An example of how deceptive a team's record can be is Elk River's 62-0 rout of Sauk Rapids-Rice on Tuesday in the Class 5A, Section 6 football quarterfinals.
On one side, there was Elk River. The Elks, seeded No. 4, finished 4-4, the result of a brutal regular-season schedule.
On the other, Sauk Rapids-Rice also was 4-4. The Storm had lost 22 consecutive games before this season but was a pleasant surprise, winning more games than they had in the previous four seasons combined.
As it turned out, their respective records were the only thing the two teams had in common.
Elk River, running its signature sleight-of-hand Wing-T offense behind a rugged offensive line, had little trouble handling Sauk Rapids' visibly smaller defense, scoring on five of its first six possessions.
Senior running back Jack Kolar started the scoring, catching a 16-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Trent Pink to cap a six-play, 68-yard drive on Elk River's first possession of the game.
"That gave us a little more energy," said Kolar, who rushed for 141 yards on 11 carries in addition to his touchdown reception. "It set the tone and gives us a positive attitude going into [the semifinals]."
Touchdowns came quickly after that. Kolar on a 62-yard run. Pink on a 1-yard bootleg. Nick Rice from 35 yards out. Kolar again — his third touchdown of the game — on a 3-yard run. The Elks led 35-0 at halftime.
The second half was more of the same. The Elks scored three more touchdowns in the third quarter, two of them the result of botched Sauk Rapids-Rice punts, and backup running back Luke Dickinson added a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Elk River coach Steve Hamilton said that, despite the lopsided final score, the game was beneficial to his team heading into Saturday's semifinal at top-seeded St. Michael-Albertville.
"This is the first game in a long time where we've been completely healthy," he said. "In the last few games, we've been mixing and matching. We have a few things to clean up, but I thought we executed well."