Steele champs abound
It has likely never happened before, but something extraordinary and explosive took place in Steele County this past week.
All four Steele County high schools will be represented in the MSHSL state tournament this week after the Medford volleyball team and Blooming Prairie, Owatonna and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva football teams claimed section championships.
Blooming Prairie (11-0) defeated Goodhue (9-2) in a close, hard-fought at Rochester Regional Stadium on the Rochester Community and Technical College’s campus.
The Awesome Blossoms endured a strong push from the Wildcats in the second half, and were ultimately victorious 21-18 in Class A, Section 1 title game.
Blooming Prairie will play United South Central (10-0) on Saturday, Nov. 10 at New Ulm High School in opening round of the Class A state tournament.
Owatonna (10-0) won the Class 5A, Section 1 title and qualified for the state tournament for the third consecutive season by defeating Northfield (7-4) on Saturday at home.
OHS star and future Golden Gopher Jason Williamson put up “video game numbers” for the second straight week by rushing for nearly 500 yards and six touchdowns as the Huskies handled the Raiders, 49-25. Owatonna will face Chaska (8-2) at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the TCO Performance Center in Eagan.
NRHEG (9-2) avenged 48-6 regular season loss to Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (9-2) to win the Class A, Section 2 title at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton High School. The program’s last section title came in 1986 before consolidating.
The Panthers quarterback Blake Ihrke passed for 360 yards and six touchdowns as the Panthers eviscerated the Buccaneers 46-6. NRHEG will take on the three-time defending state champions, Caledonia (10-0), on Saturday at Burnsville High School.
Medford (27-5) claimed the first sub-section and section titles in school history by defeating Faribault Bethlehem Academy (9-17) on Thursday, 3-0, and No. 6 Mabel-Canton (29-6) on Saturday, 3-1, at Rochester Mayo Civic Center.
The Tigers will face Mayer Lutheran (21-9) at 3 p.m. on Thursday in the opening round of the Class A state tournament at the Xcel Energy Center.