Medford and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva are both members of the Gopher Conference, but are in different districts for football. They haven't met in a regular season football game since 2014. They did play in the 2018 Section 2AA tournament. NRHEG won that match-up on the way to a section championship.

The sixth-seed Panthers travel to Medford to play the third-seed Tigers Tuesday, November 17 in the Section 2AA quarterfinals. The section is one of the few in the area planning a full tournament. Other sections around southeast Minnesota have a reduced number of participating teams due to sports being suspended by a switch to distance learning. NRHEG and Medford are districts that are continuing with sports despite the switch in learning models.

Tuesday's game can be heard on Kat Kountry 105 FM and on the free Kat Kountry 105 app. Kick off is 7:00 pm.

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Medford coach Jerome Johannes is happy to have a full playoff schedule, "Yeah. It's kind of cool. We're glad to have that happen. We want to see as many teams participate this late in the season."

"It's been a while since we had a home playoff game...I know that their season has been shorter than most...But I'm willing to bet that on Tuesday night that their guys are going to be ready to go."

"We've got to be able to match that excitement...They do a very good job of sustaining drives. They've got a quarterback who's very athletic...and their defense is aggressive," Johannes added.

The Panthers were on a two-week quarantine, costing them two games. As they were ready to return to action for the final week of the regular season, their opponent canceled on them. NRHEG made efforts to find a replacement team, but were not successful.

During a recent appearance on the AM 1390 KRFO Coaches Show, the Panthers Marc Kruger said players and coaches still were preparing for games, "We met online...and we had online workouts. We had stuff we put out to the kids, doing your own. And then we were able to watch and talk a lot of film. So we are prepared now, more than ever."

The Panthers held in-person practice last week, "It's just getting to see the boys again. It's been 14 days since I've seen my kids. It's hard on the coaches...We're sick of sitting inside. We want to coach."

Medford (4-2) results

  • Win 39-14 over Fillmore Central
  • Loss 26-15 to Blooming Prairie
  • Win 14-6 versus Goodhue
  • Win 33-11 at Bethlehem Academy
  • Win 47-18 versus Randolph
  • Loss 30-15 at Triton

NRHEG (2-1) results

  • Win 34-0 vs St. James Area
  • Win 26-20 at Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop
  • Loss 27-12 vs Lake Crystal-Welcome Memorial

Section 2AA schedule
Tuesday, November 17
No. 6 NRHEG at No. 3 Medford
No. 7 JWP at No. 2 Maple River
No. 5 St. Clair/Loyola at No. 4 Norwood-Young America
No. 1 Blue Earth Area has a first-round bye
Saturday, November 21
Semifinals at high seed
Saturday, November 28
Final at high seed