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Tigers need a win against run-happy Dragons

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

DELANO  — Delano is reeling for a win this week after suffering losses the past two weeks.

The Tigers hope to find that win Friday night at home against Litchfield.

A 13-8 loss at Annandale last Friday night evened Delano’s record at 3-3. That loss came on the heels of a 35-20 homecoming loss to Dassel-Cokato.

Litchfield is also 3-3. The Dragons are coming off a 53-14 slaying of Watertown-Mayer.

“You can throw the records out, these games are always battles,” said Litchfield coach Jim Jackson. “Coach Pav does a great job getting his kids ready to play.”

The win over Watertown-Mayer ended a losing streak at three games for Litchfield.

Delano and Litchfield are even against like-opponents. Both have defeated Holy Family and lost to both Dassel-Cokato and Annandale.

“Delano, traditionally, is a strong team.  They are coached extremely well and play tough, physical football,” said Jackson. “It should be a great night, playing on a turf field, with the improvement their district has made.”

In last week’s loss at Annandale, the wet weather conditions were not favorable for Delano’s passing game, which gained a season-low 102 yards on Max Otto’s 12-for-26 day passing. Otto was held without a passing touchdown for the first time all season.

For the season, Otto has thrown for 15 touchdowns and 1,312 yards.

Max Otto and Delano’s passing game was held in check by the Annandale defense last week. The Tigers need to get the passing game back on track Friday night, when it hosts Litchfield. Photo by Matt Kane

Max Otto and Delano’s passing game was held in check by the Annandale defense last week. The Tigers need to get the passing game back on track Friday night, when it hosts Litchfield.
Photo by Matt Kane

The weather is forecasted to be dry Friday night at Tiger Stadium, meaning there should be no problem with gripping the football for Otto and his receivers or footing on the synthetic turf for the running games of both teams.

Following in line with Holy Family’s Jacob Zay, Dassel-Cokato’s Paul Raisanen and Annandale’s Peyton Fobbe, Delano will once again face an athletic quarterback in Litchfield’s Brandt Pederson.

“Their QB has size and is an excellent runner,” Delano coach Merrill Pavlovich said of Pederson.

The Dragons’ senior leader likes to use his legs more than his arm. Pederson leads the team with 505 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 64 attempts. That’s a 7.9 yards-per-carry average.

Pederson has just 23 pass completions for the season in six games, for 288 yards. He has as many interceptions (3) as touchdown passes.

Pederson’s backup, sophomore Ben Asleben, has been much more efficient throwing the football.

For the season in four games under center, Asleben has completed 19-of-26 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns. He has one interception.

Fourteen different receivers have caught passes from either Pederson or Asleben.

Alex Graunke has six receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Dragons.

As for the ground game, when Pederson isn’t carrying the football himself, he is usually handing it off to Logan Nelson.

Nelson has 410 yards and four touchdown on 85 carries.

Nelson is coming of 159 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Watertown-Mayer.

“A lot like Annandale — excellent size up front and three experienced backs,” Pavlovich said of Litchfield’s ground game.

The third back is Isaac Rick, who has 92 yards on 28 carries in five games.

The Delano running game has produced only one 100-yard runner all season. That was senior Sam Kern, who went for 123 yards and a touchdown in the Tigers’ Week 2 40-0 win over Little Falls.

The running game is feeling the effects of injuries to starting guard Carson vanSytzama and tight end Chris Glunz. Both went down with serious injuries in the win at Holy Family.

Delano did have defensive end Isaiah McManus back for the Annandale game. He, too, was injured in the Holy Family game.

Kern leads Delano’s ground game with 388 yards on 80 carries (4.8) for the season.

Kern and senior fullback Caden Link both have three touchdown runs.

Link has 184 yards on 36 carries (5.1). His top game was 89 yards and a touchdown in the 41-10 Week 3 win over Glencoe-Silver Lake.

Delano’s leading receiver,  Brett Unrein, has 20 catches for 310 yards and one touchdown.

Unrein was held without a catch last week at Annandale.

Coach Jackson knows the best way to defeat Delano is to limit its time with the football.

“For our standpoint, we just need to control the ball and eliminate mistakes,” Jackson said.

