North, Cooper, Fridley, Shakopee make it to state

Fridley High School Head Football Coach Justin Reese during a September 10 game against Minneapolis North at North High
Photo by Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald

The state football playoffs are upon us, and with that here are four metro coaches whose outstanding leadership has put their schools in position to capture a state title.

Minneapolis North (9-1): 

For the eighth consecutive season, Head Coach Charles Adams has his team in the state playoffs after defeating St. Agnes 42-6 Friday, November 5 at Crown College.

Sophomore quarterback Deshawn Hill, senior receiver and quarterback Rio Sanders, senior receiver De’Meiko Anderson, and senior running back Jaylon Washington lead the offense.

Sophomore linebackers Cashmere Hamilton-Grunau and Khalil Brown, with classmate and defensive back sophomore DeShaun Sager, represent North’s top defensive players.

Robbinsdale Cooper (8-2): 

Head Coach Willie Howard has the Hawks in the state playoffs for the first time since 1996 after a 14-13 victory over Robbinsdale Armstrong in the Section 5AAAAA championship game Friday, November 5 at Cooper Stadium.

The offense is led by senior quarterback Joe Russell, senior running back Camden Royal, and senior receiver David Connors

Junior end Jaxson Howard, senior linebacker Josh Gonleh, and junior lineman Deshawn Ricks lead the defense. 

Fridley (8-2): 

The Tigers are headed back to the state playoffs thanks to the leadership of Head Coach Justine Reese and a 35-6 4AAAA championship victory over Columbia Heights Friday, November 5 at Fridley High School.

Junior quarterback MJ Newton, senior running back Zachary Gotsch, and wide receiver Devon Williams have led Fridley’s offense.

Junior linebackers Kerome Thompson and Guinahi Douhe lead the defense.

Shakopee (8-2): 

The Sabres, led by Head Coach Ray Betton, earned a chance to participate in the state playoffs after defeating Blaine 20-13 Friday. November 5 in the Cass 6A round of 16 at Shakopee High School.

Running back Jadon Hellerud, receiver Nicholas Katona, sophomore quarterback Leyton Kerns, and junior signal-caller Dominic Jackson are among the offensive leaders for the Sabres.

Senior linebacker Owen Diede, senior defensive back Aaron Lee, and junior linebacker Jacob Ruud lead the defense.

The 2021 state playoffs could prove to be very memorable.