Rochester Century edged Big Lake for the Football University Team of the Week honors In the closest fan vote in the history of the Northstar Football News’ segment.
The Panthers earned 1,157 total tallies, nine more than the Hornets. Both teams were nominated for the FBU Team of the Week after impressive upset victories over undefeated, No. 1-seeded teams in their respective sections.
On the strength of six forced turnovers, Century defeated No. 3 (5A) Northfield 14-12 to win the Section 1AAAAA semifinal. Thomas Mergen led the Panthers offensively with 92 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Isaiah Tamte interception two passes on defense.
“Our kids overcame adversity several times during the game and made crucial plays when called upon,” said Rochester Century coach Jon Vik via email about his team’s character. “They played with tenacity and toughness for the full 48 minutes.”
The Panthers win avenged a 14-0 shutout loss to the Raiders in the regular season finale. Vik said even though they lost the game, his team gained confidence in the loss by playing one of Class AAAAA’s top teams so tightly.
Century gets a shot at another highly-ranked team – No. 6 Owatonna – on Friday in the section final. The Huskies defeated the Panthers 46-7 in Week 6 — a game in which Owatonna rushed for 459 yards.
“We will need to play our most focused, physical game of the season,” Vik said. “Over the past several games we were able to capitalize on some turnovers and also make some crucial special teams plays. With a team as strong as Owatonna, we will need to win those battles as well.”