The field’s not 100 percent ready, so Sartell is moving its varsity football season-opener to St. Cloud State.
Sartell activities director John Ross confirmed Monday that the Sabres will play St. Cloud Apollo at 7 p.m. Friday at Husky Stadium.
Sartell has refurbished its facility with a new track and an improved football and soccer facility that necessitated the moving of the goal posts and re-sodding the field.
“It’s close, but not quite ready yet,” Ross said, noting that Sartell should be able to host its next home game, Sept. 14 against Sauk Rapids. “Yes, it (using SCSU) is a great option. It was part of our backup plan and that’s why we had a backup plan.”
Tickets will be available at Husky Stadium the evening of the game.
Sartell is coming off a 4-7 season and will be led by new head coach Scott Hentges, a longtime assistant to Ross who retired to concentrate on AD duties. Apollo is in its third season under head coach Justin Skaalerud and went 0-9 last year.
“He’s got them moving in the right direction and is really working hard,” Hentges said.
Apollo coach Justin Skaalerud said the change in venue doesn’t change the Eagles’ preparation.
“Our game plan will still be exactly the same,” he said.
Skaalerud said that stopping senior running back Erik McAfee will be a great challenge for Apollo.
“We’re going to have to tackle well,” Skaalerud said. “We have to get two, three, four guys on him every time.”
Becker head coach Dwight Lundeen goes for career win No. 300 at 7 p.m. Thursday when the Bulldogs are host to Milaca in their inaugural Granite Ridge Conference game.
“We were hoping we were going to care of that last year,” said Lundeen, whose career record is 299-140-3 in 42 seasons at Becker after the Bulldogs went 6-4 in 2011.
At the top of the coaches’ wins list is Brainerd’s Ron Stolski (337-152-5), followed by Verndale’s Mike Mahlen (328-106-3) and Cambridge’s George Larson (307-66-6). Stolski and Mahlen are still active. Larson is retired.
The next active coach on the list is Eden Prairie’s Mike Grant (264-64-0), who is 11th all-time.
Becker is having an all-class reunion for former football players, since Lundeen said everyone of them has had something to do with at least one victory. Becker has never had a winless season and Lundeen is the program’s only coach.
Former players and coaches will be introduced at halftime.
“We’re hoping it’s going to be a celebration of our football tradition,” Lundeen said.
Milaca head coach Randy Johnson is impressed by the Bulldogs, who he agreed is probably the conference favorite.
“We certainly have a concern about how we’re going to control that passing game,” said Johnson, whose young squad saw the Bulldogs during summer passing leagues.
* Clare Culligan of St. John’s Prep girls soccer team is closing in on 100 career goals. She has 93 heading into a game at 4:30 p.m. today with Sauk Rapids in Collegeville.
The Johnnies (1-1) play Thursday at Hillcrest Academy in Fergus Falls.
Culligan, a senior, would become the eighth girls soccer player in state history to reach the 100 mark. Benilde-St. Margaret’s Amy Busch scored 203 from 1984-89. Liz Woerle of Meadow Creek Christian is second with 145 goals scored from 2002-05 and Sartell’s Sarah Schellinger is third with 132 from 2003-07.
* Former Becker all-stater and Times player of the year Matt Veldman suffered a severe knee injury playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Lundeen said the former North Dakota State star blew out his ACL and MCL and is out for the season.
He’s a rookie tight end for the Jaguars, listed at 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds, had two receptions for 27 yards in preseason games for Jacksonville.
“His coach called and praised him and told him he expects him to have a 12-year career in the NFL,” Lundeen said. “It’s been kind of a devastating thing.”
* The first state volleyball rankings are out.
Sauk Centre is ranked fourth in Class 2A and Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa is fourth in 7A.
The complete polls:
Class 3A – 1. Lakeville North; 2. Blaine; 3. Eden Prairie; 4. Eagan; 5. Waconia; 6. Shakopee; 7. Chaska; 8. Delano; 9. Hopkins; 10. (tie) Wayzata and Minnetonka. Others: Owatonna, Andover, Roseville, Bloomington Jefferson, Apple Valley, Prior Lake, Cretin-Derham Hall, East Ridge, Hutchinson.
Class 2A – 1. Marshall; 2. Stewartville; 3. LeSueur-Henderson; 4. Sauk Centre; 5. Jackson County Central; 6. Wadena-Deer Creek; 7. Jordan; 8. Belle Plaine; 9. Visitation; 10. Kasson-Mantorville. Others: Caledonia, Thief River Falls.
Class A – 1. Bethlehem Academy; 2. Wabasha-Kellogg; 3. Nevis; 4. Minneota; 5. Southwest Christian; 6. Mayer Lutheran; 7. Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa; 8. Mabel-Canton; 9. Win-E-Mac; 10. Central Minnesota Christian. Others: Ada-Borup, Cherry, Canby, Fillmore Central, Northern Freeze.