ST. CLOUD - Mac Gruber hesitated when asked if he thought his Pierz Pioneers could do what they did Friday.
And who could blame him. With losses to Holdingford and Howard Lake-Waverly, Pierz was struggling.
C.J. Borleis earned it.
First, he earned the right to be the starting quarterback for the Pequot Lakes Patriots football team.
Most recently, the sophomore earned the right - along with his team - to play in the Section 8-3A championship game.
Tiara Hopkins saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
The tunnel for the Pierz Pioneers' senior was the volleyball season and the light was the end of her prep career.
Hopkins wanted to make sure it was memorable.
Two contrasting offenses will battle for the Section 5-3A championship.
The No. 3-seeded St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders may never run the ball and if the fourth-seeded Pierz Pioneers have their way, they may never throw the ball during their 5:45 p.m.
The No. 4-seeded Pequot Lakes Patriots are coming off arguably their best half of football all season.
Pequot overcame a 26-0 deficit to stun the top-seeded Park Rapids Panthers 34-26 in the Section 8-3A semifinals Saturday.
Claire Browning spoiled a lot of senior seasons this year.
The Aitkin Gobblers' sophomore cruised through the North Subsection and Section 7-1A individual tennis tournaments to advance to her first Class 1A state singles tournament.
Dezmond Berndt played bigger than his stature.
The Pillager Huskies senior isn't the tallest player at 5-foot-5 nor the biggest (180 pounds) for the positions he played, but it would be hard to find someone who accomplished as much with what he had.
Minnesota West is the hottest team entering the Minnesota College Athletic Conference playoffs.
That's the opinion of Central Lakes College head coach Greg Medeck, whose No. 2-seeded Raiders will face the No. 3 Bluejays in the opening round 1 p.m.