No. 1 Stewartville, bye: The Tigers might have the most potent 1-2 offensive punch in the state in Class AAA. Led by a strong and quick line, junior running back Josh Buri (1,546 rushing yards) and junior QB Will Tschetter (1,208 passing yards), 7-0 Stewartville has been nearly unstoppable. The Tigers average 43.1 points per game. Their defense has been outstanding, as well, led by junior Parker Theobald, who has been looked at by some Division I schools.
No. 2 Waseca, bye: The Blue Jays (6-2) are the only team in the section that comes close to matching Stewartville's offensive output, averaging 40.6 points per game. Waseca was a Class AAAA state semifinalist a year ago before moving down to AAA this season. Its losses this year have come at No. 5 Fairmont and at Marshall, ranked No. 8 in Class AAAA.
No. 6 Rochester Lourdes at No. 3 Zumbrota-Mazeppa: Lourdes (2-5) is the defending section and state champion and has the best defense in the section, holding opponents to 17.0 points per game. It has held No. 4 Stewartville (15 points), No. 7 Cannon Falls (12 points) and No. 1-AA Caledonia (24) to their lowest points totals of the year. Z-M (3-5) has faced a tough schedule that includes seven opponents who were ranked at some point this season. The Cougars have gone 3-2 in their past five games after a 0-3 start, including an impressive win against section foe Pine Island. Z-M senior RB Calven Voxland is coming off an impressive performance, rushing for 202 yards in a win against Red Wing on Wednesday.
No. 5 Plainview-Elgin-Millville at No. 4 Pine Island: Behind QB Kaden Lamb and 230-pound RB/DL Riley Wingert, P-E-M (2-6) takes some confidence into the postseason, having closed the regular season with a 42-29 win against Lake City. P-E-M could well be 4-4 at this point, having suffered a two-point loss to strong AA team Chatfield (18-16) and a one-point loss at Class AAAA team Byron (27-26). Pine Island (2-5) has played a strong schedule, with one-score losses to section rival Z-M, and strong AA opponents St. Charles and Chatfield. Pine Island's offense has been led this season at various times by RB Jarod White, QB Carter O'Reilly, receiver Will Warneke and RB/LB Max Owen, who has been a force on both sides of the ball.