David Joles photo
Strike up the orchestra for a little “Heavy Action” theme music because Monday night football is coming to Rosemount.
The Irish will welcome Woodbury to town for a 6 p.m. tilt that allows each team to make up for games lost to COVID-19.
The struggle has been real for both teams. Rosemount was quarantined and missed its first two games of an already abbreviated six-week regular season schedule. Meanwhile, Woodbury sat idle on Friday while school officials worked to flesh out the ramifications of having one player test positive.
The bigger news Friday: The Anoka-Hennepin School District announced that it’s moving to distance learning because of a rise in area COVID cases. That means all five schools, Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Champlin Park and Coon Rapids, will shut down their sports programs effective Nov. 2.
Rosemount football coach Jeff Erdmann said that situation spurred him to action. He sent a text message to Woodbury coach Andy Hill on Saturday morning inquiring about a Monday night matchup.
Hill didn’t hesitate.
“The way things are going this season, if you let a chance to play a game pass by, you might not be able to get it back,” Hill said.
Erdmann said Hill allowed the Irish to host the game, thereby giving the seniors their first, and maybe only, chance to play at home on the new turf field.
“That was a pretty cool gesture,” Erdmann said. “I think all of us coaches are experiencing a more communal feel this season to help keep our kids playing.”
Erdmann expressed no safety concerns with his team, which beat Eagan on Friday, playing again Monday and yet again on Friday, Oct. 30. He said the Minnesota State High School League allows teams to football teams to play twice in a week, either Monday and Friday or Tuesday and Saturday.
Still, three games over an eight-day span is an even tighter timeline than a typical scheduling logjam. In a normal year, teams Class 5A and below play as many as three games in 11 days from the Wednesday of MEA weekend to the first two rounds of the playoffs on the following Tuesday and Saturday.
Hill said Woodbury moved its game next Friday to Saturday to allow another day between games.
Erdmann, 52, harkens back to the era of ABC’s Monday Night Football as a national institution. But he downplayed any nostalgia talk.
“We have school or work the next day,” he said. “So it is what it is.”
Hill said, “It’s a big deal for their kids to be on their turf and it’s a big deal for our kids to get a game they didn’t think they’d get to play."