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Minnesota's best high school football teams, preseason players of the year and games to watch.
Minnesota Preseason Top 10
1. Eden Prairie Eagles
Feared for their physical style yet loathed for their success, the Eagles are favored to become the first program to win three consecutive big-school state titles. Expect large helpings of bruising running backs Dan Fisher and Anthony Anderson.
2. Wayzata Trojans (Plymouth)
Less-heralded players gained experience when starting seniors suffered injuries in 2012. Expect a sound defensive unit and capable offensive line.
3. Totino-Grace Eagles (Fridley)
Though much smaller in enrollment than most Class 6A schools, Totino-Grace succeeds thanks to a few stars and lots of smart, disciplined football players.
4. Maple Grove Crimson
The Crimson welcome back 12 starters, most of them offensive linemen with good size and defensive players who can run.
5. Minnetonka Skippers
Quarterback Nick Rooney, running back Ian Cote and seven defensive veterans plan to keep the Skippers in the hunt.
6. Cretin-Derham Hall Raiders (St. Paul)
A one-and-done playoff run should have the Raiders hungry. Graduation took a toll, but few programs reload like Cretin-Derham Hall.
7. Edina Hornets
The surprise team of 2012 could turn heads again, as 11 starters return for the Hornets.
8. St. Thomas Academy Cadets (Mendota Heights)
Favorites to win the Class 5A title, the Cadets boast a stable of running backs with complementary styles few defenses can solve.
9. Rosemount Irish
A young Irish team improved all season, culminating in a Class 6A state tournament appearance. Rosemount will wear a target this fall.
10. Owatonna Huskies
Continuity on the offensive line and nine defenders who saw action in the Class 5A title game loss give the Huskies a solid foundation.
Three Can't Miss Matchups
9.7 – Joliet Catholic (Ill.) at St. Thomas Academy
The Cadets, favorites in Class 5A, hope to shine at home against the storied Hilltoppers.
9.12 – Eden Prairie at Totino-Grace
Totino-Grace rebounded from a rout in 2011 to top Eden Prairie last fall.
10.11 – Wayzata at Eden Prairie
The state’s two largest schools collide, likely for the Lake Conference title.
2013 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year
Jeff Jones, RB, Washburn (Minneapolis)
Senior, 6-0, 200
Jones used great burst and breakaway speed to compile 1,002 yards (9.0 yards per attempt) and nine touchdowns in eight games. He added 105 yards and three TDs receiving. Millers coach Giovan Jenkins called the Minnesota commit “the total package.”
2013 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Andrew Stelter, DE, Owatonna
Senior, 6-4, 250
Stelter set his school’s single-season record with 12 sacks. He uses quickness off the ball and strength (he squats more than 500 pounds) to get off blocks and into opposing backfields. The 3-star prospect spurred Owatonna to the Class 5A title game last season.
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