With just two weeks of the regular season remaining, it’s not too early to look at the playoff picture.

Delano currently sits third, according to its QRF rank (24) in Section 6-4A, behind Zimmerman (17) and Big Lake (18).

“The importance of the game is that it directly impacts section seeding. Winning the next two games still gives Delano a chance at home field for the semifinals and a first-round bye,” said Pavlovich. “The results of the other games this Friday will provide section seeding clarity.”

Foley (36), Becker (37) and Princeton (45) round out the bottom three.

At 4-2, Zimmerman is the only section team with a winning record.

Big Lake and Delano are both 3-3; Foley and Becker are both 2-4; and Princeton is 0-6.

Following this Friday night’s games, the turnaround to the next game is shorts. Thanks to MEA week, the Week 8 games are Wednesday, Oct. 17. Delano plays at Watertown-Mayer.

Delano gets soaked at Annandale

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

ANNANDALE — Playing in a constant light rain, Delano got soaked 13-8 by Annandale Oct. 5 at Annandale High School.

Each team did all of its scoring on one side of halftime.

The Cardinals put 13 points on the board in the first half. The Tigers scored all of their eight point in the fourth quarter.

“When we did have an offensive spurt in the first half, turnovers and missed blocks stopped any threats to score,” said Delano coach Merrill Pavlovich. “It took nearly three quarters of football before our offense responded in a positive drive.”

Annandale took the game’s opening kickoff and didn’t waste much time in getting to the end zone. On the 11th play of the opening drive, quarterback Peyton Fobbe snuck into the end zone from one-yard out.

Lauren Meidinger’s extra point made it 7-0 in favor of the Cardinals five minutes into the game.

Delano’s defense kept Annandale’s Peyton Fobbe bottled up pretty well Oct. 5 in the wet game at Annandale, but the Cardinal quarterback did find the end zone twice in the first half. Those two touchdowns proved to be the difference in Annandale’s 13-8. Photo by Matt Kane

Delano’s defense kept Annandale’s Peyton Fobbe bottled up pretty well Oct. 5 in the wet game at Annandale, but the Cardinal quarterback did find the end zone twice in the first half. Those two touchdowns proved to be the difference in Annandale’s 13-8.
Photo by Matt Kane

A puntfest ate up the rest of the first quarter and a good chunk of the second.

Delano punted the ball away on its first three possessions of the game, and on four of its six possessions in the first half. The other two possessions came to an end via an interception and the game clock that ended half.

The turnover hurt, as it came on a possession that began at the Annandale 45-yard line, following a nice kick return by Brett Unrein.

The Annandale kickoff was spawned by Fobbe’s second touchdown run, a two-yard trot that gave the Cardinals a 13-0 lead.

The interception came on the fifth play of Delano’s drive from the 30-yard line. Brett Honsey stepped in front of the Max Otto pass to end Delano’s lone threat of the half with two minutes to play until halftime.

A score on that drive would have been huge in the Tigers’ effort to catch up to the Cardinals, as Delano received the second-half kickoff.

Delano never got any closer to the end zone in the first half. Two of its first-half possessions began inside its own 10-yard line.

Delano’s Nathan O’Sullivan intercepted a Fobbe pass early in the second quarter, but the turnover worked better than a punt for the Cardinals, as it came on a fourth-down play and O’Sullivan caught the ball and was immediately downed at Delano’s 1-yard line.

The Tigers punted the ball away from their own 9-yard line. Annandale’s drive began at the Delano 40-yard line, and ended with Fobbe’s second touchdown run.

Delano received the second-half kickoff and moved the ball to the Annandale 38-yard line, but did not get into the end zone. On the eighth play, Otto was intercepted for the second time in the game, this time by Mitchell Sullivan.

Delano’s defense forced a three-and-out. The Tigers offense responded with an 18-play drive that ate up 50 yards and nine minutes of the clock (bridging the third and fourth quarters), but it failed to find the end zone.

Delano turned the ball over on downs at the Annandale 20-yard line. The inability to find the end zone left the Tigers frustrated, but hope soon returned, thanks to the Annandale offense, which committed two penalties in three plays.

