There’s no question halfway through the regular season that Totino-Grace is the best team in the metro. The Eagles are sound on defense, run successfully and pass efficiently. It will take an uncharacteristic off game by the Eagles and a flawless performance by an opponent for Totino-Grace to lose during the regular season.
• Class 5A has become immensely interesting, particularly after Elk River’s rout of No. 1-ranked St. Michael-Albertville on Friday. In addition to the 4-0 Elks, there are five other undefeated 5A teams in the metro: Chanhassen, Spring Lake Park, Cooper, Mahtomedi and SMB (SPA-Minnehaha-Blake). And don’t overlook St. Francis, Rogers, Park of Cottage Grove, Waconia and St. Michael-Albertville.
• Three running backs have separated themselves in the race for Metro Player of the Year: Lakeville North’s Wade Sullivan, East Ridge’s Dominik London and Mound-Westonka’s Isaiah Cherrier. Both Sullivan (680 yards and 12 TDs rushing) and London (645 yards, 9 TDS) play for Class 6A teams and have been well-documented. Cherrier, also a strong safety, might not get the notice of the other two, but his overall numbers stand out: 311 yards and five TDs rushing, 116 yards and three TDs receiving, two punt return TDs, 17 tackles, one interception and one fumble return for a TD. No surprise that Mound-Westonka is 4-0.
Metro football Top 10
1. Totino-Grace (4-0): Over the past two weeks, Ivan Burlak has rushed for 258 yards on just 32 carries. Big test Friday at Blaine.
2. Lakeville North (4-0): The Panthers offense carried the defense against Farmington, with QB Reed Smith throwing for four TDs in a 42-28 victory.
3. Rosemount (4-0): After stonewalling Lakeville South 20-2, the Irish defense has gone nine consecutive quarters without giving up a touchdown.
4. Eden Prairie (3-1): There is no quicker pass rusher off the edge than Eagles DE Jermaine Johnson II, who got well acquainted with Maple Grove QB Brad Davison on Friday.
5. Cretin-Derham Hall (4-0): I’ve been teased, and then disappointed, by the Raiders’ potential so often that I’ve become skittish, but so far they’re passing the eye test.
6. East Ridge (3-1): The Raptors tuned up for Friday’s clash with Cretin-Derham Hall by running all over a good Stillwater defense in a 30-7 rout.
7. Minnetonka (4-0): I’ve heard all kinds of reasons why the Skippers shouldn’t be ranked this high, but the only thing that matters, wins and losses, speaks loudest.
8. Burnsville (3-1): The Blaze worked its blueprint to perfection, getting 325 combined rushing yards from Jackson Martens and Steph Olson Jr. in a 31-21 victory over Apple Valley.
9. Elk River (Class 5A, 4-0): Beating defending champion St. Michael-Albertville for the first time in four years is impressive, but 43-6? 440 yards rushing? Wow!
10. Champlin Park (3-1): The Rebels find ways to win, whether it be shutting out Centennial, outlasting Coon Rapids or outscoring Blaine.
Others worth watching: Blaine, Maple Grove, Edina, Chanhassen (5A), Spring Lake Park (5A), Cooper (5A), Mahtomedi (5A), SMB (5A).