Thunderbirds hope for rematch in 8A title; LPA, Frazee eyeing upset bids

Section football preview for area teams.

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Dennis Ashley breaks free on Sept. 17, 2021 in Mahnomen-Waubun's win over Warroad. The Thunderbirds earned the second seed and first-round bye in the 8A playoffs, and will host the winner of Polk County West and Fosston on Saturday. (Submitted)

Mahnomen-Waubun is looking to make it back to the state tournament for the first time since 2018, where the Thunderbirds took home the Class A title. To do that, they will have to take care of business against two other hopefuls in Section 8A.

The second-seeded Thunderbirds (7-1) earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs, which likely sets up a semifinal home game against Polk County West (6-1). The third-seeded Eagles shared a common loss with Mahnomen-Waubun against top-seeded Ada-Borup West (7-1).

The Thunderbirds outscored its opponents 296-90 this season to finish the season ranked fourth in the Class A rankings, according to the Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of Oct. 19. Ada-Borup is ranked seventh, while Polk County West is eighth.

Mahnomen-Waubun finished 2-1 in section play this season, with their only loss coming on the road at Ada-Borup by a score of 33-12. The Thunderbirds finished the season on a four-game winning streak and scored at least 33 points in seven games this season.

In 2020, the Thunderbird went 5-0 before the COVID-19 pandemic halted the season early. Mahnomen-Waubun followed up its 13-0 state championship season in 2018 with an 8-2 campaign in 2019. In 2019, Mahnomen-Waubun's repeat bid fell short in the Section 8A final in a 34-28 loss to Polk County West.


If Polk County West can take care of business against sixth-seeded Fosston in the first round, the Thunderbirds will host the Eagles on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Raiders look to right the ship

Lake-Park Audubon (2-6) is looking for its first playoff win since 2014. To do that will mean knocking off second-seeded Pine River-Backus (7-1)

The Raiders earned the seventh seed in Section 6A after a 2-6 season. They were outscored 145-219 by opponents this fall and closed the regular season on a four-game losing streak. The Raiders did go head-to-head with Pine River-Backus on Oct. 15 and lost 44-16. It was the only section game played this season.

It's been eight years since the last LPA playoff victory. In 2014, the Raiders beat Badger-Greenbush-Middle River in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Fosston four days later. The Tigers are more familiar with postseason success. Last year they beat Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 29-6 in their only playoff game. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Frazee hits the road for Hawley

The Frazee Hornets (2-6) are the sixth seed in the Section 8AA tournament and will head to Hawley on Tuesday night to battle the third-seeded Nuggets (4-4).

Frazee won its first and last games of the 2021 season over Parkers Prairie and Roseau but also suffered a six-game losing streak. The Hornets were 0-2 in section play with losses at Pelican Rapids on Sept. 10 and Crookston on Sept. 24.

If the Hornets get past the Nuggets in the first round, they will travel to Pelican Rapids on Oct. 30. This season, the Vikings finished 6-2, which was good enough for the second seed and first-round bye.

At the top of the bracket sits seventh-ranked Barnesville at 6-2, The Trojans' only two losses were against eighth-ranked Osakis and West Central Area-Ashby, who earned the top two seeds in Section 6AA.


Kickoff in Hawley is at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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