Tom's Pick: Expect a surprise when Sartell, Sauk Rapids play football

Tom's Pick: Expect a surprise when Sartell, Sauk Rapids play football

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Tom's Pick: Expect a surprise when Sartell, Sauk Rapids play football

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One of the more entertaining prep football rivalries the past five years has been when Sauk Rapids and Sartell meet.

The teams play at 7 p.m. Friday in Sartell.

It’s one of those rivalries where the winner is often unpredictable. And it has all the other good stuff that make rivalries fun: The school districts border. Most everyone in the Sartell school district can get to Sauk Rapids’ field in 15 minutes or less. The same holds true for Sauk Rapids fans making the trek to Sartell.

Sauk Rapids had a disappointing 2-7 season in 2011. But one of the Storm’s victories was 25-22 over Sartell.

The Sabres, meanwhile, wound up playing for a Section 8-4A championship last season, losing 37-13 to eventual state champion Rocori.

In 2010, Sartell beat Sauk Rapids 12-6 in triple-overtime during the regular season, but then lost 22-0 to the Storm in the section playoffs.

In 2009, Sartell won 38-13. But in 2008, Sauk Rapids beat the Sabres 21-13 in the regular season and followed that up with a 31-21 win in the playoffs at Sauk Rapids.

And in 2007, Sartell had a state semifinalist team that beat Sauk Rapids 49-0 in the regular season, but barely survived a 28-26 playoff victory over the Storm on their way to the Metrodome.

This season’s game promises to be as unpredictable.

Both teams have new-look offenses. The Storm have opened it up quite a bit from their normal power football formations and can pass the ball with Joel Haller at quarterback. There are a multitude of talented skill position players, including Chris Keske, Jake Lynch, Logan Smoley and Jeff Sundquist.

Sartell is running a new, pro-set style offense behind quarterback Parker Hagen and running back Eric McAfee.

Expect another good one.

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