This is the first year since 1989 that high school football semifinal games have been played anywhere but the Metrodome in Minneapolis, and the Dome is having the last laugh.
Fourteen games are scheduled at high school facilities from Thursday through Saturday. There’s just one problem: It’s Minnesota and it’s snowing.
The games are in peril, the Star Tribune’s Paul Klauda says. Even if the snow is removed from fields, the cold weather may make it unsafe for the kids to play.
The league is looking at possibly consolidating games at other sites to make the most efficient use of snow removal efforts. Edina and Wayzata are each hosting one game, while Osseo and Eden Prairie are each hosting three games. Hopkins is hosting two games.
When the league scheduled the games, it did so expecting that host schools would handle snow removal — perhaps a few inches, if any — and be reimbursed by the league. While schools don’t typically clear fields this late in the football season, schools have equipment to sometimes clear them in March and April for spring sports.
Asked about playing games inside, Merkle (Kevin Merkle, the league’s associate director who oversees football) said he made a call Monday to the Fargodome.
‘‘I’m trying to line up options,’’ he said.
The Metrodome hosted semifinal games beginning in 1990 and the Prep Bowl since 1982. The league moved this year’s Prep Bowl to TCF Bank Stadium on Nov. 21-22. The games will be there again next year before moving to the new Vikings stadium starting in 2016.
Merkle said the league briefly considered moving back the semifinal games to next week and pushing the Prep Bowl back to its usual post-Thanksgiving slot. He said there were “way too many moving parts,’’ including TV and Gopher stadium challenges, to making it work.