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High school football season: The must-see list

By Jim Paulsen, Star Tribune, 08/30/21, 6:30PM CDT


The schedule holds one game each week that you won’t want to miss, and here they are.

Anthony Souffle, Star Tribune

Elk River is perennially strong, but this season coach Steve Hamilton said he might have his deepest team yet. (Anthony Souffle, Star Tribune)

Staff writer Jim Paulsen looked at the 2021 schedule and picked one game per week worth watching. It might not always be the best two teams, but there’s a reason to pay attention.

Week 1

Friday, Sept. 3: St. Thomas Academy at South St. Paul, 7 p.m. One of the most intense, underrated rivalries in the metro.

Week 2

Friday, Sept. 10: Elk River at Andover, 7 p.m. Elk River coach Steve Hamilton believes this might be his deepest team.

Week 3

Friday, Sept. 17: Eden Prairie at Lakeville South, 7 p.m. Two undefeated teams from a year ago finally get to decide things on the field.

Week 4

Friday, Sept. 24: Cooper at Holy Angels 7 p.m. Two of the metro’s most heralded players, Jaxon Howard and Emmett Johnson, face off.

Week 5

Friday, Oct. 1: Cretin-Derham Hall at Chaska, 7 p.m. The most recent Class 5A state champs host the Raiders for the first time.

Week 6

Thursday, Oct. 7: Blaine at Centennial, 7 p.m. Centennial is rarely flashy, but the rough-house Cougars always seem to peak later in the season.

Week 7

Friday, Oct. 15: St. Michael-Albertville at Maple Grove, 7 p.m. Can the always formidable Knights solve Maple Grove’s veteran defense?

Week 8

Wednesday, Oct. 20: New London-Spicer at Dassel-Cokato, 7 p.m. Head west to Dassel to check out Chargers do-everything running back Eli Gillman.