The Caledonia Warriors have been a powerhouse program in high school football over the past decade plus. The accolades continued in a big way as the Minnesota Vikings, together with Innovative Office Solutions, the Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation, and KFAN 100.3 recognized Caledonia as the inaugural Minnesota Football Program of the Year.  Caledonia was one of 41 teams nominated, and for being chosen, they received $10,000 for the football program and programs that encourage kids to get involved in community.

The Warriors were also treated to a visit from current Vikings players. Fullback Matt Asiata, receiver Charles Johnson, and hometown favorite receiver Isaac Fruechte made a two-day trip to the Wild Turkey Capital to participate in numerous events. Wednesday featured Vikings mascot, Viktor, hanging out at the elementary school for the NFL's "Play 60" campaign; a business leaders luncheon; a youth football clinic with E.J. Henderson, and a Caledonia Touchdown Club fundraiser and fun night at the local golf club.

Thursday, a full high school auditorium of CHS students had the opportunity for some Q & A with the special guests. There were some good laughs and plenty of good questions ranging from players dealing with injuries and their weaknesses on the field to who would win a race and what is the plan after football. Matt Asiata quickly answered the last question, "Rest!".

 

Among the banners, lots of state championship ones, hung inside the Caledonia high school weight room, a gift bag and signed helmet was presented to the coaches, and the Warriors' football players & coaches had their chance to visit alone with the guests with more Q & A. Topics covered mental preparation, diet, and how playing multiple sports helps. Playing more than one sport is a topic we often discuss when it comes to smaller schools. Charles Johnson noted "baseball helped me to be able to track the ball, and basketball helped with running and cutting". Matt Asiata talked about focus and keeping your competitive nature. Another message was to always "Be great", and have a no-quit attitude. Isaac added, "Whatever you can do, do it because it will help in some aspect. Do as much as you can, and be your best at it." Another highlight was advice of making sure that high school football, state titles or not, is not the highlight of your life. "Let it be a light in your life, but don't let it define you." quoted CJ. "There's a lot of life to live" added Matt, and Isaac stated, "Put out full effort in whatever you do. Don't have any regrets." The special session ended with a team picture and breakdown with all included. "Family!" was the word of choice.

As I visited with some businesses in town, it was clear that the entire community was very proud to receive the award, especially in its first year. The crowds were tremendous at the special community events, and everyone loved having the special guests in town.

Check out another article coming soon, as I gather some quotes from some Caledonia football 'heroes' on their thoughts of the Warriors and community receiving this prestigious award.

The final piece of the award will be April 17th, when the Caledonia football program will be honored at the Minnesota Football Honors, the premier awards event for football in Minnesota.

For more on the Vikings visit, and a video featuring the Caledonia football program and community, see the links below from Vikings.com.

Congratulations, Caledonia!!!

Photo credit: Viking Helmet-Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images All others- Devon Krueger