NEW ULM - Week Eight of the high school football season means the end of the regular season, MEA Week and Wednesday night games.
Both New Ulm High School and Minnesota Valley Lutheran have conference road contests, with the Eagles at Fairmont and the Chargers at United South Central.
New Ulm Cathedral ends its regular season against a strong Blooming Prairie team at Johnson Field.
Sectional seedings come out Thursday, with playoffs beginning next Tuesday.
Blooming Prairie (6-1) at New Ulm Cathedral (5-2), 7 p.m. Wednesday, Johnson Field
This game should be a treat for local football fans as the Awesome Blossoms bring their air show to face the Greyhounds.
"I was able to watch their game against Faribault Bethlehem Academy, and they do a lot of different things on offense," Cathedral coach Denny Lux said. "Their coaching staff has their players well prepared every game. This team is similar to the team that we played three years ago in the [state] quarterfinals, so it is going to be a great game to get us ready for the playoffs."
The Awesome Blossoms are a team that can put points up on the board. This season they have scored 61, 54 and 40 points in a game and last week defeated previously unbeaten Faribault BA 12-7.
Lux said that he will use the film from three years ago as a scouting tool.
"We will look back and see how they defended some of our sets and try and get an idea of what they may do defensively," Lux said.
Lux feels that Blooming Prairie offensively resembles Sleepy Eye St. Mary's with the spread offense.
"They do run their quarterback, maybe not quite as much as St. Mary's. But they do use all of their receivers - they have tall receivers - and their quarterback has a lot of height, so he can look downfield. They have perfected the offense perhaps more than other teams have."
With playoffs beginning six days after this game, Lux said that he wants to get his team mentally ready for the playoffs.
"We need to get our frame of mind that the playoffs are right around the corner and understand that every play really counts," Lux said.
Seedings come out Thursday and right now Lux feels that the Greyhounds will be in the top three. QRF ratings are done by the coaches in Section 2A and they currently have Sleepy Eye St. Mary's at No. 1, followed by Springfield and then Cathedral.
Lux thinks that a win over Blooming Prairie "would give the coaches in the section something to think about, because we all know that Blooming Prairie is a quality team."
New Ulm (1-6) at Fairmont (3-4), 7 p.m. Wednesday
The New Ulm Eagles are hoping to end the regular season with a road win.
"Fairmont is a little different this year," New Ulm coach Tony Ortmann said. "They still run the I-back offense, but they are different now in that they are not using tight ends. They try and spread it out more - their quarterback is very strong and a good thrower and he is a guy that we will have to stop."
But whether it is the run or the pass, Ortmann knows that his team must tackle much better than they have been doing lately.
"Tackling is all about heart and will," Ortmann said. "You can practice all that you want on the fundamentals of tackling, but when it comes down to it, you have to want to do it."
New Ulm will be short personnel Wednesday as Grant Kannegiesser will not play due to injury.
"Grant is a big player for us offensively and defensively," Ortmann said. "MacKenze Vogel is filling in for him offensively at slotback and we are trying some younger guys at the outside linebacker spot. It is tough losing him, but we have guys who are willing to step up."
One of the bright spots for the Eagles this season has been senior halfback Isaiah Johnson.
"He is a good running back," Ortmann said. "He has been carrying a lot of the load for us lately. Last week we did not get him going running-wise. Once he is in open field, he sees it very well and is able to cut back and get big runs. We want to keep using him."
Minnesota Valley Lutheran (2-5) at United South Central (2-5), 7 p.m. Wednesday, Wells
Minnesota Valley Lutheran began its regular season on the road Aug. 24 at USC in a game it lost 12-7.
Seven games later, MVL will again travel to USC for its regular-season finale against the Rebels.
Both teams have established their offense and defense and will now see who has improved in this second meeting of the regular season.
"Like all teams, they will take what they have started at the beginning of the year and they have built on it," MVL coach Jim Buboltz said. "But yet the same concepts are still there. They have run the gamut in trying to do the things that they can do and they are still building on that."
Buboltz does not expect to see a lot of changes from USC from the first game.
"I do not expect to see a lot of changes from either team," he said. "From our aspect the changes that we have made will be to shore things up. In their case, they only have had a couple of days to prepare after their game on Friday."
Meanwhile, the Chargers have had over a week to prep for this game.
It was some time that the Chargers needed after their tough recent schedule, having played three state-ranked teams in their past three games.
"The timing came at the right time," Buboltz said. "We had run into buzz saws with some of the opponents that we had played. We got healed up in that bye week."
Right now, MVL sits in the No. 5 spot in Section 2A behind Sleepy Eye St. Mary's, Springfield, New Ulm Cathedral and Cedar Mountain/Comfrey. Buboltz thinks that if his Chargers defeat USC and CM/C loses at Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart, that MVL may vault into the fourth spot and a home playoff game.
"This game could be for a home playoff game," Buboltz said. "And that is what we want."