MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)— Spectrum High School is a charter school started 12 years ago in Elk River.
The idea was to make it demanding academically to promote a college future. What has evolved is an unbeaten football team putting up staggering numbers in the process.
“My parents wanted me to come to Spectrum for the academics,” said Spectrum captain Blake Smith.
“Spectrum is [a] great college prep school, that’s what they base it off of,” said Spectrum tackle Sam Koppendrayer. “They really focus on academics, getting good grades.”
But it is also a school that decided athletics needed to be a part of it, so they added football a few years back.
“The nice part though about building a program is that they didn’t have all of the preconceived ideas from before,” said Coach Seth Mills. “You know, ‘We did it this way 50 years ago when I was in high school.’ So, there’s nothing to fall back on. So we got to set it up exactly how we felt it needed to be done.”
What they figured out was they have some pretty good football players, especially in this year’s senior class.
“I think it’s brought some energy into the school. I think the school was a little more academic based, and more school, school, school,” said Spectrum captain Fisher Marberg. “But now I think there’s some emphasis on the sports aspect of the school, too.”
They do it with a throwback offense: The old single wing has been more than effective. It’s been electric.
“In high school, we got beat in the playoffs by a school two years in a row that ran a single wing. And so we kind of got away from that when I started coaching, but then I saw a video online from Rick Darlington of Florida, and he went the single wing, so I just started hitting him up,” Mills said.
So they gather on practice days, and they master what has become their calling card: The ability to move the football and score points.
“It’s fun because you know we’re going to put some points up on you, we’re going to get some scores, and it really gets the guys on the sideline really excited, and we feed off that, too,” Marberg said. “And we feed off the crowd’s energy.”
They have become the toast of their class. Smart football, fun football.
“We have the most points per game in the state right now,” Koppendrayer said. “[Last year] we started off really good, and then towards the end of the year we kind of got ahead of ourselves and got too much in our head. We ended up losing our last game of the year.”
And that is why they are having a ball, because football is fun when you are playing winning football — and when you are hungry for even more.
“We need to be really committed this year, we really need everybody to be playing every play, and we really need to want it more this year,” Smith said.