Reporting Rachel Slavik
Filed underHigh School Sports Rally, Local, News, Sports, Syndicated Local, Syndicated Sports, Watch + Listen
PLYMOUTH, Minn. (WCCO) — Two of the best teams in the state faced off Wednesday night for the Lake Conference championship.
Going into the game Eden Prairie (7-0) was ranked No. 1 and defending state champion Wayzata (7-0) was ranked No. 2.
Wayzata ended up shutting out a powerful Eden Prairie offense and used three field goals to claim a 9-0 victory.
When two undefeated teams face off on the grid-iron, there is bound to be a large crowd.
“These are the two best teams in the state, without a question,” said Tom Zemlin.
But the turnout for the Wayzata/Eden Prairie game even took fans by surprise.
“10,000 is a pretty big deal,” said Ashley Pettingill, an Eden Prairie student.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Lisa Wipson, whose son plays on the Wayzata team.
A crowd expected to reach 10,000 filled the bleachers on both sides of the field. That type of turnout would rival state championship attendance.
“I think it’s great. A lot of colleges can’t get 10,000 people,” said Dave Stein, a senior at Wayzata.
“Everyone wants to be here,” said Pettingill.
During last year’s Prep Bowl more than 24,000 fans attended six games over two days. Almost half that were expected to show up for the one game match-up Wednesday night.
For some, prep football trumps the college level.
“Gopher games aren’t like this,” said Stein.
In some aspects, even the NFL can’t compare.
“There’s more excitement for high school, because you know so many players really well. So, lots of connections,” said Wipson.
If Wednesday night’s turnout says anything about high school football, it’s that Minnesota is not just a one sport state.
“Not just a hockey state, you have two huge traditions here,” said Zemlin.
The Minnesota State High School Coaches Association said that on average most regular season games will draw a maximum crowd around 1,500, depending on the schools’ size.
The Eden Prairie/Wayzata game had a turnout in the thousands last year as well. Wayzata won that game 28-27 in overtime.