|Prep Bowl XXXIII
Grand Meadow, Eden Prairie to defend titles
Grand Meadow and Eden Prairie are the only champions that have survived the first two rounds of tournament play. Four teams that made it to their respective championship games still boast unblemished records.
The top-ranked Superlarks of Grand Meadow are making their third consecutive and seventh overall appearance and seek their second consecutive and overall title in Class 9-Man. The two-time Class AAAAAA defending champions Eden Prairie Eagles are making their 10th consecutive and 18th overall appearance. They were the top-ranked team in this year's final AP poll and also won titles in 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2011.
The 2014 Prep Bowl will be conducted over two days, Friday, Nov. 21, and Saturday, Nov. 22, at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus. It will be the first time that the Prep Bowl will be conducted outdoors. Prep Bowl was created in 1982 and the games were played in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome from the time it opened through the fall of 2013. KSTC-TV, Channel 45 will broadcast all seven games live, as well as feed numerous cable systems around the state. The games will also be streamed live for Web viewing at www.Prep45.com. The webcasts will cost $4.97 for one day of live events, and for on-delay viewing at $4.97 each.
(Note: All game times listed with an * are approximate start times. Games will not start before that time, but could start after that time. There will be about 30 minutes between the conclusion of one game and the start of the next game.)
Friday, Nov. 21
Class 9-Man: Grand Meadow (13-0) vs. Edgerton/Ellsworth (12-1) @ 10 a.m.
The Superlarks of Grand Meadow are making their third consecutive and seventh overall appearance. They earned their first championship last year and also have two runner-up finishes to their credit. Edgerton/Ellsworth is making its third appearance under this name. The Flying Dutchmens' last appearance was in 2011 when they won their only championship. Edgerton also made three solo appearances between 2004 and 2006. Grand Meadow was ranked No. 1 in the final Associated Press (AP) poll and Edgerton/Ellsworth was ranked No. 6.
Class AA: BOLD, Olivia (12-1) vs. Holdingford (10-3) @ 1 p.m.*
The BOLD Warriors are making their 10th appearance under this name, but first since 2012. BOLD is in the hunt for its third title, having won previously in 1990 and 1991. Bird Island made one additional appearance in 1974 and Olivia made one in 1980. The combined program of Bird Island-Lake Lillian made five additional appearances between 1976 and 1983 resulting in championships in 1979 and 1980. The Warriors were ranked No. 7 in this year's final AP poll. The unranked Huskers of Holdingford return to make their third consecutive and 12th overall appearance. They lost in the quarterfinals in 2013. If the Huskers win it would be their second championship, having won their first in 1981.
Class AAAA: Becker (11-1) vs. DeLaSalle, Minneapolis (11-1) at 4 p.m.*
The No. 5-ranked Becker Bulldogs are making their 14th appearance. They made their last appearance in 2012 and won their only title in 2005. The Islanders of DeLaSalle, who were ranked No. 7 in the final poll, are making their third consecutive and 10th overall appearance. They lost in the 2013 semifinals. If the Islanders win it would be their second title. They won their first in 1999.
Class AAAAAA: Eden Prairie (12-0) vs. Totino-Grace (11-1) @ 7 p.m.*
Totino-Grace, which lost in the semifinals last year, was ranked No. 8 in this year's final poll. The Eagles are making their sixth consecutive and 24th overall appearance. The Eagles won previous championships in 1977, 1978, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012. The three-time defending champion Eagles from Eden Prairie are making their 10th consecutive and 18th overall appearance. They took top honors in Class AAAAA in 2011 and in Class AAAAAA in 2012 and 2013. They were the top-ranked team in this year's final AP poll and also won titles in 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2007.
Saturday, Nov. 22
Class A: Dawson-Boyd (12-1) vs. Minneota (12-0) @ 10 a.m.
The Blackjacks of Dawson-Boyd return for their fourth consecutive and overall appearance. They won one previous title in 2011. Dawson-Boyd was ranked No. 8 in this year's final poll. The Vikings of Minneota are making their second consecutive and 12th overall appearance. In 2013 the Vikings earned runner-up honors in Class AA as a co-op with Lincoln HI. Minneota also made 10 solo appearances between 1985 and 2010. The Vikings won previous titles in 1986, 1987, 1988, and 2009. Minneota was ranked No. 2 in this year's final AP poll.
