Prep report: Unbeaten record not enough to get Northwestern a top seed
If the Tigers meet St. Croix Falls in the third round, the game will be on the road.
After completing an unbeaten regular season on Friday night, the Northwestern Tigers received an unwelcome surprise on Saturday morning.
The Tigers' 9-0 record was not enough to get a top seed in Division 5, according to brackets released by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association. Instead, the top seed in Group A is St. Croix Falls (8-1), who the Tigers beat 36-28 on Sept. 9 in Maple.
The WIAA's electronic seeding formula criteria includes winning percentage, opponents' winning percentage, defeated opponents' winning percentage, defeated opponents' opponents' winning percentage, historical conference and team playoff performance and other factors.
Any potential rematch would not be until Nov. 4, and both teams have two games to get through before that eventuality.
In the interim, Northwestern's playoff trail begins on Friday with a Level 1 match vs. Stanley-Boyd (4-5). The Orioles won three of their last four games to earn a playoff berth and won a Level 1 playoff game on the road in 2021 before exiting in the next round.
The third seed in the group is Aquinas (8-1), the division's defending state champion, which could travel to Maple to face the Tigers if they can get past sixth-seeded Durand-Arkansaw.
It's the ninth straight year the Tigers have reached the postseason and 13th in the last 14.
Northwood/Solon Springs finds playoff spot
Northwood/Solon Springs landed a playoff ticket in the 8-player division on Saturday, though they face a tall order. Their opponent is top-seeded Siren in a game on Friday in Siren, Wisconsin.
The teams met on Sept. 9 in Siren, with the Dragons claiming a 50-30 victory on their way to an unbeaten 8-0 record.
Moose Lake/Willow River 42, Hinckley-Finlayson 12
Kaxsyn Schmidt's 80-yard kickoff return for a touchdown started a run of 35 unanswered points as the Rebels set up an elite clash with an unbeaten Rush City in the regular season finale.
Hinckley took a 12-7 lead in the second quarter before surrendering the lead on what was his second touchdown of the day.
Schmidt and Kaden Robbins scored two rushing touchdowns apiece in the second half as the Rebels pulled away for their sixth straight win.
Schmidt finished with 239 rushing yards on 15 carries.
ML/WR will host an undefeated Rush City team in the regular-season finale on Wednesday night.
Duluth Marshall 2, PACT 1
The Hilltoppers jump-started their offense just in time on Saturday, advancing to Tuesday's Section 7A championship game.
After a scoreless first half, PACT drew a penalty in the 43rd minute and Gavin Grams converted it to give the visitors the lead.
The Panthers held on into the closing stages, including a free kick off the crossbar with 16 minutes left, but the Hilltoppers had their turning point with 10 minutes to go. A foul in the penalty area led to the PACT goalkeeper getting sent off. Denzel Majwega converted that penalty and Brendan Friday followed with the game-winning goal about three minutes later.
Thomas Falgier made four saves for the Hilltoppers, who advance to face Legacy Christian Academy on Tuesday in Andover, Minnesota for the Section 7A championship.
Legacy Christian shut out Proctor 3-0 in the other semifinal in Andover.