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Rebels at home for football playoff opener

Similar to their post-season standing in recent years, the Southland Rebels football team is seeded third in the upcoming Class A, Section One playoffs.

This will be the first post-season for the Rebels in Class A after playing in Section 2AA over the last half-decade. Blooming Prairie is the top seed and Fillmore Central is the second seed in Section 1A.

The Cardinals of Faribault Bethlehem Academy, out of the Gopher Valley Conference, will make a trip to the Southland Athletic Field on Tuesday night to play the Rebels in the first round of the section. The kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Faribault Bethlehem Academy (3-5) had a three-game winning streak snapped by Blooming Prairie in a 20-0 loss to end the regular season last Wednesday. The Cardinals have been solid defensively, allowing just 18.4 points per game. On the offensive side, FBA averages 17.9 points per game.

Southland (6-2) has lost two of its past three games after starting the season at 5-0 and climbing as high as fifth in the state Class A poll. Both of the losses came by just seven points and against teams ranked in the state poll at the time of the game — Fillmore Central (by a 7-0 score) and Caledonia (by a 21-14 score).

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Only a few yards separate the Rebels from having two losses and being perfect on the season. Southland had the ball at the 4-yard line, before coming up short on the final play against Fillmore Central. Last week, the Rebels had first-and-goal at the one late in the game, but failed to score on their last drive in the loss to the Caledonia Warriors.

The Rebels are led by running back Mike Goergen, quarterback Jake Frodl, and a defense that allows just 9.5 points per game. Goergen is a threat to break big plays on the ground and also as a pass receiver. Kick returns are another avenue in which Goergen has burned the opposition's defense.

Frodl took over at quarterback in the second half at Fillmore Central and directed the final drive in that game. In his first start the following week, Frodl threw for over 100 yards in a win over Rushford-Peterson. He had a tougher time against the Caledonia defense last week, but still threw for 90 yards in the regular season finale.

The defense of the Rebels has been an opportunistic bunch all season. The Rebels are led by senior linebacker Christian Padilla and the pressure created by their pass rushers has led to big turnovers. Nick Schmitz intercepted a pass last week against Caledonia and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown.

Playing their sixth home game of this season, the Rebels are 4-1 so far in front of their loyal fans. This is merely the first test and if they win there will be tough road games ahead for the Rebels, but they have a legitimate chance of making some noise in this section. The first step is to clip the FBA Cardinals in tomorrow night's section opener.

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