In this most unusual of football seasons, with games being postponed, new games scheduled at the last minute and teams losing players under quarantine, it’s no surprise that the unstable nature of the schedule is trickling into the Metro Top 10.
For example, two top-10 programs, St. Michael-Albertville and Champlin Park, went from having their regularly scheduled contests postponed to finding each other at a late hour. St. Michael-Albertville remained undefeated with a 31-13 victory. For Champlin Park, it could have been its next-to-last game this season. The Anoka-Hennepin School District’s impending move to distance learning in response to rising COVID numbers means athletics will be shut down for every school in the district on Nov. 2. The Rebels’ game Friday at Rosemount might be their finale.
Speaking of Rosemount, the Irish had their first two games of the season canceled or postponed; they now will likely play three games in eight days to compensate. They beat Eagan 35-0 Friday in their first game of the season, scheduled a makeup game against undefeated Woodbury for 6 p.m. Monday (Monday Night Football, preps edition) and will host Champlin Park on Friday.
It’s become common for Lakeville North to go into each week unsure of who its opponent is going to be. Its original opponent in each of the first three weeks has had to withdraw. The Panthers found opponents to take their place after the first two, but no makeup has been announced for last Friday’s loss of Eastview as a foe. As of now, their next game will be Friday at Lakeville South.
Caught in the middle of this are the players, many of whom have had their hopes and expectations raised and lowered like a garage door over the past few months.
Lesson? Keep any football plans fluid. And be prepared for disappointment.
METRO TOP 10
1. Lakeville South (3-0): In their biggest test yet, the Cougars offense responded with 49 points against hard-nosed Prior Lake. And without top OL Riley Mahlman, who’s injured.
2. Eden Prairie (3-0): The Eagles pulled away from rival Wayzata with a 21-point fourth-quarter.
3. St. Michael-Albertville (3-0): The Knights are undefeated despite playing one of the metro’s toughest schedules. It doesn’t get any easier this week, hosting Prior Lake on Friday.
4. Woodbury (2-0): Great test Monday for the Royals, who upgraded their schedule from Cretin-Derham Hall on Friday (canceled) to Rosemount on Monday.
5. East Ridge (2-0): When the Raptors play Woodbury on Friday, it will have been 21 days since they’ve allowed a point. Of course, Friday’s game was a cancellation.
6. Farmington (3-0): Do the Tigers deserve to be ranked this high? Throw their schedule out. All they’ve done is win, and that’s what matters.
7. Prior Lake (2-1): The Lakers had their chances against Lakeville South, but crucial second-half turnovers did them in.
8. Rosemount (1-0): Finally, a game. After being forced to the sidelines for two weeks, the Irish limbered up in a 35-0 triumph over Eagan.
9. St. Thomas Academy (5A, 3-0): Does the 27-21, four-OT victory over Mahtomedi say more about the Cadets or their opponent? I’d say both.
10. Orono (4A, 3-0): I’ve saved this spot to recognize a team that has won three straight over quality foes, two of them a class above them. The Spartans deserve kudos.
Others: Lakeville North, Osseo.