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Editorial: Irish football has a season they can be proud of

When he addressed his players after the final play of last Friday's state championship football game, Rosemount coach Jeff Erdmann told his players how proud he was of them. How proud they should be of themselves.

The players might not have appreciated the sentiment right at that moment. The disappointment of a loss to the Wayzata Trojans was too fresh. They were still coming to terms with the end of their season and, for some, the end of their high school careers. But the coach was absolutely right. Whatever the result last week, this season was something special.

The Irish took the strong results of recent years and pushed just a little bit further. They rolled through the regular season undefeated and largely unchallenged. They advanced to the state title game for the first time in 29 years. And but for a handful of big plays they were right there with the top-ranked team in the state.

More important, they did it in an admirable fashion. The Irish conducted themselves well on the field, and off the field Erdmann has long made a point of pushing his athletes to get involved in the community.

There's no reason to think that will stop anytime soon. Rosemount will lose some strong players to graduation, but they have a good team coming back for next season. And while nothing is certain about something that is nearly a year away, there is reason to be excited about what is ahead.

This was a team Rosemount could be proud of, and they clearly were. There were in the neighborhood of 9,000 Rosemount fans at the dome on Friday, and an estimated 1,300 went to Rosemount High School at 11 that night to welcome the team home.

Erdmann told his players Friday night that they had given the team's coaching staff the best experience they'd ever had. There are no doubt many fans who can say the same.

On the field and off, the Irish represented Rosemount well.