There should no longer be any non-believers in our greater St. Cloud area.  There is no question who the best high school football team in Central Minnesota is - the Rocori Spartans - and it's not even close.

On Saturday night, the Spartans easily beat their long time conference rivals, Sartell-St. Stephen, 37-13, to win the Section 8 4A Football Championship, and advance to the state tournament this Thursday night at SCSU's Husky Stadium, where they will face off against Rogers in the state quarter finals.  The winner of that game will get to play in the Metrodome the following week, and will be only two wins away from a state championship.

That's quite a magical and unforgettable ride, for a Rocori team that was (2-7) last year.  This team was picked to finish 5th in the Central Lakes Conference in a preseason poll in August - but instead - Rocori has dominated all conference foes impressively.  Returning 17 starters, the only blemish on the record is a week one, 28-20, loss at Brainerd.  That was on September 2nd - the Spartans have won nine straight since - going over two months without being defeated.

And it's very possible that the Spartans are playing their best football right now.  Many "experts" in our area picked the Sabres to beat Rocori on Saturday night - but the game was never in doubt.  For the second time this season, the Spartans defense was too much for Sartell, as neither RB Eric McAfee nor QB Blake Guggenberger, could mount much offensively for the Sabres.

Meanwhile, the Spartans offense was clicking on all cylinders once again, and for the second time this year - Rocori scored a touchdown on their very first offensive play of the night against Sartell - this time a 41 yard TD run by senior RB Sam Moriarity.  Moriarity had 3 rushing TD's, QB Nate Meyer also ran for a score, and threw a beautiful touchdown pass to WR Sean Terres.  Kicker Christian Pedroza added a 47 yard field goal - and most of the starters didn't even play much in the 4th quarter.

Coach Mike Rowe has his Spartans confident, healthy, and poised for a serious run at a state championship.  The game against Rogers won't be easy, as the Royals have only one loss this year, as well.  But Rogers runs a very 'run-oriented' offense, similar to ones that the Spartans have faced, and had success against, earlier in the season.

Meanwhile, Rogers has not faced a team this season that runs a wide open offense like the Spartans do, nor have they seen athletes the likes of which they will see this Thursday night against Rocori.

Can a team really go from (2-7) - to winning a state championship?

This year's Rocori Spartans certainly can - and they are only 3 more wins away from doing just that!