After a wild weekend that included a three-way tie for first place in the South Division, and a three-way coin flip that left No. 20 Rochester out of the playoffs, things will be settled on the field at 1 p.m. Saturday when Central Lakes College (7-2) travels to Vermilion Community College (7-2) in Ely in the semifinals of the Minnesota College Athletic Conference playoffs.
CLC looked like the early favorite to win the league after starting the season with six straight victories. However, the Raiders lost two of their last three games and were forced to win their last regular-season contest against Ridgewater in order to get into the playoffs.
The Raiders are making their second-straight appearance in the MCAC playoffs thanks in part to the leadership of second-year head coach Greg Medeck. CLC had not been to the post-season since 1997 until last year.
CLC has one of the best passing quarterbacks in the nation in Mike Beehler, who earned NJCAA All-American honorable mention honors last year. Beehler ranks fifth in the NJCAA with 2,010 passing yards. He has thrown for 17 touchdowns this season and has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes.
Vermilion has been one of the more underrated teams in the MCAC and in the country. Under first-year head coach John Haines, the Ironmen have won the North Division for the second consecutive year and the fifth time in nine seasons.
The Ironmen rank fourth in the NJCAA in total offense, putting up 426 yards a game and rank 20th in total defense, allowing 267 yards a contest.
The Vermilion-Central Lakes contest will kick off at 1 p.m.
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