It is no wonder why. The tournament is void of thuggery and features wide-open play and unstaged fun and drama. School officials estimated that almost half of Moorhead High's 1,274 students made the 250-mile journey to watch their team win its Class AA quarterfinal against Elk River, many of them sporting orange hunting vests (the Spuds' colors are orange and black) and screaming for Moorhead's mascot, a skating potato that circled the ice before the game.
After Centennial's 3-0 victory over Wayzata in Friday's semifinal, coach Erik Aus was in tears as he greeted reporters. "What's wrong, Coach?" one writer asked. His voice cracking, Aus responded, "I've just never been so proud of my team." The next night, after Centennial defeated Moorhead 1-0 to claim the AA title, the first in school history, he was again teary-eyed as he spoke. "I told the boys that on Saturday, March 13, the state stops for this tournament," Aus said. "And this year the state stopped for them."