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Blue Ox, White Jerseys: Making Memories in Bemidji And Grand Rapids
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/30/2018 11:22:43 PM

Oh Hail Bemidji High School! For we’re a hundred million strong! Our hearts are always with you; our eyes upon you every Bemidji man! Rah! Rah! Rah! Oh yes, we’re here to cheer you, to put the old pep in each play! So fight Bemidji, fight Bemidji, fight to win your way to victory!

Imagine the scene in Bemidji on Friday night. The famous statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox standing there, minding their own business, on the shore of Lake Bemidji at 9:35 p.m. Paul, the top of his flat-top cap 18 feet in the air, probably saw the two school buses rolling down Paul Bunyan Drive. They made the left turn at the light, pulled up to the curb and football players began piling out, hootin’ and hollerin’.

Imagine the scene in Grand Rapids on Saturday morning. Varsity football players are diving to make tackles, somehow missing every time, then cheering and celebrating in the end zone as students with special needs spike the football, some showing off celebratory dance moves. This was the fifth annual Itasca County Victory Day, a time when boys and girls who cannot play football become football stars, putting on jerseys, running drills with the varsity boys, hitting tackling dummies, kicking field goals, catching and throwing passes, hearing their name over the public-address system as part of the “Thunderhawks starting lineup” and again when they outrun the flailing varsity players into the end zone.

From the boys streaming off the buses in Bemidji, rewind the clock about 20 minutes to when James Williams, wearing the Bemidji Lumberjacks’ blue and white, ran 6 yards for a touchdown with 46 seconds remaining in the big game against Brainerd. That clinched a 12-7 victory for the Lumberjacks over their rivals from two hours to the south.

The rivalry between the two towns also extends to Paul and Babe. Brainerd is the home of Paul Bunyan Land, with a 26-foot-tall talking Paul. Bemidji’s giant lumberjack doesn’t talk, but the smaller Lumberjacks in blue and white sure can make some noise. As coach Troy Hendricks was speaking to the kneeling players after the postgame handshakes, someone asked, “What are we going to do with this bell, coach?”

This bell was a new traveling trophy, belonging to the team that wins the annual regular-season football game between Bemidji and Brainerd. The brainchild of assistant coaches from both teams, it’s a giant cowbell bearing the logo and colors of each school. It was created by a welding class in Bemidji and it weighs 75 pounds, befitting its name: Babe’s Bell.

“We play each other all the time,” Hendricks would say later. “It’s been a natural rivalry forever, why not have a traveling trophy?”

Hearing the question about the bell, Hendricks said loudly, “We’re going to take it down to Babe and we’re going to sing!” If he uttered anything further, it was drowned out by exuberant, screaming teenage boys.

The Lumberjacks play home games at Bemidji State University’s historic Chet Anderson Stadium, which has no locker rooms. Both teams dress at the high school, three miles away, and bus to the stadium. The Lumberjacks detoured after the game to Paul and Babe, lugging that giant cowbell off the bus and placing it in front of the big blue ox.

They posed for photos for a small number of parents and others who had arrived. And then they sang. Oh Hail Bemidji High School! For we’re a hundred million strong! And I swear I heard Babe and Paul humming along.

Twelve hours later, 70 miles to the east, Grand Rapids football coach Greg Spahn was getting Victory Day off the ground, making sure his players knew their assignments for the morning.

The varsity kids wore their black jerseys and the Victory Day guests were thrilled to be given white jerseys. The cheerleaders were on hand to help in whatever way was needed (this involved a lot of cheering as well as hugging) and Thunderhawks alum Dylan Surface performed splendidly up in the press box as the stadium announcer, at one point suggesting the black jerseys needed to shore up their defense as they gave up touchdown after touchdown to the white jerseys. Had the marching band not been at a competition in Iowa, they would have been there to play the school song after each and every touchdown.

The event capped homecoming week, which had included a 50-7 loss to Cloquet the night before. “We got pummeled on homecoming, but today will be better,” Spahn said with a smile as Victory Day began.

Smiles ruled the day. Some of the kids in white jerseys were a little timid, some of them quite young. Some of them took this very seriously; one young man put a mouthguard in place before each drill. Among the veterans of Victory Day are identical twins Bryce and Wyatt Geisler; they have been at all five Victory Days.

Bryce and Wyatt, born with Down syndrome 13 years ago, are the sons of Heidi and Beau Geisler; their dad is a Thunderhawks assistant boys hockey coach and the twins are embedded in local sports.

“We love (Victory Day) because it’s a time for them to connect with typical peers in a setting that they don’t normally have the chance to, with girls and guys and a shared experience,” Heidi said. “When we come to the games they want to run out on the field and participate. And they can’t, but they know these are their boys and this is their team.”

The lessons in Victory Day are important, including for the varsity players in black jerseys.

“It’s really just fun, seeing these kids come out and have the time of their lives,” said Hadyn Anderson. “It’s great to be a part of this. They have a blast and it makes us realize how lucky we are to play the game. It’s just awesome seeing them have a great time.”

Brendin Morlan talked about the difference between Friday night and Saturday morning.

“It’s a good feeling to see these kids come out here,” he said. “They don’t have the opportunities we do and it’s so awesome to see them get pumped up about what we get pumped up on Friday nights for.

“Any other day it would be tough getting out of bed, but today you’ve got this so you know you’re going to have a fun day. It kind of lifts your spirits after a night like last night.”

Two very different scenes in two very different settings. Teenage boys proudly singing their school song in front of a giant cartoon ox, teenage boys and girls working together to make sure others have a great experience.

After Friday’s big victory, Hendricks told his team, “We’ll be talking about the bell for many, many years to come. You’ll remember this for a long time.”

At the conclusion of Victory Day, everybody gathered for a giant team photo. Spahn told the kids in white jerseys and their families, “You’re all part of what we’re doing. This has become part of who we are.”

High school activities. Memories that will last a lifetime. This is who we are.

Well done, everybody.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Class 1A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/30/2018 11:19:06 PM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 1A
1. Minneota (14) - 210
2. Mayer Lutheran - 190
3. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown - 187
4. Wabasso - 163
5. Mabel-Canton - 151
6. Pine River-Backus - 130
7. Ada-Borup-West - 117
8. BOLD - 109
9. Windom - 61
10. Caledonia - 55
Others Receiving Votes: Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa - 43, New Life Academy - 27, Carlton - 13
Teams only appearing on one ballot: Fillmore Central, Kittson County Central




Class 2A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/30/2018 11:18:46 PM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 2A
1. Stewartville (12) - 180
2. Kasson-Mantorville - 167
3. Marshall - 151
4. Concordia Academy - 140
5. North Branch - 137
6. Sauk Centre - 106
7. Kenyon-Wanamingo - 98
8. Belle Plaine - 96
9. Academy of Holy Angels - 91
10. Watertown-Mayer - 74
Others Receiving Votes: SW Christian - 14
Teams only appearing on one ballot: St. Cloud Cathedral



Class 3A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/30/2018 11:18:22 PM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 3A
1. Champlin Park (6) - 132
2. Lakeville North (2) - 125
3. Eagan (1) - 121
4. Lakeville South - 108
5. East Ridge - 97
6. Minnetonka - 87
7. Shakopee - 76
8. Stillwater - 68
9. Northfield - 55
10. North St. Paul - 28
Others Receiving Votes - Forest Lake - 27, Wayzata - 15
Teams only appearing on one ballot: Willmar



Final Class 1A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/30/2018 8:43:31 PM

From the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Assocation.

