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Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Football
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Elk River
Spring Lake Park

Prep Bowl XXXV Preview: 5A

By Ryan Phelps
US Bank Stadium - Minneapolis, MN

Prep Bowl Previews

9M / 1A / 2A / 3A / 4A / 5A / 6A

 

State Tournament Brackets

9M / 1A / 2A / 3A / 4A / 5A / 6A top / 6A bottom

 

Head coaches

Elk River: Steve Hamilton, 19h year, 104-86 career record

Spring Lake Park: Jeff Schlieff, 24th year, 174-76 career record

 

Where they rank

Elk River: #1 in QRF, #1 in AP

Spring Lake Park: #3 in QRF, #3 in AP

 

Head to Head

Have not played in the last 10 years

 

Previous Prep Bowl Success

Elk River

  • 2nd state championship appearance (1990, 16)
  • 0 state championship wins

Spring Lake Park

  • 2nd state championship appearance (1991, 16)
  • 1 state championship win (1991)

 

Points Per Game

Elk River: 45.2 points per game (#1 in 5A)

Spring Lake Park: 35.1 points per game (#10 in 5A)

 

Points Against

Elk River: 12.0 points against (#2 in 5A)

Spring Lake Park: 13.8 points per game (#4 in 5A)

 

Margin of Victory

Elk River: 33.2 margin of victory (#1 in 5A)

Spring Lake Park: 21.7 margin of victory (#6 in 5A)

 

Road to the Bank

Elk River

Section finals: defeated St. Michael-Albertville, 56-0

State Quarterfinals: defeated Alexandria, 60-36

State Semifinals: defeated Owatonna, 19-7

 

Spring Lake Park

Section finals: defeated Robbinsdale Cooper, 22-7

State Quarterfinals: defeated Andover, 31-30

State Semifinals: defeated Mankato West, 14-0

 

The Skinny

Saturday, November 26, 4pm at US Bank Stadium

The Elks of Elk River return for their seventh appearance, but first since 2012. They were ranked No. 1 in this year’s final AP poll. The Panthers of Spring Lake Park return for their third consecutive and seventh overall appearance. They lost in the quarterfinals in 2015 and came in at No. 3 in this year’s final AP poll. If the Panthers win, it would be their second championship. They won their first in 1991.

 

Elk River rushed for 5,383 yards this season while netting 319 yards passing. Seniors Nicholas Rice and Sam Gibas led the ground game for the Elks. Rice scored 22 touchdowns on 168 rushing attempts and gained 1,912 yards. Gibas added 21 touchdowns on 145 carries for 1,225 yards. Senior quarterback Blake Hills completed 58 percent of his pass attempts and threw for three touchdowns. Junior Mitchell Stroh led Elk River’s defense with 89 tackles, one interception, and one fumble recovery. Hill and senior Noah Weege had eight and four interceptions, respectively, for the Elks. Elk River averages 45.2 points per game and their opponents average 12.0 against them.

 

Spring Lake Park also prefers to keep the ball on the ground and compiled 4,400 rushing yards this year. Seniors Zachary Ojile and Anthony Fleischfresser gained 1,675 and 733 yards on the ground, respectively. Ojile carried the ball 202 times and ran for 14 touchdowns and Fleischfresser carried the ball 137 times and tallied 11 touchdowns. Ojile also completed 49 percent of his pass attempts for 231 yards and five touchdowns. Senior Jackson Dahl anchored Spring Lake Park’s defense with 109 tackles, three fumble recoveries, and one interception. The Panthers average 32.0 points per game and their opponents average 12.0 against them.

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