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The Minnesota State High School League voted at a meeting Thursday to approve a seventh class in football, comprised of the 32 largest schools in the state in terms of enrollment, starting with the 2012 season.
The upcoming 2011 season will be played under the existing format, with six classes -- nine-man and 1-5A, with 5A being the largest.
While details such as the final list of schools and the playoff format are uncertain, beginning in 2012 the state will crown a Class 6A champion.
The two schools with the state's largest enrollments, Eden Prairie and Wayzata, are locks for Class 6A. Two schools not as certain for placement because of their smaller enrollments are perennial 5A power Cretin-Derham Hall and 4A power Totino-Grace. CDH coach Mike Scanlon said he wants to wait until he can talk with school officials before talking about whether the Raiders would opt-up to 6A. TG's Jeff Ferguson said his team, which opted-up to 5A for next season, said the Eagles would be considered a 4A school in a seven-class system. Will they opt-up two classes? Ferguson isn't sure.
Meanwhile, the concept of section scheduling — where the MSHSL would assign seven of a team’s eight regular season games each season — got voted down by both a state-wide task force of football coaches and activities directors and the MSHSL board.
Reducing the gaps in enrollment between the largest and smallest schools in all seven classes should create more competitive section playoffs. But some worry the new format really does not address scheduling.
“I don’t see it in anyway solving the issue,” Wayzata coach Brad Anderson said. The Trojans won the 2010 Class 5A state title but played only six of a possible eight regular season games. In recent years, the team has been forced to find games in Michigan and Wisconsin. Wayzata activities director Jaime Sherwood spoke at Thursday’s board meeting in favor of section scheduling.
As for creating a seventh class and a seventh state champion, MSHSL board member Kevin Merkle said, “I don’t think it’s about getting more teams championships. It’s trying to make for more competitive balance within the classes.”
--David La Vaque
Ricky Foggie, the option quarterback who helped bring respectability back to the University of Minnesota football program under Lou Holtz and then John Gutekunst, has been named at the head football coach at Park Center High School.
Foggie, 44, quarterbacked the Gophers from 1984 to 1987, leading them to an upset victory over Michigan in 1986 and two bowl appearances. He played for five different teams in 10 years in the Canadian Football League, then played for eight seasons in the Arena Football League. After retiring as a player, Foggie coached for four seasons in the AFL's developmental league, AF2.
His only high school coaching experience has been as an offensive coordinator at Burnsville.
Foggie replaces former Minnesota Viking defensive back Rufus Bess, who was the Park Center head coach for four years from 2007 through 2010.
We're in the midst of the March frenzy here, but it is worth noting that the Minnesota State High School League has just released its new section assignments for 2011-12. The MSHSL goes through the process every two years, and there are always a few items of note.
The biggest thing we could immediately glean was that Totino-Grace, which opted-up to Class 5A football, has been placed in Section 2. Here is how that football section looks now (should be interesting to see how it plays out):
Irondale High School
Mounds View High School
North St. Paul High School
Roseville Area High School
Stillwater Area High School
Tartan High School
Totino-Grace High School
White Bear Lake Area High School
The process for determining sections, as stated on the MSHSL site:
The Process for Re-Sectioning
1. We start with the current placements
2. We place schools new to that class in the nearest geographic region.
3. We then may move schools to balance the number of teams in each section.
When moving schools to a new section the following is considered:
1. Move as few schools as possible.
2. Geographic sections should not overlap.
3. Numerically balance class AA (or higher) sections to within 2 teams
4. Numerically balance class A sections to within 4 teams
5. In activities that have asked for a top XX, try to balance sections evenly
6. Travel concerns or time out of school only if all above can still be satisfied.
The following are not considered:
1. Strength of program or strength of other programs in section.
2. District or Conference rivalries.
3. Requests to the MSHSL office.
You can see the entire section list by clicking here and navigating various sports.
A diving, rebound goal from Kyle Rau gave Eden Prairie a 3-2 victory at 4:43 of the third overtime period of Saturday’s Class 2A state championship game at the Xcel Energy Center.
Saturday marked the first time in 67 years of the state tournament that a championship game went to three overtime periods.
The last big-school or one-class championship game to be decided in overtime was in 1989 when Bloomington Jefferson beat Rochester John Marshall.
In addition, the Greyhounds and Eagles needed overtime to decide their regular season meeting, a 4-3 Greyhounds victory.
Saturday’s state championship is Eden Prairie’s second in three seasons. The bulk of the Eagles’ seniors on the ice Saturday played key roles in winning the 2009 title.
Standout Eden Prairie forward Kyle Rau scored twice in the third period of the first Duluth East game. On Saturday, he was held off the score sheet until the final moment.
He dived to get a stick on the rebound of his twin brother Curt’s shot from the point. The puck got behind goaltender JoJo Jeanetta and Rau won the race to the puck, getting his stick on it and knocking it over the goal line.
Eden Prairie’s other set of twin brothers, David and Mark Rath, forced overtime with third period goals.
Eden Prairie’s David Rath tied the game 2-2 at 14:04 of the third period.
Defenseman Nick Seeler shot a puck from the point that Duluth East Jeanetta couldn’t control.
Rath reached around Jeanetta and stuffed the rebound home to give his Eagles a lift. Eden Prairie outshot Duluth East 10-4 in the third period.
Duluth East’s Trevor Olson scored his second goal of the game to give the Greyhounds a 2-1 lead at 9:31 of the third period.
Rau attempted to disrupt the shot, but instead sent the puck fluttering toward Eagles goaltender Andrew Ford. A deflection off Ford’s blocker sent the puck up and over him and into the net.
Duluth East grabbed a 1-0 lead at 3:31 of the second period on a power-play goal from Trevor Olson.
Precision puck movement around the perimeter created a lane for Jake Randolph. He sent the puck from one faceoff dot to the other where Olson waited to drive it home.
Grabbing an early lead was a much-needed boost for the Greyhounds, who came into Saturday’s final after playing a combined three overtime periods in victories against White Bear Lake and Edina.
The Greyhounds might have cashed in on their second power-play opportunity in the second period, but Eagles defenseman Nick Seeler made two plays to keep the puck out of the net.
Eden Prairie, which outscored its previous state tournament opponenets by a combined score of 10-1, could not muster a goal until the third period.
Luc Gerdes took the puck off the boards, stick-handled around a Duluth East defenseman backhanded the puck into Jeanetta’s leg pad. Mark Rath got to the rebound and ripped the puck high into the net to the game 1-1 at 1:43 of the third period.
Eden Prairie reached the state tournament thanks to a double-overtime victory against Wayzata in the Section 6 championship game.-- David La Vaque, Star Tribune
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