2021 Week 13 (Minnesota)

2021 Week 13 (Minnesota)

This was the second week of a two weekend trip. This two week trip was planned when both the Iowa and Minnesota semifinals were scheduled on consecutive weekends. I had been to Iowa’s semifinals now four times. And this was going to be my third time seeing Minnesota semifinals. And second time seeing the cavalcade of 14 games in just three days at the US Bank Stadium.

It started Sunday morning leaving Cedar Falls. Following the Avenue of the Saints along the way to I-35 near Mason City. A quick detour through Waverly to see the home of Waverly-Shell Rock. After crossing into an unseasonably warm Minnesota, stopped in Albert Lea at Skol Grill & Tavern at the Petro truck stop.

I have eaten here twice before. It’s not a usual roadside restaurant. This had a buffet of steak, ribs, brisket, and pulled pork. Though, due to covid it is all a la carte. Still, for about $30, it was a decent meal of ribs, chicken, and meatloaf. Along with a cheese potato casserole. I watched the Browns game on one of the big screen until it became clear the Patriots weren’t going to be beaten. Which didn’t take long.

The hotel for the week was at the Comfort Inn by the Mall of America. Last time I was in Minneapolis, I stayed downtown at the Doubletree. Which was just a few minutes light rail ride from the stadium. This time, to cut cost, I stayed further away. But also meant paying $22 for parking each day at the stadium.

Monday through Wednesday was just meandering around the Mall area. But, not actually going to the mall. By this point, my back was not having a good time with travel. So, only two trips out were for a stop at a few stores and one trip to Rio’s, a Brazilian Steakhouse that was definitely not worth the cost. It wasn’t even worth a photo. First, we were the only ones there and only one other table showed up. The food was clearly made ‘as needed’ without the usual process of a large number of tables going through one item quickly. This also meant they kept bringing the same unwanted item around many times in hopes you’d change your mind. Still all-you-can-eat steak, but I’d rather have just got one really big Porterhouse or Ribeye instead.

Another day was just staying at the hotel and eating at the Outback Steakhouse downstairs.

On Thursday, though, was the first of four days of football. Only 4 games to start the weekend. The games started at 11am with a 9-man game. Unlike my Week 12 recap, I’ll make these games quick with a summary at the end.

#66 – LeRoy-Ostrander v. Kittson County Central

#67 – Chatfield v. Barnesville

#68 – Kasson-Mantorville v. Becker

#69 – Maple Grove v. Eden Prairie

For the day, new teams were L-O, KCC, Chatfield, K-M, and Maple Grove. Two of the games were good. Chatfield came back against Barnesville, a team I was rooting for had an early lead, held it for most of the game before Chatfield won it at the end, 22-18. Becker had a 17-3 lead going into the fourth quarter, only to lose, 24-20. And Eden Prairie seemed like a good bet to at least be competitive. But, instead, Maple Grove just smacked them around and won easily, 35-3.

For the day, I mostly subsisted on gatorade for Thursday. Having eaten at White Castle on the way to the stadium. Gatorade at US Bank Stadium was $6.76 each. Total for the day was $20.28 for three gatorades.

Next day, was five games, with an earlier kickoff.

#70 – Hills-Beaver Creek v. Fertile Beltrami

#71 – Maple River v. West Central/Ashby

#72 – Mahtomedi v. Robbinsdale Cooper

#73 – Hutchinson v. Orono

#74 – Lakeville South v. St. Michael-Albertville

The second day was entertaining. It was also long. The day opened with me sitting on the ‘visitor’ side, but those seats aren’t comfortable for long. The seats are padded, but have a plastic lip around the outside edge. After a while, it’s like sitting on a toilet seat too long. So, I made my way back to the home side. With much better visuals anyways in the second level that was now open.

