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Spartans Refute Edina Football Championship Claim

Former Richfield football players say the Hornets have mistakenly laid their hands on a 1987 conference title.

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has a storied athletic history with 145 state championships. In 2005 Sports Illustrated even named the school’s athletic program the best in Minnesota and eighth best in the nation—the result of a survey conducted of some 30,000 U.S. high schools.

The problem, several former Richfield Spartans varsity football players recently claimed, is that at least one of Edina High School’s claims to athletic glory doesn’t actually belong to the Hornets.

On a billboard at Edina’s football field a sign lists 1987 as one of numerous years the Hornets won a conference football championship. But former football players, along with , the school’s current athletic director and head football coach, say that 1987 conference championship actually belongs to the Spartans.

“Herling and I had a chuckle about that,” said Todd Olson, referring to Derrick Herling, the quarterback of Richfield’s 1987 team, after news of Edina’s claim began circulating between former Spartans through their Facebook pages.

Olson, who was Edina’s head football coach from 1995-2005, said Herling was one of several former players he’s spoken to about the error. He said the listed conference championship is almost certainly the result of a mere misprint.

Edina and Richfield were both members of the eight-school Lake Blue athletic conference in 1987; players and Olson both said that Richfield went 8-0 in conference play and 12-1 overall, posting their only loss in a state semifinal tournament game.

Olson was in his first year of coaching with the Spartans as an assistant in 1987, and said he remembers the championship clearly. After checking athletic records listed in a Richfield High School yearbook from 1987, he confirmed that the Spartans went 8-0 in conference play that year, beating the Hornets 21-3 in the fifth game of the season.

Edina Athletic Director John Soma informed Patch in an e-mail that his office was hearing about the mistaken championship claim for the first time.

“Assuming we can verify it we would make the necessary changes to our sign,” he wrote.

Lee Herman, who played tight end on the 1987 team and currently teaches at Richfield’s , said he remembers the 1987 championship season clearly and has communicated with other former teammates about the Hornets’ claim.

Cautioning that he and other players didn’t want it to seem like they were whining, they nonetheless would like to see the error corrected.

“[Edina has] a very proud athletic tradition, maybe the best in the state,” Herman said. “But that [conference championship] was a very proud part of our tradition and our history in football, and they were such a big rival for us—to have that piece claimed, we maybe just want a correction.”

“They’ve got many well-earned trophies in their case," he added. "We would just like ours."

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Photos of the Spartans' trophy case containing the conference trophy and plaque have been included above.

If you have photos from the 1987 Spartans football season, add them to this article though the "Upload Photos and Video" option above.

Michael Rose August 27, 2012 at 02:47 PM
What a neat story. If the record listed in the article (and shown in the photos) is accurate, I really do hope that Edina corrects the error ASAP. It may seem like a trivial thing, but history and memories are very important, especially when of a big accomplishment. Richfield should have their glory all to themselves.
John August 27, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I'm more than sure it will be corrected. Curious though where individual who made billboard got there info from?
Eric Bolstad August 27, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Simple mistake, I'm sure, and Edina will correct it, no doubt, but thanks Lee and Tim for bringing attention to this mistake, because it does mean something. As this started circulating among those of us who played on that Richfield team, we all got a pretty good chuckle out of it; but it's funny how there WAS just a hint of "outrage" underlying it all. We are all in our 40's now, and have obviously "moved on", but the error on that sign has reminded us all just how special that year really was. Way to go, fellas! Richfield Spartan football: 1887 Lake Blue Conference and Section V champions!
Eric Bolstad August 27, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Oops - I meant 1987, not 1887. We're not quite THAT old. I guess I can forgive Edina for their mistake now that I've made a similar one. Go Spartans!
Tim Davis August 28, 2012 at 12:14 AM
It is funny how this started out, simply, as a picture sent to friends to laugh about. I have such fond memories of that football season I was a little worked up about it. Interesting how things get a life of it's own.
Caitlin Burgess (Editor) August 28, 2012 at 04:16 AM
Looks like misprints happen to all of us. :)
Bruce Locklear August 31, 2012 at 05:08 PM
Thank you for brining this our attention. We at Edina High School are looking into it and will work to correct any errors. Bruce Locklear, Ed.D. Principal, Edina High School
Janice September 15, 2012 at 03:37 AM
How about a "spellcheck" for all, principal @ EHS? ;)

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