The second penalty was flagged for intentional grounding, when Fobbe threw the ball away from the end zone after fielding a bad snap. That violation committed in the end zone results in a safety. Delano was on the board with two points, and about to receive the ball via a free kick.

Delano took advantage of the circumstances by scoring its only touchdown of the game.

After using his arm on 10 consecutive plays, Otto tucked the ball in and pushed his way across the goal line for a three-yard score.

Otto’s pass on the conversion try fell incomplete, and the score was set at 13-8.

Delano converted two fourth-down plays on that scoring drive. Otto found Sam Kern for a nine-yard gain on a 4th-and-8 on the fourth play. And, on the 10th play, Otto connected with Trey Longstreet for an 11-yard gain on a 4th-and-5 situation.

That catch and tight-rope walk along the sideline by Longstreet put the ball on the 3-yard line and set up Otto’s touchdown run one play later.

Trailing by five points, Delano’s defense kept the game in reach by forcing Annandale to punt. The Tiger offense took over at its own 45-yard line with just over four minutes to play in the game.

Using a mix of runs and passes, the Tigers marched to the Annandale 14-yard line on 10 plays, but, this time, they were unable to convert on a fourth-down play.

Otto’s pass to Longstreet on 4th-and-9 fell incomplete, turning the ball over on downs with 1:09 remaining on the clock.

Two Fobbe kneel-downs ended the game.

“We had several opportunities to win the game in the last five minutes,” said Pavlovich. “Our kids responded well in the second half but we let a key game on our schedule slip away.”

The loss was Delano’s second in as many weeks. It dropped the Tigers to 3-3 overall, and moved them back to the third spot in the Section 6-4A standings with only two games to play.

“We may have placed ourselves in a position that we gave up a first-round bye and possibly home field,” said Pavlovich. “Beginning with the Litchfield game (Friday), we will play three games in an 11-day window and potentially four games in 14 days. The season moves quickly at this point and we have to stay healthy and be focused.”

Zimmerman (4-2) and Big Lake (3-3) both sit ahead of Delano in the section standings, according to QRF rankings.

With the win over Delano, Annandale moved to 5-1.

In that game, Neither team’s offense blew up the statistics book.

Delano’s offense gained 238 yards of total offense. Annandale’s offense was slightly better, gaining 239 yards/ Poor snaps in the wet conditions cost the Cardinals 53 yards.

“Annandale’s size on offense and defense, along with a wet field, provided numerous problems,” said Pavlovich.

Otto completed 12-of-26 passes for 102 yards. For the first time this year, he did not throw a touchdown. Otto was intercepted twice, both by defensive players jumping routes.

Kern caught six balls for 57 yards, and Longstreet caught five balls for 35 yards.

The only other receiver to catch a pass was Reno Bredahl, who caught one ball for 10 yards.

Delano’s ground game gained 136 yards on 37 carries.

Fobbe ran for 56 yards and the two touchdowns on 11 carries, and completed 15-of-20 passes for 175 yards. He was intercepted once.

Caden Link led the way with 56 yards on 12 carries.

Link had five tackles on defense.

Spencer Poll’s six tackles led Delano.

Annandale’s Jordan Picka had 12 tackles. Kolbe Pastian had 10.



Friday, Oct. 5

Annandale High School

1 2 3 4 – F

Delano 0 0 0 8 – 8

Annandale 7 6 0 0 – 13


First Quarter

A – Fobbe 1-yard run (Meidinger kick), 7-0

Second Quarter

A – Fobbe 2-yard run (kick failed), 13-0

Third Quarter

No scoring

Fourth Quarter

D – Safety, 13-2

D – Otto 3-yard run (conversion failed), 13-8


TEAM Total Yards: Delano 238; Annandale 239. Rushing: Delano 37-136 TD; Annandale 16-64 2TD. Passing: Delano 12-102 2INT; Annandale 15-239.

INDIVIDUALS Rushing: Delano — Link 12-56, Kern 12-37, Otto 10-34 TD, Knight 3-9; Annandale — Fobbe 11-56 2TD, Luna 1-7, Niedzielski 3-2, Picka 1-1. Passing: Delano — Otto 12-26 2INT; Fobbe 15/20-175 INT. Receiving: Delano — Kern 6-57, Longstreet 5-35, Bredahl 1-10; Annandale — Meyer 6-74, Luna 1-39, Howard 3-35, Rassatt 3-20, Niedzielski 2-7. Tackles: Delano — Poll 6, Link 5; Annandale — Picka 12, Pastian 10. Quarterback sacks: Delano — none; Annandale — Kenning. Interceptions: Delano — O’Sullivan; Annandale — Honsey, Sullivan.