Class AAA: Rochester Lourdes (12-0) vs. New London-Spicer (11-1) @ 1 p.m.*
Top-ranked Rochester Lourdes returns for its third consecutive and 11th overall appearance. The Eagles lost in the semifinals last year and won previous titles in 1979 and 2010. The Wildcats of New London-Spicer are making their third consecutive and fifth overall appearance. They won one previous championship in 2009 and claimed runner-up honors last year. New London-Spicer was ranked No. 3 in this year's final AP poll.
Class AAAAA: Simley (10-3) vs. Mankato West (11-1) @ 4 p.m.*
The Simley Spartans, who were not ranked in the final AP poll, return for their second appearance. They made their last appearance in 2002 and are still looking for their first title. The No. 3-ranked Mankato West Scarlets return to tournament action after a one-year absence to make their ninth appearance. If the Scarlets win it would be their fourth title; they won previously in 1999, 2002, and 2008.
|Coaching for Change
League advances education module addressing sexual harassment and violence against girls
Long before the advent of current public and media attention to accusations of violence against women by some high profile National Football League players, the Minnesota State High School League began the process of developing educational curriculum to assist high school coaches with educating their athletes about the problem of violence against teenage girls.
The curriculum is one of several educational modules that all coaches working with athletes in grades 9-12 must take. It is titled Coaching for Change: A Game Plan to Prevent Violence and was created in partnership with the Sexual and Domestic Violence Council of Anoka County, Men as Peace Makers, the Gender Violence Institute, and the Men's Action Network. Funding was provided by a grant from the Greater Twin Cities United Way.
The module was available for fall sport coaches this year and thus far nearly 9,000 coaches have completed it, with an additional 15,000 recipients expected by the end of the 2014-15 school year.
"Sexual and domestic violence are difficult topics to understand and discuss, and there are few coaches who are trained to deal with these topics effectively," explained Jody Redman, associate director of the League. "If we expect coaches to challenge the current status quo and immerse their programs in a counter-cultural belief system, we must provide them with consequential and ongoing professional development and support so they are prepared to address these issues effectively."
The goal is to create a heightened awareness of a team's culture and the social norms that are shaping student athlete's attitudes and behaviors related to teen dating violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. With this increased awareness, coaches can positively impact the lives of their athletes.
Coaches will learn basic strategies that will help them address these tough issues as they arise and proactive approaches they can use throughout the year.
The education module first introduces coaches to the socialization of boys. Former NFL defensive lineman (Baltimore Colts and Detroit Lions) Joe Ehrman narrates this portion of the module, including what he dubs the three scariest words that every man has heard in his lifetime: "Be a man!"
Ehrman, the author of InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives, a book whose principles form the framework for the League's Why We Play initiative, explains that boys are taught to separate their heart from their head. He believes that boys and men measure their masculinity based on three myths:
1) Boys learn by ages 7, 8 or 9 that masculinity is measured on the athletic platform by their ability and skills, their size and their strength.
2) By the time boys reach seventh, eighth or ninth grade, many believe their masculinity must be measured by sexual conquest.
3) And later in life, the primary measure becomes economic success.
"We need to reframe sports," Ehrman explains. "We need to redefine what it means to be a coach. We need to rewire the broken men who have separated their hearts from their heads. They've got to get connected again.
"And then we've got to do the preventive work, give every boy affirmations, validation of all of their feelings."
Although some forms of abuse may appear harmless, they indeed are not. The types of behavior that must be addressed can range from emotional abuse, to controlling behavior, to sexual harassment, to sexual assault, to physical assault.
Staggering statistics are offered. According to the 2010 Minnesota Student Survey and the 2008 Minnesota Crime Survey, one of every four teens have or will experience dating violence and that one of every five girls will become victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18, with that ratio increasing to one in three by the time they reach mid-life.
The preventive work is at the heart of the League's Continuing Education Requirement (CER) for coaches. This module, estimated to require just 45 minutes of a coach's time, presents a number of different scenarios that coaches could face, along with several options on how to respond, and then the most appropriate response must be chosen.
Coaches are encouraged to think differently about what they are teaching young people regarding honor and respect. There is no single right way to teach these values, they are told, adding that with any message that matters, they will need to find their own voice and deliver their message in an authentic way.
