Park’s historic season ends at St. Cloud

Orioles fall to Brainerd in State quarter-finals


Josh Halper

Senior Kai McKee and junior Akili Farris embrace in the last seconds of the State Quarterfinals game against Brainerd. Brainerd defeated Park 24-7 in Park’s first ever State appearance. Park also had their first winning season since 1972.

Sam Birnberg, Adam Johnson, and William Phelan

Park’s historic season came to an end as the football team fell to the Brainerd Warriors in the 5A State Quarter-finals by a score of 7-24. The Orioles finished the regular season with a 7-3 record, the Section 5AAAAA Championship and the State playoff berth.

Head coach Ben Wolfe said despite the final result, he was impressed by the team’s performance both throughout the season and in last Saturday’s game.

“It was an honor to be there. The kids played really hard and overall I am proud of their effort,” Wolfe said.

Senior Skyler Rudelius-Palmer said the team was underestimated from the beginning of the season by others, yet always had high standards for themselves.

“I think the team performed better than expected,” Rudelius-Palmer said, “We were able to execute and finally get (to State).”

Wolfe said he felt the team accomplished its historic feats through hard work, dedication and perseverance, providing the season can provide a foundation for future teams to build upon.

“It was phenomenal for everything to fall in place this season as it did. It really just gives us validation that some of the stuff we are doing is working,” Wolfe said.

Senior Kai Mckee said playing his last game alongside his teammates was bittersweet.

“After our game at State, we returned to the locker room very emotional. The seniors and I said our final goodbyes to everyone as players and as teammates,” Mckee said.

Wolfe said he hopes the team truly recognizes the special things they accomplished this season and its positive effect on the school. He said the team’s historic run will remain prominent in the record books and in their hearts.

“We had a ton of fun with it, and it is definitely something that will stay with these boys for a long time,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe said the coaching staff plans to build upon this season’s success for next year by replicating the same hard work and fight the team had this season.

“We hope this season has made kids more excited about getting involved in football, and bolstering our talent pools for the coming years,” Wolfe said.

Rudelius-Palmer said he was proud to have achieved the team’s goals, including the Section Championship and reaching State for the first time in program history.

“I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else,” Rudelius-Palmer said.