Believe it or not, those of us who cover football love the chance to recognize the smaller programs. We, too, get tired of talking about the same large-school programs week after week.
So, let’s give a brief shout-out to five undefeated metro-area teams excelling below the Classes 6A and 5A level.
• Hutchinson (4A, 5-0): This town lives and breathes football, and when the team is good, as it is this year, the mood is always upbeat. RB Josiah Nelson leads the metro with 1,250 yards rushing.
• Dassel-Cokato (4A, 5-0): The Chargers are 5-0 for the first time in more than 20 years. It’s no fluke, either. Proof? They beat Delano 35-20 Friday, their first victory over the Tigers since 2009. QB Paul Raisanen leads an offense that can move the ball on the ground or through the air.
• Providence Academy (4A, 5-0): The Lions got a new head coach in former Edina OC Colin Rooney and absorbed the now-defunct West Lutheran program yet never missed a beat. The offense is scoring 40 points per game, the defense giving up less than three.
• Jordan (3A, 5-0): The Hubmen lost 3,400-yard passer Jonathan Draheim to graduation but may be better than last year’s Class 3A semifinalists. QB Bryce Sievers has stepped in seamlessly and has weapons at his disposal in Marlon Wiley and TD machine Ryan Samuelson.
• Minneapolis North (2A, 5-0): This year’s Polars have a shot at a second state title in three years (they won Class 1A in 2016). QB Zach Yeager has two game-breaking WRs in Nasim El-Amin and Omar Brown, and RB/LB Kehyan Porter is averaging two TDs and five tackles per game.
Metro Top 10
1. Lakeville North (5-0): How different are this year’s Panthers? They’re currently second in Class 6A in points per game at 35.2.
2. Blaine (5-0): Everything is going the Bengals’ way right now. They’ve forced 10 turnovers in their past two games.
3. Eden Prairie (4-1): After scoring just 14 total points in their first two games, the Eagles are averaging 36 per game in their past three.
4. Minnetonka (4-1): The preseason talk was all about the Skippers offense, but the defense has led the way in the past two games, giving up 10 total points.
5. East Ridge (4-1): A terrific fourth quarter — 20 straight points — made up for a lackluster first three as the Raptors rallied past Cretin-Derham Hall.
6. Edina (4-1): The Hornets host Minnetonka this week in a battle of two tough-guy defenses. First team to score twice wins.
7. Prior Lake (3-2): Their 21-0 victory over Burnsville was just what the Lakers needed after back-to-back losses at Eden Prairie and Minnetonka.
8. St. Michael-Albertville (3-2): After starting 0-2, the Knights have won three straight and are entering the soft part of their schedule.
9. St. Thomas Academy (5A, 5-0): The Cadets gave up a touchdown in a 24-6 victory over Hastings, just the second they’ve allowed this year.
10. (tie) White Bear Lake (4-1) and Woodbury (4-1). These two square off Friday at White Bear Lake. The winner stays ranked.
Others worth a mention: Elk River (5A, 5-0), Rosemount (3-2), Mounds View (3-2), Cooper (5A, 5-0), Mahtomedi (5A, 4-1).