Lakeville South’s first challenge Friday night will be slowing a St. Michael-Albertville offense that has scored more than 30 points in seven of its nine games.
The second challenge will be coaxing more production out of a Cougars offense that has scored more than one touchdown in a game only twice.
The two, of course, are intertwined because South needs both to happen to have a chance of pulling an upset in the Class 6A football round of 16. Lakeville South (4-5) plays at St. Michael-Albertville at 7 p.m. Friday, with the winner advancing to the Class 6A quarterfinals to play Maple Grove or Roseville on Nov. 9 at Park Center High School.
This is St. Michael-Albertville’s first season in Class 6A, but its program is no stranger to playoff football. The Knights have qualified for the state playoffs eight times and won the Class 5A championship in 2015.
“They remind me a little bit of Eden Prairie and Totino-Grace with the success they’ve had running the ball,” Lakeville South coach Tyler Krebs said of the Knights. “They play a similar style. There’s a reason they won a state championship. It will be a tremendous challenge for us.”
Krebs said the goal will be to hold the Knights to two touchdowns or fewer, which is a lot to ask because only one St. Michael-Albertville opponent accomplished that all season. Totino-Grace defeated STMA 12-7 on Sept. 29, giving the Knights their only loss of the season.
STMA defeated Hopkins 41-18 in the Class 6A first round last Friday. Lakeville South’s defense came up big in a 13-0 victory over Woodbury, giving the Cougars back-to-back victories for the second time this season.
South’s first points, a 31-yard field goal by John Olson about midway through the first quarter, were set up by Ty Willman’s interception return into Woodbury territory. Woodbury couldn’t move on its next possession and attempted to punt, but the snap went through the end zone as South’s lead went to 5-0.
The score remained 5-0 until Brady Torborg returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown in the game’s final two minutes. Tyler Westrude ran for a two-point conversion.
Torborg, a senior captain, also was called into service at quarterback as starter George Brekke missed the game because of an ankle injury. Brekke returned to practice this week but is not 100 percent healthy, Krebs said.
Torborg rushed for 34 yards and completed one pass for 24 yards. Jeremiah Jacobson rushed for 66 yards on 30 carries for South, which had 121 yards total. Woodbury (4-5) passed for 158 yards but did little on the ground, rushing for 17 yards in 32 attempts.
“Everybody on defense played really well against Woodbury,” Krebs said. “We had big games from kids like Stephen Shabaz and Matt Borowicz on the line.”
Jared Stewart was moved from the offensive backfield to bolster an already strong group of linebackers and has made a difference on defense, Krebs added.
The Cougars will need more of the same to win Friday night. “We’ve only given up 28 points in the second half, which means we’ve been able to make adjustments at halftime and come out and play well,” Krebs said. “The biggest challenge will be coming out with the same intensity in the first half that we’ve seen from our kids in the second half.”