Duluth’s Jay Sonnenburg found these photos among his grandfather’s collection. They depict scenes from 95 years ago today at Athletic Park in West Duluth, where Duluth Central and Denfeld did battle on the gridiron.
Break out the Aqua Net and backward baseball caps, we’ve dug 25 years deep into the video vault to bring you a little “DHS VHS.” Yes, it’s the full and glorious one-hour and 13 minutes of the clumsily titled Duluth Denfeld Senior High School Class of ’92 Senior Class Video, compiled by Cyborg Productions of Prior Lake, Minn.
Jay Sonnenburg found this photo in his grandfather’s collection. It shows Denfeld High School under construction on the lower edge, which puts the year of the image around 1926. The groundbreaking ceremony for the building was held March 6, 1925; it opened for classes on Sept. 8, 1926.
With the Denfeld High School class of 2017 poised to receive diplomas tonight, we set the Wayback Machine for a glimpse of what the Hunter lifestyle was like five decades ago. The good boys and girls of the Denfeld class of ’67, by the way, will gather Sept. 15-17 for their 50-year reunion.
Ham was on the Vikings practice squad in 2016 and was briefly on the active roster but did not play in a regular season game, making him eligible to participate in this season’s rookie camp. Vikings Team Reporter Eric Smith wrote on Vikings.com today that during team drills Ham “lined up as a fullback in front of Vikings rookie Dalvin Cook.”
It was New Year’s Day of 2007 when the first of a series of Gil Thorp comics that referenced Duluth was published. According to a Duluth News Tribune story that week, writer Neal Rubin typically uses the names of actual high school teams in the comic, and simply liked the team name Denfeld Hunters. Frank McLaughlin is the artist who drew the strip.
Ham joined the Vikings during rookie camp on a tryout basis and signed to the practice squad after final roster cuts. He played high school ball at Denfeld, graduating in 2011. At Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., he totaled 2,662 rushing yards, 949 receiving yards and 35 total touchdowns in 43 games.
Minnesota (7-7) visits Green Bay (8-6) on Saturday.
— Johanna Unden (@johannaunden) November 15, 2016
Last week racist graffiti referencing U.S. President-elect Donald Trump was found in a female restroom stall at Denfeld High School. The student body responded this week, posting inspiring messages throughout the school. The movement was led by Denfeld’s student executive board and the video was posted on Twitter by Johanna Unden, the exec board’s student school board representative.
Duluth native C.J. Ham is the Minnesota Vikings leading rusher over the first two preseason contests. He has gained 60 yards on 20 attempts, including a game-winning touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in week one. He also has three receptions for 27 yards.
“It’s been a dream come true,” Ham told WCCO-TV. “Just having the opportunity to be in the NFL and be with the team I grew up watching, it’s a dream come true.”
UPDATE: As is plainly visible, a copyright claim on the music used in this video resulted in it being pulled from YouTube after one day. Follow this link to see an updated version without the Jay Z track.
Denfeld High School 2016 lip dub project. Full disclosure, I work at Denfeld as some kind of educator. The third annual all-school lip dub dropped today, something students and educators worked on closely for the past couple of months. It’s a mash up of Beyoncé and Jay Z’s “Crazy in Love” and “We Run this Town.”
If this is the future of Duluth, I think we can all be very hopeful and proud. Particularly noteworthy for me is the way that we see strong, confident and successful women portrayed prominently in the video.
With high school hockey playoffs underway this week, PDD takes a look back 30 years to Denfeld’s first trip to the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament. The video above includes TV news clips of Denfeld’s Section 2 playoff wins (2-1 over Duluth East, 8-2 over St. Cloud Apollo and 6-2 over Anoka). The photo at left is from the victory over Anoka, shot by John Rott of the Duluth News Tribune (as featured in the DNT archives).