At the start of the football season, St. Croix Lutheran was off the radar of people voting in the Class 3A Top 10 poll, not receiving any votes in the initial rankings of the season. A big road victory at then-#5 DeLaSalle in the third week of the season got the Crusaders into the Top 10, and continued convincing victories- along with losses from the highest-ranked teams- allowed the Crusaders to ascend all the way to the #1 spot in the 3A poll. Their 8-0 season earned them the #1 seed in Section 4; they’re also the #1-rated team in Class 3A according to the QRF.
Section 4 features many teams from both divisions of the Tri-Metro Conference; St. Croix Lutheran won the East division over one-loss St. Anthony Village. The Huskies, 6-2 overall this year, received the #2 seed in the section. DeLaSalle, who has won the last four Section 4 championships, got moved out of the section this season; they’re the top seed in Section 5 this season.
Section 3 appears to be the most loaded section in Class 3A, with the top three seeds ranked in the top five of the state rankings; the teams combined for a 22-2 overall regular season record. The AP poll and the QRF rankings didn’t see eye-to-eye, as third-ranked Montevideo, the highest-ranked team of the three, received the #3 seed in the section. Fairmont, the #4 team in the state, got the second seed with the section’s top seed going to traditionally strong Glencoe-Silver Lake, ranked #5 in the last poll.
Rochester Lourdes, the defending state champion, will face a very strong field in Section 1. The Eagles, who recently re-entered the Top 10 poll at #9 after a mid-season loss knocked them out, got the top seed over undefeated Plainview-Elgin-Millville, the state’s #2 team. Every quarterfinal promises to be competitive as just one team of the eight in the section had a regular season record below .500. That team, La Crescent, finished 3-5 and lost to Lourdes by just one point in the final week of the season. They’ll get another shot at the Eagles in the first round.
Last year’s runners-up Holy Family Catholic received the top seed in Section 2. The sixth-ranked Fire could be looking at a showdown with eighth-ranked Minneapolis Washburn in the section finals; the 5-2 Millers received the #2 seed in the section. Tenth-ranked Zimmerman took the top seed in Section 6 as their 7-1 record gave them the edge over three 6-2 teams. Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin edged Pine City for #1 in Section 7, and Perham got the nod over fellow 5-3 squads Pequot Lakes and Thief River Falls for the top spot in Section 8.
All the playoff brackets are available on the Minnesota State High School League’s football page as well as the Minnesota-Scores.net brackets page; you can see the schedule and results for teams in the top 10 by going to the Class 3A rankings and results page.