Andover has high hopes after stopping losing streak

  • Article by: JIM PAULSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 16, 2012 - 11:55 PM

It's not often a football team that just ended an eight-game, two-season losing streak can harbor state championship hopes, but such is the case with Andover.

The Huskies, who play in the Northwest Suburban Conference with some of the state's largest schools, remained in Class 5A while many of their league opponents moved up to the recently created Class 6A.

They lost their last six games in 2011 and were 0-2 this season after close losses to Edina and Anoka. They broke that streak with a 34-13 victory over Coon Rapids on Friday.

"We had our chances in both of the losses, and I think we were a couple of plays away from being 3-0," coach Rich Wilkie said. "Winning was good for the kids. It was tough on them."

Wilkie knew his team would take a few lumps playing the big boys in the Northwest Suburban but hopes that will toughen them up for a run in the Class 5A playoffs.

"I'm excited to get the opportunity to compete [in the postseason] against schools more our size," Wilkie said. "I've been telling my team for years that the only game that really matters is Game 9."

Harding chops Johnson

St. Paul Johnson played St. Paul Harding on Friday in the 81st meeting between the two schools.

At stake was the Hatchet, a traveling trophy between the two teams, but what made the game even more interesting was the locale.

The game was played at Johnson, on the field behind the school that is rarely used for varsity games because it does not have lights.

"It's just the third time in my 25 years here that we have hosted a game," Governors coach Jeff Plaschko wrote in an e-mail.

Familiar surroundings were not enough for Johnson, however, as Harding rallied to win 20-15 on a touchdown pass with a little more than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

Antonio Wagener came up big for Harding, which had not defeated Johnson since 2004. Wagener passed for two touchdowns, ran for another and intercepted two passes, one of which sealed the victory.

Spartans win one

St. Paul Academy/Mounds Park Academy broke a 20-game losing streak dating to 2009 with a 14-6 victory over Brooklyn Center.

The Spartans' defense was the story. Karl Hommeyer had two interceptions and Danny O'Shea made 17 1/2 tackles as they held an opponent to the lowest point total since shutting out St. Bernard's in 2006.

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