While most high school students have their minds on turkey, pie, and a short school week, students at Cloquet High School are preparing for a different November tradition - the Minnesota Prep Bowl Championship. The Lumberjacks punched their ticket to the 4A championship with a convincing 40-21 win over South St. Paul in the semifinals at US Bank Stadium last Friday.

Cloquet's return to the big game this season marks the first time the Lumberjacks have been to the championship since their 14-13 loss to White Bear Lake in 1976. The 2017 version of the Lumberjacks enter the championship with an undefeated record led by senior quarterback Tim Pokornowski, looking for another lights-out performance to follow an impressive showing against South St. Paul in the semifinals.

Pokornowski, who announced on Twitter that he received an offer from UMD earlier this month, ran for a touchdown, threw for another, and rushed for 249 yards against the South St. Paul Packers last Friday. Cloquet coach Tom Lenarz told the media the coaching staff had discussed a more balanced offensive attack for last Friday's game, but looked more toward the run, which has been something the team has been doing well in recent weeks.

The Opponent: The Academy of Holy Angels

This week, the Lumberjacks face the Stars of the Academy of Holy Angels, who return to their second Prep Bowl in five years. The Stars come into the championship game with only one loss on the season, coming off a 26-22 win over Winona to advance to this Friday's matchup with Cloquet. Offensively, the Stars leaned heavily on the run in their semifinal game, netting 337 total rushing yards behind an offensive line that dominated many plays against the Winona defense.

History To Be Made

Class 4A will have a new name added to the list of champions in 2017. Neither team in this matchup has ever won a state championship in football. Cloquet has made seven total appearances in the state tournament, with the most recent of those being in 2013, 2014, and 2016. Their only time in the state championship game was in 1976, where they lost to White Bear Lake by a score of 13-14.

The Academy of Holy Angels have made five appearances in the state tournament, with the most recent being in 2013 and 2014. Two of their appearances in the tournament (2005 and 2013) resulted in trips to the 4A championship game, where they lost to Mahtomedi in 2005 in a 27-26 OT game, and 49-7 to Hutchinson in 2013.

How To Watch

The game is scheduled for 4:00 pm on Friday, November 24 at US Bank Stadium. Whether you plan to check out the game in person, or want to watch it on TV, know that tournament games can vary from schedule as earlier games in the day can impact the day's schedule.

The game will be televised locally on ME-TV (WDIO DT-2), which is 10.2 over the air in the Duluth area, 196 on Charter, 113 on Mediacom, and 13 on DISH Network. Games can also be watched online at Prep45.com on a pay-per-view basis.

We will also have a post-game wrap-up here on our website with photos, highlights, and other information from the game.