Football | Century vs. Northfield notes
7 p.m. today, at Century High School
RECORDS: No. 2 Century is 5-3; No. 3 Northfield 6-3.
LAST WEEK: Century had a bye in the first round of Section 1AAAAA play; Northfield nipped John Marshall 10-7 in the section quarterfinals.
LAST MEETING: Century earned the No. 2 seed in the section by blanking Northfield 31-0 in the final game of the regular season.
NORTHFIELD NOTES: The Raiders, coached by Bubba Sullivan, needed a last-second field goal to nip John Marshall in the section quarterfinals. Northfield beat Century 14-0 during the 2017 regular season before falling to the Panthers 14-12 in the section semifinals. Northfield got off to a slow start in Week 8 against Century, losing fumbles on its first possession and then a kickoff to fall into an early 10-0 hole. The Raiders had just 110 yards in the first meeting with Century as QB Mason Zick was just 8-for-21 passing for 67 yards and three interceptions and top RB Michael Stanchina has limited to 19 yards on eight carries. Zick threw a TD pass in the win over JM and completed a late 54-yard pass to Stanchina to set up the winning FB. Stanchina has a team-high 14 TDs, 5 rushing and 9 receiving.
CENTURY NOTES: The Panthers played their best all-around game in the Week 8 road victory over Northfield, which earned Century a first-round section bye. Panthers coach Jon Vik is expecting a close game in the section semifinals. “We know we are in for a battle,” he said. The Panthers have had a very balanced offense with 1,354 yards rushing and 1,344 yards passing. QB Arath Martnez has passed for 1,235 yards with 10 TDs and 7 interceptions. Colin Smith and Thomas Mergen have both scored 7 TDs to lead the team. Jack Fisher (18 catches) and Smith (11 catches) are both averaging more than 21 yards a catch. Kobe Sinclair has had two straight games with a touchdown catch and an interception. Century’s three losses have come against teams who are a combined 23-1 and those three teams (8-0 Owatonna, 8-0 Winona and 7-1 Mankato West) were all ranked in the top five of the state in their respective classes when the Panthers played them.
COACH JON VIK ON THE RAIDERS: “Northfield is a well-coached football team with players who can make big plays. We know Northfield will be playing their best football and they would love to have another shot at Owatonna. When we played them last Wednesday they uncharacteristically had six turnovers which played a huge role in our success. Tuesday they eliminated those mistakes, played a very strong defensive game against JM’s powerful running attack, and showed resiliency scoring with two seconds left in the game. Offensively, Northfield has not run the ball as effectively the past three weeks but that has been against some excellent defenses. To supplement that, they have thrown the ball much more and thrown it deep more often. It was a long pass that got them in position to kick the winning field goal against JM. They can be explosive. We know we are in for a battle.”
UP NEXT: The winner of the Century-Northfield game will face the winner of the No. 4 Mayo at No. 1 Owatonna game in the section finals on Nov. 2 at the site of the high seed.
— GUY N. LIMBECK