FOOTBALL: Dalano hoping to bounce back at Annandale

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

DELANO  — Delano will look to the road to try and recuperate from a tough homecoming loss to Dassel-Cokato last week. The Tigers head to Annandale Friday night to play a Cardinals team that is riding a three-game winning streak.

Annandale enters the game against Delano off a 42-18 win at Watertown-Mayer. The Cardinals are 4-1.

Dassel-Cokato’s running game, led by Blake Johnson’s 174 yards and three touchdowns, shocked the Tigers 35-21 last week.

The Tigers are 3-2 overall.

Annandale’s only loss is to that same Dassel-Cokato team, 29-26, in a Week 2 thriller.

Johnson ran for three touchdowns in that game, but the Cardinals kept him in check, allowing him to rush for 25 yards on just 10 carries.

Dassel-Cokato is the only like-opponent for Delano and Annandale.

Annandale limited the Chargers’ offense to 249 yards — 123 on the ground and 126 through the air.

Dassel-Cokato gained 460 yards — 201 on the ground and 259 through the air — against Delano last week.

Delano would like to get the ground game going Friday night against Annandale. Sam Kern leads the Tigers with 351 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Here, Kern follows the lead block of Justin McNeilly during a game earlier this season. Photo by Matt Kane

Delano would like to get the ground game going Friday night against Annandale. Sam Kern leads the Tigers with 351 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Here, Kern follows the lead block of Justin McNeilly during a game earlier this season.
Photo by Matt Kane

As for what Delano can expect from Annandale’s offense Friday night, a duel-threat quarterback.

According to Football Hub, senior Peyton Fobbe has thrown for 893 yards and 11 touchdowns, and has run for 179 yards and two scores.

To say the Cardinals spread the ball around is an understatement. Twelve Cardinals have run the ball, and 10 have caught passes.

Fobbe easily leads the team with just 51 rushes through five games. His 179 yards is one less than the team lead of 180 gained by Riley Niedzielski in just 18 carries.

Niedzielski has two touchdowns.

Jordan Picka’s 27 carries ranks second on the team. He has 111 yards.

Fobbe’s two main targets in the passing game have been senior Cam Howard and junior Paul Meyer.

Howard has caught 22 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns. Meyer has 21 catches for a team-leading 343 yards and four touchdowns.

Junior Alan Luna has 12 catches for 143 yards and three touchdowns, and senior Boyd Rassatt has nine catches for 139 yards and one score.

On defense, the Cardinals do have some ball hawks. Collectively, Annandale has intercepted 10 passes.

Cornerback Andrew Bowman and Picka, a linebacker, both have three interceptions. Linebacker Nick Moe has two, and cornerbacks Jack Magrum and Mitchell Sullivan have one each.

These defenders will be busy against the Delano offense, which isn’t afraid to throw the football.

Playing from behind all game, junior quarterback Max Otto chucked the football 39 times last week against Dassel-Cokato. He completed 18 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns.

It was the first 300-yard passing game of Otto’s career. It was his third-consecutive game with three touchdown passes.

Otto has thrown two-or-more touchdowns in all five games. He threw for four scores in the Week 2 win over Little Falls. Otto threw two touchdown passes in the Week 1 loss at Zimmerman.

For the season, Otto has 1,210 yards and 15 touchdowns through the air. He has been intercepted three times, and has a passer rating of 123.9.

Reno Bredahl and Brett Unrein have been Otto’s favorite targets.

Unrein has 20 catches for 310 yards. His 16-yard touchdown catch in the loss to Dassel-Cokato was his first touchdown of the season.

Unrein had 113 receiving yards against the Chargers.

Bredahl has 18 catches for 396 yards and six touchdowns.

Tight end Trey Longstreet has 15 catches for 210 yards and four touchdowns, and halfback Sam Kern has 13 catches for 185 yards and a touchdown.

