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The Star Tribune is celebrating 50 years of high school football state tournaments one day at a time for 50 days.

Year: 1978

Finally, officially the best.

Senior Mike Sullivan, a 5-9, 185-pound fullback, ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries, leading Edina West to a 21-0 victory over Fridley for the Class AA championship. It was the first and is still the lone state title for the Edina school district.

"We've been mythical state champions before," Edina West coach Stav Canakes said. "A lot of people felt if we had played everybody, we could prove we were the best, and we finally did."

Canakes, who has a career record of 142-27-1 in 18 seasons, was referring to the 1960s, when Edina — before splitting into two schools (East and West) for a short period — earned the No. 1 ranking and mythical state titles in 1965, 1966 and 1969. He lost only 11 games in his first 11 years as leader of the program.

"This is the top," said Canakes, whose defense recovered two fumbles, intercepted two passes and limited Fridley to 122 yards of offense. "You can't get any better than this."

In three other finals:

  • Totino-Grace senior Brian Swan kicked a 22-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and intercepted an Apple Valley pass on the next possession as the Fridley school rallied to win its second consecutive title with a 17-14 triumph in the Class A final.
  • Sophomore Todd Jensen took matters into his own hands. He scored the winning touchdown on a 2-yard run with 9 minutes, 35 seconds remaining and preserved the lead with an interception with 31 seconds left as Alden-Conger edged Battle Lake 15-14 for the Class C crown. It was the first and is the only state title for the Blackhawks.
  • In Nine-Man, senior halfback David Parks rushed for four touchdowns, scoring on runs of 3, 5, 53 and 63 yards, as Hoffman won its first championship with a 44-28 victory over AlBrook.

State championship games

Class AA: Edina West 21, Fridley 0

Class A: Totino-Grace 17, Apple Valley 14

Class B: New Richland-Hartland 48, Barnesville 8

Class C: Alden-Conger 15, Battle Lake 14

Nine-Man: Hoffman 44, AlBrook 28