MANKATO — For two wagering newspaper men, pecans and pastry are riding on the outcome of Saturday’s Minnesota State-Valdosta State football game.
The Free Press Publisher Jim Santori is putting made-in-Mankato desserts on the line, while The Valdosta Daily Times Publisher Jeff Masters is parlaying Georgia pecans.
The teams will square off at 2 p.m. at Blakeslee Stadium in the NCAA Division II national semifinals. The winner advances to the national championship game in Florence, Ala., and both men claim their local squads will be there.
“He’s going to be sending me sweets — desserts,” said Masters who, in lieu of serving up a little trash talk, proffered generic diplomacy instead:
“We’re looking forward to the game involving two great teams.”
Santori’s take on the contest:
“I’m going to feel sorry for sending back to him a whole bunch of frozen players — with a loss.”
Saturday figures to give Minnesota State not only home-field advantage but home-weather advantage.
In the coolest game Valdosta State has played in this season it was about 60 degrees at game time, and it will be about 80 on Saturday in the southern Georgia city.
In Mankato on Saturday a high in the low 30s is forecast — football weather conditions that are foreign to current Valdosta State players, most of whom hail from Georgia.