St. Paul, Minn. — Nearly three dozen high school football teams across Minnesota will play in new classes this season because of changes in those schools' enrollments.
High school football teams are split into six classes - based on enrollment. The smallest schools, in fact, only field nine players at a time.
And new data from the Minnesota State High School League reflects the trend being seen across most of the state, where enrollments are falling.
Twenty-eight schools will play in smaller classes this year than last year, compared to only seven that are moving up.
Those moving to smaller classes include MACCRAY, Pine River-Backus, and Warroad. Osakis and Lewiston-Altura are among the few moving up.
The changes can also cause a school to overhaul its schedule, and in sometimes creates a need for even a storied rivalry to be ended.
Thursday, meanwhile, marks the start of the high school football season across Minnesota.
Many eyes will be on Glencoe-Silver Lake - to see if the Panthers can win a fourth straight Class AAA state championship this year. Caledonia - in southeast Minnesota - will vie for a third straight title in AA.
The football state championships will happen the weekend after Thanksgiving, at the Metrodome.
|Moving to bigger class||Previous class||New class|
|Lewiston-Altura High School||A||AA|
|Norwood-Young America High School||AA||AAA|
|Osakis High School||A||AA|
|Red Lake High School||A||AA|
|St. Paul Harding High School||AAA||AAAA|
|Westbrook-Walnut Grove High School||9-man||A|
|Moving to smaller class||Previous class||New class|
|Alexandria High School||AAAAA||AAAA|
|Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High School||AA||A|
|Barnesville High School*||AA||A|
|Bemidji High School||AAAAA||AAAA|
|Columbia Heights High School||AAAA||AAA|
|Crosby-Ironton High School||AAA||AA|
|Esko High School||AAA||AA|
|Eveleth-Gilbert High School||AAA||AA|
|MACCRAY High School||AA||A|
|Maple River High School||AAA||AA|
|Mesabi East High School||AA||A|
|Minneapolis North Community High School||AAAA||AAA|
|Minneapolis Washburn High School||AAAA||AAA|
|Minnewaska Area High School||AAA||AA|
|Nashwauk-Keewatin High School||A||9-man|
|Onamia High School||A||9-man|
|Park Center High School||AAAAA||AAAA|
|Pine River-Backus High School||AA||A|
|Rothsay High School*||AA||9-man|
|Saint Clair High School||2A||9-man|
|St. Louis Park High School||AAAAA||AAAA|
|St. Paul Academy & Summit/Mound||AAAA||AAA|
|St. Paul Arlington High School||AAAA||AAA|
|St. Paul Central High School||AAAAA||AAAA|
|St. Paul Highland Park High School||AAAA||AAA|
|St. Paul Humboldt High School||AAA||AA|
|St. Paul Johnson High School||AAAA||AAA|
|Warroad High School||AAA||AA|
* Barnesville and Rothsay had a combined team last year, and each school is fielding its own team this year.
|New schools (or existing schools with new football program)|
|Chanhassen High school||AAAA|
|East Ridge High School||AAAA|
|Lion’s Gate Christian Academy||9-man|
|Spectrum High School||A|