by Shannon Allen
Special to the Star News
Standing inside the tunnel, about to step onto the field with Team 125 at U.S. Bank Stadium, I could hear Elk coaches sounding off with some of their final pregame directives.
The motivational command that struck me the most, though, was: “Do it for our city, boys.”
I knew from the years I had been with this team, they were in no way selfish. Every game of the season, they always wanted to be announced as Team 125 — not individually. Undoubtedly they had utmost respect for each other, their coaches and even their opponents. They show an amazing example to anyone and everyone they are near.
Yet even knowing the team, this comment stuck with me. They were able to rally Elk River alumni from decades ago, who filled the stands in the sparkling new stadium, including Warren Hudson, who was the quarterback for one of the last Elk River football teams to go undefeated in the regular season. The 1948 graduate led the 1947 team to a 7-0 record, which was followed by another unblemished season (7-0) in 1948.
The program rattled off 22 consecutive wins, including the first three games of the 1949 season. Hudson decided to show up to practice the Monday after the 2016 team beat Moorehead to finish the regular season at 8-0.
As soon as he arrived, all of the boys gathered around to listen to a man who had previously been an Elk player. The way they were leaning in, hanging onto every word he would say, was a sign to me that they honestly cared about the sport. Team 125 suddenly had even more meaning.
When the team made it to “The Bank,” you could see the pride in the stands as a sea of red and black fans cheered mightily.
Elk River Mayor John Dietz reached out to the Minnesota Vikings organization, and it was estimated there was about 8,000 people at the championship game to support Elk River.
Not surprisingly, Team 125 came out of the final game 46-14, taking it all for their city.
Since this amazing accomplishment, Elk River has been a topic of conversation all around the state. A positive light was shone on our city and for the boys of fall. So because of their dominating season, and love for the sport, Team 125 was invited to an Elk River City Council meeting.
“On behalf of the City Council, I just want to say how proud we are of what you’ve accomplished. For what you have done for our city and your school,” Dietz stated, just before he made a proclamation.
The proclamation designated Dec. 20, 2016, as Elk River Football Team 125 Day.
This proclamation was made for them ending their season 13-0, winning the Minnesota State High School League Class 5A Championship, having coach Steve Hamilton lead them to outscore their opponents 584-158, but for also bringing pride to the community of Elk River, showing leadership, kindness and respect throughout the season on and off the field, for labeling themselves Team 125, honoring all players before them and lastly for being the most dominant team in the history of Elk River sports.
After the proclamation was made, I was showing pride. I cannot believe my last year with this team is over, but I am so glad I was able to be a part of Team 125.
(Editor’s note: Allen, a senior at Elk River High School, was one of Team 125’s student managers. She is also a member of Yearbook.)
by Shannon Allen