PREP FOOTBALL: Minneota and BOLD will decide 5A final

MINNEOTA- When Minneota plays BOLD this afternoon for the Section 5A title, they will be playing an almost mirror image of themselves. The 7-3 Warriors play a very bruising style of football much like the 10-0 Vikings. Minnesota coach Chad Johnston knows his team will have to keep that in mind.

“The nice thing about playing Canby is they’re pretty physical up front,” Johnston said. “That prepared us for BOLD. They’re a sound team. Not fancy. They’re just going to line up and be more physical than you. Our kids responded well to the physicality against Canby and they’re going to need to against BOLD because we are going to get tested.”

Minneota has plenty of strength on both side of the ball as well. Minnesota’s Garrett Hennen will be the feature back and will try and do his part to get the Vikings back to the state tournament to defend their Class A State Championship.

“Their strength has been stopping the run and our strength has been our run game,” Johnston said. “As much as I reference Garrett, they have a fullback thats 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds. We’re going to get a taste of our own medicine today I think.”

Some of the opponents Minneota has played this season have gotten early leads on the Vikings but were unable to sustain the lead through all four quarters. Tracy-Milory-Balaton and Canby both jumped out to early leads on the Vikings, but went a combined 0-3 against them.

Johnston is proud of the way his players have responded over the course of the season in the second half. He knows there could be a number of reasons for having to come from behind early.

“When you talk about coming back on a team like BOLD, if you can’t make stops, they can take a lot of time off the clock,” Johnston said. “We’re hoping that, since BOLD doesn’t see as much as some around here, that may help us a little bit. Is it slow starts and condition becomes a factor in the second half? It’s hard to say if were a slow starting team or if were just wearing on people and making the right adjustments.”

With one more obstacle between he Vikings and the home-away-from home that is the state playoffs, wide receiver Kyle Hennen knows the team’s motivation is sky-high.

“The motivation started right after last season ended,” Hennen said. “We wanted to get the repeat. We modified a few plays, but we know they’re going to try and stop our run. Hopefully we can rely on our passing game a little bit.”

Henna caught two touchdown passes against Canby.