Jonah Johnson rushes past a group of Polk County West defenders during Wednesday’s regular season finale at home. 

NYM receives third seed, to host Menahga in Section 6A opener

By Chad Koenen


New York Mills will open the Section 6A playoffs at home on Tuesday night as the Eagles will host sixth seeded Menahga. The game will get underway at 6 p.m. The Eagles come into the game with a record of 6-1 overall and a QRF ranking of 15. The Braves are 3-5 overall and have a QRF ranking of 43. 

Dane Niemi breaks a tackle during Wednesday’s regular season finale. The Eagles lost the game by a score of 28-14.

  The winner of the game will advance to the Section 6A semi-finals against either second seeded Pine River-Backus, who are 7-1 overall and have a QRF ranking of 8, or seventh seeded Lake Park-Audubon who has a QRF ranking of 46 and a record of 2-6 overall. Saturday’s game will be at the highest seed at 2 p.m.

  On the other side of the bracket, top seeded Otter Tail Central, (8-0 overall and a QRF ranking of 1) will host eighth seeded Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (1-6 overall and a QRF ranking of 1-6). Fourth seeded Breckenridge (4-4 overall and a QRF ranking of 27) will host fifth seeded Underwood (3-5 overall and a QRF ranking of 30). 

  The Section 6A finals will be held on Friday, Nov. 5 at the FargoDome at 5:30 p.m.

In their regular season finale on Wednesday night, the 10th ranked Eagles took a 14-0 lead over the eighth ranked Polk County West Thunder, only to fall for the first time all season by a score of 28-14. It was the first lost for the Eagles since 2019 as they started the year with a record of 6-0 and finished last year with a perfect 4-0 record. 

Jonah Ruther congratulates Monte Briard after he picked off a pass during last week’s game against Polk County West. 

“A very good game between two good teams.  We came out strong but just couldn’t maintain that momentum that we got going early,” said head coach Matt Radniecki.

Bren Salo put the Eagles on the board in the opening quarter of action as the senior quarterback scored on a 3-yard run. The two-point conversion failed to leave the score at 6-0 at the end of the first quarter. Salo put the Eagles in front by a score of 12-0 when he scored his second touchdown of the game, this time from 13-yards out, early in the second quarter. The two-point conversion run by Jonah Johnson was good to make the score 14-0. 

That’s when Sam Gapp took over for Polk County West as he scored his first of four touchdowns for the Thunder on a 26-yard scamper to leave the score at 14-7 at halftime. 

“Sam Gapp is a special player and he showed that on Wednesday night against us. He is quick and strong. A special player,” said Radniecki. 

The Thunder tied the game in the third quarter when Gapp scored his second touchdown, this time on a 39-yard run to tie the game at 14-14. 

Noah Noffsinger follows a group of blockers on his way down the field during Wednesday’s game in New York Mills. 

Gapp scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter on an 82-yard run and a 3-yard run to put Polk County West in front by a score of 28-14. 

Radniecki said the Eagles had their chances to win their seventh straight game to open the season, but will look to learn from the loss as they open the playoffs at home on Tuesday. 

“We had chances but we also learned a lot from this game about playing from behind and a little bit of adversity,” said Radniecki. “I want to thank our seniors for everything that they have given us.”

The Eagles will open the playoffs on Tuesday at home against the Menahga Braves. NY Mills defeated the Braves by a score of 39-0 on October 8. 

“We got the number three seed with a 6-1 and record and play Menahga in the first round,” said Radniecki. “We are looking forward to the playoff season and what opportunities we hope to create.”