CLASS 1A
TEAMS
1 Blake
2 Breck
3 Litchfield
4 Rochester Lourdes
5 Virginia
6 St. James
7 Jordan
8 LeSueur-Henderson
9 Minnewaska
10 Osakis

INDIVIDUALS
1 Arlina Shen (11) Blake
2 Katie Mulvey (12) Trinity at River Ridge
3 Clare Palen (11) Rochester Lourdes
4 Shanna Kinny (12) Litchfield
5 Sonia Baig (10) Blake
6 Ally Agerland (9) Holy Family Catholic
7 Natalie Allison (12) Rochester Lourdes
8 Danielle Thorfinnson (11) Minnewaska
9 Greta Nesbit (10) Lesueur-Henderson
10 Renata Hernandez (12) St. James



Final Class 2A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/30/2018 8:43:02 PM

From the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Assocation.

CLASS 2A
TEAMS
1 Edina
2 Minnetonka
3 Rochester Mayo
4 Mounds View
5 Hopkins
6 Prior Lake
7 Lakeville South
8 Eastview
9 Duluth East
tie - 10 Rochester Century
tie - 10 Eagan

INDIVIDUALS
1 Karin Young (9) Eastview
2 Nicole Copeland (11) Edina
3 Maddie Suk (12) Hopkins
4 Aili Hietala (10) Duluth East
5 Andrea Jansson (12) Edina
6 Ellen Puzak (12) Minneapolis Southwest
7 Lauren Ferg (12) Eagan
8 Delaney Schurhamer (11) Woodbury
9 Annika Elvestrom (9) Minnetonka
10 Nicole Snezhko (11) Robbinsdale Armstrong



Sportsmanship At Its Finest In Willmar
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/29/2018 9:29:43 PM

Here's an email that was sent to Willmar High School activities director Ryan Blahosky recently:

Hello Mr. Blahosky,

I am a teacher in Melrose and a parent in Rocori. My daughter is on the Rocori swim team and I was timing at the meet on Thursday 9/20 against your Willmar Cardinals. When the meet was finished, the entire Willmar team walked over and thanked all of the timers and parents who had worked the meet.

It was a small gesture by the girls, but it was a great demonstration of sportsmanship displayed by the girls. I have been to a number of meets, but this was the first time I had seen this. I just wanted you, the coaches and the swimmers to know that it did not go unnoticed.

I have talked about this several times over the past week and I let people know what a great group of girls you have on the team. Please pass this on to them and tell them good luck on the rest of the season.

Thanks to you and the coaches for setting a positive example for this group of young women.

Regards,
Dave Hoyt



Nine-Man Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/26/2018 5:16:15 PM

From The Associated Press.

NINE-MAN
School Total Points Prv
1. Spring Grove (5) (4-0) 59 1
2. Stephen-Argyle (1) (4-0) 55 2
3. Verndale (4-0) 46 3
4. Cromwell (4-0) 43 4
5. Houston (4-0) 34 5
6. Cook County (4-0) 28 6
7. Mountain Lake Area (4-0) 22 9
(tie) Goodridge-Grygla-Gatzke (4-0) 22 8
9. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (4-0) 8 10
10. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (3-1) 7 7
Others receiving votes: South Ridge 3, NCE-UH 2, Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 1.



Class 1A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/26/2018 5:15:56 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 1A
School Total Points Prv
1. BOLD (1) (4-0) 52 2
2. Mahnomen-Waubun (5-0) 46 3
3. Minneota (4) (4-0) 44 1
4. Goodhue (4-0) 40 4
5. Blooming Prairie (4-0) 36 5
6. Rushford-Peterson (4-0) 30 6
(tie) Ottertail Central (4-0) 30 7
8. United South Central (4-0) 24 8
9. Mayer Lutheran (1) (3-1) 10 NR
10. Murray County Central (4-0) 7 T9
Others receiving votes: Ada-Borup 5, Red Lake County 6.




Class 2A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/26/2018 5:15:31 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 2A
School Total Points Prv
1. Caledonia (7) (4-0) 70 1
2. Minneapolis North (4-0) 62 2
3. Pipestone (4-0) 56 3
4. Barnesville (4-0) 42 4
5. Maple River (4-0) 35 5
6. Breckenridge (4-0) 33 6
7. Chatfield (4-0) 22 7
8. Redwood Valley (4-0) 21 8
9. St. Charles (4-0) 18 9
10. Royalton (4-0) 11 10
Others receiving votes: Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta 6, Barnum 4, Paynesville 2, Maple Lake 2, Aitkin 1.




Class 3A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/26/2018 5:15:04 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 3A
School Total Points Prv
1. Pierz (6) (4-0) 77 1
2. Rochester Lourdes (1) (4-0) 72 2
3. Jordan (1) (4-0) 67 3
4. Jackson County Central (4-0) 48 5
5. Mora (4-0) 39 6
6. Stewartville (4-0) 29 9
7. Perham (4-0) 28 7
8. Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin (5-0) 21 10
9. Spectrum (4-0) 17 NR
10. Breck (3-1) 14 4
Others receiving votes: Fairmont 12, St. Peter 12, New London-Spicer 4.




Class 4A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/26/2018 5:14:39 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 4A
School Total Points Prv
1. Holy Angels (6) (4-0) 68 1
2. Winona (4-0) 62 3
3. Hutchinson (1) (4-0) 57 4
4. Detroit Lakes (4-0) 40 5
5. SMB-Wolfpack (4-0) 36 7
6. Marshall (4-0) 34 6
7. Dassel-Cokato (3-1) 24 8
8. Hermantown (4-0) 20 9
9. Mound-Westonka (4-0) 14 10
10. Cloquet (3-1) 11 2
(tie) Providence Academy (4-0) 11 NR
Others receiving votes: St. Paul Academy-Minnehaha Academy-Blake 6, Benilde-St. Margaret's 1, St. Cloud Apollo 1.



