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Chris Murphy, Published June 04 2013

Minnesota state football title games to make temporary move outdoors

FARGO – Things could get a bit chilly for Minnesota high school football fans because the 2014 and 2015 Prep Bowl is moving outdoors to TCF Bank Stadium while the new Vikings stadium is being built.

Seven championship games will be played Nov. 21-22 in 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium, moving up the state championships a week from when they’ve normally been played. It also puts the championships outdoors for the first time in 33 years.

“I think it’s a necessity right now and something we’ll have to deal with for one or two years,” said Mahnomen football coach John Clark Jr., who led the Indians to a 14-0 record and a state championship last season. “I don’t think anyone there will be bothered by playing outside or when they play. It’ll be nicer than our frozen field out wherever we play. Playing for the state championship is more important than the venue.”

No other playoff format or schedule changes are expected for 2014, but 2015 could be a different story. The Prep Bowl could be played two weeks earlier than usual because the University of Minnesota has home football games scheduled for Nov. 21 and 28 in 2015. This could mean high school teams starting the season a week earlier, shortening the regular season to seven games or limiting the number of teams that qualify for section playoffs. A decision on 2015 is expected to be made in the fall or early next year.

“Coaches will have to get a little creative in the first couple of weeks,” Clark said. “But if you get that chance to play in the state championship, it doesn’t matter where or when it is. You’re just going to have to make due. I think the kids are smart enough to realize that TCF Bank Stadium is a great facility.”

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Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548