Jeff Erdmann, in his 33rd season of coaching, has long believed in Rosemount's program motto "The Power of One."
He doesn't feel as strong about "one" when it comes to team rankings, however.
Rosemount's 14-7 upset of top-ranked Eden Prairie (3-1) on Thursday means there will be a new lead dog in Class 6A. But did the Irish (4-0, ranked sixth) do enough to deserve top billing?
"We don't worry about that; we've got [defending champion] Lakeville South next week," Erdmann said. "The rankings really don't mean much. You've got to take care of it on the field."
Mental toughness, the will to rise and fight anew each week, was built before summer workouts. Rosemount's football players took part in "The Program," a Connecticut-based team-building and leadership development resource for corporations and sports teams.
Erdmann said the instructors, many of them former Marines, came to town and "kicked our butt" throughout a grueling 18-hour session. One exercise stood out in Erdmann's mind.
"Our guys were in the pool treading water, taking off their sweatshirts, switching with their partners and putting them back on," he said. "It really showed our guys the importance of communication and taking accountability. It set the tone we wanted for the summer."
On the field, a new offensive philosophy has set a desired tone. Rosemount adopted the Power-T offense that brought Elk River and Lakeville South state championships. It started as a short-yardage package designed to improve the team's physicality at the line of scrimmage before growing into the Irish's modus operandi. The grinding, ball-control offense, coupled with a fast and disciplined defense, kept Rosemount ahead 14-0 on Thursday until late in the fourth quarter.
In their 2019 state tournament upset of Eden Prairie, the Irish converted a two-point conversion on a successful jump ball in overtime. No such improbable finish was needed Thursday.
"Last night was a different kind of win," Erdmann said. "It was really nice."