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Hanna’s Hope: The Source Of Inspiration At Rochester Lourdes
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/31/2011 7:50:10 PM

It wasn’t easy for the members of the Rochester Lourdes girls soccer team to be upbeat after losing in the state semifinals Monday at the Metrodome. In fact, Monday wasn’t the best day for the Lourdes boys soccer team, either, because they also lost in the semifinals.

But whenever anybody at Lourdes is looking for a little upbeat inspiration, all they have to do is have a chat with Hanna Hughes.

“I have never seen Hanna with a frown on her face,” Lourdes senior defender Rachel Saltness said of her teammate and classmate. “Every day she has a smile on her face and she makes the best of every situation.”

Hanna watched Monday’s Class 1A state tournament games from a wheelchair. She was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in April 2010 and her right leg and pelvic area were amputated a couple months later. But if anybody has seen her without a smile and some positive encouragement, they’re awful hard to find.

“Hanna is an absolute delight to be around,” Eagles girls soccer coach Sarah Groven said. “She is the sweetest person, she lights up the room every time she comes in. This has been probably tough for her, not to be able to play in the Metrodome, but she has been an integral part of our team since before she was diagnosed.”

A popular item around the school are purple wristbands that say “HANNA’S HOPE.” The Eagles wore them proudly Monday.

Hanna is a top student who was the junior class president last year, is student body president this year and recently was named Homecoming queen. School administrators made sure Hanna and her friend/teammate Kelly Melhorn had the same class schedule this year, so Kelly could help Hanna navigate around school in her wheelchair.

“She definitely is a lot of inspiration,” Kelly (left) said. “When she comes to our games I know that having her there helps inspire the whole team. We know she wants to be out there with us. Honestly, she has such a good attitude about the whole thing that I don’t think anyone else could do what she does on a day-to-day basis. That inspires the team right there.”

Hanna, in turn, credits her friends and teammates for keeping her on a positive track.

“They keep me upbeat,” she said. “They’re great friends. I tell them every game, ‘Play for me because I can’t play.’ They do a great job.”

MONDAY’S SEMIFINAL GAME REPORTS …

1A boys/ Benilde-St. Margaret’s 1, St. Paul Academy and Summit School 0: The game-winner came 6:10 into the second half when Jake Horton drilled an unassisted shot into the net for his 13th goal of the season. Goalkeeper Alex Leiter earned the win, making three saves.

1A boys/ Prairie Seeds Academy 2, Rochester Lourdes 1 (overtime): Adama Keita beat Lourdes junior goalkeeper Will Elder to the ball and tapped it into the net 3:52 into the extra period. Prairie Seeds and Benilde will meet in the title game Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Metrodome.

1A girls/ Blake 2, Rochester Lourdes 1: Natalie Sill scored a goal and had an assist as the Bears advanced to Thursday’s championship game. Maddy Crawford earned the win in the net, making three saves on 10 shots by the Eagles.

1A girls/ Benilde-St. Margaret’s 3, Totino-Grace 0: Dana Buckhorn, Peggy Renier and Kelly Pannek scored for the Red Knights. Benilde-St. Margaret’s and Blake will decide the state championship Thursday at 12:30.

2A girls/ Burnsville 5, Centennial 2: Sophomore Alyssa Blahnik scored three goals and had two assists as the Blaze moved into Thursday’s state championship game.

2A girls/ Wayzata 1, Lakeville North 0 (shootout): After a scoreless regulation and two 10-minute overtimes, Wayzata won the shootout 5-3 to advance to the championship game vs. Burnsville on Thursday.

Coming up Tuesday/ Boys 2A semifinals between Maple Grove and Eden Prairie at noon and Eastview and Minneapolis Southwest at 2 p.m., as well as third-place games in 1A girls (8 a.m.), 1A boys (10 a.m.), 2A girls (4 p.m.).

INCOMING TWEET OF THE DAY (HALLOWEEN CATEGORY)…

“Early returns coming in on tonight's costume count: 12 witches, 5 zombies and 3 John Millea's. I've started to hand out Diet Coke to those.”

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 103
*Miles John has driven: 4,610
*Diet Coke Count: 4 for the day, 14 for the fall tournaments

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Lakeville North 24, Lakeville South 14
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/30/2011 7:12:11 PM

Here's a report from one of Saturday's Class 5A football playoff games, written by a talented young journalist.

It's A Football Town



From Silence To Celebration, An Afternoon Of Playoff Football
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/29/2011 9:47:24 PM

FAIRMONT – Ninety-six high school football games were played in Minnesota on Saturday, and every one of them was important. That’s because this is playoff time and the losing team walks off the field and won’t back back until August of 2011.

With 96 games from which to choose, I went south to Fairmont on Saturday. Mahoney Field, home of the Fairmont Cardinals, is named after the late Tom Mahoney, a legendary coach and ambassador of the game. The current Cardinals coach is Mat Mahoney, Tom’s grandson.

Mahoney Field is nine and a half miles from the Iowa border, and it seemed like a fitting place to be while the Gophers and Iowa Hawkeyes met in Minneapolis. And yes, the Gophers had all kinds of fun in keeping Floyd of Rosedale in Minnesota, but the atmosphere in Fairmont – on the field and behind the scenes – was as good as it gets for high school athletics.

Things began in silence, as the unbeaten Montevideo Thunder Hawks sat on the floor and leaned against the wall in an auxiliary gym. It was 1:30 p.m., 90 minutes before kickoff. Four hours later, at 5:30 p.m., one team was the polar opposite of silent, chanting and singing in wild celebration. What happened in between was special…

1:55/ The Cardinals also sat in silence …as well as in the dark as they waited in a classroom to take the field for the Class 3A, Section 3 semifinal. Mahoney walked in, flipped on the lights and said, “Ready?” He talked about special teams, about being in the right spots, then said, “Where’s Buddy?” Kicker Buddy Anderson raised his hand. “Buddy, we’re gonna need you today,” the coach said. “We’re gonna score a lot of points.”

2:12/ The Cardinals walked from the school to the field in rows of six, holding hands. Mahoney was in the middle of the first row. Again, silence ... other than the sound of cleats on concrete.

2:49/ The Cards were inside their pregame/halftime/postgame room in the metal fieldhouse that sits behind one end zone. The silence had been erased, now the mood was rowdy. “We’re gonna have a great game, guys,” Mahoney said. “Here we go!”

3:08/ Kyle Guetter ends a 60-yard game-opening drive with a 2-yard touchdown run and Buddy does his job. Fairmont leads 7-0 and the band plays the school song, “Anchors Aweigh.”

3:17/ Montevideo ties it as Jake Douglas scores on a 1-yard burst.

3:21/ The Cards retake the lead when Ben Kain hits Alex Borchardt on a 17-yard TD pass. It’s 13-7.

3:25/ Mahoney sees the Montevideo offensive formation and shouts, “Watch toss! Watch toss! Watch toss!” As the play begins, he affirms, “Toss!” Public-address announcer Randy Quiring – also the mayor of Fairmont – intones, “Loss of a yard on the play.” That’s why you scout your opponents.

3:26/ The single most sensational play of the game is made by Fairmont defensive end Justin Barnes, who tips a pass by Thunder Hawks quarterback Brett Bergeson and intercepts it as he falls to the ground. This is also an omen; Bergeson will be picked off four more times and Montevideo also will lose a fumble. The handwriting on the wall begins…

3:59/ It’s halftime, Fairmont’s lead remains 13-7 and it’s still anybody’s game. In the fieldhouse Mahoney tells his most veteran players, “Seniors, this could be it.” But the halftime chat ends on a positive note: “When we’re back in here about an hour from now, we’ll be celebrating a victory.”

4:13/ One of three interceptions by Borchardt sets up the Cards at the Montevideo 14, and Ben Kain throws to Guetter for a 9-yard score and 19-7 lead.

4:39/ After the Thunder Hawks lose a fumble, Kain hits Bryce Holm for a TD on fourth-and-11 from the Montevideo 25. Back-breaker. 26-7.

5:05/ The call goes out on the Fairmont sideline, “Ace! Victory!” That’s the take-a-knee offense. The score is 33-7 and less than two minutes remain. Offensive coordinator Andy Traetow instructs Kain, “Tell the white hat we’re taking a knee.”

5:13/ As the final seconds evaporate, the official on the Fairmont sideline shakes Mahoney’s hand and says, “Coach, good luck next week.” The opponent in the section final will be powerful Glencoe-Silver Lake, which beat Redwood Valley 40-28 Saturday.

5:30/ Four hours have elapsed, the season has been extended by another week and the Cardinals are whooping it up in the fieldhouse. With the unbridled exuberance of teenagers, they count off their 33 points in unison. Then they sing a song and wave their arms, with the key lyrics being, “From East to West, the Cards are the best!”

Mahoney talks about the upcoming trip to top-seeded Glencoe-Silver Lake, the team that has ended the Cardinals’ season in each of the last two years. There is more work to be done if the second-seeded Cards are to reach the state tournament for the first since 1997.

“Weight room, 6:30 Monday morning,” he tells the boys. “We’re one game away!”

--See video of the postgame celebration, as well as a photo gallery, on the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 91
*Miles John has driven: 4,562
*Diet Coke Count: 3 for the day, 10 for the fall tournaments

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Celebrating A Six-Time Tennis Champion And Welcoming The Next Wave
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/28/2011 2:22:24 PM

At two tennis centers in Minneapolis on Friday, we saw one great individual chapter close and we witnessed the early stages of a new era. Amber Washington and Jessica Aney are the game’s bookends; Washington, a senior at Mounds Park Academy, is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and Aney, an eighth-grader from Rochester Century, stands all of 5-1.

THE VETERAN CHAMP

Washington (right) capped a splendid high school career Friday with a 6-4, 7-5 victory over sophomore Sonya Das of St. Paul Academy and Summit School in the Class 1A singles title match at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center. The state championship was Washington’s second in the singles division, following four titles in doubles. That’s right, Washington has won a state tennis championship six years running. She’s the only player in history to win four doubles crowns, but going for her second singles title brought a new level of pressure.

“Yeah, it’s way different,” she told me. “There’s definitely a target on my back, a big one. People here really have nothing to lose so they’re going to try their hardest to win. I feel like the pressure is a lot different this year than last year; if I didn’t win last year it wouldn’t have been a big deal. This year people were expecting a lot, so I think there was a lot more pressure.”

Washington won doubles titles with Beth Larson in 2006 and 2007, then did the same with Kate Roach in 2008 and 2009. I asked her to contrast her seventh-grade year and first trip to state with this year.

“It’s different because I think I’m more mature and I think I understand the capacity of all this,” she said. “When I was a seventh-grader Beth told me it was such a big deal and all that stuff and I was like, ‘Oh, is it really?’

“I think it gets easier because you get more experience each year. It gets easier for me because I know what to look for. It’s new players each year but it’s still the same game.”

