Wayzata will be without running back Erik Roti, who was lost to an injury in the section semifinals against Champlin Park.
Early on in two-a-day practices, Wayzata football coach Brad Anderson gave players a history lesson with the story of Wally Pipp.
High school football is hardly the big leagues, but Anderson wanted his players to be well-versed about the man who was replaced by baseball ironman Lou Gehrig.
"I tell the kids on the first day of practice that football is a great sport but injury is a part of it," Anderson said. "It's the type of deal where, you better be ready to play because ... you never know when you might get called upon."
If the defending big school state champions are going to advance to an 11th state tournament -- and fifth in a row -- they will have to do so without two of their top talents on both sides of the ball.
Erik Roti, who left the game on the final play of the third quarter in last week's Class 5A, Section 5 semifinal against Champlin Park because of an undisclosed injury, will not play in Friday's championship game vs. Osseo.
In addition, linebacker Ryan Poppitz is done for the season because of a torn meniscus, also suffered late in the Champlin Park game. Poppitz played a key role in the Trojans' stifling pressure defense.
In the first game of the season, the Trojans lost running back Mitch Underhill, last year's Prep Bowl hero with nearly 250 yards and four touchdowns, to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.
"That's why as a coaching staff, we coach every single kid every single day," Anderson said. "I remind them that it's a journey and you don't get to pick who's going to be with us and who's going to be injured."
The Trojans aren't going to get much sympathy, considering the team's depth is such that four numbers on the roster have three players assigned to wear them.
And just about every other team still fighting for a state berth is facing similar injury woes.
Mounds View has been without star running back Jimmy Jaeger for more than half the season because of a broken hand.
"You have to prepare for it, unfortunately," Mustangs coach Jim Galvin said. "We've had some backup kids who have stepped up and played. Lucky for us, we had another kid in the program [Tyler Hansen] who can do some of what Jimmy does, because you really cross your fingers that it doesn't happen."
Minnetonka has been bitten hard by injuries, too, with its starting quarterback and running back among the walking wounded.
"Probably our toughest year I can remember," Skippers coach Dave Nelson said. "We'd been lucky. But when it comes up, you have those first few seconds of, 'Oh, no,' and move on and do what's best: Get a chance to win."