The appropriate responses to the scenarios presented always require immediate attention and usually face-to-face conversations with both perpetrators and victims. In some cases, issues must be referred to administrators, and in many cases referrals to counseling are paramount.
A number of possible proactive prevention actions are offered. Number one on that list is very simple: "Add respect to your team rules." Coaches of boys' teams are also encouraged to create this culture by supporting the success of a girls' team, or incorporate a female role model into a practice, game or team event, or host an event to honor the women important in the lives of the boys on their team.
"All who are involved in a student's education must understand the purpose of WHY WE PLAY and what we want students to acquire through participation," Redman adds, "which includes providing them with an environment where they are developing appropriate beliefs and ideals around their identity, sexual harassment and violence."
|District Football 2015-16, 2016-17
League adopts District Football scheduling plan for 2015 and beyond
Minnesota State High School League schools should no longer have a reason to travel far out of state to find football opponents or play less than an eight-game regular season football schedule. The League Board of Directors today unanimously adopted a plan that places all member schools with football programs into Districts. The members of each district will divide the district into sub-districts, and then create a full schedule for each team. In nearly all cases the placement of schools will not negatively affect traditional rivalries or preferred opponents.
For several years League staff, school administrators and football coaches have sought a solution for schools that have had difficulty filling their regular season football schedule. A committee of coaches, athletic administrators and Board members developed a District Football Scheduling System that was approved by the Board in January. A separate District Placement Committee made up of coaches and administrators worked hard to group schools into districts based on enrollment, geography and like schools, while also considering individual school preferences for maintaining traditional opponents.
"Everyone needs to keep in mind that this is just a step in the process of developing actual schedules for our member schools," explained Associate Director Kevin Merkle in presenting the plan to the Board. "Some districts have a wide range in school enrollment and geography, but once the districts determine their sub-district alignments, most of the enrollment and geographical issues will be solved."
The recommendation approved by the Board of Directors included:
Placement of all schools in a scheduling district
Final decision on appeals from schools who requested to be placed in 9-Man
Bylaws to guide the work of each district
Allowing limited inter-district play upon approval of the Board of Directors
A plan for the initial meetings for each district that will be lead by members of the District Football Placement Committee.
The 10-member District Football Placement Committee met five times since mid-March to place schools in districts, using enrollment, geography, like schools and current conference membership and current opponents as key criteria. Schools were given the opportunity to provide information to the committee in advance, including three teams that they would like to continue to schedule. Those requests were reviewed carefully and were met to the extent possible. More than 90 percent of the schools' requests were met, and a significant majority of schools were placed in a district with most, if not all, of the schools that they now play.
Districts will have initial meetings in the near future to discuss the placements and the next steps in the process. The next major step will be for districts to decide on sub-district alignments. Once that is completed, schedules for the 2015 and 2016 seasons can be developed. The goal is for all schools to have a complete schedule for both years by Nov. 1, 2014.
"We are indebted to the members of the District Football Placement Committee for their diligence and hard work in this process," Merkle told the Board, "They put in an extraordinary amount of time and effort and their focus was always on doing what was best for our member schools and their students."
To view the new football districts listing the schools placed in each district, click on the link below.
|Farmington’s Mark Froehling Announces Retirement
|Posted by John Millea(email@example.com)- Updated 11/19/2014 1:25:21 PM
|Mark Froehling announced this week that he is retiring as the head football coach at Farmington High School. He told his team first, which is exactly what you would expect from a man who has always cared for his players above all else.
One of the highlights of my many years writing about high school sports came in the fall of 2006. I spent homecoming week with the Farmington Tigers, watching every football practice, sitting in on Froehling’s chemistry classes, enjoying homecoming festivities and writing about what took place.
That was a joyful week because I was able to write about one of the finest coaches I have ever known. As Farmington activities director Bill Tschida told me, “Mark is a treasure.”
Froehling, 52, has been a head football coach for 23 years; eight years at Caledonia and 15 years at Farmington. His career record is 122-101, but wins and losses is about the last thing for which he will be remembered. His players always knew that he cared about them as people and not just as football players.
He is known as a coach who interrupts practice to read to his team. The players rest on the field as their coach stands in their midst and reads aloud from books that are usually inspirational and always motivational.
After reading to the Tigers during a practice in 2006, he said quietly to me, “You’ve got to build a team somehow. If you just play football, then it’s only about football. This is all about team. I choose books about team, with the philosophy of being part of something bigger than yourself.”