Class 5A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/26/2018 5:14:09 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 5A
School Total Points Prv
1. Owatonna (5) (4-0) 58 1
2. Elk River (1) (4-0) 54 2
3. St. Thomas Academy (4-0) 50 5
4. Robbinsdale Cooper (4-0) 42 6
5. Tartan (4-0) 33 8
6. Waconia (4-0) 27 10
7. St. Cloud Tech (4-0) 21 NR
8. Cambridge-Isanti (4-0) 16 NR
9. Mankato West (3-1) 7 3
(tie) Chanhassen (3-1) 7 NR
Others receiving votes: Mahtomedi 6, Hastings 6, Irondale 2, Bemidji 1.




Class 6A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/26/2018 5:13:44 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 6A
School Total Points Prv
1. Lakeville North (6) (4-0) 60 1
2. Blaine (4-0) 52 3
3. Eden Prairie (3-1) 50 2
4. Minnetonka (3-1) 42 5
5. East Ridge (3-1) 33 9
6. Wayzata (2-2) 27 4
7. Woodbury (3-1) 19 10
8. Edina (3-1) 17 NR
9. Champlin Park (3-1) 14 NR
10. Prior Lake (2-2) 7 7
Others receiving votes: Maple Grove 4, St. Michael-Albertville 2, White Bear Lake 2, Eastview 1.




A Season On The Road With The Windom Eagles
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/23/2018 11:12:58 PM

WINDOM – Kevin Heggeseth turned the key and fired the engine in the school bus at 5:15 p.m. on Friday. The Windom Area Eagles football team was on the road again, players sitting side by side and their gear loaded onto a trailer pulled behind bus No. 23.

As the bus headed south on U.S. Highway 71, one of the last sights on the edge of town was Island Park, home of the Eagles football and baseball teams. The place was nothing but mud, and that had little to do with recent heavy rain. Flooding from the Des Moines River, which circles the park like a mean, muddy snake, took a big bite into Island Park over the spring and into summer, and it was now a construction site. New irrigation was being sunk into the earth, low spots were being raised and grass seed and sod will come soon.

It will be a showplace once again, but during this football season the Eagles are homeless. Friday’s 21-mile trip to Jackson County Central was another chapter in an eight-game regular season of loading the bus at school, unloading the bus at someone else’s field, playing the game and returning to Windom.

“It’s pretty sad, not being able to experience the environment of playing at home again,” said senior Nick Nolt. “The Friday night lights, your home crowd, there’s nothing better than that.”

The Friday night lights were certainly shining in Jackson, where the JCC Huskies are one of the top programs in Class 3A. They brought a No. 5 ranking and 3-0 record into this Week 4 game and defeated the winless Eagles 51-0. The JCC band was on hand, as were cheerleaders waving three giant flags bearing a J and two Cs, folks from the local American Legion post marching with the pregame colors, and the Lions Club selling pork chops on a stick.

Nobody in Windom is experiencing anything similar this autumn. The situation is the same at Kenyon-Wanamingo, where a new football field and the school’s first track are being constructed this fall, leaving the Knights with only road games.

The Windom school board approved the work at Island Park in August, shortly before football practice began. Head coach Travis Martin, who was an assistant the past two years, immediately let his players know what the 2018 season would entail.

“It’s a credit to the kids, they haven’t let it bother them,” said Martin, 28, a native of Grand Forks, N.D., who teaches science. “Most of my kids play baseball and the summer town team didn’t get to play any home games, either.

“I’ve got a tremendous group of seniors, really solid kids. They’ve been resilient. Last year we rolled through our season with 28 players. Now we have 36, and our eighth grade has 25, so there’s hope on the horizon. They’ve gone through some battles, so at this point it’s just one more thing for them to handle.”

Windom is not currently known as a football town. The Eagles won three games in 2015, two in 2016 and finished 3-6 last season. Numbers have been an issue, but Martin is confident that things are on the upswing. The 2018 team is young, with a sophomore quarterback and freshmen playing important roles.

Things were not looking great a few days before the game in Jackson. A handful of players were ill, but thankfully almost everybody was on the bus Friday night.

Like most of the players, Martin listened to music through earbuds during the ride to Jackson. “The same kind of stuff I listened to when I played,” he said; Eminem, “The Boys of Fall” by Kenny Chesney.

The bus was quiet as it rolled past cows, corn and soybeans, the crops having made the big turn from summer green to autumn shades of gold and brown. Swans paddled around on Laurs Lake, giant wind turbines rotated in the sky and before long the Jackson water tower and grain elevators appeared in the distance under a patchwork of clouds and blue.

A sign stated that the Jackson County Central National Honor Society was in charge of keeping this stretch of roadway clean, followed by notice that the bus was entering Jackson (population 3,299). The bus ducked under Interstate 90, with ramps marked for Albert Lea to the east and Sioux Falls to the west.

The field in Jackson was damp but not soaked; Huskies coach Tom Schuller explained the site was once a gravel pit and drainage was not a problem.

After warmups, Martin spoke to the Eagles on a practice field behind the north end zone. “This is our opportunity,” he said. “We only get so many of these. Let’s take advantage of it.”

Jackson County Central took advantage quickly, scoring a 50-yard touchdown on the game’s second play. The busiest Eagles player might have been senior punter Tim Ingram. The halftime score was 24-0.

“We can still make a fight out of this,” Martin said to the boys during the intermission. “We’ve got to believe. They expect us to come out and roll over. Don’t do it.”

Although outnumbered and outsized, the Eagles did not roll over. Neither did their cheerleaders, who remained upbeat throughout the evening as a large contingent of Windom fans cheered for their boys. None of that, however, changed the outcome; running time was used in the fourth quarter and the game ended at 9:08 p.m.

As the players climbed back aboard bus No. 23, they grabbed sandwiches, chips and drinks that had been prepared – as for every game this season -- by their mothers. Martin, the last to board, asked one of his assistant coaches, “Got 36, coach?” Yes, all 36 players had been accounted for and the wheels began turning at 9:28.

Quiet talking, joking and laughter were heard on the ride back to Windom, with a few faces illuminated by cell phones. Someone turned up music on his phone, which caused the head coach to stand and say, “Hey guys, turn the music off.” Celebratory music may come following a victory. As the bus pulled into Windom, a loud burp emanated from the back of the bus.

In a darkened school hallway, Nolt and fellow senior Alex Borsgard talked about the flooded field, the season and the weekly bus rides.

“I saw it coming,” Alex said. “I was disappointed, obviously, but it is what it is. You’ve just got to deal with it. I guess it is kind of hard to get used to the thought that you won’t play another home game in your hometown on your home field in front of the home crowd.”

Nick said, “Obviously I was pretty upset. I had a little bit of anger about it. But there’s really nothing you can do about it.”

Martin told the team to get some rest; they would gather again in the morning to officiate middle-school football games. The coach would be at school for another hour or more into the night, going through video of the game and posting it online for the players to view.

Martin said he wasn’t worried that the road-only schedule, coupled with the losses, would sap the spirit of his players.

