The Eden Prairie (Eden Prairie, Minn.) football team has a deep-rooted history of success. Seven Class 5A state titles in 17 years has established the program as the team to beat in Minnesota.
Preseason polls ranked Eden Prairie No.1 in the state, but coach Mike Grant says he and his team are well aware the status is fleeting.
“We’re so worried about the next game each week,” he says.
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Monday represents a fresh start.
Free of heavy lifting, the team turns its attention to watching film. Players break into offense and defense meetings for a detailed study of their next opponent. They talk strategy -- what formations the opposing team likes to run and which players to watch out for.
Senior wide receiver Elijah Johnson says knowing how the other team plays and determining how to react is crucial to the Eagles’ success.
“You know certain things to do to get under [an opponent's] skin and throw him off,” Johnson says. “If you don’t watch film, it’s hard to play mind tricks with your opponent.”
After film study, players hit the field in helmets and shoulder pads. The team first stretches before breaking into position groups.
The objective is to shift what they watched on film and put it into practice so come game time, the Eagles are ready to dominate.
“We have something to prove,” says Johnson. We’re hungry, and we want it more than the other team.”