Defeating Thief River Falls in the regular-season finale prevented the Park Rapids football team from having to play the top team in the section when the playoffs begin Tuesday, Oct. 22.

A stellar defensive performance and Jens Anderson’s pair of 1-yard touchdown runs led the Panthers to a 14-0 win at Thief River Falls on Wednesday, Oct. 16. That victory gave Park Rapids a 1-7 record and the No. 7 seed in the Section 8AAA playoffs. The Panthers will travel to No. 2 Pequot Lakes (5-3) Tuesday night (Oct. 22) for a 6 p.m. kickoff. Pequot Lakes, which defeated the Panthers 35-14 in Week 5, is tied for the No. 12 ranking in the latest state Class AAA poll.

“I think it'll be a 48 minute grind-out game. I think the team with the most big plays and that plays the best on defense will win the ball game,” said Park Rapids head coach Jeremy Nordick. “They've got some very explosive kids, so if we can slow them down it should be a great football game. We are excited about wiping the slate clean in the playoffs.”

The other Section 8AAA quarterfinal games on Oct. 22 will find No. 1 Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (7-1) hosting No. 8 Thief River Falls (0-8), No. 3 Perham (5-3) hosting No. 6 Roseau (2-6) and No. 4 Fergus Falls (4-4) hosting No. 5 East Grand Forks (3-5). D-G-F was rated No. 6 in the latest state Class AAA poll.

The top seeds will host semifinal games on Saturday (Oct. 26) with the section championship game moving to the Fargodome on Thursday, Oct. 31 at 8 p.m.

Nevis opens at home

Despite a 50-14 loss at Fertile-Beltrami to close out the regular season on Wednesday night, Nevis maintained the No. 4 seed to earn a home game to open the Section 6 9-man playoffs.

The Tigers finished with a 4-4 record and will host No. 5 Moorhead Park Christian (4-4) Tuesday night (Oct. 22) at 7 p.m. The Tigers defeated Park Christian 41-25 at Nevis in Week 6.

Win-E-Mac (8-0) received the No. 1 seed and will host No. 8 Laporte (1-7), Fertile-Beltrami (7-1) received the No. 2 seed and will host No. 7 Clearbrook-Gonvick (1-7) and Blackduck (6-2) received the No. 3 seed and will host No. 6 Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal (2-6) on Oct. 22. Win-E-Mac was rated No. 6 and Fertile-Beltrami was rated No. 12 in the latest state 9-man poll.

The top seeds will host semifinal games on Saturday, Oct. 26 with the section championship game being played at the Fargodome on Thursday, Oct. 31 at 12:30 p.m.

UNC plays in 8AA

After playing a 9-man schedule all season, United North Central will have to transition to 11-man football when the Section 8AA playoffs begin on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

The Warriors finished with a 2-6 record following a 46-16 loss to Bertha-Hewitt in the final regular-season game on Wednesday night at Sebeka. The Warriors received the No. 7 seed and will travel to No. 2 Pelican Rapids (5-3) for a 6 p.m. kickoff in a quarterfinal game on Oct. 22.

The other Section 8AA quarterfinal games on Oct. 22 will pit No. 1 Barnesville (8-0) hosting No. 8 Hawley (0-8), No. 3 Frazee (4-4) hosting No. 6 Bagley (4-4) and No. 4 Warroad (4-4) hosting No. 5 Crookston (3-5). Barnesville rated No. 3 in the latest state Class AA poll.

The top seeds will host semifinal games on Saturday, Oct. 26. The Section 8AA title game will be played at the Fargodome on Friday, Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.