MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a new feeling at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights — winning on the football field.

At this school, most of the success has come indoor on mats. Quarterback Michael Busch says his team finally gets to feel like the wrestlers.

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“They’re always in the state, competition for a state championship, and we got the opportunity and it’s like the atmosphere of wrestling season,” Busch said. “Feels great.”

He knows a little about success. He’s the quarterback, he’s the leader and the perfect fit.

“He’s a phenomenal football player for us, phenomenal baseball player, but a better person, a great kid,” said Coach Rex King. “And the kid smiles all the time too, so what more could you ask for?”

They will face another great quarterback and a great team. Mankato West’s Ryan Schlichte has the arm, and he has some weapons.

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“They got a great quarterback, got some great wide receivers and big guys up front,” said defensive end John Reibert. “But we got some great guys too, so they’re going to have to watch out too.”

But this team is used to being the underdog; it’s been that way most of the playoffs.

“We’ve always been the underdog, as a program we’ve always been the underdog and rightfully so,” King said. “We haven’t been a winning program in a long, long time. But when you look at it, Mankato West has been here before, they’re experienced, they’ve won state titles before and they’re ranked in the rankings higher than us all year, so I would say we’re the underdog.”

And this school has rallied its team, because this team has set an example.

“We bought into the system finally and we just play for each other, not the individual anymore, and it’s a great thing,” Reibert said. “Finally bringing some pride to our school … it’s just awesome.”

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And one day, win or lose Saturday, they will look back with fondness on the time of their lives.

Mike Max