Edgerton, MN

Football State Champs

The Edgerton/Ellsworth Dutchmen are the
2011 9-Man State Football Champions!

EHS Football_1.jpg

Would you like to purchase a commemorative DVD of practice,
the championship game, and celebration?
The DVD is availabe for purchase at Drooger's Food Center for $15.00.

By Skip Hunter
Published in the Edgerton Enterprise

November 30, 2011

Did you ever think that there would be an event that would disrupt Thanksgiving holiday plans for a large number of people in one small town? That was the scene last week in Edgerton. First of all many Thanksgiving dinners were postponed, moved, or even cancelled as a sizeable group of people headed to Edgerton High School to send the EHS football team off to Minneapolis for the final game of the state high school football tournament. Sirens filled the air as the bus, led by two emergency vehicles, took off shortly after noon on Thursday.

Next, many families relocated on Thursday to Minneapolis. There were a reported 300-400 people at one motel alone on Thanksgiving evening. Then, two large busloads of people woke up very early Friday morning or, like two high school girls, did not sleep at all but spent time putting on special makeup for the game. Those two buses left town at 4:33 A.M. for their safari up north.

After a stop in Jordan for breakfast, the fans made their way into the Dome where they found their seats on the visitor's side of the field. An experienced usher estimated the EHS crowd at least 1,000 strong. There was a lot of red and black on both sides of the field as those are the colors of both EHS and Wheaton-Herman-Norcross. Each spectator and player had to endure the nervous wait before the game began.

The team was able to experience an atmosphere of a major college or professional game. The carpet was lush; maybe more so than some of our living room carpets. Most of us probably do not have all the lines and logos adorning it. There were ball girls instead of the familiar Dr. LaFollette working the sidelines. There were signs on both sides of the field either acknowledging a favorite player or some aspect of the game. Much of the crowd was unable to sit due to its exuberance during a very good football game.

There were ushers, MHSL officials, and other "officials" all around the field. Probably the most noticeable of these was the man in the green hockey jersey who seemingly spent much of the afternoon with his arms spread to the side parallel to the field holding up play. He was the TV timeout coordinator. The TV contract stipulated at least three TV timeouts per quarter. This took a little getting used to by players, coaches, and fans. There were also four medical people: two physical therapists, a doctor, and an athletic trainer. The ushers do not see much of the game as they are watching exits and making sure that stairways stay clear at all times. They also, with some help of other security people, made sure that the fans did not rush the field after the victory. There were even two men assigned to guard the water cooler so that Coach Fleischman did not get a public shower.

Before the game began, the fans could visit the concession stands with more variety of food than normally seen at a high school football game. Others visited with friends who showed up at this game from far and near. One set of friends claimed loyalty to opposite teams. One of the Warrior's fathers not only grew up near Leota but also went to EHS. The photographers and the reporters paced the sidelines and end lines waiting for the Prep Bowl to begin.

Before the kickoff there was a lot of pomp and circumstance until the WHN band played the national anthem. Once the game began there was lots of noise. There was noise at the kickoff. There was more noise when there was a score. The noise would increase at tense situations with DC often urging the crowd to get louder. How loud was it? Well, players on the field said that they could hear it. We heard it on the sidelines, and when I spent the third quarter in the press box on the opposite side, it was clearly heard there as well. When the conditions were right, you could easily hear echoes in the building. I am sure more than one person woke up with a hoarse voice on Saturday morning. It also was eerily quiet when DC went down in the second half.

Another aspect of the scene that was unusual was the big screens on either end of the field. We would look at them often throughout the game. We really took a look to see just how Blake made that catch to give E/E the victory. That was a treat in itself. There were also some very big lenses on cameras. I had to help Ashley and Sandy wipe the drool off their faces several times during the game. The Enterprise's budget might take a hit.

As the game ended there were a lot of happy boys and just as happy fans. Helmets were strewn all over the place, and had to be reclaimed after the trophy and medals were distributed and all the pictures were taken.

Then there was the ride home with the game being replayed many times. The bus ride seemed to get longer and longer the closer we got to Edgerton. After waiting for a while, sirens and lights were seen to the east, and the team victoriously rode into town on the fire trucks escorted by police cars and other emergency vehicles. (The fan busses got a little taste of that as we were mistaken for the team bus in Slayton.) This was the beginning of more noise.

The team headed into the gym where a program of pictures, loud music, and excellent remarks made by emcee and reporter extraordinaire Mike Drooger. He gave credit to those who made the season possible and kept the evening flowing. We fans were able to show our appreciation for the work of the coaches and the play of the team throughout the year. Flying Dutchmen, young and old, heralded the exploits of the boys of fall. We do not know if they can make it two in a row, but this team will go down in the annals of history next to the 1960 Flying Dutchmen basketball team.