The Montevideo Thunder Hawks head football coach Dave Vik recently had the opportunity to participate in a very special event the first week of December. Vik was selected as one of 12 high school coaches (six for each squad) to coach at the Minnesota Football Showcase.
The event, which took place on Dec. 3 through Dec. 7, is also known as the Minnesota Football High School All-Star Game. The event was sponsored by the Minnesota Vikings, who donated $300,000 to $500,000 for the event.
“Back in April I got an email from the Minnesota Football Coaches Association,” said Vik. “It said that I had been selected to be one of the coaches for the North/South All-Star game, and asking me if I’d be interested.”
Of course, Vik didn’t have to think twice about it. He said, “It was the chance of a lifetime, and it’s also a one-time deal, so of course I said yes!”
Once the coaches for the game were set, they began to make preparations for the game. “We talked throughout the summer about what kind of offense we were going to run, what type of defenses, and who was going to coach what,” Vik said.
The coaches met as a group online a few times during the summer. “In the fall, we all became busy with our own football seasons,” said Vik. “Once our seasons were done, it became a whirlwind trying to get game plans together for the showcase.”
On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the coaches all met in Minneapolis as a coaching staff, and the players arrived on Dec. 4. “We had two-a-day practices on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The game itself was played on Saturday, Dec. 7 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.”
Vik was the defensive coordinator for the South team, and he also doubled as defensive line coach. “We had a great group of coaches, and we talked a lot of football over those four days!” laughed Vik.
Vik was impressed by the caliber of players he met and worked with. He said: “Those players were the best of the best in Minnesota! We had kids on our South team who are going to play at the University of Minnesota, at Iowa State, at Iowa, one at Boise State, one at Wisconsin, and one at Brown University. Great athletes, great kids!”
When it came down to game time, Vik’s defensive squad nearly shut out the North all-stars. “We won 13 to 3. We gave up three points on their opening possession, but after that our defense totally shut down their offense!”
According to Vik, the annual North/South game is set up for offenses to have a slight edge. He said: “The opposing offense is allowed ten formations which they tell us about, and one which is secret that they don’t tell us about. The defense has to let the opposing offense know how they will set up against each offensive formation. We don’t know what plays they will run out of those formations. Also, the defense is not allowed to blitz.”
It is more than impressive to think that the players only had three days of practice before playing the big game. “It was amazing how those athletes worked together with only six practices. The biggest thing I noticed between the kids I coach and those guys wasn’t necessarily athletic ability, but there were some players who were superior in football IQ.”
Vik noted that the offenses had their 11 formations down in about four hours, while the defenses had their formations and pass coverages down in about an hour and a half. “These kids were absolutely motivated football players who were willing to learn and showed great understanding of the game of football,” said Vik.
For the record, according to Vik, his South team had 16 players who had committed to Division I schools, and the North had 17 players who also had done so. “It was an overall great experience,” said Vik, “and I was able to share it with my wife and kids, who came with to the banquet on Friday night and attended the game on Saturday!”
For Vik, the experience is one that he will never forget. “It’s an honor, and a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he said. “I think the last Montevideo coach who had this opportunity was Rick Jaeger, who was my head coach.”