In the fall, a young man’s fancy turns to football—or nowadays, soccer or cross-country running. But in 1949 when Edina’s first high school opened, football was the only game in town.
Edina students and much of the town turned out for the games, despite their team’s dismal first season. Without a senior class, the Hornets felt the impact on the field and ended with the second-worst record in the Lake Conference at 1-4.
The second season opened with a promising 7-0 victory over Bloomington, which would go on to win the Minnesota Valley Conference title. Although they came close to victory more often than their final 3-4 record indicated, the Hornets still finished near the bottom of their conference.
Most Edina boys were playing organized football for the first time, but they had an experienced coach, Bernie Cole, who had racked up the longest winning streak in the state while coaching in Marshall.
It would take only a few years before Edina reached that level of play. By 1957 the Hornets were named No. 1 in Minnesota by Minneapolis Tribune columnist Ted Peterson, who declared what he called the state “mythical champion” before the Minnesota State High School League created football playoffs.
Edina would earn titles in 1965, 1966 and 1969 under legendary coach Stav Canakes. In 1978, Edina (playing as the Edina West Cougars) earned an actual playoff championship for the first and only time.
On crisp fall nights, Edina students and much of the town still turn out to watch the Hornets play. Win or lose, the Friday-night football tradition dates back to the beginning of Hornet history.