Two of last year's high school state champions are back to try for football repeats -- Caledonia in Class 2A and Glencoe-Silver Lake in Class 3A. They'll face Luverne and DeLaSalle, respectively.
Absent from this year's Prep Bowl are notable powerhouses who have dominated in years past. Eden Prairie had a 39-game winning streak snapped by Blaine during the playoffs. Blaine will now face Wayzata for the 5A championship.
The 9-man division will also crown a new champion, after Stephen-Argyle lost in its sectional final. Stephen-Argyle had won five straight state championships and 76 straight games before losing.
Now, two undefeated teams, Houston and Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, will vie for the 9-man title.
Other games include Royalton and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg in Class 1A, and Northfield against Mankato West in Class 4A.
While that's happening, another sport is just getting off the ground: Friday is the first day of the boys' hockey season.
Apple Valley head coach Jerry Hayes says he's noticed a change in recent years -- more freshmen are making it onto varsity squads because fewer players, overall, are trying out for the teams.
"The kids coming out of Minnesota, I would argue, have never been better," Hayes said. "It just seems that the number of kids playing hockey might be less but the quality of player has never been better, I think."
Hayes says one reason for a smaller crop of possible players is that more student athletes are deciding to focus on one sport in hopes of getting a college scholarship, instead of playing a different sport each season.