Friday night lights hit with blustery conditions

- Friday night lights came with a frosty twist thanks to the early dose of winter.

Several high school playoff games had to be played in some pretty blustery conditions.

The athletic director at St. Michael-Albertville definitely expected a smaller crowd because of the conditions. He says the teams aren’t doing too much to adjust to the cold. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t have to get this field ready to play.

The snow had to be plowed off the field before the game.

“I think I’m fighting a losing battle,” said Jeff Blake, the groundskeeper.

The wind was a formidable foe for Blake. He’s been at the school district for 20 years, but has never had to fight this much snow this early.

“A few flurries, but not this much,” he said.

“Our grounds crew has worked incredibly hard to have the field in great shape for the game tonight,” said Athletic Director Keith Cornell.

Cornell says he spoke with officials with the Minnesota State High School League, who determined the wind and snow would not delay playoffs games.

“I coached football for the last 17 years and we always say weather is the great equalizer, so you know we’ll see,” he said. “Ultimately both teams have to play in the same conditions, and we’ll just see how the game comes out.”

The snow still swirled at kickoff between the Knights and the Hopkins Royals. The cold kept many fans away, but not Loren Heaton.

“There’s a lot of people who don’t want to come out and risk getting sick,” said Heaton. “You know football in Minnesota only lasts about seven or eight weeks, so I try and come out and make the most of it."

He definitely came dressed for the elements.

“This is what football is all about right here,” said Heaton. “These kids are unbelievable and they come out and brave these conditions, and I love to come out to support them.”

The snow might be a bit early this year, but everyone who braved the wind and cold this night rose to the challenge.

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