Bay Bell battle revisited: Minnetonka, Wayzata grads starters in this year’s Rose Bowl game
Since 2005 the winner of the annual Wayzata-Minnetonka football game has taken possession of the Bay Bell.
On New Year’s Day, two players who once battled for that trophy will square off again. This time, however, the trophy at stake is a little more prestigious – the Rose Bowl trophy.
Minnetonka grad Beau Allen and the Wisconsin Badgers will meet Wayzata grad AJ Tarpley and the Stanford Cardinal in the 2013 Rose Bowl.
Tarpley, a redshirt junior, played in all 13 of Stanford’s games last year and finished third on the team with 57 tackles. This year he has started 10 of the team’s 13 games. He ranks fifth on the team with 57 tackles, including 7 for loss, and has added 2 sacks, 1 interception and 1 fumble recovery.
Tarpley said that while redshirting and not playing in games during his freshman season wasn’t exactly how he envisioned things, it was actually beneficial and helped him get to the point he’s at now.
Going up against players like Andrew Luck the No. 1 pick in this year’s NFL draft, Jon Martin who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins and Coby Fleener who plays alongside Luck with the Indianapolis Colts more than prepared him for what he now faces each week.
“If you can play coverage against Andrew and that offense, you can play against anyone,” he said.
Allen, a junior as well, also moved into the starting lineup this season, after seeing action in all 27 games of his freshman and sophomore seasons. As a reserve last year, Allen notched 22 tackles, including 5.5 for loss, and added 4 sacks. So far this season he’s racked up 33 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Allen’s journey to the Rose Bowl – his third in as many years – has been a bit different. He saw significant time as a freshman, and while he wasn’t a starter last season, he said the role he played last season is very similar to the one he plays this year.
“Last year we had four guys rotating in and out so I got a ton of snaps,” he said. “So [starting] didn’t seem that much different.”
Both teams will leave for the game on Christmas Day, after abbreviated trips home for the holiday. And despite the shorter than normal break, both said the weather, the activities surrounding the game and playing in one of college football’s most prestigious bowl games makes it worthwhile.
Dave Nelson, head coach at Minnetonka, said he’s kept close tabs on both players, as well as other Minnesota high school players playing in college.
“I’m proud of both of those kids,” Nelson said. “They’re both not only on those teams, but they’re integral parts of them.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” Wayzata head coach Brad Anderson said. “As Gophers fans we haven’t seen a Rose Bowl for a long time, so we need to live through some of these other teams.”
And as much as both coaches enjoy watching their former players succeed in big-time college football, they’re also finding joy in watching a player they once coached against … especially since they no longer have to game plan against them.
“I love watching Beau play,” he said. “But I also love watching Tarpley and that Stanford defense … they fly around the field.
“It kind of brings back nightmares of when he was playing for Wayzata.”
Anderson had similar feelings about Allen.
“We had the pleasure of playing against him for four years,” Anderson said, noting that Allen started as a freshman. “I was not sad to him go on to Wisconsin.”