Football roundup: Area teams looking for strong finishes


By Matthew Davis
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In six days, the high school football season will turn from regular season action to section tournament play.

Irondale senior safety Joshua Natere and junior defensive lineman Moses Yang go for a stop against Park Center Sept. 29. The Knights have gone 1-2 in their past three games but look to finish strong with a shot for the Suburban District Gold title. (Photo by Brian Flanary)

Area football teams will look to finish strong in their final two regular season games before the MEA break. Columbia Heights (4-2) Fridley (3-3) and Irondale (4-2) could all still land playoff home games with wins in the final stretch.

Fridley gets back to .500
Noah Couwenhoven threw for three touchdowns, and Ben Zayzay ran for two as Fridley won its second straight Oct. 6 in a 35-15 win at Minneapolis Washburn (2-5).

Couwenhoven, the Tigers quarterback, went 7-15 passing for 117 yards and a 113.1 QB rating. He found wide receiver Nate Soto twice on passes of 21 and 30 yards in the first half. Soto had four catches for 59 yards, and he stepped up big on defense with two interceptions.

Zayzay, who had 102 yards rushing on nine carries, scored on runs of two and 70 yards. He also had a big defensive game with eight tackles and a sack.

Suheb Elmi led the defense with 12 tackles and a half sack. Jaquelle Larson posted nine tackles, and Cooper Severson had a half sack and three tackles.

Fridley hosts Academy Force (1-5) Friday at 6 p.m. and then visits Providence Academy (3-3) Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.

“We’re ready to play our best football coming into sections,” Tigers coach Justin Reese said.

Irondale stunned at homecoming

Facing its biggest deficit of the season, Irondale’s rally fell short against Henry Sibley in a 23-20 homecoming loss Oct. 6.

Fridley senior running back Ben Zayzay leads the Tigers in rushing with 376 yards and four touchdowns this season. (Photo by Courtney Rathke)

Things went south early for the Knights when they gave up a 53-yard interception return for a touchdown by Max Gantman in the first quarter. Knights quarterback Brendan White rallied his team to tie in the second quarter on a 14-yard TD pass to Leighton Glodek in the second quarter.

Irondale’s defense then had its troubles with the Henry Sibley offense as the Warriors put up two rushing TDs in a six-minute stretch during the second half. The Knights fell behind 23-7 with 11:54 left in the game.

Knights running back Parker Freiberg closed the gap late with two rushing TDs in the next seven minutes, but the Knights couldn’t come up with plays in the final 4:57 to regain the lead. Freiberg finished with 168 yards rushing on 32 carries.

Irondale will look to bounce back at home Friday at 7 p.m. against St. Louis Park (3-3). With a win, the Knights will have a showdown at Robbinsdale Cooper (6-0) Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. for the Suburban District Gold title. Both the Knights and Hawks have unbeaten marks in Gold sub district play.

Columbia Heights seeks top seed

With a little bit of help from St. Paul Como Park (5-1) and DeLaSalle (4-2), Columbia Heights could nab the top seed for Class 4A Section 4.
The Hylanders host St. Anthony Village (4-2) Friday at 7 p.m. The Huskies have won two straight, including a 38-21 win over Breck (3-3) Sept. 29. Huskies quarterback Josiah Johnson leads a potent offensive attack that averages 33.2 points per game.

Columbia Heights bounced back last week after a loss to unbeaten Minneapolis North (6-0), to thump Minneapolis South (1-5) 33-0 in the rain Oct. 6. Joel Kromah rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns for the Hylanders. Antonio Triplett Jr. had 80 yards rushing and two TDs.

With a win against St. Anthony Village, Columbia Heights can make its case for the top seed at Minneapolis Edison (2-4) Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.

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