Kern is Delano’s leading ground-gainer. He has run for 351 yards and three touchdowns on 68 carries (5.2 yards per carry).

Fullback Caden Link has three rushing touchdowns.

Link is the leader of the Tiger defense. The senior linebacker has 42 tackles, one forced fumble and one interception.

Annandale is coached by Matt Walter.

Delano, of course, is coached by Merrill Pavlovich.

FINALLY HOME: Delano divers have a place of their own at the Delano pool

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

Freshman Gabby Stoudt performs a dive Sept. 20 during the Tigers' first competition at the new dive well. Photo by Matt Kane

Freshman Gabby Stoudt performs a dive Sept. 20 during the Tigers’ first competition at the new dive well.
Photo by Matt Kane

DELANO — Divers have been part of the Delano swimming and diving team since the Tigers broke off from the Watertown-Mayer co-op five years ago, but, until recently, those divers didn’t really feel like part of the team.“A little bit, because we would practice at Orono. We would do dry-land here and then leave,” freshman diver Gabby Stoudt said of feeling like an outsider on her own team.

That all changed Sept. 20, when, for the first time, Stoudt and four diving teammates competed at the Delano High School pool with their swimming sisters looking on.

“We missed some of that team bonding, but we have really made up for that, now that we have the dive well and the support from the swim team at meets,” Stoudt said.

Read about their transition in Friday’s edition of the Delano Herald Journal.

FOOTBALL: Chargers shock Delano’s homecoming

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

DELANO — Delano fell behind early and was never able to catch up in its homecoming game Sept. 28 against Dassel-Cokato.

The Chargers took the game 35-20, stayed undefeated for the season (5-0), and established themselves as the top team in the East Central South Subdistrict, where they remain as the only unbeaten team at 4-0.

The loss was Delano’s first in the East Subdistrict, where they are now 2-1. The Tigers fell to 3-2 overall.

In the game Friday, the visiting Chargers hushed Delano’s homecoming crowd with two unanswered touchdowns, and took a 21-7 into the halftime break.

Delano cut the deficit to seven points with a touchdown strike from Max Otto to Brett Unrein early in the third quarter, but Dassel-Cokato stiff-armed the threat of losing the lead with two more touchdowns before the scoreboard switched over to the fourth quarter.

The Tigers scored the only touchdown of the fourth quarter.

Both teams put up some offensive numbers — 460 yards for Dassel-Cokato and 406 for Delano — but the success of each offense’s rushing attack greatly contrasted each other.

The Chargers rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries (4.9 yards per carry) against a banged-up Delano defense, whereas the Tigers were limitted to just 34 yards on 16 carries (2.1 yards).

Those rushing yards for Delano were trimmed a bit by Dassel-Cokato’s pass rushers, who sacked Otto five times.

Blake Johnson was a beast out of the backfield for Dassel-Cokato. Johnson toted the ball 31 times for 174 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 48 yards.

The big game greatly added to Johnson’s already-impressive season totals. Through five games he has 737 yards and 16 touchdowns on the ground.

At Delano, Johnson scored the final touchdown of the first half on a seven-yard run, and iced the win with two rushing touchdowns in the third quarter.

The lack of production from the running game forced the Tigers to turn to Otto and the passing game. The junior quarterback responded, completing 18 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns.

Delano's Ethan Quast breaks the tackle of Dassel-Cokato’s Collin Asplin en route to a 70-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. Photo by Brad Salmen

Delano’s Ethan Quast breaks the tackle of Dassel-Cokato’s Collin Asplin en route to a 70-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
Photo by Brad Salmen

The scoring connection from Otto to Unrein in the second quarter was from 16 yards out. Early in the third quarter, Otto connected with Reno Bredahl for a 15-yard touchdown strike. And, in the fourth quarter, Otto found Ethan Quast for the first time this season. It was memorable for Quast, as the touchdown catch and run covered 70 yards.

It was Quast’s only catch of the game.

Unrein finished with seven catches for 113 yards. Bredahl caught three balls for 52 yards.

Senior halfback Sam Kern was held to 37 yards rushing by the Dassel-Cokato defense, but he found some space in the passing game, catching five balls for 94 yards.

