After 5 seasons off Duluth Marshall football returns as co-op with Two Harbors

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In 2015, Teddy Bridgewater was a Viking and on his way to making his sole Pro Bowl appearance. Peyton Manning was leading the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl title, and the Duluth Marshall football team was playing their final season for a while.

Now, following a five season long drought, Hilltoppers are once again hitting the gridiron. It’s all thanks to a new co-op formed with Two Harbors, who held their first practice on Monday.

"We said boy, if we can get a good group of guys up here that want to come into our program, and it help us to ensure that not only the Marshall kids can have a program but our kids can continue to have a program, it’s a win-win," Tom Nelson said, head coach of Two Harbors football. "They’ve bought in fully and I have no regrets about doing this."

The team will still go by the Two Harbors Agates.

In the spring Marshall approached the Agates, who were a good fit since the size of the teams wouldn’t force the program up and out of Class 3A.

Currently five Hilltoppers are on the joint roster. One is Jake Widdes, the son of former Duluth Marshall football player and coach Josh Widdes, who’s more than willing to make the 40 minute trip up Highway 61 for practice.

"It’s 110 percent worth it to be able to play football," said Widdes, a sophomore center. "I didn’t expect that we were actually ever going to be able to play football again. So it’s really cool to have the opportunity to play high school football and try a new sport, and be a part of a brotherhood and a family."

"I think it’s cool," said Clark Nelson, a senior linebacker and quarterback from Two Harbors. "It’s something that’s never been done before, and we can kind of say we’re the Lewis and Clarks. We pioneered it and we’re the one’s that started to get the ball rolling."

They’ll kick off their inaugural season as a co-op September 3rd in Barnum.