MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For more than three decades, the weekend after Thanksgiving has been special for high school football players.
This weekend will be the last time the Prep Bowl will be held at the Metrodome.
The venue is coming down to make way for a new Vikings stadium.
For Noah Rockholl, the quarterback on last year’s football team, Friday is a special day.
“You can drive through the streets of Underwood today and I guarantee you won’t see a single person or a car in the town,” Rockholl said. “The whole the whole town’s here.”
A town of 300 people somehow produced more than 700 fans in the stands at the Metrodome to cheer on the Underwood Rockets.
“Never made it to the championship,” he said.
Playing for the big game for the last time in the historic Dome is something that makes him and many former players proud.
“We’ve made it to the Metrodome twice before. We ended up losing both times in the semifinal games, so making it to the championship this year – [the] last year – is definitely special a special thing,” he said.
Hundreds of fans made the long trip from Underwood to the Twin Cities on Thanksgiving Day.
They ate a traditional dinner together at their hotel before hitting the turn styles at the Dome Friday to cheer on their team.
Every fan in attendance knows the importance of this event. For Reggie Habberstad, this game is bittersweet.
“This is awesome for a small town like Underwood, you can see its’ community pride is just huge in our town,” Habberstad said. “We were at the first one back in ’82, not as a team but just as a spectator.”
Habberstad is watching his hometown team reach for a dream – a state championship the last year it could happened inside the Dome.
Even more precious, he gets to share it all with his son.
Unfortunately, the Underwood Rockets were defeated by Grand Meadow.
The good news is that most of their starting lineup will return next year, and they hope to return to a cold TCF Stadium for a new tradition.