After Friday’s tournament, Washington was off to St. Louis for a national tournament. She’s balancing school and tennis with making a college decision. She plans to major in law enforcement and possibly go into the intelligence field. “Counter-terrorism, that kind of stuff,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to that.”

THE YOUNG STAR

Aney’s first splash came at last year’s Class 2A tennis tournament, when the seventh-grader didn’t lose until falling to Century teammate Kelsey Frechette in the championship match. It appeared they would meet for the 2011 title on Friday, but Frechette (now a senior) lost to Edina senior Caroline Ward 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the semifinals at the University of Minnesota's Baseline Tennis Center.

Aney (left) then defeated Ward 6-2, 6-2 and capped an undefeated season with her first state championship.

Jessica began playing tennis when she was 5. Her father, Tom, played tennis at Minnesota-Duluth and her mother, Karen, was a tennis player at Luther College in Iowa. Jessica, who has grown two inches in the last year, smiles and bounces around like a lot of 13-year-olds.

She said she didn’t feel any pressure at all this year after being a state runner-up as a seventh-grader, or from the fact that was proclaimed last year’s national Sports Kid of the Year by Sports Illustrated For Kids.

“No, I don’t think I felt pressure. I never felt like there was a target on my back,” she said after playing what she called the best match of her life.

“I was hitting everything well and everything just felt good,” she said.

And it looked great.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 89
*Miles John has driven: 4,290
*Diet Coke Count: 1 for the day, 7 for the fall tournaments

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Tidbits From A Fun-Filled Tournament Day, And A Look Ahead
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/27/2011 11:21:25 PM

Thursday was one more step toward crowning state champions in girls tennis (singles and doubles) and boys and girls soccer. The tennis tourney will come to a conclusion Friday, and the state soccer quarterfinals also will wrap up Friday.

Come Monday we’ll mark Halloween (boo!) with six state semifinal soccer games inside the Metrodome, hold two more in there Tuesday and watch soccer champions crowned next Thursday under the Teflon roof.

Football swings back into action Saturday with section semifinals. My plans are set: I’ll be at the tennis tournament on Friday before heading south for a football game in beautiful Fairmont on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals (7-1), ranked fifth in Class 3A, will host third-ranked Montevideo (8-0) in the Section 3 semifinals and one of the marquee games of the week.

And with that, here is a look at Thursday’s highlights from the tournament trail …

DIFFERENCE-MAKER OF THE DAY

Eastview junior Mathew Gweh was a marked man on the field in the Class 2A boys soccer quarterfinals at Park High School, and for good reason. Rochester Mayo tried to keep a close watch on Gweh all night, but it wasn’t enough. He scored both goals as top-seeded Eastview won 2-0 to advance to next week’s semifinals.

“He’s a difference-maker, somebody who well step up,” Eastview coach Scott Gustafson said. “He’s a special kid.”

TWITTER CHATTER OF THE DAY

Me: Overheard at #mshsl 2A boys state soccer at Park: "(WCCO TV guy) Frank Vascellaro is here!"

Me: Early trigger on the Frank Vascellaro report. Confusion between Frank and the Eastview band director: Frank Pasquerella.

A Twitter follower: Is the Eastview Choir Director named Amelia Blantanello?

--Speaking of this newfangled thing called Twitter … a milestone was reached at 10:55 p.m. Thursday when my list of Twitter followers hit 900. And No. 900 was pretty special; it’s a guy named Jonathan Fortner (he’s @jrfortner in Twitterspeak). After I announced the identity of No. 900, Jonathan sent me this Tweet: “@MSHSLjohn Great news! Happy to help out. I enjoy following HS sports; I am a MSHSL Official for Baseball, Football & Basketball.” That’s about as fitting as it gets.

--First pep band sightings of the fall tournaments: The Eastview and Rochester Mayo Symphony Orchestras were on hand Thursday evening at Park. Sounded great, too, despite the cold temps.

--We almost had a very interesting matchup in the Class 1A tennis doubles tournament. Robb DeCorsey is the coach at Glencoe-Silver Lake, and GSL’s Mary Arnold and Jackie Stifter won their first match Friday before losing. If they had advanced and the Jordan team of Alex Hancock and Drew DeCorsey had done the same, we could have had the possibility a father vs. daughter matchup in the championship round. Yes, Drew from Jordan is the daughter of Robb.

--At the tennis tournaments there are narrow walkways behind some of the courts, which allow spectators to move between courts without distracting the players. A sheet of heavy, dark vinyl (photo at left) separates the walkway from one end of each court. While Annandale junior Kaytlin Kuefler was playing a second-round match in Class 1A Thursday, she sprinted back past the baseline in pursuit of a shot and ran into the vinyl ... hard. On the other side was a group of three female teens. They never saw it coming when Kuefler hit the vinyl and collided with one of them on the other side of it. The fan screamed in surprise, “Oh my God!” Nobody was hurt, but from inside the dark little walkway – where I witnessed one side of the collision -- laughter could be heard from the crowd.

--Who’s ready for winter sports? Girls hockey practice begins on Monday.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 81
*Miles John has driven: 4,243
*Diet Coke Count: 3 for the day, 6 for the fall tournaments

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Games Are Played, Champions Are Crowned, Diet Cokes Are Counted
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/26/2011 8:51:40 PM

Wednesday was another in a series of two-sport days for my laptop, my camera, my car and myself. We started with the Class 2A girls state tennis tournament at the University of Minnesota’s Baseline Tennis Center and ended with Class 2A girls state soccer quarterfinals at Hopkins High School.

In between the two locations, my dinner was handed to me through a drive-through window and consumed – trust me -- while concentrating on driving. It included a Diet Coke, of course, which also was how the workday began …

I hadn’t been inside Baseline for more than a few minutes before a fellow asked me, “Are you tracking the Diet Coke count again this year?” About that same time, 2A tournament site manager and all-around nice guy Hal Miller of Alexandria handed me a Diet Coke.

And with that simple handover of a single Diet Coke, we have begun the latest round of Diet Coke Counting. The total for each day of fall tournaments, as well as a running count through the post-Thanksgiving Prep Bowl weekend, are now appearing at the end of each John’s Journal (burp!) entry.

Also seen during a tennis/soccer kind of day …

--In Class 2A girls tennis, Edina won the team title for the 15th year in a row with a 5-2 decision over Rochester Mayo. And in 1A at the Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in south Minneapolis, Blake defeated Rochester Lourdes 6-1 to capture a state title.

--There was a guy at the tennis tournament wearing a tag around his neck that said “College Scout.” Believe me, nobody representing any college wears such a thing. I’m sure he’s from a so-called scouting service, hoping to catch the eye of parents who want to waste their money.

--I have a scrape on the back of my left ankle, because I didn’t move quite fast enough to get out of the way of a sideline tackle during Tuesday’s football game between St. Paul Johnson and Minnehaha Academy. I stayed on my feet but somebody’s cleat caught me as they went down. Good thing I’m tough.

--Online Boo-Boo of the Day: During the second soccer game at Hopkins, I issued this Tweet: “Wayzata leads Blaine 1-0 on a goal by Maddie Eklin in the 22nd minute.” Wrong, twit for brains. I corrected the information later: “Halftime in Hopkins, and Wayzata leads Blaine 1-0 in #mshsl girls 2A soccer on a goal by Summer Johnson (Eklin had the assist..my bad).”

--A tennis player walked into the tournament headquarters room, saw the results of her match written on a scoresheet and blurted out, “Oh my God, I lost terrible!” (Didn't she already know the score of her own match?)

--One of the tennis chair referees was leaving Baseline when he stuck his head into headquarters and asked, “Do you folks validate parking?” Sorry, the MSHSL can do a lot of things, but that is not one of them.

--There were no Twitter hiccups Wednesday (see previous John’s Journal entry for the gory details from Tuesday), so it was easy to stay connected to the sports world. While at the tennis tournament, for example, I learned via Twitter that the day’s World Series game had been postponed. Later in the day I was sitting in the press box at Hopkins, where I could update scores from the two soccer games played there. St. Cloud Cathedral athletic director Emmett Keenan – like me, he’s an Irishman who can sometimes be trusted – was texting and Tweeting score updates from Class 1A girls soccer quarterfinals at St. Cloud State. Twitter is an outstanding means of communication … almost all the time.

--Email of the Day: “Don't know how big of a deal it is, but Monday night one of our volleyball players, Taylor Case, served 25 straight points in a sub-section set for Fillmore Central. The Falcons defeated Schaeffer Academy 3-0. Taylor was 36/36 for the night.” Nice going, Taylor.

--To see a photo gallery from 2A girls state tennis, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 73
*Miles John has driven: 4,154
*Diet Coke Count: 3 for the day, 3 for the fall tournaments

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



A Wonderful Tournament Day … Despite The Big Twitter Failure
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/25/2011 11:29:44 PM

Tuesday was one of those days that stand out in this business. It’s tournament time, which for me meant spending the early part of the day watching Class 1A girls state tennis, then switching over to a 3 p.m. football playoff game, then heading home for dinner and what became The Big Twitter Failure of 2011.

Everything was going splendidly until, oh about 8:20 p.m. With football section quarterfinals being played all over the state, I had a rare evening; instead of standing on a sideline at a game, I had already seen one football game and planned to monitor statewide scores via Twitter and re-Tweet those scores to all the friendly prep fans who follow me on Twitter. And then the whole thing went kablooey.

I don’t know what happened, but all of a sudden Twitter refused to allow me to conduct any business. I couldn’t Tweet, I couldn’t re-Tweet, nothing. Heck of a rotten deal. But that didn’t detract from a great day of competition, sights, sounds and stories…

REMEMBERING “AB-DUB”

The girls tennis team from Waseca (right) stood out in their matching pink T-shirts. They had “Play Like a Princess” printed on the back and the Bluejays wore matching pink ribbons in their hair. On the left sleeve was printed the word “Ab-dub” and a little crown.

That was a reference to Abigail “Abby” “Ab-dub” Claire Wendland, 16, who died earlier this month after being involved in an automobile accident. Abigail’s favorite color was pink and her nickname was Princess. Thus the T-shirts.

What kind of person was Abby? Here’s an excerpt from her obituary…

“A junior at Waseca High School, Abby excelled academically, maintaining a 4.0 GPA. She was a member of Frontline in the Marching Band and played in the Concert Band. She challenged herself in both the percussion and horn sections. She sang in the high school choir and State Street Singers. She received numerous honors at solo ensemble competitions in both band and voice.

“Abby was a dancer and from the age of 3 performed in numerous recitals through Shari’s School of Dance. She was recently looking forward to being on the Extreme Dance Team. She was certain to sign up for every style of dance offered.

“In the sports arena, Abby was a football and basketball cheerleader and a member of the golf team. She served on the Student Council and was looking forward to planning this year’s prom. She also competed with the Speech and Law teams.

