Big day for high school sports: End of football, start of boys' hockeyby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota's high school football champions will be crowned Friday and Saturday at the Metrodome, just as the boys' hockey season gets underway.
St. Paul, Minn. — Two of last year's high school state champions are back to try for football repeats -- Caledonia in Class 2A and Glencoe-Silver Lake in Class 3A. They'll face Luverne and DeLaSalle, respectively.
Absent from this year's Prep Bowl are notable powerhouses who have dominated in years past. Eden Prairie had a 39-game winning streak snapped by Blaine during the playoffs. Blaine will now face Wayzata for the 5A championship.
The 9-man division will also crown a new champion, after Stephen-Argyle lost in its sectional final. Stephen-Argyle had won five straight state championships and 76 straight games before losing.
Now, two undefeated teams, Houston and Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, will vie for the 9-man title.
Other games include Royalton and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg in Class 1A, and Northfield against Mankato West in Class 4A.
While that's happening, another sport is just getting off the ground: Friday is the first day of the boys' hockey season.
Apple Valley head coach Jerry Hayes says he's noticed a change in recent years -- more freshmen are making it onto varsity squads because fewer players, overall, are trying out for the teams.
"The kids coming out of Minnesota, I would argue, have never been better," Hayes said. "It just seems that the number of kids playing hockey might be less but the quality of player has never been better, I think."
Hayes says one reason for a smaller crop of possible players is that more student athletes are deciding to focus on one sport in hopes of getting a college scholarship, instead of playing a different sport each season.