Caledonia vs. Paynesville MSHSL Class AA state-semi final

Caledonia quarterback Noah King runs the ball during last season's MSHSL Class AA state semifinal win over Paynesville at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Noah King had a specific plan to make better decisions while playing quarterback as a senior for the Caledonia High School football team this fall.

Coach Carl Fruechte, whose Warriors are trying to win their 66th straight game and advance to the MSHSL Class AA state semifinals if they can get it, said King can consider his progress a success.

King leads Caledonia (11-0) into Friday’s quarterfinal game against Pipestone (7-3) at Rochester Mayo Field with a monstrous season. He has passed for 1,683 yards and 28 touchdowns and rushed for 598 yards and 11 touchdowns as the Warriors chase a fifth consecutive state title.

“Noah has made great strides and really matured,” Fruechte said. “His decision-making has gotten better and better.

“He’s calm, he’s relaxed, he’s comfortable, and he’s reading defenses really well.”

Caledonia meets a familiar program on Friday after beating Pipestone handily in the Class AA championship game in both 2015 and 2017. The Arrows squeaked by Redwood Valley 26-21 in last week’s section final.

“We know what a good program they have,” said Fruechte, whose team is allowing 119.8 rushing yards and 6 points per game. “They have some backs who are good that we’ll have to be ready for.”

Pipestone will also have to be ready to limit King’s opportunities at a big game through connections with receivers Eli King and Cole Kronebusch. King has 39 catches for 714 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Kronebusch has 23 for 469 and seven TDs.


Prairie du Chien (10-1) at G-E-T (10-1)

The Red Hawks earned this home game after being awarded the No. 1 seed, and they’ve done nothing to show they didn’t deserve it.

G-E-T is trying to advance to the semifinal round for the first time and has scored 86 points in its first two playoff games. The Red Hawks beat Marshall 48-18 in the first round and Aquinas 38-0 last week behind an overpowering performance by their offensive line.

The beneficiaries of that work have been junior Luke Vance and senior Bryce Burns, who have combined for 742 yards and 11 touchdowns just in the playoffs.

Vance, who averages 143.2 yards per game and has 21 rushing touchdowns, had 290 yards and scored three times on long runs against the Blugolds last week. He also had 240 yards and four TDs against Marshall. Burns, who averages 138.2 yards and has 20 touchdowns, has scored twice in each postseason game.

The Blackhawks last qualified for the semifinals in 1988 and wound up having their season ended with a 31-7 loss to Maple Northwestern in the Division 3 championship game.

Quarterback Dylan Coleman has passed for 1,672 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with his top targets being receivers Mason Kramer (44 catches, 821 yards, 10 TDs) and Ben Riter (37-605, 6 TDs).

Traeton Saint (135 carries, 727 yards, 11 TDs) leads Prairie du Chien’s running game, which also includes Tyler Hannah (108, 693, 8 TDs), who didn’t have a carry in last week’s 28-14 win over Arcadia.

Looking at common opponents this season, there is one, and that’s Aquinas. The Black Hawks began the season with a 7-6 win over the Blugolds.