Otto’s counterpart, Paul Raisanen, was good as usual.

Raisanen completed 18 passes for 259 yards and one touchdown.

Caleb Keith was Raisanen’s favorite target, catching 10 balls for 107 yards and a touchdown. His scoring play was a 48-yard connection with Raisanen in the first quarter. The touchdown catch gave the Chargers a 13-0 lead.

The Delano defense played without starters Carson vanSytzama, Isaiah McManus and Christopher Glunz. All three were injured the previous week in the win at Holy Family.


DASSEL-COKATO 35, Delano 20

Friday, Sept. 28

Delano High School

1 2 3 4 – F

DC 13 8 14 0 – 35

Delano 0 7 7 6 – 20


First Quarter

DC – Koller 5-yard run (Asplin kick), 7-0

DC – Raisanen 48-yard pass to Keith (kick failed), 13-0

Second Quarter

D – Otto 16-yard pass to Unrein (Horobin kick), 13-7

DC – Johnson 7-yard run (Raisanen pass to Asplin), 21-7

Third Quarter

D – Otto 15-yard pass to Bredahl (Horobin kick), 21-14

DC – Johnson run (Asplin kick), 28-14

DC – Johnson run (Asplin kick), 35-14

Fourth Quarter

D – Otto 70-yard pass to Quast (kick failed), 35-20.


TEAM Total Yards: Delano 406; DC 460. Rushing: Delano 16-34; DC 41-201 4TD. Passing: Delano 18-372 3TD; DC 18-259 TD.

INDIVIDUALS Rushing: Delano — Kern 9-37, Link 1-7, Knight 2-2, Otto 4–12; DC 31-174 3TD, Raisanen 4-20, Koller 3-5 TD, DeBoer 3-2. Passing: Delano — Otto 18-39/372 3TD; DC — Raisanen 18-31/259 TD. Receiving: Delano — Unrein 7-113 TD, Kern 5-94, Quast 1-70 TD, Bredahl 3-52 TD, Longstreet 2-43; DC — Keith 10-107 TD, Johnson 3-48, Asplin 2-45, Schmitz 1-37, Krick 2-22. Tackles: Delano — Link 9, Quast 8; DC — DeBoer 10, Miklasz 8. Quarterback Sacks: Delano — none; DC — DeBoer 2, Koller 2, Londerville 1.

Delano tennis hosts Anoka today in section quarterfinals

Matt Kane
Sports Editor
The Delano tennis team hosts Anoka in the quarterfinals of the Section 5AA team tournament today at the Delano courts. The meet begins at 3:30 p.m.

Delano's Lydia Ramstad and Emma Condon shake hands with their opponents after a doubles win at the WCCE Championships last week. The two hope to do the same today, when the Tigers host Anoka in the Section 5AA team quarterfinals. Photo by Matt Kane

Delano’s Lydia Ramstad and Emma Condon shake hands with their opponents after a doubles win at the WCCE Championships last week. The two hope to do the same today, when the Tigers host Anoka in the Section 5AA team quarterfinals.
Photo by Matt Kane

The host Tigers are the No. 5 seed. The Tornados are the No. 12 seed.

Anoka won a pigtail match 4-3 over Park Center Tuesday to move into the match against Delano.

In the other pigtail meet on Delano’s half of the bracket Tuesday, No. 9 Coon Rapids defeated No. 16 Minneapolis Edison 7-0.

Coon Rapids plays at No. 8 Rogers Wednesday.

The winner of the Delano/Anoka meet plays at No. 4 Buffalo Thursday afternoon. The winner of the Rogers/Coon Rapids meet plays at No. 1 Robbinsdale Armstrong Thursday.

In the pigtail meets on the other half of the bracket, No. 11 Monticello defeated No. 14 Robbinsdale Cooper 7-0, and No. 10 Osseo defeated No. 15 Minneapolis Patrick Henry 7-0.

Monticello plays at No. 6 Champlin Park, and Osseo plays at No. 7. St. Michael-Albertville.

No. 2 Wayzata is waiting to play the winner of the Osseo/St. Michael-Albertville, and No. 3 Maple Grove is waiting to play the winner of the Champlin Park/Monticello.