Excitement grows in Wabasso for football team

Above, a sign placed next to the rabbit statue that sits along Highway 68 in Wabasso says it all as the community supports its football team heading to play Minneota in the Class A State championship. Below, Wabasso Athletic Director and football head coach Joe Kemp is proud of his team.

WABASSO — Students and community members in this community of nearly 700 people are excited about their Wabasso High School Rabbits taking on former state football 1A Champions Minneota Vikings Saturday at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

“We’re going to have a send-off on Friday at 8:30 a.m. as they head out of town,” WHS Principal Jon Fulton said. “We’ll have everyone lined up along Cedar Street, waiving as they follow a fire truck out of town.”

Fulton said they’ll repeat the process on Saturday when the Rabbit Football Team returns home. There will be medals and trophies awarded in a special welcome celebration at the school.

“Our wish, of course, is that it will be the championship trophy,” Fulton said.

The school athletic director is pretty confidence about the Rabbits’ upcoming competition.

“We’re definitely not afraid of the Minneota Vikings,” A.D. and football head coach Joe Kemp said. “They’re great players and well-coached. It’s going to be a challenge for us, but we’re excited to be here and looking forward to it.”

Not to mention that the Rabbits have beaten the Vikings in the past.

“I think we were the only team to beat the Minneota Vikings in the last four years,” Wabasso banker Nate Baune said. “We beat them in the playoffs last year. We’ve got a large group of seniors playing this year giving us leadership and experience.”

Baune added that if the Rabbits can contain a certain Viking running back, the Rabbits should be in good shape for the win. Baune was referring to Minneota’s Isaac Hennen.

Four sixth graders jumped onto the fan bandwagon.

“I’m super excited because we’ve never made it this far while I’m been in school,” Kaydance Hoppke said.

“I like it,”Avery Carlson said. “I think its a good experience getting to go to the U.S. Bank stadium.”

“I think it’s good. I’m happy for them because we’ve never made it this far before,” D.J. Cole said.

“It’s cool and exciting,” Joe Liebl said. “It will be fun.”

Last week for the semi-finals, WHS took five buses to the game.

“We had two charter buses and three regular school buses,” Fulton said. “We took our pep band and two buses of community fans in addition to the players.”

More than 600 presale tickets were sold out of the school last weekend, Fulton said. “We expect it to be at least that for this week. Tickets are on sale at the school until noon Wednesday.”

“It’s all about the kids,” Fulton said, renouncing a photo opportunity.

It’s about the 13 senior football players and their underclassmen who have been playing together since fourth grade.

“It’s about their commitment to coming into the weight room beginning in June to work on their skills during the off-season,” Supt. Wade McKittrick said.

The Rabbits’ football captains include the following seniors: Cooper Taylor, Colton Taylor, Nick Altermatt, Jacob Plaetz, Ty Kemp and Myles Zeug.

The Rabbits are coached by Joe Kemp, Cody Kittelson, Chad Olson, Dave Blank, Gary Hindt, Mike Henning, Dan Fischer and Josh Hadley.

Arvig General Manager Nathan Jacobson is very proud of the football team, too.

“It’s two great regional teams coming together,” Jacobson said. “I expect a hard-fought game Saturday.”