Photo: #The high school football season begins this weekend in Minnesota.

New football season means new classes for some Minnesota schools

by Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
September 3, 2009

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 classPrevious classNew class
Lewiston-Altura High SchoolAAA
Norwood-Young America High SchoolAAAAA
Osakis High SchoolAAA
Providence AcademyAAAAA
Red Lake High SchoolAAA
St. Paul Harding High SchoolAAAAAAA
Westbrook-Walnut Grove High School9-manA

Moving to smaller classPrevious classNew class
Alexandria High SchoolAAAAAAAAA
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City High SchoolAAA
Barnesville High School*AAA
Bemidji High School AAAAAAAAA
Columbia Heights High SchoolAAAAAAA
Crosby-Ironton High SchoolAAAAA
Esko High SchoolAAAAA
Eveleth-Gilbert High SchoolAAAAA
Maple River High SchoolAAAAA
Mesabi East High SchoolAAA
Minneapolis North Community High SchoolAAAAAAA
Minneapolis Washburn High SchoolAAAAAAA
Minnewaska Area High SchoolAAAAA
Nashwauk-Keewatin High SchoolA9-man
Onamia High SchoolA9-man
Park Center High SchoolAAAAAAAAA
Pine River-Backus High SchoolAAA
Rothsay High School*AA9-man
Saint Clair High School2A9-man
St. Louis Park High SchoolAAAAAAAAA
St. Paul Academy & Summit/MoundAAAAAAA
St. Paul Arlington High SchoolAAAAAAA
St. Paul Central High SchoolAAAAAAAAA
St. Paul Highland Park High SchoolAAAAAAA
St. Paul Humboldt High SchoolAAAAA
St. Paul Johnson High SchoolAAAAAAA
Warroad High SchoolAAAAA

* 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 schoolAAAA
East Ridge High SchoolAAAA
Lion’s Gate Christian Academy9-man
Spectrum High SchoolA