Fertile-Beltrami, the Falcons, I saw previously in the Fargodome. They won, 30-22 in a close game. Hills-Beaver Creek was the furthest southwestern team in the state playing. Down near the South Dakota/Iowa corner. The second game was the best of the weekend. West Central/Ashby was a hardy team that scored first, but missed the conversion. Leading 6-0 in the second quarter. Maple River answered with a TD, and the kick, to go up 7-6. And in the second half, West Central/Ashby recorded a safety. An 8-7 lead. And that would be the winning points. On a safety. The first game I can recall attending where a safety was the deciding points.

The last three games of the day were a bit disappointing. All one-sided. But at least the games moved quickly. I had seen Mahtomedi (maw-doe-mee-die) previously. The rest were new.

For the day, I ate brats and had gatorade. I spent $67.24 on Friday. I wasn’t feeling well with my back. And ibuprophen makes me thirsty. So, had 6 gatorades and 3 brats. Not exactly smart financially. But, when you’re in pain, it’s just a number on the receipt.

#75 – Rushford-Peterson v. Minneota

#76 – Mayer Lutheran v. New York Mills

#77 – Plainview-Elgin-Millville v. Annandale

#78 – Dassel-Cokato v. Esko

#79 – Mankato West v. Rogers

The final day of games of this two-week trip started with a team I had grown familiar with in Minnesota. Four times I’ve been to Minnesota for either the finals or semifinals. And for the fourth time I’ve seen Minneota. The Minneota Vikings hail from a small town on the western side of the state. The town name is nearly identical to the state, and have to be careful to avoid the obvious auto-correct typo. Especially since they, too, are the Vikings.

Minneota won easily. Followed up by Mayer Lutheran, another team I’ve seen, that stormed out to a 21-0 first quarter lead, before winning, 41-6 over New York Mills. Third game was PEM winning comfortably over Annandale, 28-6. The best game of the day was Dassel-Cokato over Esko. The Eskomos struggled, but the DC Chargers edged them, 21-14. And the final game got lopsided quickly, and it was just a matter of Mankato West putting it away, 42-7. Both teams I had seen previously.

For the day, only spent $52.54 at the stadium for food. And an additional $20 for a tee shirt for my daughter.

After the game, was a quick drive east to Eau Claire. Stayed at the Scottish Inns and Suites. Which wasn’t exactly a great hotel from the outside. But the room was nice. Clean. Kept up-to-date.

Didn’t sleep too long. Then got up for the long drive home. Stopped in Wisconsin Dells for lunch at Pizza Ranch. And then drove I-90 through Illinois to Chicago. Went through downtown to avoid the toll on I-294. Followed US-30 southeast through northern Indiana into Ohio. From Beaverdam, Ohio near I-75, followed a few very rural routes to US33, and took that to Columbus. Then I-70 east to drop off my friend. Then headed home. East along I-70 to I-77 and followed the 62/225/224 shortcut from Canton.


The van was $500, but I’m not counting it in this two week trip. Total miles was 2,242 over the course of Weeks 12 and 13. Total gas cost was $199.76 for myself. Though part of that was split 50/50. The van averaged about 20mpg for the trip. Which isn’t great. But still cheaper than calculating in a rental car at $100 or so a day. Total cost for the two week trip was $1,584.09.

Of that, $504.77 was hotel costs, $199.76 for gas, and $584.08 for food. Other expenses included $188.50 for things like tickets, souvenir program in Iowa, and parking in Minneapolis. There were some other odds and ends along the way. But, just a hair above $100/day total cost wasn’t bad.

Photos of the Week

Next Week

The following week was scheduled to be a return to Heinz Field. With two days, I was only planning to be there Saturday. As another photographer had scheduled Friday. Which was fine. I was going to head to Mt. Lebanon for their matchup with McDowell. After originally setting my sights on Martinsburg Central/Grove City game at SRU.

2021 Statistics

79 Games
154 Teams
42 Stadiums

16 States

82 New Teams
27 New Stadiums

1,379 different teams
443 different stadiums

1,249 total games

For more, and larger, photos from this weekend, click HERE.

For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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