He and his wife Lori made the retirement decision after the 2014 season ended. He will continue to teach chemistry.
“We’ve been talking about it the last couple years,” he said. “I wanted to make good decisions about where things stood. We’ve had multiple changes with the team, conference, classes, and I didn’t want to abandon the program during those transitions. They can be challenging and you want some stability.”
Indeed, Farmington has seen changes in recent years. The football team has moved from Class 4A to 5A to 6A, and when the Missota Conference dissolved this year Farmington joined the South Suburban Conference, which was a big step. The Tigers didn’t win a game this fall.
“We anticipated facing very good football teams every week,” Froehling said of the South Suburban. “And they didn’t disappoint. Every team was well-prepared, every team had great athletes and a good number of athletes, they knew how to play the game well.
“It was a little tough for us this particular season; we happened to be in a year where we just brought back about four starters from last year and we ended up doing this transition with a very young team. But to their credit, if you had come to practice you wouldn’t know what our record was. The kids came to play every week and practice was always positive. I told the seniors they were a great group to go out with. It has to be fun and they allowed that to happen.”
Froehling is only the second coach Farmington has had in 35 years. Earl Wetzel had the job for 20 years and Froehling was an assistant under him for two years; when Wetzel retired, Froehling was named head coach.
Trey Davis, a 2007 Farmington graduate who went on to compete in football and track at the University of Minnesota, said, “His impact goes beyond football to the example he sets as a man and just how much he cares about his athletes. It speaks to the way he did his retirement, waiting until after the banquet.”
Davis, now assistant activities director at Shakopee High School, added, “You never questioned that he cared about you. He would give you the shirt off his back if it meant you would be a more successful person.”
Tschida said Froehling set an example for all coaches at all schools.
“Some people are able to set their ego aside and really understand the true purpose of education-based athletics,” he said. “Mark is one of those people who has always looked at the greater good when it came to coaching. It was never about serving his ego and collecting accolades. It was always ‘How can I make a positive impact on the young men I’m coaching.’ That’s why he is so well-respected. He kind of sets the gold standard on how you can coach in this very machoistic sport yet do it in a manner that’s respectful of the individuals.”
Last season I was at Farmington for a game against Northfield. After warm-ups, the Tigers gather in the school weight room for last-minute words from Froehling. Here is what he told his team that day…
“We’ve got to be ready to play. I want to see effort and I want to see execution, right away. Let’s be moving out there, let’s get this thing going at our pace, not at their pace. Let’s dictate the pace, let’s run ‘em out of gas and take care of business, fellas. We’ve got to withstand any initial surge they might have.
“We know how to face adversity. This is football, gentlemen. There is always going to be adversity, nothing’s going to be perfect. There are going to be things we’ll have to overcome. Let’s not pretend that nothing bad’s never going to happen. We’ve just got to be prepared for it; how are we going to react to it? It’s a sign of the character of this team. And we know what kind of character we have, right? We know we can handle anything if we handle it together, can’t we?
“We’ve got to be able to play this one play at a time, right? Whatever happened on the last play, do we really care about that? No. Does it really matter what the next play is, the play after the one that’s being played right now? No. Will you please give me great focus on that play? Work your technique, do your job; you know your buddy’s counting on you to be focused right then, don’t you? He needs you. We all need each other, and let’s be sure we’re all taking care of our friends out there on the football field.
“Let’s show respect for our opponents tonight by the way we play the game. Every time we walk out on that field, we’re going to respect the game and make sure that we’re playing good, tough Tiger football. Gentlemen, let’s bring it in here and take a knee. What a beautiful night for the game of football, right fellas! This has gotta be fun, and let’s be thankful for being able to be here.”
Notice, Froehling didn’t say one word about winning the game. He talked about togetherness and focus and teamwork and being thankful.
After practice one day during that homecoming week in 2006, I talked with then-senior J.J. Akin, who went on to play football and graduate from Gustavus Adolphus College, where he now works as coordinator of marketing and technology and an admissions counselor.
Akin said to me, “Our coaches talk a lot about family, and they back it up. It brings unity. We’re not always going to be football players. We’re going to be husbands and fathers. Those are important things in life.”
And those lessons are taught by important people.
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 184
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2014-15: 4,556
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