“She loved the theater and played numerous roles in Waseca Community Theater productions. Most recently, she was cast as a Pink Lady for the upcoming high school production of ‘Grease.’ ”

The Waseca team played a tough match Tuesday, falling to Rochester Lourdes 5-2 in the state quarterfinals. The Bluejays then defeated Staples-Motley/Verndale 5-2 in the consolation bracket and will meet Virginia in today’s fifth-place match.

INTERESTING TENNIS FACTS

--Three cousins qualified for the state tourney: Kayla Kraemer of Brainerd in 2A doubles, Janna Juntunen of Osakis in doubles and Taylor Kraemer of Osakis in singles. All three qualified in the team competition, too.

--The St. James team and fans had great T-shirts, bearing the names of all the coaches and players.

--The best tennis tournament hair was worn by a grandpa from Virginia who had apparently spray-painted his silver head a nice shade of blue.

-Virginia coach Dave Gunderson, returning to the tourney site after lunch, brought one slice of cheesecake to the tournament officials table. Sitting with several others from the MSHSL, I proclaimed a need for “medicinal cheesecake.”

KICKING INTO THE RECORD BOOK

Detroit Lakes football kicker Steven Labine came into Wednesday’s playoff game against Hibbing with 83 career extra points. He needed 84 to crack the top 10 in state history, and he got there with ease as the Lakers beat Hibbing 34-0.

AND SPEAKING OF FOOTBALL …

The football game I saw Tuesday was the very first playoff game in the state this year. It was my 15th game of the football season as well as the biggest comeback I have witnessed this fall. In a Class 3A, Section 4 quarterfinal game, No. 4 seed Minnehaha Academy trailed 20-0 in the second quarter before rallying for a 28-20 victory over No. 5 seed St. Paul Johnson.

It was my first trip to a football game at Minnehaha Academy, which is a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River in south Minneapolis. The field has no lights, requiring the 3 p.m. kickoff. Music by Jay-Z was playing on the PA system when I arrived during pregame warm-ups. Johnson coach Jeff Plaschko wore short pants despite the cold; that’s a common practice for a few football coaches.

Some other scattered observations from a football afternoon …

--I had never before seen deer stands at a football facility, but Minnehaha has two of them sitting alongside the bleachers. One assistant coach from each team (right) climbed a stand with his headphones and watched the game. There is sort of a press box, but it’s very small and not very enclosed. Maybe deer stands will catch on.

--Minnehaha Academy athletic director Ken Anderson is retiring in December after 34 years on the job. Smooth sailing, Ken!

--Overheard from a couple of wishful Johnson reserves as a group of Minnehaha female students walked around the field: “They’re totally checking us out.”

--I chatted on the sidelines with Minnehaha girls basketball coach Josh Thurow, who was a busy man Tuesday. He was soon headed to Becker, where he was the referee for the Becker-Princeton playoff game.

--Minnehaha quarterback Bjorn Halvorson threw a touchdown pass and ran for two scores in the big comeback. When I asked him about the rally, he said, “They were big, they came out really fast, we came out flat. We’ve been coming out flat in the first quarter a lot, but defense won the game again. We got our offense rolling, but defense won the game. The offensive line got a push, and once we got a push we started running the ball. I’m happy.”

The Redhawks’ prize for winning Tuesday is a Saturday game at St. Croix Lutheran. The Crusaders are unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in Class 3A. But one of the many great things about high school sports is that anything can happen.

“We’re getting ready to shock the state and take down the No. 1 team,” Minnehaha coach Jordan Baynard told the boys after Tuesday’s big win.

Hey, why not?

--To see photo galleries from 1A girls state tennis and the St. Paul Johnson-Minnehaha Academy football game, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 63
*Miles John has driven: 4,090

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



Lakeville South, Marshall, Bethlehem Academy Lead Final Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/24/2011 7:33:31 PM

Tournament time has arrived in fall sports, including volleyball. As section playoffs get rolling, the final rankings of the season have been released by the volleyball coaches association.

There are no changes at the top, with Lakeville South, Marshall and Bethlehem Academy holding steady at No. 1 in their respective classes. In all three classes, the No. 1 team received all but one first-place vote.

CLASS 3A
1. Lakeville South (15) 239
2. Eagan 202
3. Blaine (1) 192
4. Shakopee 185
5. Lakeville North 151
6. Andover 138
7. Bloomington Jefferson 128
8. Wayzata 124
9. Eden Prairie 114
10. Centennial 51
Others: Hill-Murray (22), Hutchinson (21), Hopkins (15), Waconia (14), Minnetonka (8), Apple Valley (6), Chanhassen (5), Cretin-Derham Hall (3), Owatonna (1)

CLASS 2A
1. Marshall (9) 149
2. Jackson County Central 134
3. Belle Plaine (1) 126
4. Stewartville 117
5. Lesuer-Henderson 114
6. Jordan 195
7. Kasson-Mantorville 92
8. Caledonia 87
9. Wadena-Deer Creek 59
10. Byron 44
Others: Sauk Center (14), Maple Lake (11), Visitation (7), Esko (6)

CLASS 1A
1. Bethlehem Academy (10) 163
2. Canby (1) 147
3. Wabasha-Kellogg 145
4. Southwest Christian 131
5. Mayer Lutheran 121
6. Minneota 106
7. MACCRAY 84
8. WinEMac 83
9. Ada-Borup 65
Nevis 65
Others: BBE (48), Hancock (14), Mabel-Canton (3)



Eden Prairie Football Shutout Was First In 237 Games
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/22/2011 5:32:42 PM

We have an answer to the question that was posed in the previous installment of John's Journal. In the wake of Wayzata's 9-0 football victory over Eden Prairie on Wednesday night, I wrote:

"The pressing postgame question, then, was this: When was the last time Eden Prairie was held scoreless? I still don’t have an answer, so if anyone knows, uh, let me know, will ya?"

Our hero is Dave Giles, a frequent in-arena announcer for various MSHSL state tournaments and historian for the annual Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game. Here is what Dave wrote to me in an email Saturday afternoon:

John,

I saw your "John's Journal" on the Eden Prairie-Wayzata football game. Great job as always.

Until last Wednesday's game at Wayzata, Eden Prairie had never been shut out with Mike Grant as the head coach. In 2005 (September 30, 2005), Chaska held Eden Prairie scoreless in regulation time as the teams battled to a 0-0 tie after 4 quarters. Chaska won the game 10-7 in 2 OTs.

In your journal, you asked "The pressing postgame question, then, was this: When was the last time Eden Prairie was held scoreless? I still don’t have an answer, so if anyone knows, uh, let me know, will ya?".

I wasn't sure if anyone answered the question about the last time Eden Prairie was held scoreless. I have the answer:

Friday October 11, 1991 (week 7 of the 1991 season):

Eden Prairie at Richfield in a Lake Blue conference game - final score: Richfield 35, Eden Prairie 0.

In week 2 of the 1991 season, Eden Prairie was also shut out by Minnetonka 7-0 (game played at Eden Prairie).

The 1991 Eden Prairie Eagles were not coached by Mike Grant. Grant took over at Eden Prairie the next year (1992). The Eden Prairie head coach in 1991 was Chuck Rodgers.

Eden Prairie is 214-22 in 20 seasons with Mike Grant as the head coach (236 games). They scored points in their last two games in 1991 and then scored in 235 straight games from 1992 through 10/19/11 (237 games without being shut out).

Dave Giles
Game Historian
Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game



Pregame Omens, Talented Cheerleaders And How Quick Beat Big
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/20/2011 12:21:57 PM

If you believe in omens – and maybe the overconfidence of talented and hardworking cheerleaders – the tipping point in Wayzata’s 9-0 football victory over Eden Prairie on Wednesday night might have come a few minutes before kickoff between the top-ranked teams in Class 5A.

The Eden Prairie cheer squad had made a wonderfully creative giant paper banner for the Eagles to bust through as they took the field. It had the words “Edina” and “Hopkins” and “Tonka” with X’s through them, signifying the Lake Conference teams that Eden Prairie had already defeated. “Wayzata – You’re Next” was written underneath the words “Lake Conference Champs?”

Major kudos to the cheerleaders – who are almost always among the brightest students -- for the proper use of “you’re” … how often do we see “your” and “you’re” used incorrectly? But not by these super-smart, grammar-skilled teens. A key component of that sign, as things turned out on the field, was the question mark. And the cheerleaders had minor issues on two fronts: proper placement of their wonderful sign and judging the strength of the wind.

Two poles were taped to the edges of the sign, requiring cheerleaders to stand on their colleagues’ shoulders to hold the big thing up. But when the sign was lifted off the ground – right in front of the Wayzata student section – the words faced the Wayzata side of the field instead of the Eden Prairie side. Boos? Yes, a few. The cheerleaders turned it around and were waiting for their boys to come charging through it when a wind gust came charging through it. Riiiiiiip. Right down the middle..

The game itself? Great, great football … if you believe in the greatness of defense and punters having to ice their legs afterward. Wayzata played a whale of a defensive game; Eden Prairie missed a 52-yard field goal on the opening drive, ended its final possession with a failed fourth-down play, and in between were eight Eagle punts.

Wayzata’s points came on three short field goals by Tyler Scott. The score was 6-0 at halftime and Wayzata coach Brad Anderson didn’t expect the shutout to continue.

“You’re not going to shut them out,” Anderson said, “so I was thinking if you can hold them to 14, can we get three scores? I thought we played a picture-perfect first half and we’re up 6-zip and you’re going, ‘Gosh, one play and we’re down.’ I felt good about how we were playing but I also realized we left some points off the board and I never thought we’d shut them out. I told our coaches on the sidelines, ‘I think we’re going to have to get two scores in the second half because I think they’ll get a couple.’”

Wrong, coach. The big donut on the scoreboard stayed there. The pressing postgame question, then, was this: When was the last time Eden Prairie was held scoreless? I still don’t have an answer, so if anyone knows, uh, let me know, will ya?

Wayzata was simply too fast on its feet for the Eagles, on both sides of the ball. Eden Prairie has mastodons in the line, but Wayzata’s quick-steppers went around them. Eagles running back Andrew Larson never broke a lengthy run, as has been customary this autumn. Larson has a knee issue but before the game coach Mike Grant (right) said his running back was at 90 percent health.

There may have been questions about Wayzata’s defense in the wake of former defensive coordinator Matt Lombardi leaving to become head coach at Maple Grove this year. He was one of the highest-profile assistants around, based on the defense Wayzata has played in recent years. But team is always bigger than any person, whether it be player or coach, and the Trojans defense I saw last night was the best I have seen in many years of watching Wayzata football.

To me, the key plays in the game came on successive drives in the third quarter. Trailing 6-0, Eden Prairie connected on a 37-yard pass that was wiped out by a penalty. The Eagles punted and the defense was hoping to come away with good field position for the offense. Wayzata lined up for a fourth-and-one play at its own 43 … and the Eagles were offsides. The Trojans punted a few plays later, but the ball was downed at the 10 and EP was in another in a long series of holes.

Wayzata won the Lake Conference title, both teams are seeded No. 1 in their respective 5A sections and they could meet once more in the Prep Bowl. But … let’s look ahead a little further than the last weekend in November.

A year from now Class 6A – the so-called Super Class – will debut. Thirty-two teams split into four sections, with Wayzata and Eden Prairie in the same section. When I asked Anderson about that, he said, “The wisdom that be did that. I have no comment on that because I don’t want to get into trouble.”

He was referring to the added class in the sense that that he would rather see a more direct approach to solving scheduling problems. But the 6A playoffs will add one new twist: After first-round section games, the four winning teams from each section will be matched with a different section for crossover games, with the highest seed from one section playing the lowest seed from the other section.

What does this mean? For one, it means that four teams from the same section could reach the state quarterfinals. It also means that Wayzata and Eden Prairie could see each other in the 2012 Prep Bowl.

Which gives the cheerleaders plenty of time to prepare. And as always, they’ll do a great job.

--To see a photo gallery and video from the Wayzata-Eden Prairie game, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 53
*Miles John has driven: 4,044

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



No Changes At Top Of State Cross-Country Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/18/2011 9:30:07 PM

The No. 1 teams and individuals remained the same on all accounts – Class 1A and 2A teams as well as individuals – in this week’s cross-country rankings, courtesy of the coaches association.

The top-ranked teams are the Monticello girls and Stillwater boys in 2A and St. Cloud Cathedral in both boys and girls in 1A. Individually, Maria Hauger of Shakopee and Josh Thorson of Wayzata lead the 2A poll and Clare Flanagan and Brandon Clark, both from Blake, lead the 1A rankings.

CLASS 2A

Girls Teams
1. Monticello
2. Lakeville South
3. Eagan
4. East Ridge
5. Shakopee
6. Eden Prairie
7. Wayzata
8. Edina
9. Moorhead
10. Andover
11. Hopkins
12. Prior Lake

Girls Individuals
1. Maria Hauger, 11, Shakopee
2. Jamie Piepenburg, 12, Alexandria
3. Danielle Anderson, 11, Eagan
4. Jenna Truedson, 9, Bemidji
5. Megan Hasz, 8 Alexandria
6. Kaytlyn Larson,9, Lakeville South
7. Chrissy Monson, 11, Albert Lea
8. Bethany Hasz, 8, Alexandria
9. Vivian Hett, 10, Burnsville
10. Erica Seidenkrantz, 12, Monticello
11. Shaelyn Sorensen, 10, Tartan
12. Nicole Heitzman, 11, Andover

Boys Teams
1 Stillwater
2 Rosemount
3 Edina
4 Wayzata
5 Eden Prairie
6 Andover
7 Hopkins
8 Moorhead
9 Eastview
10 Burnsville
11 White Bear Lake
12 Owatonna
Others receiving votes: Rochester Mayo

Boys Individuals
1 Josh Thorson, Wayzata
2 Cole O'Brien, Burnsville
3 Jan Ketterson, Jefferson
4 Joey Duerr, Chaska
5 Glen Ellingson, Moorhead
6 Riley Macon, Rochester Mayo
7 Connor Olson, Wayzata
8 Mubarik Musa, Worthington
9 Will Burke, Edina
10 Zach Roozen, Mounds View
11 Sidney Speir, Eagan
12 Luke McKenzie, Chisago Lakes Area
Others receiving votes: Wayde Hall, Stillwater

CLASS 1A

Girls Teams
1. St. Cloud Cathedral
2. Blake
3. Esko
4. Waseca
5. Adrian
6. LaCrescent
7. Trinity of River Ridge
8. Annandale
9. Minnehaha Academy
10. United South Central
11. Park Rapids
12. Perham

Girls Individuals
1. Clare Flanagan, Blake
2. McKenzie Holt, St. Cloud Christian
3. Marissa Shady, Esko
4. Elena Danielson, St. Cloud Cathedral
5. Emi Trost, Cannon Falls
6. Lydia Lutz, Park Rapids
7. Mary Ennis, Trinity
8. Kayla Woltz, Chatfield
9. Sadie Klug, Waseca
10. Jenessa Meuleners, Belle Plaine
11. Mayla Hohn, Luverne Area
12. Tierney Winter WEM/JWP

Boys Teams
1. St. Cloud Cathedral
2. Perham
3. Blake
4. Waseca
5. Mesabi East
6. Redwood Valley Area
7. Plainview-Elgin-Millville
8. Minnehaha Academy
9. Esko
10. Albany
11. Crosby Ironton
12. Ottertail Central

Boys Individuals
1. Brandon Clark, Blake
2. Charlie Lawrence, Foley
3. Shane Streich, Waseca
4. Romeo Benish, Proctor
5. Nick Stoks, Canby-Minneota/LinHi
6. Matt Welch, Proctor
7. Dan Borash, Royalton
8. Nick Golebiowski, St. Cloud Cathedral
9. Byron Schuldt, Nevis
10. Jake Burr, Glencoe-Silver Lake
11. Pat Reinschmidt, Plainview-E-M
12. Jacob Siekmeier, Math & Science Acad




Remembering Duluth East’s Rachel Sandell
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/17/2011 2:27:01 PM

Last March I wrote about a young girl named Rachel Sandell. This was during the boys state hockey tournament in St. Paul, where her fellow students from Duluth East were holding signs that said “The Love is on for Rachel” and repeatedly chanted “Rachel! Rachel! Rachel!”

Rachel was in Nevada at the time, undergoing cancer treatment. She passed away Sunday. Rachel and her family maintained a CaringBridge site as a way to communicate and share. On Oct. 6, Rachel wrote what would be her final entry on the site. You can find it here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rachelsandell

Here’s an excerpt: “Speaking of love, i wholeheartedly agree with the amazing things my mom had to say in her last two posts. And you people need not be concerned about my mental and emotional well being. Trust me. I feel totally accepting of all of this. Like really. What happens, happens, and it will when it will. I am living this beautiful life until im not anymore, just like all of us.”

Here is what I wrote about Rachel during the boys state hockey tournament on March 10, 2011 …

Rachel, can you hear them? Can you hear your friends back home in Minnesota cheering for you? Can you hear them chanting your name?

We know Rachel Sandell saw the signs. On her computer way out in Reno, Nevada, she was watching her friends from Duluth East High School – on the ice and in the stands – during Thursday’s Class 2A boys state hockey quarterfinals at Xcel Energy Center.

They held up signs in the stands that said, “The Love is on for Rachel!” They chanted, “Rachel! Rachel! Rachel!” They chanted, “We love Rachel! We love Rachel!”

Rachel – watching a webcast of the Channel 45 game telecast -- saw the signs and texted friends who were at the game. She sent one text that said, “I saw the signs! That’s awesome!”

Awesome indeed. While Rachel and her mom are in Reno -- where Rachel is being treated for liver cancer – her Duluth East schoolmates are pulling for her. Cheering for her in the midst of the biggest hockey game of the season. The Duluth East Greyhounds beat White Bear Lake 4-3 in double overtime Thursday, with the winning goal scored by Zac Schendel.

“She’s a friend of mine,” Zac said. “Our team’s talked about her a few times. We want her to stay strong and hopefully she can pull through this.”

When the East team was honored at a pep assembly on Tuesday, the event was dedicated to Rachel. She’s a senior and she’s special; she’s on the dance team, she’s an officer in the Key Club, she’s the editor-in-chief of the yearbook.

“She’s totally involved and everyone knows her,” said fellow senior Jessa Kohlhaas during Thursday’s game. “Everyone misses her. Everyone loves her. We all just want to let her know that.”

Jessa told me that Rachel has been fighting liver cancer since early last summer. “She’s been doing great but recently she took kind of a little bit of a turn,” Jessa said. “She’s out in Reno with her mom to pursue some more aggressive treatment.”

Rachel and her mom are keeping the folks back home updated via a Caring Bridge website (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/rachelsandell)

“Basically, as a community at East and around Duluth we’re trying to show her and her family support,” Jessa said. “Financially, emotionally, whatever they need we’re just trying to show that we love them, we care about them, and we’re behind them 100 percent.”

East goaltender JoJo Jeanetta, who made 22 saves against White Bear Lake, is also one of Rachel’s many friends.

“It was a really sad story when she was diagnosed, but it’s amazing to see how well she’s dealing with it and to see our whole school get behind her,” JoJo said. “We’re playing for each other and for her.”

As someone wrote on Rachel’s Caring Bridge site after Thursday’s game: “Hope you had a chance to see the East hockey game today and all the beautiful blue “The Love is on for Rachel” signs that the students had! I'm betting all those positive thoughts directed your way helped the team a little bit, too!”

Keep watching and listening, Rachel. We’re all pulling for you.



It’s That Time Of Year: Football, Volleyball, Tennis, Soccer And More
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/17/2011 11:49:35 AM

The final two weeks of October always signal that things are changing, and I’m not referring to the goodbye-fall-hello-winter weather that is beginning to roll into Minnesota. This is a time when the prep sports calendar is absolutely packed as fall teams close out the regular season and hit their postseason stride. Here’s a look at what’s going on …

FOOTBALL

The football regular season will end this week with most of the games being held on Wednesday … although there will be six games on Tuesday and six on Thursday. These games will settle all remaining conference races and lay the foundation for the postseason, which will begin next week.

There are 31 undefeated teams in the state and two of them will meet in the biggest game of the regular season. Eden Prairie and Wayzata, the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the Class 5A rankings, will meet at Wayzata on Wednesday night. Both are 7-0 (this is the only game in the state this week between undefeated teams) and the winner will be the Lake Conference champion and take some major momentum into the section playoffs.

UNDEFEATED FOOTBALL TEAMS

NINE-MAN (section)
Spring Grove (1)
Edgerton/Ellsworth (3)
Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (3)
Eagle Valey (4)
Ulen-Hitterdal (6)
North Woods (7)

CLASS 1A (section)
New Ulm Cathedral (2)
Dawson-Boyd (5)
Mahnomen (6)

CLASS 2A (section)
Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (2)
Norwood-Young America (4)
BOLD (5)
Moose Lake-Willow River (7)
Hawley (8)
Barnesville (8)

CLASS 3A (section)
Plainview-Elgin-Millville (1)
Montevideo (3)
St. Croix Lutheran (4)

CLASS 4A (section)
Mankato West (2)
Hutchinson (2)
Marshall (2)
St. Thomas Academy (3)
Delano (5)
Bemidji (7)
Hermantown (7)

CLASS 5A (section)
Lakeville North (1)
Owatonna (1)
Cretin-Derham Hall (4)
Wayzata (5)
Eden Prairie (6)
Shakopee (6)

GIRLS TENNIS

Most of the team section tournaments have been completed as teams prepare for next week’s state tournament in Minneapolis. Individual section tourneys will wrap up this week. Here are the qualifying teams:

Class 1A: Rochester Lourdes, Waseca, St. James, Blake, Providence Academy, Osakis, Pierz or Foley (they play today) and Staples-Motley.

Class 2A: Rochester Mayo, Minnetonka, Rosemount, Mahtomedi, Mounds View, Edina, Brainerd and the winner of Section 7 (Grand Rapids, Forest Lake, Elk River and Duluth East will decide the winner today).

GIRLS AND BOYS SOCCER

Section titles are being decided this week in Class 1A and 2A, and the state tournament will begin next week.

VOLLEYBALL RANKINGS

CLASS 3A
1. Lakeville South (10) 249
2. Eagan (2) 225
3. Blaine (4) 214
4. Shakopee 192
5. Lakeville North 173
6. Andover 163
7. Bloomington Jefferson 159
8. Eden Prairie (1) 157
9. Wayzata 125
10. Centennial 53
Others: Chanhassen (31), Hutchinson (29), Hill-Murray (16), Waconia (15), Minnetonka (14), Fergus Falls (6), Cretin-Derham Hall (2)

CLASS 2A
1. Marshall (12) 194
2. Jackson County Central 171
3. Stewartville (1) 164
4. Belle Plaine 157
5. Lesuer-Henderson 144
6. Kasson-Mantorville 122
7. Jordan 119
8. Caledonia 91
9. Wadena-Deer Creek 82
10. Byron 58
Others: Maple Lake (26), Sauk Center (18), Visitation (8), New Richland (7), Esko (6), Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (4)

CLASS 1A
1. Bethlehem Academy (12) 204
2. Wabasha-Kellogg 181
3. Canby (2) 174
4. Southwest Christian 173
5. Mayer Lutheran 153
6. Minneota 149
7. MACCRAY 127
8. Nevis 103
9. WinEMac 97
10. BBE 69
Others: Hancock (20), Ada-Borup (17), Mabel-Canton (8), Fillmore Central (6), Lake of the Woods (3)



Hey! We Have Correspondents!
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/15/2011 12:43:20 PM

We have added a new wrinkle to John's Journal: stories by correspondents from around the state.

Our first installment is about the biggest Nine-Man football game in Minnesota on Friday evening, and it's provided by a student who is a proud member of the MSHSL Student Sports Information Directors program.

No. 5 Ulen-Hitterdal defeats No. 2 Ada-Borup



Five Named For Induction Into Basketball Coaches Hall Of Fame
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/14/2011 4:35:55 PM

The Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association has named five men who will be inducted into the MBCA Hall of Fame later this month. The purpose of the MBCA Hall of Fame is to give special recognition to the people of Minnesota who have made significant contributions to promote high school basketball in the state via their achievements and service.

The 2011 inductees are:

Howard Bahn – Kimball

Dan Brink – St. Paul Central/St. Paul Como Park

Perry Doney – Hector/Wood Lake/Canby

Don Tangen – Glencoe-Silver Lake

Larry Weum – Robbinsdale Armstrong.

The induction ceremonies will be held at the MBCA Hall of Fame Banquet on Sunday, October 30th, at noon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis.

--Howard Bahn became the head boys basketball coach at Kimball in 1976 and spent the next 20 seasons as the leader of the Cubs program prior to retiring in 1996. Howard’s career began as a head basketball coach, assistant football coach, and assistant track coach at Lutheran East H.S., Cleveland, OH, in 1966. During his 10 year tenure at Lutheran East, his teams won six conference titles and four District championships. Coach Bahn led his Kimball teams to five Central Minnesota Conference titles, a District 20 championship and a Region 5 runner-up finish. Bahn was named Central Minnesota Conference Coach of the Year in 1993 and District 20 Coach of the Year in 1984 and 1994. Sixteen of his athletes went on to play college basketball and one played professionally. He also served as an assistant football coach and assistant baseball coach at Kimball. Howard retired after 30 seasons of coaching with an overall record of 388-231.

--Dan Brink spent the first six years of his coaching career, 1971-’77, as the head coach at Monroe H.S. in St. Paul. In 1977, he moved to St. Paul Central and within two years won conference and region titles with a subsequent State Tournament runner-up finish and the Minutemen were on their way. During his 16 seasons at Central, the Minutemen won 12 conference titles, earned 7 Region championships resulting in State Tournament appearances, and compiled a 312-78 record. Coach Brink left Central in 1993 to assume the position of Defensive Coordinator at St. Thomas University where he helped lead the Tommies to the DIII Final Four in 1994. He returned to the high school ranks in 2002 when he assumed the head coaching position at Como Park H.S. and in his first year led the Cougars to a Region title and third place finish in the State Tournament. His sixth and final season prior to his retirement resulted in a second State Tournament appearance for Como Park and was the 9th time a Brink-led team earned that milestone. Dan was recognized by his peers as Section Coach of the Year six times and conference COY 10 times. He was also named WCCO State Coach of the Year and is a member of the Central Athletic Hall of Fame. Coach Brink retired in 2008 with an overall record of 426-246.

--Perry Doney’s coaching career began in 1932 in South Shores, SD. He spent ten years coaching in South Dakota before his career took a three year hiatus as he spent 1942-45 on the West Coast during WWII. His legendary career as a coach of four sports began at Canby H.S. in 1945. In 1948, he moved to Wood Lake where he spent the next 17 years as the head coach for basketball, football, baseball, and track. His 1964 Wood Lake Warriors football team was the first team in Minnesota to go through a 10 game season undefeated, averaging an amazing 58.3 ppg while only giving up 93 during the course of the season. His Warrior basketball teams were legendary for upsetting a #1 ranked Marshall team three times in tournament play and he coached three 1,000 point scorers in the “50’s and employed a “match-up zone” at a time when the term was yet to be defined. Coach Doney’s Wood Lake teams were 240-116, a winning percentage of 68%, during his 17 seasons there. Perry returned to his hometown of Hector and led them to their first ever District 12 title in 1968. He finished his basketball coaching career at Hector after the 1970 season. Doney was a Merit Award recipient of the MBCA and is a charter member of the Northern State Athletic Hall of Fame. Coach Doney passed away in 1989.

--Don Tangen has coached basketball at Glencoe/Glencoe-Silver Lake for 34 years and just completed the 40th season of a coaching career that began at Murdock H.S. in 1977. His Glencoe-Silver Lake teams won Wright County Conference titles in 1994 and 1995 and Coach Tangen led seven Glencoe/GSL teams to Section titles and State Tournament appearances during three different decades. Don’s coaching achievements earned him recognition from his peers as he was the recipient of multiple Conference Coach of the Year and Section Coach of the Year honors. Coach Tangen was selected and participated as a coach in the 2001 MBCA All Star Series. Don is a member of the 400 win club and has compiled an overall record of 495-405. He is a lifetime member of the Minnesota State High School Coaches Association and served as President of the MSHSCA in 2009. Coach Tangen has also coached football at Murdock, Glencoe, and Glencoe-Silver Lake for 40 seasons.

--Larry Weum coached basketball at Robbinsdale Armstrong H.S. for 27 years; 17 as the head coach, and 10 as an assistant coach. Coach Weum’s basketball coaching career began at Sandberg Jr. High in 1970. In addition to his 27 years at Armstrong he also spent two years, 1982-84, as the head basketball coach at North Hennepin CC. In his second year at the helm of the Armstrong program, Coach Weum led the Falcons to a second place State tournament finish, a feat which was matched again the following season. His Armstrong squads won three Lake/Classic Lake Conference titles and earned State Tournament appearances with three Section championships. In an eleven year period, Falcon teams advanced to the Section finals eight times. Larry served as a Section Representative for 6AA. He was selected and participated as an MBCA All Star Series Coach in 1998. Coach Weum retired from teaching and coaching in 2001 with an overall mark of 302-145 as head coach at Armstrong.




Shaved Heads In Support Of A Friend And Teammate
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/12/2011 6:48:53 PM

I was talking on the phone Wednesday with Jill Schmidt, whose son Trevor is undergoing brain surgery on Thursday. Trevor, a senior soccer/baseball player at Mound-Westonka, has a condition called angioma. Jill described angioma as “a cluster of veins that didn’t develop properly. The walls of the veins are fragile and they bleed.”

The Schmidts have known about Trevor’s condition for two years. In some cases angioma doesn’t become a surgical issue, but when Trevor suffered a seizure … well, that’s when surgery entered the picture.

But neither the illness nor the surgery are the story, Jill said. The story is all the support Trevor has received from his teammates, classmates and friends. A whole bunch of boys shaved their heads in order to match Trevor’s look, and more than 30 of them gathered for a quick photo shoot in the gym Wednesday after school.

“It means a lot,” Trevor told me. “I’m pretty scared and nervous going into it, but having these guys behind me makes me feel a lot better.”

He had several Cheerios-looking devices stuck to his head; they were placed during pre-surgery tests earlier Wednesday and were to remain there through the procedure.

As I was talking to a few of Trevor’s soccer teammates, the volleyball team was setting up for practice. One of the players, senior middle hitter Ellie Kalgren, ran over to Trevor, said “Good luck tomorrow” and gave him a hug.

Jill Schmidt said Trevor wasn’t required to shave his head, but he thought that it was the best way to go since some of his hair would be removed for surgery.

“When we were meeting with the surgeon, Trevor said, ‘What about my hair?’ The surgeon said, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ But later Trevor said he needed a haircut, and ‘I’m just going to shave it all off, anyway.’ That spurred his buddies to jump on the bandwagon. Kids as young as eighth grade have done it.”

Fellow senior soccer player Mitchell Spanjers explained how all the head shaving started.

“I think what happened was Trevor was saying, ‘I’ve got to have surgery and I’ll have to shave my head.’ Then we thought, ‘Oh, we should do it with you.’ And then it turned into this, with all these guys doing it.”

When I inquired about the best method for shaving a head, senior soccer players Hunter Botts and Dayton Strong described the procedure.

“We just used a big electric razor. That’s about the only way you can do it,” Botts said.

“And you have to do it slowly,” Strong said. “Otherwise it just rips and it hurts really bad.”

The boys were all smiling. Their hair has begun to grow back, so their looks will return to normal. And the support for their friend? Oh, that will never change.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 49
*Miles John has driven: 3,748

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



A New Football Team Atop Class 3A Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/12/2011 6:13:58 PM

With two games remaining in the regular season for most high school football teams in Minnesota, postseason playoffs are right around the corner. One team that might be worth watching is the team that has moved into the No. 1 spot in this week’s Associated Press Class 3A rankings.

That team is unbeaten St. Croix Lutheran, which moved up from No. 3 to No. 1 this week. The previous No. 1 team, Glencoe-Silver Lake, lost to No. 6-4A Hutchinson last week and fell to No. 4 in 3A. Holy Family Catholic dropped from No. 2 in 3A to 8 after losing to No. 2-4A St. Thomas Academy. Climbing quickly this week in 3A were Plainview-Elgin Millville (No. 4 to No. 2) and Montevideo (No. 7 to No. 4).

Here are this week’s rankings in all six classes …

CLASS 5A
#1 (1) Eden Prairie (6-0)
2 (2) Wayzata (6-0)
3 (3) Cretin-Derham Hall (6-0)
4 (5) Lakeville North (6-0)
5 (6) Mounds View (5-1)
6 (7) Anoka (5-1)
7 (8) Shakopee (6-0)
8 (4) Lakeville South (5-1)
9 (10) Osseo (5-1)
10 (NR) Owatonna (6-0)
10 (9) Minnetonka (4-2)
Others receiving votes: Totino-Grace, Blaine

CLASS 4A
#1 (1) Mankato West (6-0)
2 (2) St. Thomas Academy (6-0)
3 (3) South St. Paul (6-0)
4 (4) Rogers (6-0)
5 (5) Bemidji (6-0)
6 (7) Hutchinson (6-0)
7 (6) Delano (6-0)
8 (9) Marshall (6-0)
9 (10) Spring Lake Park (5-1)
10 (8) Holy Angels (5-1)
Others receiving votes: Detroit Lakes, Hermantown, Hill-Murray, Rocori

CLASS 3A
#1 (3) St. Croix Lutheran (6-0)
2 (4) Plainview-Elgin-Millville (6-0)
3 (7) Montevideo (6-0)
4 (1) Glencoe-Silver Lake (5-1)
5 (5) Stewartville (5-1)
5 (8) Fairmont (5-1)
7 (9) St. Cloud Cathedral (6-0)
8 (2) Holy Family Catholic (5-1)
9 (10) Pequot Lakes (5-1)
10 (NR) DeLaSalle (5-1)
Others receiving votes: Albany, Minneapolis Washburn, Rochester Lourdes, Zimmerman, New London-Spicer, Pine City

CLASS 2A
#1 (1) Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (6-0)
2 (2) Moose Lake-Willow River (6-0)
3 (4) Barnesville (6-0)
4 (5) Norwood-Young America (6-0)
5 (6) Blue Earth Area (6-0)
6 (8) Hawley (6-0)
7 (7) Caledonia (5-1)
8 (9) BOLD (6-0)
9 (T10) Osakis (6-0)
10 (3) Pierz (5-1)
10 (NR) LeSueur-Henderson (5-1)
10 (T10) Jackson County Central (4-2)
Others receiving votes: Maple River

CLASS 1A
#1 (1) New Ulm Cathedral (6-0)
2 (2) Mahnomen (6-0)
3 (3) Adrian (6-0)
4 (4) Dawson-Boyd (6-0)
5 (T6) Braham (6-0)
6 (T9) Fillmore Central (6-0)
7 (8) Fertile-Beltrami (6-0)
8 (T9) Deer River (6-1)
9 (5) Southland (5-1)
10 (NR) Ogilvie (6-0)
Others receiving votes: Goodhue, Minneota/Lincoln, Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, Martin County West, Browerville

NINE-MAN

#1 (1) Edgerton/Ellsworth Flying (6-0)
2 (2) Ada-Borup (6-0)
3 (3) Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (6-0)
4 (6) North Woods (6-0)
5 (5) Ulen-Hitterdal (6-0)
6 (7) Spring Grove (6-0)
7 (8) Onamia (6-0)
8 (10) Eagle Valley (6-0)
9 (4) Hills-Beaver Creek (5-1)
10 (9) Nicollet (5-1)
Others receiving votes: Wheaton, Kittson County Central



A Homecoming Game between JVs from St. Clair, Minneapolis Roosevelt
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/11/2011 8:46:15 PM

Something positive has come out of two negatives, and the results will be on view Friday when two schools that dropped varsity football this season will meet on the junior varsity field.

Decisions were made at St. Clair and Minneapolis Roosevelt to play no varsity football games this season due to low numbers of players, but administrators from the schools have come together for a special contest. St. Clair (enrollment 175) will play football at Roosevelt (enrollment 563) in the Teddies' Homecoming game on Friday.

Friday was an open date for both JV teams, and Roosevelt will hold full Homecoming festivities, including a pep fest, coronation, parade and concluding with a dance.



Stillwater, Monticello, St. Cloud Cathedral Lead Cross-Country Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/11/2011 11:19:21 AM

The cross-country season is winding down as teams and individuals compete in the final meets of the regular season in preparation for section competitions. Sections are two weeks away and the state championships will be held Nov. 5 at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

In this week’s state rankings -- courtesy of the cross-country coaches association – St. Cloud Cathedral continues to hold the top spot in Class 1A boys as well as girls, Stillwater is No. 1 in 2A boys and Monticello leads the pack among 2A girls.

CLASS 2A
Boys Teams
1 Stillwater
2 Rosemount
3 Wayzata
4 Burnsville
5 Eden Prairie
6 Edina
7 Moorhead
8 Andover
9 Eastview
10 White Bear Lake
11 Hopkins
12 Sartell-St Stephen
Others receiving votes:
Centennial, Owatonna, Forest Lake

Boys Individuals
1 Josh Thorson, Wayzata
2 Cole O'Brien, Burnsville
3 Jan Ketterson, Jefferson
4 Joey Duerr, Chaska
5 Glen Ellingson, Moorhead
6 Riley Macon, Rochester Mayo
7 Connor Olson, Wayzata
8 Mubarik Musa, Worthington
9 Will Burke, Edina
10 Zach Roozen, Mounds View
11 Sidney Speir, Eagan
12 Luke McKenzie, Chisago Lakes Area
Others receiving votes:
Troy Koivisto, Dassel-Cokato; Wayde Hall, Stillwater

Girls Teams
1. Monticello
2. Lakeville South
3. Eagan
4. East Ridge
5. Shakopee
6. Wayzata
7. Eden Prairie
8. Edina
9. Moorhead
10. Andover
11. Hopkins
12. Prior Lake

Girls Individuals
1. Maria Hauger, Shakopee
2. Jamie Piepenburg, Alexandria
3. Danielle Anderson, Eagan
4. Jenna Truedson, Bemidji
5. Megan Hasz, Alexandria
6. Chrissy Monson, Albert Lea
7. Bethany Hasz, Alexandria
8. Kaelyn Williams, Robbinsdale Cooper
9. Erica Seidenkrantz, Monticello
10. Shaelyn Sorensen, Tartan
11. Madeline McKeefry, Andover
12. Annie Brekken, Lakeville South


CLASS 1A
Boys Teams:
1 St. Cloud Cathedral
2 Perham
3 Blake
4 Waseca
5 Mesabi East
6 Redwood Valley Area
7 Plainview-Elgin-Millville
8 Minnehaha Academy
9 Esko
10 Albany
11 Crosby Ironton
12 Ottertail Central

Boys Individuals
1 Brandon Clark, Blake
2 Charlie Lawrence, Foley
3 Romeo Benish, Proctor
4 Shane Streich, Waseca
5 Nick Stoks, Canby-Minneota/LinHi
6 Matt Welch, Proctor
7 Dan Borash, Royalton
8 Nick Golebiowski, St. Cloud Cathedral
9 Byron Schuldt, Nevis
10 Jake Burr, Glencoe-Silver Lake
11 Pat Reinschmidt, Plainview-E-M
12 Jacob Siekmeier, Math & Science Academy

Girls Teams
1. St. Cloud Cathedral
2. Adrian
3. Blake
4. LaCrescent
5. Waseca
6. Esko
7. Trinity of River Ridge
8. Annandale
9. Minnehaha Acad.
10. United South Central
11. Park Rapids
12. Perham

Girls Individuals
1. Clare Flanagan, Blake
2. McKenzie Holt, St. Cloud Christian
3. Blake Marissa Shady, Esko
4. Elena Danielson, St. Cloud Cathedral
5. Emi Trost, Cannon Falls
6. Lydia Lutz, Park Rapids
7. Lauren Friese, Fairmont
8. Jordan Kopplow, Adrian
9. Meghan Henrikson, Mankato Loyola
10. Mary Ennis, Trinity
11. Victoria Alexander, Lake of the Woods
12. Kayla Woltz, Chatfield



Lakeville South Makes A Big Move In Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/10/2011 1:39:54 PM

With a week or so remaining in the volleyball regular season, teams are preparing for section playoffs. This week’s state rankings, courtesy of the volleyball coaches association, offer a glimpse into teams that could be on hand for the state tournament at Xcel Energy Center on Nov. 10-12.

The biggest move in any class this week came from Lakeville South, which rose from No. 6 to No. 2 in 3A on the strength of a 3-1 win over Bloomington Jefferson last week. Lakeville South is 22-1, with the loss coming to then-No. 1 Lakeville North. North, which lost a 3-0 decision to Jefferson last week, dropped from No. 2 to No. 5 this week. Blaine remained the No. 1 team in 3A, with Bloomington Jefferson staying at No. 3

The top three teams remained unchanged in Class 2A, with Marshall, Jackson County Central and Stewartville leading the poll.

In 1A, Bethlehem Academy held the top spot, Wabasha-Kellogg moved up one spot to No. 2 and Canby went down one to No. 3.

CLASS 3A
1. Blaine (11) 190
2. Lakeville South (1) 169
3. Bloomington Jefferson 166
4. Eagan (1) 155
5. Lakeville North 142
6. Shakopee 133
7. Wayzata 118
8. Eden Prairie 89
9. Centennial 43
10. Chanhassen 42
Others: Hutchinson (29), Minnetonka (28), Hill-Murray (24), Waconia (22), Andover (18), Apple Valley (7), Cretin-Derham Hall (7), MN Southwest (1)

CLASS 2A
1. Marshall (7) 119
2. Jackson County Central 114
3. Stewartville (1) 103
4. Belle Plaine 95
5. Lesuer-Henderson 87
6. Jordan 78
7. Kasson-Mantorville 63
8. Caledonia 61
9. Wadena-Deer Creek 45
10. Byron 44
Others: Maple Lake (12), Visitation (9), Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (6), Esko (6), Sauk Center (60

CLASS 1A
1. Bethlehem Academy (9) 174
2. Wabasha-Kellogg 160
3. Canby (2) 148
4. Southwest Christian 138
5. Minneota 131
6. Mayer Lutheran 125
7. MACCRAY 114
8. Win-E-Mac 84
9. Nevis 62
10. BBE 62
Others: Ada-Borup (35), Hancock (18), Mabel-Canton (14), Lake of the Woods (12),



Families, Friends and Neighbors: The Battle For Lakeville Bragging Rights
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/8/2011 12:27:54 AM

Before the biggest game in the biggest football class Friday night, the final message from one of the head coaches to his players was this: “It’s our night to play and let’s get after it! Let’s be special!”

A couple of hours later, the other coach said to his triumphant team, “You came out and you sent a message to the state! And people will hear it!”

Between those two little speeches, a wonderful thing happened. A pair of undefeated teams met in a high-pressure game played in front of an overflow crowd on a windy and warm night as friends, neighbors and relatives cheered for their teams in the annual battle for bragging rights in Lakeville.

Parents who graduated from Lakeville High (which is now North High) have completely changed their game-day wardrobes, ditching Lakeville/North red and white for South cardinal and gold as they cheer for children who are Cougars. The family theme even extends to the head coaches. South’s Larry Thompson had a stellar 27-year career at Lakeville High – where his teams played in five Prep Bowls and won three state titles -- before taking over at the new school when it opened in 2005, and North coach Brian Vossen played under Thompson in the late 1990s at Lakeville.

North scored first, scored second, led 10-6 at halftime and opened things up with an interception and another touchdown. Grant Erickson returned an interception 16 yards for a touchdown to put the Panthers in front 23-6 in the third quarter, and that was enough to secure North’s 30-6 victory.

If there was a star of the game, it was North senior quarterback Trey Heid, who ran for two scores and threw for one. He has played an understudy role this season to more heralded South senior Mitch Leidner, a big, strong lad who has committed to the University of Minnesota. But much like his team, Heid sent a message Friday with his performance as well as with his postgame comments. Trey talked about the success of the Cougars’ running game, never spoke of himself but mentioned six teammates by name: A.J. Miller, Mike Manikowski, Aaron Baker, Zach Zeimer, Ben Blake and Pat Fitzgerald. That’s a team guy talking.

“We were really confident coming in here,” Heid added. “We expected this. We knew we were a good team, we knew they were a really good team and we had to play our best game.” (To see a video interview with Heid, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.)

The teams came in as the only unbeatens in the South Suburban Conference and angling for the top seed in the Section 1 playoffs. South is ranked No. 4 and North is No. 5 in the Associated Press Class 5A poll. This game was the first time since South opened that both teams were unbeaten and ranked when they met in the crosstown showdown. And it was a blast.

“This is pretty cool, isn’t it?” Thompson said to me during pregame warmups, by which time nearly every seat was filled. The old coach talked about two factors that he figured would be big: the wind and turnovers. He was right on both counts. The team with the wind at its back had a definitive edge, and South’s ability to run the football and transform a turnover into points was crucial.

Heid was intercepted on the first drive of the second half, but Leidner was picked off a few plays later and Heid ran five yards for a touchdown to make it 17-6. Major turning point.

“We got ‘em going against the wind when it was10-6, and they scored,” Thompson said. “That was big.” And the bigness grew when Erickson swiped another Leidner pass and took it into the end zone. Ballgame.

“They were better than us,” Thompson said. “Defensively they’re fast and we needed to run the ball better.”

The Cougars players were celebrating with the “One Community, Two Cats” trophy that goes to the winner of the series when North assistant coach Bob Kovich,whom I have known for a long time, gave me a handshake and hug. I was congratulating Bob -- an assistant to Thompson at Lakeville for years before Larry moved to South – when he summed up the evening perfectly.

“Those guys are my best friends,” Kovich said as he looked toward the South coaches. “I hate this week.”

Thankfully, the big week is over and the battle for Lakeville bragging rights has concluded. And if they meet again in the section playoffs? It will be one heck of a show.

--Photo galleries featuring the game, the fans and the halftime show can be seen on the MSHSL Facebook page.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 47
*Miles John has driven: 3,619

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



NW Suburban Conference Announces Football Changes For 2012
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/7/2011 2:48:29 PM

The Northwest Suburban Conference (NWSC) is pleased to announce a new look in Football for the 2012 season. Elk River will be rejoining the conference in football after competing in the Mississippi 8 for the past 2 years. This would have created an 11-team schedule with an undesirable bye-game to be filled each week. As a solution, the NWSC sought Totino Grace to fill the void as a football scheduling partner. Working with the cooperation of the North Suburban Conference, Totino Grace agreed to the 2-year proposal. The NWSC will be split into 2 divisions based on Minnesota State High School League enrollment numbers. The divisions will be labeled as North and West even though geography was not necessarily a consideration. The divisions will be as follows:

North
Champlin Park (2571)
Blaine (2551)
Anoka (2157)
Maple Grove (2142)
Coon Rapids (2120)
Centennial (2017)

West
Osseo (1823)
Armstrong (1789)
Andover* (1614)
Elk River* (1570)
Park Center** (1471)
Totino Grace* (802)

* indicates a Class 5A school
** indicates a Class 4A school
All other schools are Class 6A



A Night Of History And Memories for Blake, St. Paul Academy
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/6/2011 9:04:19 PM

Mike Brown hasn’t witnessed every football game played between St. Paul Academy and Blake in the last 100 years, but the former SPA player, coach and athletic director has been to a lot of them.

“I’ve seen every SPA game since 1960,” Brown told me Thursday evening before the two schools marked the 100th anniversary of the rivalry at Blake. This year’s game was the 86th in the series, with Blake holding a 56-23-6 edge before Thursday.

Brown, who now serves as SPA’s assistant athletic director, graduated from the school in 1960. He didn’t stray too far, never missing a game while he attended Hamline University or since. SPA and Blake played every year from 1917 until 1975, then met 10 times between 1976 and 1997. The first game was held on Nov. 3, 1911.

“These have always been good games,” Brown said. “And these have always been fun games.”

Brown smiled as he told me about the 1963 season, when an SPA math teacher scouted every one of Blake’s games until the season ended with the annual SPA-Blake contest. Blake came in undefeated, but SPA’s preparation turned the tide and the Spartans got the big win.

“We always practiced for 20 or 30 minutes every day all season just for the Blake game,” Brown said.

Thursday’s contest oozed history. Former football players joined the current players on the field for the introduction of starting lineups, and honorary captains were at midfield for the coin toss. Representing Blake were Tom Heffelfinger (Class of 1966), whose family tree goes back to grand uncle F. Peavey Heffelfinger, who played in the 1911 game, and Howard McMillan III (1976), whose grandfather, Howard Sr., also played in 1911. For SPA, honorary captain Phil Fitzpatrick (1963) is the grandson of 1911 player Philip Wright Fitzpatrick, and Rick Magnuson (1990) is linked to great uncle Everett Griggs, who was on the field in 1911.

The 2011 teams wore throwback jerseys; Blake wore brown jerseys, modeled after the Bears’ look of the 1950s, and the SPA Spartans wore white jerseys with blue on the shoulders, which was the uniform in the 1960s.

Blake retro jerseys were available via a silent auction on Spirit Plaza, with bids starting at $100. Spirit Plaza is the main entrance to William J. Glenn Field and Gordy Aamoth Jr. Memorial Stadium. Aamoth, a captain of the 1987 Blake football team, was killed in one of the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001 and a twisted piece of beam from the towers is embedded in concrete at Spirit Plaze.

“I think this shows (the current players) that they are part of history and that there’s a lot of history before them,” second-year Blake coach John Coatta said. “One thing we’re trying to do, being a fairly new staff and rebuilding a program, is show them how important it is not only to their families today but how many Blake alums wake up Saturday morning and the first thing they think is, ‘Hey, how’d Blake do?’ It makes an impact on these kids that it’s bigger than they are.”

The final score Thursday was Blake 49, St. Paul Academy 8. The Bears improved to 2-4 on the season and the Spartans are 0-6. But as Coatta said, some things are bigger than the now.

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 45
*Miles John has driven: 3,608

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



It Was A Quiet Day At The MSHSL Board Meeting …
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/6/2011 12:09:03 PM

Thursday’s meeting of the MSHSL Board of Directors went off with no fireworks and no headline-grabbing decisions. Some changes were made in track and field as well as speech, but it was a very calm and business-like gathering. As one of the reporters in the room Tweeted: “No real ‘meaty’ items here at the MSHSL board meeting today. Will have to dig deep to find a lead.”

One new member was welcomed to the board. Steven Eklund of Braham joined the group after being appointed to the board by the governor’s office, which appoints four board members.

Here’s a quick summary of the meeting…

RULE CHANGES

One track and field rule change was approved. The board changed the number of relay teams advancing to state from one per section meet to two per section meet. Currently, the top two finishers in each individual section event advance to the state meet, as does the top team in each relay event.

Two changes were approved for speech competitions. Here is the information given to board members…

--Change to the Music Rule. Currently we allow singing one time of no more than two musical phrases. The phrases are hard to identify and it is one of our most common disqualifications. The proposed rule will allow unlimited singing as long as it is referenced in the text or stage directions. This will be a lot more singing, but having it in the text or stage directions will limit it to singing to enhance the piece, not show off singing ability. The Regions voted 12-3 in favor of the change.

--Informative – Visual Aids. Currently we require that Visual Aids for the informative speech be 2D. This (allowing 3D aids) opens it up so any type of visual will be acceptable. The Regions voted 11-4 to support this recommendation. Those opposing consider this change an opening of the door to more of a performance, than an informative speech. Since demonstrations, costumes, and videos are allowed, some feel too much emphasis will be on the visual aid, not enough on the speech.

ELSEWHERE…

--A proposal to add Public Forum Debate to the state debate tournament was heard, and may be an action item at the December board meeting.

--The board discussed the possibility of adjusting schedules for seasons and postseason tournaments at some point in the future in order to optimize experiences for all concerned. There are many factors to consider, including weather, facility availability, competition from televised NCAA tournaments, spring breaks, graduation ceremonies, summer vacations, etc.

--The MSHSL is holding discussions with TST Media about sports statistics. TST, which is based in Minneapolis, operates online “Hub” sites for high school sports in Minnesota. The MSHSL is considering the option of finding an online partner to gather statistics and provide them to the MSHSL web site.



Good Morning From MSHSL Board Of Directors Meeting
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/6/2011 8:12:02 AM

Happy Thursday. Today marks the latest meeting of the MSHSL Board of Directors, the 20 people who make decisions that affect League programs statewide. The board meets six times each year, and today's meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m..

Today’s agenda includes a report on a new robotics initiative, a discussion of possible format changes for some postseason tournaments, and a review of cooperative sponsorships. The Action Items section of the agenda is light for this meeting; some minor rule changes for Speech appear to the headline in that area.

The complete agenda can be viewed by going to www.mshsl.org and clicking on “Board of Directors Meeting Agenda.” It can be found under League News on the right side of the page.

I’ll be posting necessary updates during the meeting on Twitter (I’m @MSHSLjohn) and the MSHSL Facebook page and summarizing the meeting afterwards right here on John’s Journal. Twitter is the fastest way to stay connected to the meeting.

My Thursday will end with a special event: St. Paul Academy and the Blake School will meet in football, 100 years after the first game between the schools. It is the oldest high school football rivalry in the state. The game will be played at Blake.



Football Rankings And Some Big Football Games This Week
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/5/2011 5:33:51 PM

We are in Week 6 of the eight-week football regular season, and the list of unbeaten teams has been winnowed each week. That list will shrink even more this week, which features some marquee matchups between undefeated Top 10 teams.

In the biggest game in Class 5A, No. 4 Lakeville South and No. 5 Lakeville North – they are the only unbeaten teams in the South Suburban Conference -- will meet at North.

Several games pit Top 10 teams from different classes: Hutchinson (ranked seventh in Class 4A) will play at Glencoe-Silver Lake (No. 1 in 3A), Shakopee (No. 8 in 5A) is at Holy Angels (No. 8 in 4A) and No. 2-3A Holy Family Catholic (No. 2 in 3A) is at St. Thomas Academy (No. 2 in 4A).

In Class 1A, the big game pits No. 5 Southland at No. 9 Fillmore Central in a matchup of 5-0 teams. And in Nine-Man, top-ranked Edgerton/Ellsworth will play host to No. 4 Hills-Beaver Creek.

As we prepare for another big week of games, here are the latest Associated Press football rankings …

CLASS 5A
1 (1) Eden Prairie (5-0)
2 (2) Wayzata (5-0)
3 (3) Cretin-Derham Hall (5-0)
4 (4) Lakeville South (5-0)
5 (6) Lakeville North (5-0)
6 (7) Mounds View (4-1)
7 (8) Anoka (4-1)
8 (9) Shakopee (5-0)
9 (5) Minnetonka (4-1)
10 (10) Osseo (4-1)
Others receiving votes: Owatonna, Totino-Grace

CLASS 4A
1 (1) Mankato West (5-0)
2 (2) St. Thomas Academy (5-0)
3 (3) South St. Paul (5-0)
4 (4) Rogers (5-0)
5 (5) Bemidji (5-0)
6 (6) Delano (5-0)
7 (7) Hutchinson (5-0)
8 (8) Holy Angels (5-0)
9 (9) Marshall (5-0)
10 (10) Spring Lake Park (4-1)
Others receiving votes: Detroit Lakes, Hermantown, Hill-Murray, Rocori, Mahtomedi

CLASS 3A
1 (1) Glencoe-Silver Lake (5-0)
2 (2) Holy Family Catholic (5-0)
3 (3) St. Croix Lutheran (5-0)
4 (4) Plainview-Elgin-Millville (5-0)
5 (6) Stewartville (4-1)
6 (5) Zimmerman (5-0)
7 (7) Montevideo (5-0)
8 (8) Fairmont (4-1)
9 (10) St. Cloud Cathedral (5-0)
10 (NR) Pequot Lakes (4-1)
Others receiving votes: Rochester Lourdes, Minneapolis Washburn, Albany, De La Salle, Foley

CLASS 2A
1 (1) Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (5-0)
2 (2) Moose Lake-Willow River (5-0)
3 (3) Pierz (5-0)
4 (4) Barnesville (5-0)
5 (5) Norwood-Young America (5-0)
6 (7) Blue Earth Area (5-0)
7 (6) Caledonia (4-1)
8 (8) Hawley (5-0)
9 (9) BOLD (5-0)
10 (NR) Osakis (5-0)
10 (10) Jackson County Central (4-1)
Others receiving votes: none

CLASS 1A
1 (1) New Ulm Cathedral (5-0)
2 (3) Mahnomen (5-0)
3 (4) Adrian (5-0)
4 (5) Dawson-Boyd (5-0)
5 (6) Southland (5-0)
6 (8) Le Center (5-0)
6 (7) Braham (5-0)
8 (NR) Fertile-Beltrami (5-0)
9 (NR) Fillmore Central (5-0)
9 (9) Deer River (5-1)
Others receiving votes: Goodhue, Minneota/Lincoln HI, MACCRAY, Ogilvie, Kimball

NINE-MAN
1 (1) Edgerton/Ellsworth (5-0)
2 (3) Ada-Borup (5-0)
3 (4) Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (5-0)
4 (6) Hills-Beaver Creek (5-0)
5 (5) Ulen-Hitterdal (5-0)
6 (7) North Woods (5-0)
7 (8) Spring Grove (5-0)
8 (9) Onamia (5-0)
9 (2) Nicollet (4-1)
10 (10) Eagle Valley (5-0)
Others receiving votes: Wheaton, Nevis, Climax/Fisher



An Online Auction For A Great Minneapolis Cause
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/4/2011 8:14:21 PM

The Minneapolis public school system has been engaged in a fund-raising project to pay for artificial turf fields at Washburn and Patrick Henry High Schools, and an online auction is underway to assist the efforts.

The auction offers a wide array of items. Just to name a few: Gophers jerseys, restaurant certificates, cookware, manicure/pedicure, circular saw, fan packs, health and wellness basket, Lynx apparel, a suite for a Timberwolves game, Adrian Peterson autographed jersey, Wild tickets, oak rain barrel and much more.

Proceeds from this online auction will directly benefit the TEAM UP FOR TURF fundraising campaign. The online auction will end Saturday, Oct. 8. To view the auction items, copy and paste this web address into your browser:

http://www.32auctions.com/organizations/2083/auctions/2258?page=5



An Area Meeting, Football News, Cross-Country Plans And Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/4/2011 10:20:11 AM

Good morning again from the road. The MSHSL crew was in Rochester on Monday for an area meeting with administrators from that part of the state, and on this Tuesday morning we are back in the metro area for a similar meeting.

This gathering is taking place at Edinburgh Golf Course in Brooklyn Park (right). As often seems to be the case, there is an overflow crowd of administrators on hand to hear updates on issues that affect high schools in Minnesota. This is the last of eight area meetings this fall; similar meetings are held every spring, too. Meetings are held in St. Cloud or Brainerd, Mankato, Marshall, Fergus Falls, Thief River Falls, Chisholm, Rochester and the Twin Cities.

We have breaking news today on the football front. This news item was reported today by Tim Leighton of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

"Totino-Grace, a private high school in Fridley, will join the Northwest Suburban Conference for football beginning in 2012. The school announced today that it had received permission from the North Suburban Conference to accept an invitation to play football in the Northwest Suburban Conference."

It's another great day outdoors, and I'll take advantage of it by attending the Victoria Lions cross-country invitational today in Chaska. It's one of the last big meets of the regular season, and many of the top teams in the state will compete.

And we’ll end this dispatch with this week’s volleyball rankings, courtesy of the volleyball coaches association…

CLASS 3A
1. Blaine (14) 222
2. Lakeville North 192
3. Bloomington Jefferson 187
4. Eagan (1) 172
5. Shakopee 168
6. Lakeville South 161
7. Wayzata 140
8. Eden Prairie 121
9. Chanhassen 77
10. Centennial 44
Others: Waconia (34), Hill-Murray (24), Hutchinson (16), Andover (16), Eastview (7), Totino-Grace (5), Faribault (2), Cretin-Durham Hall (1)

CLASS 2A
1. Marshall (10) 164
2. Jackson County Central 146
3. Stewartville 129
4. Belle Plaine (1) 128
Jordan 128
6. Lesuer-Henderson 99
Kasson-Mantorville 99
8. Wadena-Deer Creek 89
9. Caledonia 85
10. Maple Lake 47
Others: Byron (27), Triton (6), NHREG (6), Esko (6)

CLASS 1A
1. Bethlehem Academy (6) 196
2. Canby (3) 183
3. Wabasha-Kellogg (3) 178
4. Mayer Lutheran 165
5. Southwest Christian (2) 154
6. Minneota 151
7. MACCRAY 100
8. Win-E-Mac 82
9. BBE 79
10. Nevis 67
Others: Ada-Borup (50), Hancock (25), Mabel-Canton (24), Lake of the Woods (15), Goodhue (7), Littlefork-Big Falls (7), Northern Freeze (4)



Father And Son And Son-In-Law: Football Is A Family Business
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 10/3/2011 10:20:24 AM

A familiar scene takes shape after every Minnetonka football game. Skippers head coach Dave Nelson kisses his wife Maureen, hugs his daughters Sarah and Ashley and picks up his grandchildren, Caroline and Riggins. Win or lose, it’s family time.

Family time for the Nelsons, however, can take place whenever football is on the agenda. That’s because two other members of the Minnetonka coaching staff have family ties: Dave’s son Jesse coaches running backs and son-in-law Josh Stephan (he’s married to Sarah) coaches defensive linemen.

Stephan is in his fourth season on the coaching staff and Jesse Nelson is a first-year assistant. Stephan played for Dave Nelson at Blaine and Jesse was a senior quarterback on Minnetonka’s 2004 Class 5A state championship team.

“It’s really special,” said Dave Nelson (pictured at right with Jesse). “It’s been fun with my son-in-law, and now with my son.”

The Nelson family athletic tree has deep roots in Minnesota. Dave’s father, Stan, was a Hall of Fame football coach at Anoka and is now a regular at Minnetonka games. The football facility at Augsburg College in Minneapolis is named after Edor Nelson, Stan’s brother. Dave’s brother Steve spent 14 years playing for the New England Patriots and his sister Cheryl is a member of the Augburg Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame.

Ten years ago (when Jesse was a sophomore in high school) Dave Nelson left Blaine – where his teams won one state title and were state runner-up three times – and went to Minnetonka. Jesse played football at Concordia College in Moorhead, was a graduate assistant coach at the University of South Dakota for one season and at the University of Minnesota for two years.

“He brings a lot,” Dave Nelson said of his son. “He was a graduate assistant so he brings a lot of good football knowledge and background. It’s not like he’s wet behind the ears; he’s a football coach and he’s made an impact here already.”

Like his father, Jesse teaches physical education at Minnetonka. He said he knew he wanted to become a coach “really early.”

“When I saw my dad and I saw the lifestyle and how much fun he has, I knew I had to be a part of it,” he said. “I’ve seen the effect he’s had on kids and the excitement he brings to a school and a community. I knew I had to be a part of that.”

Father and son spend time together during the school day as well as during football practice, meetings and games.

“I kind of remind myself every day how special this is,” Jesse said. “We teach the same class and after school we go to practice together with my brother-in-law. It’s unbelievable the amount of time we get to spend together, and the laughs. I’ll have great memories for the rest of my life.”

Dave Nelson was holding his granddaughter Caroline after a recent game as he talked about having his son join his coaching staff.

“There are many times during the day when I kind of pause and think, ‘This is really cool.’ I think it’s cool for him, too. Not many guys have their kids go into coaching, much less on the same staff. It’s really neat.”

BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 43
*Miles John has driven: 3,581

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of www.mshsl.org. John Millea is on Twitter at twitter.com/mshsljohn



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