FRIDLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — The high school football season kicks off later this week, and for Totino-Grace it’s a whole new challenge.
It’s something Jeff Ferguson, the team’s head coach, can’t wait to be a part of.
It’s just part of the fall. Totino Grace gets its footballl shoes on and makes good things happen. This season, the big hits get bigger for the Eagles. The Minnesota State High School League allowed Totino-Grace to opt up on a two-year plan, meaning the Eagles are in Class 5A this year for the playoffs.
“This past year they changed it to two years, and if we look at two years we kind of know who we have so it made sense to us,” Ferguson said.
But for Ferguson the premise stays the same: Create a foundation that creates a winning tradition.
“I think every coach has a little paranoia in them. We have been successful, and I’m pretty sure when the clock starts with all of our games this season we sure aren’t going to get any extra points for that. Every year you’ve got to start over again,” Ferguson said.
So he heads into this season with a new challenge, and the old philosophy. They’re coming off two consecutive class 4A state titles and have also won four titles in the last five years. But it’s a whole different game against the biggest schools in the state.
“I think the biggest thing is all of us as coaches, we get in it because we want to teach,” Ferguson said. “It’s just another way of teaching. It’s teaching on the field instead of teaching in front of a white board.”
And the Eagles will get quite the test in the marquee match-up of opening night on Thursday. Totino-Grace will face Minnetonka, annually a top team in 5A. They got a taste of the Skippers last year and came away with a 21-0 victory.
“They’re a great squad and we scouted them in a scrimmage as they scouted us, and I think it’s going to be fun,” Ferguson said. “They’re a hand full.”
Here is Jeff Wald’s Prep Blog, which takes a look at high school football in Minnesota.