Originally published in the 2015 Minnetonka football season program and on TonkaSkippers.org on Aug. 21, 2015
It will be a season of firsts for the Minnetonka football team, which heads into the 2015 season with a combined 16 new starters on offense and defense and ushers in a new era of district football.
Gone are the days of the Lake Conference, which is being replaced with the West Metro District. The Skippers are in the South Division of the district, joined by familiar faces in Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, and Wayzata, along with Bloomington-Kennedy, Maple Grove, Prior Lake, and Shakopee.
The Minnesota State High School League’s move to district football eases the scheduling burden on its teams. No longer do schools have to make long, out of state road trips in order to fill their schedules. In recent seasons, Minnetonka has travelled to places like Milwaukee, Kansas City, Superior, Wis., and Fargo, N.D., for games.
“Our longest bus ride is 30 minutes,” Minnetonka head coach Dave Nelson said.
With the new set-up, though, comes what Nelson called “the toughest schedule in school history” this season. In addition to their traditional Lake Conference foes, the Skippers will square off with perennial playoff contenders Maple Grove and Prior Lake, as well as Champlin Park and Shakopee. They’ll do so with promising, albeit inexperienced, groups on both sides of the ball.
The learning curve will be steep, but Nelson believes that if Minnetonka lives up to its potential, it will be a dangerous team come playoff time.