“Early on in the year, that was a concern for me. Jackson is the second really good team we’ve played this year. We had a tough one with Pipestone and our kids don’t quit. That’s what every coach has told me, ‘Your kids keep fighting to the end.’ In this day and age, that’s good to see.”

Go Eagles go.

--To see a photo gallery, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Class 2A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/23/2018 11:05:45 PM

From the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.

CLASS 2A
TEAMS
1 Edina
2 Minnetonka
3 Rochester Mayo
4 Mounds View
5 Eastview
6 Hopkins
7 Prior Lake
8 Duluth East
9 Eden Prairie
10 Rochester Century

INDIVIDUALS
1 Karin Young (9) Eastview
2 Nicole Copeland (11) Edina
3 Maddie Suk (12) Hopkins
4 Aili Hietala (10) Duluth East
5 Andrea Jansson (12) Edina
6 Ellen Puzak (12) Minneapolis Southwest
7 Lauren Ferg (12) Eagan
8 Delaney Schurhamer (11) Woodbury
9 Annika Elvestrom (9) Minnetonka
10 Nicole Snezhko (11) Robbinsdale Armstrong



Class 1A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/23/2018 11:05:22 PM

From the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.

CLASS 1A
TEAMS
1 Blake
2 Breck
3 Litchfield
4 Rochester Lourdes
5 Virginia
6 St. James
7 Jordan
8 LeSueur-Henderson
9 Minnewaska
10 Osakis

INDIVIDUALS
1 Arlina Shen (11) Blake
2 Katie Mulvey (12) Trinity at River Ridge
3 Clare Palen (11) Rochester Lourdes
4 Shanna Kinny (12) Litchfield
5 Sonia Baig (10) Blake
6 Ally Agerland (9) Holy Family Catholic
7 Natalie Allison (12) Rochester Lourdes
8 Renata Hernandez (12) St. James
9 Danielle Thorfinnson (11) Minnewaska
10 Greta Nesbit (10) Lesueur-Henderson



Class 1A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/23/2018 11:04:16 PM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 1A
1. Minneota (12) - 236
2. Mayer Lutheran (1) - 222
3. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (3) - 214
4. Wabasso - 177
5. Mabel-Canton - 167
6. Pine River-Backus - 152
7. Ada-Borup-West - 110
8. BOLD - 106
9. New Life Academy - 85
10. Caledonia - 64
Others Receiving Votes: Windom - 46, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa - 37, Kittson County Central - 36, Carlton - 13. Teams only appearing on one ballot: Fillmore Central, Canby




Class 2A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/23/2018 11:03:51 PM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 2A
1. Stewartville (12) - 180
2. Kasson-Mantorville - 162
3. North Branch - 152
4. Marshall - 149
5. Concordia Academy - 132
6. Kenyon-Wanamingo - 95
7. Sauk Centre - 90
8. Belle Plaine - 86
9. Watertown-Mayer - 75
10. Academy of Holy Angels - 56
Others Receiving Votes: SW Christian - 55. Teams only appearing on one ballot: Jackson County Central, St. Cloud Cathedral, Norwood-Young America, Hill Murray



Class 3A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/23/2018 11:03:26 PM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 3A
1. Eagan (6) - 173
2. Champlin Park (6) - 172
3. Lakeville South - 155
4. Lakeville North - 148
5. East Ridge - 115
6. Minnetonka - 109
7. Shakopee - 95
8. Northfield - 83
9. Stillwater - 63
10. Wayzata - 55
Others Receiving Votes - Forest Lake - 50, North St. Paul - 36. Teams only appearing on one ballot: Prior Lake



The Volleyball Meat Grinder: Champlin Park vs. Lakeville North
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/20/2018 12:40:44 PM

November 10 in downtown St. Paul. That’s the date and the place high school volleyball teams dream about, when state championships will be decided at Xcel Energy Center. A lot will happen in the seven weeks between now and then, and for the state’s top teams now is the time to prepare for then.

In other words, big-time matchups during the regular season, as one coach put it, are “meat grinders.”

Such was the situation Tuesday evening when the Champlin Park Rebels traveled from the north side of the Twin Cities to the south side to meet the Lakeville North Panthers. The Rebels brought the No. 1 ranking in Class 3A with them; the Panthers were ranked third. (Historical note: North was last year’s state champ and the Rebels finished fifth at state.)

As the match went on, it was not hard to imagine these two teams meeting again on Nov. 10. The caliber of play was high, the back-and-forth flow of the match was incredible, and the outcome whetted the appetite for the big matches at the X.

North won the first two sets by scores of 25-22 and it looked like No. 3 would roll past No. 1. But Champlin Park put on its invisible rally caps to win the third set 25-23 and the fourth set 25-20. This set up the ultimate set: winner take all, first team to 15 points grins.

It was North’s time to smile. The Panthers started rolling and came out on top of the fifth set 15-10. Winning is one thing and losing is another thing, and lessons were learned on both sides of the net.

“You’ve got to stay on your toes,” said Rebels coach John Yunker. “That’s why we schedule our non-conference matches the way we do. It’s a meat grinder when you play teams like this, and it’s in preparation for the postseason. Does this match mean a whole lot as far as any of that stuff? No, other than what you learn. The record’s the record, and we’re in different sections so that’s not an issue. It’s a matter of coming down here and playing a really good team and seeing how it turns out.”

As in all top-level volleyball matches, there were big thumpers and artistic setup specialists. Champlin Park senior setter Izzy Ashburn, whose next uniform will be that of the Wisconsin Badgers, had 61 assists against North, while Panthers senior Elizabeth Juhnke (headed to the University of South Dakota) whomped her way to 28 kills. Amelia Wherland had 46 assists for North and Macy Winter had 12 kills. For the Rebels, Lauren Clark (who will play at Penn State) had 25 thunderous kills and Jordan Staples had 18.

The match’s result will mean changes when the next rankings are released by the coaches association on Sunday evening, but the team that is likely to rise to No. 1 wasn’t giving that much thought in the immediate aftermath.

“We do a great job of not looking at the rankings,” said North coach Jackie Richter. “I get that it’s out there. What I’m most proud of is the way all 13 of our players, both on the court and on the bench, played tonight. With a lot of heart, a lot of belief and a lot of hard work.”

Her players echoed that philosophy.

“We take every match exactly the same and we have the same game plan for everyone we play,” said Winter. “It’s a great win to have and I love winning with this team and it’s awesome, but it is truly the same as any other game in our heads. It was really great.”

Wherland said, “We focused on our team, we focused on our process and we focused on playing for each other. We kept our composure and just went after it with a really competitive heart.”

For the Rebels, the lessons learned stemmed from the meat grinder aspect of scheduling tough opponents.

“I think we can see the things we need to work on,” Ashburn said. “We haven’t had a lot of competition where we’re from this year, and I think that seeing our weak spots is only going to help us in the end. We (play a tough schedule) intentionally to get challenged and we were definitely challenged tonight. They’re a great team.”

