DELANO — Delano has a successful history against the SMB Wolfpack, winning the last four games against some form of the co-op or one of it’s members in four consecutive seasons. All four of those wins came in the Section 4-3A playoffs.
The Tigers topped the Wolfpack 41-13 in the semifinals in 2003; shut them out 55-0 in the quarterfinals in 2004; defeated them 42-28 in the semifinals in 2005; and topped Minnehaha Academy 19-14 in the quarterfinals in 2006.
Coach Merrill Pavlovich and the Tigers hope to run that streak to five victories Friday night, when they play SMB in the Class 4A state quarterfinals at St. Cloud State.
All four of Delano’s previous victories over SMB in the section playoffs were parts of Tiger runs to the state tournament. In three of those seasons, the Tigers were eliminated by Glencoe-Silver Lake. The other loss was to Becker.
Delano fell to Glencoe-Silver Lake 21-0 in the state championship game in 2003, and fell to the Panthers 34-7 and 48-20, respectively, in the 2005 and 2006 quarterfinals.
Glencoe-Silver Lake won the state title in 2003 and 2006, and finished second in 2005 (to Becker).
Becker defeated Delano 22-6 in the 2004 state semifinals and went on to finish second. East Grand Forks won the championship that year.
On paper, those four SMB-affiliated teams Delano played in the past may not have been up to the quality of the 2018 team, which enters Friday night’s game with a 10-0 record and the No. 1 QRF ranking in Class 4A.
“Watching tape, they will stretch the field with the QB’s arm and their size and speed,” said Pavlovich. “Their running game is strong and has worn teams down.”
The Wolfpack was tested in both section tournament games. It snuck by Orono 19-15 in the semifinals and edged Benilde-St. Margaret’s 16-14 in the Section 5-4A title game.
In its eight regular-season victories, the slimmest margin of victory for SMB was 14 points, a 28-14 win over Fridley in Week 3.
Delano and SMB have not met since that 2006 season.
Following the 2006 season, the Tigers went six seasons without a state appearance. That ended in 2013, when Toby Hanson quarterbacked Delano to the state semifinals, where the Tigers lost to Hutchinson 35-9 at the Metrodome.
Hutchinson went on to win the state title with a 49-7 victory over Holy Angels.
That 2013 state appearance was Delano’s last until this season.
Delano vs. SMB Recent Playoff History
Year Result Round End Result
2003 Delano 41, SMB 13 4-3A SF; Delano falls to GSL 21-0 in state title game
2004 Delano 55, SMB 0 4-3A QF; Delano falls to Becker 22-6 in state semifinals
2005 Delano 42, SMB 28 4-3A QF; Delano falls to GSL 34-7 in state quarterfinals
2006 Delano 19, Minnehaha Ac. 14 4-3A QF; Delano falls to GSL 48-20 in state quarterfinals