Lakeville North players celebrate during its 38-3 victory over Prior Lake on Oct. 12
Mike Grant got his wish Thursday, just a year too late.
In 2017, the Eden Prairie football coach lobbied for his then-undefeated team to get the lone first-round bye available in the 31-team Class 6A bracket of the post-season playoffs.
But due to how the bracketing is determined, the bye went to Cretin-Derham Hall. Eden Prairie clearly survived, going on to win the Class 6A state title.
This year, however, is a different story. Eden Prairie (7-1) not only garnered the No. 1 seed in Section 6, 6A with Wednesday’s 21-0 victory over Edina, it landed the coveted bye.
The bye is awarded by random draw among the No. 1 seeds.
Not that Grant won’t benefit from the bye this year. Starting quarterback Cole Kramer was hampered Friday with an injury.
“I don’t know if it’s a groin pull or a hip flexor – he won’t tell you what it is,” Grant said. “Normally, he makes plays with his legs, but he couldn’t really run. But he’s a great general.”
Here’s a quick look at the upcoming prep playoffs
The No. 1 seeds are Lakeville North (8-0), Blaine (8-0), Eden Prairie (7-1) and Woodbury (7-1).
The No. 2 seeds are East Ridge (5-3), Rosemount (6-2), Champlin Park (6-2) and Edina (6-2) while No. 3 seeds are Minnetonka (5-3), Eastview (4-4), St. Michael-Albertville (5-3) and Cretin-Derham Hall (5-3).
The first round of games is Oct. 26. Here are some of the most notable first round matchups:
-- Totino-Grace (No. 8, 2-6) at Blaine (No. 1, 8-0). It’s been an unusually dismal season for Totino-Grace, which is just two years removed from a state championship. But coach Jeff Ferguson was formerly an assistant coach at Blaine and there’s a strong connection between the two schools. And Totino-Grace has never lost a first-round playoff game since Ferguson took over.
-- Buffalo (No. 5, 6-2) at Prior Lake (No. 4, 4-4). Prior Lake has played the tougher schedule, hence the higher seed. But the Lakers haven’t seen a passing offense as potent as Buffalo’s.
-- Centennial (3-5) at Wayzata (4-4). Both teams have had their share of close games. The average margin of defeat for Centennial in its five losses has been less than 5 points. Wayzata has had three last-minute losses (Minnetonka, Eden Prairie and Maple Grove).
-- Lakeville South (3-5) at Cretin-Derham Hall (5-3). Cretin has a history of struggling in first round playoff games. Lakeville South has won two in a row and has scored 107 points in doing so.
Section 1: Defending state champion Owatonna (8-0) is undefeated and got the No. 1 seed. Rochester Century (5-3) got the No. 2 seed after a 31-0 victory over Northfield on Wednesday. But the No. 3-seeded Raiders are still dangerous.
Section 2: The top four seeds are very strong. Waconia (7-1) earned No. 1 after Wednesday’s victory over Chanhassen (6-2), which is seeded No. 2. Mankato West (7-1) got the No. 3 seed and Chaska (5-3) No. 4. The combined records of those four teams is 25-7.
Section 3: St. Thomas Academy (8-0) is No. 1 and Hastings (7-1) No. 2. A rematch between the two teams, won by St. Thomas Academy 24-6 on Sept. 28, looms. It was the undefeated Cadets’ closest victory.
Section 4: Controversy? Mahtomedi got the No. 1 seed over Tartan, which got seeded No. 2 based on the QRF (Quality Results Formula). At issue is that the two teams have identical 6-2 records and Tartan beat Mahtomedi 21-17 in the second-to-last game of the regular season.
Section 5: Irondale (6-2) looks like a strong No. 3 seed after beating Cooper 41-13. Cooper (7-1) had already clinched the top seed going into the game. Spring Lake Park (6-2), in its first season under new head coach John Stewart, is seeded No. 2.
Section 6: Despite losing Wednesday, Elk River (7-1) is the No. 1 seed and clear favorite. The Elks rested six of their starters in the loss to Cambridge-Isanti.
Section 7: Chisago Lakes (2-6), the No. 6 seed, at Coon Rapids (No. 3, 3-5) is a potential upset. St. Francis (5-3) and Cambridge-Isanti (5-3) are vulnerable 1 and 2 seeds.
Section 8: No metro teams. Bemidji (7-1) is the No. 1 seed, Brainerd (5-3) is No. 2.
Section 1: Undefeated Winona (8-0) is the No. 1 seed. Everyone else is .500 or below.
Section 2: A beast of a section. Hutchinson (8-0) got the No. 1 seed, with Dassel-Cokato (7-1), Marshall (7-1) and Waseca (6-2) as the Nos 2, 3 and 4 seeds.
Section 3: St. Paul Johnson (4-4) is the No. 1 seed and only team in the section with a record at or above .500.
Section 4: Fridley got the No. 1 seed over St. Anthony Village. Both teams are 6-2, but each of the Tigers’ losses came to undefeated teams, SMB and Providence Academy,
Section 5: Top-to-bottom, the deepest section in 4A and perhaps the state. Both No. 1 seed SMB and No. 2 seed Providence Academy are 8-0. Defending state champs Holy Angels was undefeated until losing to Orono Wednesday. The Stars (7-1) slipped to No. 3 while Orono (5-3) moved into the No. 4 spot. Mound-Westonka (6-2) has the best record of any No. 5 seed in the state and Benilde-St. Margaret’s, the 2016 Class 4A state champs, is 5-3 yet seeded No. 6. Richfield (0-8) is No. 7.
Section 6: Zimmerman (5-3) got the top seed. Keep an eye on No. 4-seeded Becker, which had a sub-par season (3-5), but three of those losses were to Hutchinson, 6A Brainerd and Willmar. After having high hopes, Big Lake is a disappointing 4-4 and is seeded No. 3.
Section 7: Cloquet (7-1) clinched the No. 1 seed with a 14-0 victory over previously undefeated Hermantown (7-1), which slipped to No. 2.
Section 8: Undefeated Detroit Lakes (8-0) is the No. 1 seed. Willmar (7-1) is No. 2. Both average more than 44 points per game.
3A: The metro teams with No. 1 seeds are Jordan (Section 2, 7-1), Breck (Section 4, 7-1) and Annandale (Section 5, 7-1). Spectrum’s (7-1) loss to St. Anthony Village Wednesday drops it to No. 3 in Section 5.
2A: Undefeated Minneapolis North (8-0) earned the No. 1 seed in Section 4.