Again, this is the now. But what about the then?

“They are a very talented team,” Yunker said of North. “They came out ready to play, they executed their game plan and they played really well. As far as what we learn from it, we’ve just got to go back on film and we can just make a checklist.

“To be honest with you, we put some emphasis on (the match) just from the standpoint of not the win and the loss, but how do we play? Because it’s an opportunity more than anything. It’s an opportunity to see where we’re at.”

One key fact about meat grinders is that you need to keep grinding. Champlin Park libero Kaitlyn Weimerskirch said, “The goal right now is to continue to get better and believe in the process and just grind it out. But obviously we want to make it all the way to the end, because we know that we have what it takes to make it there.”

As the gym emptied at the end of the evening, Yunker offered one final summary: “It’s almost October. It’s getting here.”

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Nine-Man Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/19/2018 7:11:18 PM

From The Associated Press.

NINE-MAN
School Total Points Prv
1. Spring Grove (4) (3-0) 49 1
2. Stephen-Argyle (1) (3-0) 46 2
3. Verndale (3-0) 39 3
4. Cromwell (3-0) 30 5
5. Houston (3-0) 28 7
6. Cook County (3-0) 21 8
7. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (3-0) 20 6
8. Goodridge Grygla-Gatzke (3-0) 13 9
9. Mountain Lake Area (3-0) 12 NR
10. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (3-0) 5 NR
Others receiving votes: Nevis 4, South Ridge 2, NCEOUH 2, Grand Meadow 2, Hancock 2.



Class 1A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/19/2018 7:10:57 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 1A
School Total Points Prv
1. Minneota (5) (3-0) 50 1
2. BOLD (3-0) 37 3
3. Mahnomen (4-0) 35 2
4. Goodhue (3-0) 31 4
5. Blooming Prairie (3-0) 27 T8
6. Rushford-Peterson (3-0) 26 T5
7. Ottertail Central (3-0) 25 T5
8. United South Central (3-0) 20 T8
9. Ada-Borup-NCW (3-1) 7 7
(tie) Murray County Central (3-0) 7 NR
Others receiving votes: Red Lake County 6, Ortonville 2, Randolph 2.



Class 2A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/19/2018 7:10:28 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 2A
School Total Points Prv
1. Caledonia (6) (3-0) 60 1
2. Minneapolis North (3-0) 51 2
3. Pipestone (3-0) 50 3
4. Barnesville (3-0) 40 4
5. Maple River (3-0) 27 T5
6. Breckenridge (3-0) 22 T8
7. Chatfield (3-0) 20 7
8. Redwood Valley (3-0) 16 T8
9. St. Charles (3-0) 14 NR
10. Royalton (3-0) 8 10
Others receiving votes: Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta 6, Mesabi East 6, Hawley 4, Maple Lake 3, Paynesville 2, Medford 1.




Class 3A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/19/2018 7:09:57 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 3A
School Total Points Prv
1. Pierz (6) (3-0) 78 1
2. Rochester Lourdes (2) (3-0) 73 2
3. Jordan (3-0) 63 3
4. Breck (3-0) 45 6
5. Jackson County Central (3-0) 44 7
6. Mora (3-0) 34 9
7. Perham (2-1) 27 8
8. East Grand Forks (3-0) 20 NR
9. Stewartville (3-0) 12 NR
10. Greenway-Nashwauk-Keewatin (4-0) 11 NR
Others receiving votes: St. Peter 10, Fairmont 6, Annandale 5, Spectrum 5, Pequot Lakes 4, New London-Spicer 2, Park Rapids 1.



Class 4A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/19/2018 7:09:31 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 4A
School Total Points Prv
1. Holy Angels (6) (3-0) 77 1
2. Cloquet (1) (3-0) 65 2
3. Winona (3-0) 58 3
4. Hutchinson (1) (3-0) 57 6
5. Detroit Lakes (3-0) 45 4
6. SMB-Wolfpack (3-0) 42 9
7. Marshall (3-0) 38 10
8. Dassel-Cokato (3-0) 20 NR
9. Hermantown (3-0) 10 NR
10. Mound-Westonka (3-0) 8 NR
Others receiving votes: Benilde-St. Margaret's 5, Becker 4, Waseca 3, Providence Academy 3, Fridley 2, Zimmerman 1, Orono 1, St. Cloud Apollo 1.



Class 5A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/19/2018 7:09:07 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 5A
School Total Points Prv
1. Owatonna (6) (3-0) 69 1
2. Elk River (1) (3-0) 64 2
3. Mankato West (3-0) 48 5
4. Mahtomedi (3-0) 46 3
5. St. Thomas Academy (3-0) 40 6
6. Robbinsdale Cooper (3-0) 33 7
7. Sauk Rapids-Rice (3-0) 21 NR
8. Tartan (3-0) 20 10
9. Andover (3-0) 13 4
10. Waconia (3-0) 8 NR
Others receiving votes: Coon Rapids 8, St. Cloud Tech 5, Cambridge-Isanti 5, Chaska 3, Hastings 2.



Class 6A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/19/2018 7:08:44 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 6A
School Total Points Prv
1. Lakeville North (6) (3-0) 60 2
2. Eden Prairie (2-1) 51 6
3. Blaine (3-0) 49 7
4. Wayzata (2-1) 37 10
5. Minnetonka (2-1) 31 1
6. Maple Grove (2-1) 22 NR
7. Prior Lake (2-1) 21 4
8. Cretin-Derham Hall (2-1) 20 3
9. East Ridge (2-1) 14 NR
10. Woodbury (2-1) 8 NR
Others receiving votes: Edina 6, Eastview 4, Champlin Park 4, Roseville 2, St. Michael-Albertville 1.



The Score Will Be Forgotten, But Not The Smiles
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/19/2018 2:41:12 PM

This email was forwarded to me on Wednesday. It details something special that took place during a seventh-grade football game on Tuesday. Congratulations to all!

Good evening,

Sometimes there are events that make the heart full! This evening, I had such an evening. My seventh-grade football team (from Little Falls) was playing Foley. Foley has a player with Down syndrome name Dylan. My team was instructed that Dylan was going to play wide receiver or safety a few plays. He would not catch or block. My players knew not to touch 54.

Fourth quarter comes and the Flyers were up 16-0 with less than two minutes left. Dylan is getting in a few more plays now the game is out of reach for them. With a minute left in the game, I go over to the Foley coach. I told him to give Dylan the ball. He double checked if I was sure. I told him, give him the ball.I huddled my boys and instructed them to dive, flop, whatever, but DO NOT touch 54!

Long story short, Dylan scores a 50 yd touchdown! The fans, their sidelines, my players all explode in cheers! After the play, I told Dylan to dance! He whips out the stanky leg move!

