Sports Brief: MHS Varsity Football

Scott Sorensen, Staff Writer

The Minnetonka Skippers have had a tough year so far. From a shutout against Eden Prairie to a heartbreaking one point loss against Mounds View, the Skippers have endured a lot this season.

Many students may be wondering what’s different this year from past ones, like the 2018 season when Tonka finished with a solid 7-5 record.

The best explanation for the gap between Minnetonka and other schools is the sky-high number of young players taking the field in varsity jerseys.

While many schools’ teams are primarily made up by upperclassmen, just forty percent of Tonka’s squad is comprised of seniors, and their roster even includes five underclassman players. Even more shocking are the key roles these young athletes are taking on.

Minnetonka’s two sophomore quarterbacks are not only starting. but starring Combined, the two have taken seventy percent of Minnetonkas snaps this season. Though these developing athletes are encouraging for the school’s future, lack of experience has wid- ened the gap between MHS and teams.

Wayzata, one of Tonka’s greatest rivals, has scored nine passing touchdowns to Minnetonka’s one. Though Wayzata’s pass completion numbers (60 percent) are just five points higher, they are obviously capitalizing in areas where Minnetonka has not been able to.

The biggest gap in Tonka’s game is their ability to capitalize late in the drive. The team converts on third down three times less than their opponents and have had to punt the ball away twice as much as those teams.

However, just like the completion percentages, Minnetonka is on par with the rest of the state in a crucial yet puzzling way. Minnetonka actually advances nearly the same number of yards per game as their opponents, covering just 14 percent less ground than their adversaries. So why the huge gap in scoring and touchdowns? The answer once again lies in the team’s youth. Boys who are new to the varsity team, like the two starting quarterbacks, may not yet be used to the spotlight.

As the team matures and gains experience (most of them will be returning next year), they will learn together and improve their skills.

And beyond the scoreboard, Coach Dave Nelson believes that there is something more to be gained in all of this.

“We don’t put a [win or loss] number on the season,” he said. “We work to reach our potential.”

Through every game, Minnetonka’s squad looks to improve on their skills and keep aiming high. And their fans love the persistent spirit too.

Despite the team’s struggles, student fans like Henry Rosenhagen, 22, say “even though we’ve been losing, [games are] still fun.”

So whether you’re a diehard fanatic or a student looking for a good night, come out to support the Skippers. From the field to the fans, nobody in Minnetonka will ever give up on their home team.