High school football: Taking a deep dive into southeastern Minnesota's best programs

With no high school football in Minnesota this fall (pending Monday's MSHSL Board meeting), the Post Bulletin sports staff decided to take a deep dive into four of the area's best programs over the past two decades. What makes the teams in Caledonia, Grand Meadow, Rushford-Peterson and Rochester Lourdes so successful?

Grand Meadow running back Christopher Bain (26) scores a touchdown during a Class Nine-Man State Football semifinal game against Waubun on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, at U.S Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Out of sight, but most definitely not out of mind.

If there was any question about how badly high school football is missed this fall by players, coaches, parents, fans, students, the Post Bulletin sports staff has learned over the past few weeks that it is, indeed, missed beyond words for some athletes and their coaches.

We've seen that over the past few days, as the response has been rather overwhelming when the Minnesota State High School League announced it will hold a special meeting on Monday morning to determine whether or not the football and volleyball seasons will resume this fall.

Late August or early September is always the time of year when we bring you our annual Pigskin Preview magazine, which features player profiles, previews of close to 40 high school football teams in southeastern Minnesota, as well as schedules, pictures and anything else there is to know about the upcoming season.

Add the 2020 Pigskin Preview to the list of things the coronavirus has canceled.


Rushford Peterson quarterback Tyler Drinkall raises the game ball in victory as the final horn sounds as the Trojans win their second state championship in three years Friday November 26, 2004 at the HHH Metrodome in Minneapolis, Mn. The Trojans of R-P defeated the Otter Tail Central Bulldogs 20-6. (Post Bulletin file, Scott Jacobson)

Our sports staff had just started the process of gathering information and doing interviews for the Pigskin last month when the Minnesota State High School League voted to push football and volleyball back to a newly created spring season, for the 2020-21 school year.

Once we learned the season had been delayed, we knew there was no need to put out a Pigskin Preview this fall. We’ll table that for the time being. But we also learned that there are some football fans (including some generous businesses who advertise with the Post Bulletin) who still wanted some sort of football fix this fall.

So, instead of a Pigskin Preview, we put our heads together with our advertising department gurus and came up with a special section you can find in Saturday's print edition of the Post Bulletin, which we call “Trophy Case.” The stories in this section will also appear here at over the next few days (search the term "Trophy Case" to find them all).

As of now, there are no high school football games in our area to write about this fall, so our sports staff decided to take a look back at some of the best programs southeastern Minnesota has seen over the past couple decades. We took a deep dive, with current and former players and coaches, into the success that Grand Meadow, Rushford-Peterson, Caledonia and Rochester Lourdes have had.

Lourdes senior Carter Greguson acknowledges fans following the Eagles’ 42-35 win in the Class AAA State Football championship game against St. Croix Lutheran on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.


How did we settle on those four?

First, they’ve won the most state championships in the past two decades of any programs in our coverage area. But, more than that, we wanted to know why they’ve won those championships. How does a town of just more than 2,700 people tucked into the extreme southeastern corner of the state, put together the longest active winning streak in the country in high school football? How did Caledonia go from 0-10 in 2003 to a perennial state championship contender just a couple of years later?

What was the secret sauce in Rushford-Peterson throughout the 2000s that made the Trojans the team to beat? And what in the world did they feed their offensive linemen?

In Grand Meadow, do the coaches there worry about players wearing out weight-room equipment? And how did a Superlarks team that lost in a state championship game set the tone for the Grand Meadow dynasty of the 2010s?

112808.S.RPB.Caledonia bauer 03 mj.jpg
Caledonia's Andy Bauer (28) and quarterback Casey Bauer celebrate Casey's touchdown run during first half action at the high school football Prep Bowl Class AA State Championship game against Luverne Friday, November 28, 2008 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. (Post Bulletin file photo, Michele Jokinen)

Finally, how did Rochester Lourdes pull off two of the wildest plays in the history of the Minnesota high school football state tournament? Both may have looked lucky on the surface. In reality, they were anything but lucky. From pickle juice to The Stunner in St. Cloud, to The Annexation of Puerto Rico, we discovered that all four of Lourdes' recent state titles have some fun stories attached.

We hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as we enjoy telling them, and as much as the players and coaches involved in those games enjoyed reliving them.


The stories will be available on the following days:

Caledonia: Friday, early morning

Grand Meadow: Friday, mid-morning

Rochester Lourdes: Saturday, early morning

Rushford-Peterson: Saturday, mid-morning

• • • • •


When we set out to provide a bit of a high school football fix this fall, we wanted to take a look at not only successful programs, but some successful players from the past couple of decades in southeastern Minnesota. A few stories didn’t make it into the print edition of “Trophy Case” but you can find them online at


Adam Ellingson, a former standout baseball and football player at Rochester Lourdes, passed away in 2017. His teammates remember him as ‘laid back’ and ‘a spark of life.’

• We catch up with former Zumbrota-Mazeppa standout tailback/linebacker Parc Williams, who went on to play college football for the Gophers.

• Former Caledonia standout Karl Klug went on to star at the University of Iowa, followed by a lengthy career in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans. He’s still involved with football today.

• Lengthy recaps of every Prep Bowl won by Caledonia, Grand Meadow, Rushford-Peterson and Rochester Lourdes.

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