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Prep Bowl pushed back; high school football season will stretch into December

Due to the Minnesota Vikings playing a nationally televised evening game on Thanksgiving, the annual Prep Bowl -- Minnesota's high school football championship games -- will be pushed back a week, to Friday, Dec. 2, and Saturday, Dec. 3, at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

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LeRoy-Ostrander players and coaches after winning the Nine-Man high school football state championship game against Fertile-Beltrami Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. LeRoy-Ostrander defeated Fertile-Beltrami 58-8 in the first game of the 2021 Prep Bowl.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin file photo
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The 2022 high school football season will stretch into December.

Due to the Minnesota Vikings playing a nationally televised home game against the New England Patriots at 7:20 p.m. on Thanksgiving, the annual Prep Bowl — the two-day event featuring seven high school football state championship games — will be pushed back a week from its normal timeframe.

The Prep Bowl has traditionally been held on the Friday and Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving.

A group of stakeholders — the Minnesota Football Coaches Association, television broadcast rightsholder 45TV, Minnesota State High School League officials, and leadership at U.S. Bank Stadium — concluded that it would be best to not attempt to turn around a stadium set up for an NFL game, to one set up for high school championships, in less than 12 hours.

The rest of the section playoffs and state tournaments will be played on the usual schedule, giving teams who qualify for the Prep Bowl a two-week break between the state semifinals and championships. The state semifinals are scheduled to be played at U.S. Bank Stadium Nov. 17-19.

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The MSHSL Executive Committee approved the change this morning — Tuesday, Aug. 2.

MSHSL officials said that, due to the size of the production crew for the Vikings-Patriots game, the building won't be cleared until mid-day Friday, Nov. 25.

"With the (NFL) game finishing late on Thursday evening, it was decided to ensure that participants and their supportive communities would have a quality championship experience with the dates pushed back one week," a statement from the MSHSL read.

High school football practice around the state begins on Monday, Aug. 15. The first games of the season are scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 1, with a majority of teams opening their seasons on Friday, Sept. 2.

Four southeastern Minnesota teams qualified for the Prep Bowl in 2021 — LeRoy-Ostrander (9-Man), Chatfield (Class AA), Plainview-Elgin-Millville (Class AAA) and Kasson-Mantorville (Class AAAA).

LeRoy-Ostrander and Chatfield captured state championships in their respective classes, while PEM and K-M finished as runners-up.

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Chatfield players celebrate after the Gophers won the Class AA state football championship game against West Central Area/Ashby on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Andrew Link / Post Bulletin

Jason Feldman is the sports editor of the Post Bulletin. In addition to managing the four-person sports staff at the PB, Jason covers high school football, golf and high school and junior hockey. Readers can reach Jason at 507-281-7430 or jfeldman@postbulletin.com.
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