Dylan was crying, the para with him had tears. The Foley coach and I were fighting back tears. I was so proud of my players tonight. So much more than football was learned on the field tonight. The AD from Foley already thanked LF for giving Dylan a great surprise!

We won the game 16-8. I will never remember the score, but will always remember Dylan's smile when he left the field!

Just had to share!
Joel Holey



Cook County And Nicollet Meet In Ultimate Road Game
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/17/2018 11:08:42 AM

ESKO – For football fans driving from Minneapolis to Green Bay to watch the Vikings face the Packers on Sunday, it was a one-way drive of 275 miles. Two Minnesota high school football teams that met Friday night are 345 miles apart. Thankfully, neither team had to drive the overall distance.

Nicollet (located a few miles northwest of Mankato) and Cook County (the school is in Grand Marais, a two-hour drive north from Duluth) needed to fill a hole in their nine-man football schedules, and the filling was found in Esko, on a turf field with a giant igloo logo on the 50-yard line and cows grazing behind the scoreboard.

No other schools separated by so many miles will meet on the football field during the regular season. The bus ride wasn’t short for anybody. The Nicollet Raiders spent 4½ hours each way on the road and the Cook County Vikings covered 2½ hours before and after the game. That made for late-night arrivals.

“We got home around 2 a.m., which was about what we expected,” Nicollet coach Tom Murphy said on Saturday. “We watched a movie on the bus and I think some kids slept a little.”

When the 2018 football schedules were originally set, this far-flung matchup was not part of the plan. Nine-man football teams sometimes teeter on the line between fielding a team or not, with player safety always paramount. Originally, Nicollet was scheduled to play West Lutheran in Week 3 and Cook County was going to play Northeast Range. Short of players, West Lutheran joined a cooperative team with Providence Academy, Maranatha Christian and Heritage Christian; Northeast Range dropped varsity games this fall.

Thankfully, the open dates for Cook County and Nicollet both fell in Week 3 and Friday’s game was booked. Officials looked for a place to play somewhere between the two towns. They chose Esko for a couple of reasons: 1) the Eskomos were on the road at Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin on Friday, and 2) the Esko field is one of the finest in the state, with artificial turf, plenty of room for fans and an easy exit off Interstate 35.

“It was a great experience, having the chance to go on the road with the kids,” Murphy said. “We always talk about when we stop somewhere, we want people to say, ‘That’s the best group of kids to ever stop in here.’ I thought they represented the school and community very well.”

Cook County came in as the favorite. The Vikings, with 10 seniors among 20 boys in uniform Friday, led the state with an offensive average of 62 points after defeating Onamia 74-0 and Silver Bay 50-7. Nicollet opened with a 14-7 loss to Grand Meadow before beating Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons 21-14.

Cook County had one of the great runs in high school football history, winning Class 1A state championships in 1997, 1998 and 1999. The Vikings have reached the state tournament 11 times, most recently in 2007. Last season they finished one game short of state, losing to North Woods in the Section 7 championship game in Esko.

Nicollet also has been a strong team for a long time, getting to state eight times (most recently in 2014) and finishing as state runner-up in 1999, 2002 and 2009.

Friday’s game was scoreless through the first quarter before the Vikings scored on a 2-yard run by quarterback Josh Prom. Ethan Sporn scored from eight yards out late in the second quarter to make it 14-0 at halftime. Three more Cook County touchdowns followed, two by Sporn and one by Prom, and Nicollet quarterback Jon Mans scored on a three-yard rollout. The Vikings took home a 36-6 victory, with the game coming to an early end.

Lightning was spotted with 5:07 left in the fourth quarter and everyone agreed that the matter had been settled. After all, almost everybody except the members of the chain gang – who were Esko residents – had a long drive home.

“They’re senior-dominated and we’re still trying to figure some things out,” said Murphy, whose team had 23 kids in uniform. “At one point we had a ton of 15-year-olds going against 17- and 18-year-olds. Cook County is a very good team.”

Vikings coach Bryan Carpenter, a 1991 Cook County grad, is now coaching the sons of former teammates.

“Having 10 seniors is really rare for a team this size,” he said. “We were 9-2 last year. Our goal is definitely to return (to the section title game) this year and hopefully beyond that.”

The Raiders had lunch at school before departing around noon. Their charter bus made a stop near Forest Lake to pick up head coach Tom Murphy’s son, Travis, and the boys also bought snacks at a convenience store and stretched their legs. They watched the movie “Draft Day” on the bus.

Some of the Nicollet fans stopped for a pregame meal at Gordy’s Hi-Hat, the famous burger joint in nearby Cloquet where Murphy’s wife, Jodie, worked when she was growing up in Cloquet. After the game, Domino’s in Cloquet delivered a stack of pizzas for the Raiders to eat on the ride home.

Both teams play home games this week: Nicollet vs. Madelia and Cook County vs. North Woods. Postgame pizzas, consumed while the wheels of the bus go round and round, will not be needed.

--To see a photo gallery, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Class 1A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/16/2018 11:55:12 PM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 1A
1. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (11) - 207
2. Minneota (3) - 199
3. Mayer Lutheran - 171
4. New Life Academy - 154
5. Pine River-Backus - 140
6. Wabasso - 111
7. Mabel-Canton - 104
8. Ada-Borup-West - 93
9. Caledonia - 91
10. BOLD - 57
Others Receiving Votes: Rush City - 47, Windom - 39, Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa - 22, Carlton - 13. Teams only appearing on one ballot: Sacred Heart, Bethlehem Academy, Fillmore Central



Class 2A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/16/2018 11:54:30 PM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 2A
1. Stewartville (10) - 193
2. North Branch (2) - 179
3. Kasson-Mantorville - 170
4. Marshall - 155
5. Concordia Academy - 137
6. SW Christian - 120
7. Sauk Centre - 117
8. Belle Plaine - 90
9. Watertown-Mayer - 70
10. Kenyon-Wanamingo - 58
Others Receiving Votes: Norwood-Young America - 40. Teams only appearing on one ballot: Jackson County Central, Park Rapids, Pipestone, Redwood Valley, St. Cloud Cathedral



Class 3A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/16/2018 11:53:58 PM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 3A
1. Champlin Park (11) - 165
2. Lakeville South - 153
3. Lakeville North - 142
4. Eagan - 131
5. Minnetonka - 117
6. Shakopee - 111
7. Stillwater - 97
8. East Ridge - 71
9. Northfield - 70
10. Forest Lake - 67
Others Receiving Votes - Wayzata - 13. Teams only appearing on one ballot: Moorhead, North St. Paul



Class 2A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/16/2018 11:53:26 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.

CLASS 2A
TEAMS
1 Edina
2 Minnetonka
3 Rochester Mayo
4 Mounds View
5 Eastview
6 Hopkins
7 Maple Grove
8 Duluth East
9 Prior Lake
10 Lakeville South

INDIVIDUALS
1 Karin Young (9) Eastview
2 Nicole Copeland (11) Edina
3 Maddie Suk (12) Hopkins
4 Aili Hietala (10) Duluth East
5 Andrea Jansson (12) Edina
6 Ellen Puzak (12) Minneapolis Southwest
7 Lauren Ferg (12) Eagan
8 Kelsey Dorr (12) Princeton
9 Delaney Schurhamer (11) Woodbury
10 Annika Elvestrom (9) Minnetonka



Class 1A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/16/2018 11:52:52 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.

CLASS 1A
TEAMS
1 Blake
2 Breck
3 Litchfield
4 Rochester Lourdes
5 Virginia
6 St. James
7 Jordan
8 LeSueur-Henderson
9 Minnewaska
10 Osakis

INDIVIDUALS
1 Arlina Shen (11) Blake
2 Katie Mulvey (12) Trinity at River Ridge
3 Clare Palen (11) Rochester Lourdes
4 Shanna Kinny (12) Litchfield
5 Sonia Baig (10) Blake
6 Ally Agerland (9) Holy Family Catholic
7 Natalie Allison (12) Rochester Lourdes
8 Renata Hernandez (12) St. James
9 Danielle Thorfinnson (11) Minnewaska
10 Greta Nesbit (10) Lesueur-Henderson



Owatonna: Where Football Is King And Seasons Run Long
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/12/2018 10:06:04 PM

Owatonna High School is a football school. The Huskies were state runners-up in 2012, won a state title in 2013, were Class 5A state champions last year and are ranked No. 1 in 5A this season. They will take a 2-0 record into Friday’s game vs. Austin.

So far this fall Owatonna has defeated Faribault 41-0 and Rochester Mayo 37-9. Those two games, and the numbers put up by the Huskies’ star player, have presented a head-turning change.

The season opener was senior running back Jason Williamson’s first time on the field since announcing he would sign with the University of Minnesota. The result was less than spectacular: Williamson (pictured) carried the ball only two times for two yards vs. Faribault, also catching a pass for a 45-yard touchdown.

Truth is, Owatonna coach Jeff Williams was taking things slowly. Williamson, a big, strong 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, was coming off a summer injury and the Huskies have thoughts of playing deep into the fall.

“We just wanted to ease him back in,” Williams said. “When we’ve got a decent football team, we want to be playing in November, that section championship and state first round. That’s always our goal, and we need him around.”

If there were any doubts about Williamson’s condition, they disappeared in Week 2 against Mayo. He ran the ball on the first three plays of the game and kept on trucking. He finished with 34 carries, 270 yards and two touchdowns. If his name rings a bell, you might be remembering last year’s Prep Bowl. All he did that day at U.S. Bank Stadium was set a Prep Bowl record with five rushing touchdowns and tie a record with six total touchdowns (one on a kickoff return).

Williamson finished last season with 2,326 rushing yards and an astonishing 44 touchdowns (in 13 games). An offer from the Gophers came shortly after and he said yes.

A question mark for the Huskies coming into this new season was the battalion of young men who would clear the road for Williamson. Zach Wiese is the only starting offensive lineman returning from 2017. The others – Isaiah Noeldner, Logan Steckelberg, Ray Deml, Joe Edel and Carter DeBus – are new to the varsity lineup, but the early results clearly show that they are more than capable.

“Zack Wiese started for us maybe by Week 3 last year but everybody else is brand new, and very raw,” said Williams, who has been coaching the Huskies for 23 years and owns a record of 162-72. “Our game plan (vs. Faribault) was pretty simple and pretty straightforward; this week we added a little bit more complexity and Mayo did some things we didn’t anticipate. So for us to have to make some adjustments put a little bit of pressure on those kids. It was great to see how they responded to it.”

Owatonna had a senior-heavy lineup last season so the 2018 campaign shaped up a test of newcomers all over the field. In 2017, senior quarterback Abe Havelka passed for more than 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. The starter against Mayo was his brother Solomon, a junior this season who like Williamson wasn’t completely healthy as the season began. The younger Havelka started against Mayo before sophomore Brayden Truelson took over.

“We knew that Sol was dinged up but we didn’t want to start (Truelson), being a sophomore,” the coach said. “We wanted him to get the opportunity to come in off the bench and he didn’t flinch at all. He was as cool as a cucumber. That was great to see for a sophomore.”

After Solomon completed three of seven passes for 19 yards, Brayden completed seven of nine for 79 yards.

Mayo was strong early in the game, leading 3-0 on a field goal by Jake McCabe and 9-0 when Cade Sheehan threw to Jack Murphy for a 12-yard score early in the second quarter. Owatonna made those aforementioned adjustments and did the rest of the scoring,

“We just told ourselves that we’ve got to start playing our own game and not theirs,” Williamson said. “They had a pretty good game plan but our coaches adjusted early on.”

Jayson, like almost all of his football teammates, is involved in other sports (he also is on the basketball and track teams). His explanation? “I just like to move around, I guess you could say.”

Junior defensive back Isaac Oppegard and several teammates also like to move around in three sports.

“Oppe’s a good athlete,” Williams said. “He was a sophomore letter-winner in basketball, he’s a nice center fielder, and he has three interceptions now in two games, just hanging around back there and waiting for somebody to make a mistake.

“The majority of our kids are two-sporters and a lot of them are three,” the coach said. “We do a good job of recruiting our basketball players, so all of our wideouts are basketball guys. A lot of them are baseball and track guys, so we really still are kind of immune to the specialization issue. And I don’t take that for granted. We work very, very hard on that.”

The Owatonna plan is in place: talented athletes, hard work, smart coaching and plenty of preparation. If all goes well, the Huskies will make another postseason splash. Football is maybe the most team-oriented game, but talented individuals – Williamson is Example A – are crucial.

“That’s always our goal, and we need (Jason) around,” Williams said. “We aren’t going to get there without him. We need him healthy and we need him ready to go.”

--To see a photo gallery, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Nine-Man Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/12/2018 9:59:55 PM

From The Associated Press.

NINE-MAN
1. Spring Grove 2-0-0 1
2. Stephen-Argyle 2-0-0 2
3. Verndale 2-0-0 3
4. Underwood 2-0-0 7
5. Cromwell-Wright 2-0-0 8
6. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 2-0-0 6
7. Houston 2-0-0 10
8. Cook County 2-0-0 9
9. Nevis 1-1-0 4
10. Grand Meadow 1-1-0 5




Class 1A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/12/2018 9:59:34 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 1A
1. Minneota 2-0-0 1
2. Mahnomen/Waubun 3-0-0 5
3. BOLD 2-0-0 2
4. Goodhue 2-0-0 6
5. Rushford-Peterson 2-0-0 9
6. Ottertail Central 2-0-0 10
7. Ada-Borup 2-1-0 7
8. Blooming Prairie 2-0-0 8
9. United South Central 2-0-0
10. Polk County West 2-0-0



Class 2A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/12/2018 9:59:06 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 2A
1. Caledonia 2-0-0 2
2. Minneapolis North 2-0-0 1
3. Pipestone Area 2-0-0 3
4. Barnesville 2-0-0 4
5. Maple River -0-0 5
6. Maple Lake 2-0-0 6
7. Chatfield 2-0-0 7
8. Breckenridge 2-0-0 9
9. Redwood Valley 2-0-0 8
10. Royalton 2-0-0




Class 3A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/12/2018 9:58:40 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 3A
1. Pierz 2-0-0 1
2. Rochester Lourdes 2-0-0 2
3. Jordan 2-0-0 3
4. Pequot Lakes 2-0-0 5
5. Glencoe-Silver Lake 2-0-0 9
6. Breck 2-0-0 7
7. Jackson County Central 2-0-0 10
8. Perham 1-1-0 6
9. Mora 2-0-0
10. Park Rapids 2-0-0



Class 4A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/12/2018 9:58:12 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 4A
1 Academy of Holy Angels 2-0-0 1
2. Cloquet 2-0-0 2
3. Winona 2-0-0 3
4. Detroit Lakes 2-0-0 4
5. Waseca 2-0-0 5
6. Hutchinson 2-0-0 6
7. Fridley 2-0-0 8
8. Zimmerman 2-0-0 7
9. St. Paul Academy/Minnehaha Academy/Blake 2-0-0 9
10. Marshall 2-0-0



Class 5A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/12/2018 9:57:47 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 5A
1. Owatonna 2-0-0 1
2. Elk River 2-0-0 2
3. Mahtomedi 2-0-0 3
4. Andover 2-0-0 4
5. Mankato West 2-0-0 5
6. St. Thomas Academy 2-0-0 6
7. Robbinsdale Cooper 2-0-0 7
8. Chanhassen 2-0-0 8
9. Bemidji 2-0-0 9
10. Tartan 2-0-0



Class 6A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/12/2018 9:57:24 PM

From The Associated Press.

CLASS 6A
1. Minnetonka 2-0-0 2
2. Lakeville North 2-0-0 4
3. Cretin-Derham Hall 2-0-0 3
4. Prior Lake 2-0-0 5
5. Edina 2-0-0 6
6. Eden Prairie 1-1-0 1
7. Blaine 2-0-0 8
8. Champlin Park 2-0-0 9
9. Roseville 2-0-0
10. Wayzata 1-1-0 10



Thinking Back To Seventeen Years Ago This Week
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/10/2018 10:40:23 AM

I’ll always remember where I was on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. I had an appointment to speak to a class at Bloomington Jefferson High School, and I turned on the radio at home as I was getting dressed for the day.

There was talk of something bad happening in New York City. I turned on the TV in the kitchen and saw a big black smoldering hole in the side of one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. A plane had apparently struck the building, but nobody knew anything more than that. Before long another aircraft blasted into the other twin tower.

I drove to Bloomington Jefferson, arriving a few minutes early. I listened to the radio in the car for as long as I could and then walked into the school and was escorted to the room where the Sports Literature class was meeting. There were televisions in the classrooms, but because of construction work in the school none of the TVs were working. I told the class everything I had learned from listening to the radio, and then we were all in blackout mode.

After the class period ended, I drove to the Star Tribune building in downtown Minneapolis. Like everyone else in the newsroom, I watched the scenes on television. The Pentagon was on fire … a plane had apparently gone down in Pennsylvania.

Fast-forward a few years and I was back at Jefferson, writing about a memorial stone that had been installed at the school in honor of former Jaguars quarterback Tom Burnett, who died when Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. I also wrote about former Blake linebacker Gordy Aamoth, who died in one of the twin towers on Sept. 11. The stadium at Blake now bears his name and a twisted beam from the World Trade Center is on display at the stadium.

In the Sept. 14, 2001, edition of the Star Tribune, I wrote a column under the headline “High school sports can help the healing.” I had spoken with people at Colorado’s Columbine High School as well as Osceolo High School in Wisconsin, where a traffic accident had claimed twin brothers a few weeks before Sept. 11. That column seemed to resonate with readers at the time, and to this day people occasionally will mention it to me. I have heard from a few people who say they saved that column, and they read it every day as Sept. 11 comes around. That is equally touching and humbling.

Here is that column as it appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sept. 14, 2001…

High School Sports Can Help The Healing

In the horrible wake of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, all after-school activities were canceled Tuesday in the Jefferson County (Colo.) School District. This didn't surprise Ed Woytek, the athletic director at Columbine High School.

The day's events hit Columbine hard, especially the senior class. They were freshmen on April 20, 1999, when two students shot and killed 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives.

"Our coaches and all of us are on kind of a fine line, especially with what happened here previously," Woytek said.

Columbine still is recovering from that day. Recovery also is an ongoing process in Osceola, Wis., where twin brothers Eric and Aaron Kipp, 18, died in a car accident on the way to football practice 30 days ago.

With thousands of innocent people presumed to have perished this week, what do you say? How do you heal? Maybe it's best to listen to the kids. That's among the lessons learned at Columbine and Osceola.

"Pretty much all of them are saying to us, 'We need to be a family,'" Woytek said. "Because that's what happened a few years ago; they got with family. And that's where we need to be, that's where our American people need to be, is with family."

After the Kipp brothers died, football practices were stopped for a short period. But soon, everyone wanted to return -- or try to return -- to some sense of normalcy.

"Very soon, the kids were ready to go back," said Osceola coach/principal Mike McMartin. "They said, 'Coach, I need to keep busy.' And they were right. When we jumped back into it, although they weren't the best practices in the world, there was almost a big sigh of relief that they could start moving forward and take with us all the good things that the boys had shared with us for so many years, instead of thinking about the bad."

Activities went on as scheduled Tuesday in Osceola, the day of the attacks.

"We just really felt during that time it was massively important that we show to the kids, 'Hey, we're going on. We're not going to let these people defeat us or take us off our feet here. We're going to move forward and be proud,'" McMartin said.

At Columbine and Osceola, tragedy struck a specific community of people. This week, tragedy struck us all.

The Columbine Rebels take a 1-1 record into tonight's game at Dakota Ridge. Osceola is 3-0 and the homecoming opponent for rival St. Croix Falls. The games go on, as do our lives.

"Everybody keeps saying we'll never get back to normal, just like our nation will never get back to normal," Woytek said. "But hopefully we're going to get as close to normal as we can."

So if sporting events are part of your normal routine, stick with it. If you haven't been to a high school game in years, tonight would be a wonderful time to go. Get away from the television, escape the headlines. Find a seat in the bleachers and take a break, however temporary, from all that's gone so wretchedly wrong in this world.

Watch the team captains shake hands before the coin flip. