Section football finals: Grand Rapids, Deer River & MIB clinch state berths

The third-placed Grand Rapids handed the top seeded North Branch their first loss of the season with a 14-12 win at Public Schools Stadium to secure the surprise and claim the Section 7AAAA title. The Thunderhawks are now going to their first state tournament since 2006.

“It’s all about believing everyone believes in the other and without that we wouldn’t achieve anything,” said senior running back Jack Cleveland after the win. “Without my blockers and my lineman and everyone who does their job, I can’t do my job.”

Head coach Greg Spahn added: “It’s been 15 years now and these guys really deserved it. I’m proud to be their coach.”

In Section 7A, the top seeded Deer River held off third seeded Barnum 32-8 as Egerdahl Field to improve to 10-0. The Warriors will now make their third trip to the state in four years.

“It feels great, I’m relieved that we made it,” said junior quarterback Sam Rahier. “I knew we could do it. We did our best, we deserved it, we worked for it all year and I’m just excited.”

“It’s a game and it’s done, we have to go to Brainerd and our goal is to try to get to the US bank.” [Stadium]”said head coach Brent Schimek.” I think that’s everyone’s goal in the country and that’s what we’re working on on Monday.

In section 5, 9-man Ogilvie eliminated South Ridge 42-0, and in section 7, 9-man Mountain Iron-Buhl took care of Cherry 66-20.

The Minnesota State High School football tournament begins November 11th.

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