes in last week's win.

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SPRING GROVE (8-0) hasn't been challenged since a season-opening eight-point win over Houston. Since that game, the Lions have posted three shutout wins and outscored their opponents by a 349-36 margin as they rolled to the Southeast Conference title. This run of victories included a 70-12 win over L-O just two weeks ago. The offensive juggernaut is led by a powerful ground game. The Lions amassed 490 yards in rushing in the final regular season game. Running backs Sam Ellingson, Josh Olerud, and Aric Elton all rushed for over 100 yards in the shutout win over Houston last week.

No. 5 Houston at No. 4 Lanesboro

HOUSTON (4-4) had won two straight games before the regular season finale against Spring Grove. The Hurricanes lost to Lanesboro by 17 points in Week 3 of season. Shane Loken is one of the top rushers for the Hurricanes. Sophomore QB Troy Sires has shown the ability to get the ball down the field. Sires threw for 234 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first meeting with the Burros. Senior tight end Hans Lundberg has been one of the favorite targets for Sires.

LANESBORO (5-3) is the defending section champ and a tough team to face on its home field in the playoffs. The Burros have a solid running game and piled up 258 yards on the ground in the first meeting with the Hurricanes. Niko Anderson helped the Burros win the section title last year and he's a dangerous runner.  Senior QB Braden Hanson is a running threat with 133 yards and three touchdowns in last week's game.

No. 7 Granada-Huntley/East Chain/Martin Luther

at No. 2 Grand Meadow

GHECML (2-6) enters the post-season on a slide with three straight losses. The only team in the section from outside the SEC. Josh Johanson is the quarterback for the Mustangs and had decent games through the air in the team's two wins. Wide receiver Caleb Nowicki is a speed threat on the outside for the Mustangs.

GRAND MEADOW (6-2) started the regular season with three straight wins and finished with wins in the last two games. Superlarks have strong running game led by Richard Bain. Perry Stejskal  recorded 21 tackles on defense in last week's win over G-E. Stejskal had 150 yards rushing the previous week in a win over Lanesboro. Freshman Landon Jacobson is also a big-play guy and had 75 yards with a touchdown in the win over Lanesboro. Tough defense is the trademark of the Superlarks as Bain and Brock Johnson each had 13 tackles in last week's win.

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No. 6 Glenville-Emmons at No. 3 Mabel-Canton

GLENVILLE-EMMONS (2-6) made it all the way to the section championship game last year, but lost the last five games of the regular season this year. Junior QB Wyatt Madson showed the ability to move the ball through the air in the team's two wins. He threw a touchdown pass in a lopsided win over L/P in the second week and also rushed for 40 yards. Running back Justice Haines is a big-play threat and had 127 yards rushing in the win over L/P. Last year's run to the section finals showed the Wolverines aren't a team to be taken lightly in the playoffs.

MABEL-CANTON (5-3) has won five straight games after starting the season with three straight losses.  The winning streak started with an overtime victory over Grand Meadow in the fourth week. Gabe Lind scored the winning touchdown for the Cougars in that game and had 127 yards rushing. Lind has been the catalyst of the ground attack; he had 187 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns in last week's win over Lanesboro. Although they love to run the ball, the Cougars can also strike with the air game when needed. Senior QB Jacoby Bigalk has been efficient with the passing game and threw for 156 yards in last week's win.

                                                                                                                              — Scott A. Kolb

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