MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s a big week in the Minnesota high school football season.
As the sun rose Monday morning, every high school in the state hit their practice fields for the first workouts of the fall season. Games won’t start until Labor Day weekend, but it can be a week where dreams of playing prep football are realized for some who didn’t have it on their radar a year ago.
For some cities, high school football is no big deal. But for small towns, Friday nights at the football game are a way of life. There’s nothing better than watching two teams give everything they have for four quarters, hoping that when the final horn sounds, they’re the ones celebrating the big win.
This year six schools have the opportunity to repeat as state champions. Cromwell (9-man), New Ulm Cathedral (1A), Caledonia (2A), Rochester Lourdes (3A), Totino-Grace (4A) and Wayzata in 5A will all be looking to hoist trophies in November at the Metrodome.
But there’s a catch. This will be Totino-Grace’s first year in Class 5A after dominating at 4A. The Eagles won the last two 4A state titles and have won four of the last five.
Wayzata took advantage of Mounds View upsetting Cretin-Derham Hall and Brainerd pulling off a monumental win over Eden Prairie to win last year’s 5A Prep Bowl. Cromwell has been something of a dynasty in nine-man football, and Caledonia also has a tradition of winning in 2A.
But it’s a new year and on Day 1, everybody has a chance to be a champion. For the first three days, high school athletes find out what they’re made of. State high school league rules state that for the first three days, there can be no pads worn (helmets only) and there can’t be any contact. That means mostly conditioning, weight training and offensive and defensive walk-throughs for the high school hopefuls.
Next week, practices will get more intense and there will even be some scrimmaging before the first games get underway.
Get ready prep football fans, the season is almost here. Games start Thursday, Sept. 1, and we’ll have state champions the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. In between, there will be star performances, homecoming and huge match-ups almost on a weekly basis. Saddle up, because it will be a fun ride.