Twelve Minnesota high schools will open their high school football season this weekend, one week before the rest of the schools in the state.
The schools are using a new rule called 'zero week,' which allows them to schedule one football game the week before the actual start to the high school season.
Several schools, especially in rural Minnesota, had reported more difficulty in recent years filling schedules. Some weren't in a conference, which provides a natural slate of opponents; others had grown or shrunk to a point where neighboring schools didn't want to play, fearing a one-sided game.
Fulda and Murray County Central will have the distinction of playing Minnesota's first high school football game of the year on Thursday night.
The other zero week teams play Friday and Saturday. They are Deer River, Duluth East, Duluth Marshall, Greenway, Lewiston-Altura, MACCRAY, Mankato Loyola, Minnewaska, St. Peter and Two Harbors. They'll all have to have a bye week later this season to make up for playing the early game.
ZERO WEEK SCHEDULE
Thursday, Aug. 25:
• Murray County Central vs. Fulda
Friday, Aug. 26:
• Deer River vs. Greenway
• Duluth East vs. Superior, Wis.
• Lewiston-Altura vs. Cochrane-Fountain City, Wis.
• Two Harbors vs. Duluth Marshall
• Minnewaska Area vs. St. Peter
Saturday, Aug. 27:
• Mankato-Loyola vs. MACCRAY