Reporting Jeff Wald
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Summer was fun while it lasted, but while some are attending the Minnesota State Fair this week, others are strapping on the pads and hitting the gridiron Friday night.
Believe it or not, the high school football season is officially underway this week with the first set of games. It’s a new initiative called “Zero Week,” which gives some programs who have trouble finding eight regular season games some time to find an extra opponent.
Some teams started fall practices a week earlier with the hopes of finding other teams at a similar competition level who also need games to fill out their schedule. The regular season for most teams gets underway Aug. 30-31.
The teams playing this week have one clear issue: Not enough conference opponents to complete an eight game regular season. The two featured games in the Twin Cities metro will be Edina hosting Holy Angels in non-conference action and Hopkins hosting Houston Episcopal of Texas. Another match-up features Minnetonka playing at Arrowhead (Wis.)
The Edina/Holy Angels match-up looks like a good game on paper. The Stars finished second in the Missota Conference last year with a 6-1 mark. Their season ended in a section semifinal loss to South St. Paul. Edina finished 5-5 last year and went 1-3 in the all but disbanded Lake Conference. All five losses for the Hornets came to teams ranked in the top 10 in Class 5A at the time.
Minnetonka is coming off an 8-3 season where the Skippers fell to state champion Eden Prairie in a section championship game. Arrowhead (Wis.) has a preseason top-15 ranking on the other side of the Mississippi River and features a preseason all-state defensive back in Jackson Abresch. Arrowhead certainly poses a threat to the Skippers, who always seem to churn out one of the most competitive teams in the Twin Cities.
The other Twin Cities game slated for Friday puts St. Paul Humboldt at Columbia Heights. The Hylanders haven’t won a game since the 2010 opener, a 17-game slide, and the Hawks went 0-8 in 2011.
Consider Friday your appetizer as we’re now less than two weeks away from the full regular season starting around the state. The WCCO Prep Blog will have you covered from start to finish as state champions are crowned on the Friday after Thanksgiving.