It doesn't seem likely that you could find three Top 10 college football teams in a community with a population of barely 90,000. And you'd think it impossible that the same community could produce not two, but three state high school championship finalists. But when the "community" consists of twin cities that happen to be situated in neighboring states, it's more than just possible. The real-life situation has most of the aforementioned 90,000 folks going slightly wild over football.
One of the twin cities is Moorhead, Minn., whose 29,925 citizens have a lot to cheer about. There are the Moorhead High Spuds, who beat Wayzata 24-7 Friday night to improve their record to 10-1 and qualify to play Rosemount in this week's championship game in Class AA, which includes Minnesota's biggest schools. Then there's Moorhead State University, which is ranked No. 1 in NAIA Division I and ended its regular season with a 10-0-1 record. And there's Concordia College, which is No. 4 in NAIA Division II and finished at 9-0-1.
Suffering a similar embarrassment of riches, the 61,281 people who live across the Red River of the North in Fargo, N. Dak. are proud that Fargo Shanley and Fargo South made it to the championship final in Class A, which covers the biggest schools in that state. Throw in Fargo-based North Dakota State University, which is ranked seventh in NCAA Division II and ended the regular season with an 8-2 record, and the picture is complete: six championship-caliber teams within five miles of one another.
Moorhead State Coach Ross Fortier allows, "This is a good area for football." But, he adds, "The trouble is, most years we knock each other off." That's a problem, all right. The only blemish on the records of unbeaten Moorhead State and Concordia is the 3-3 tie they played against each other on Sept. 12. And on Saturday, Fargo Shanley beat Fargo South in their showdown for the North Dakota state championship, 21-3.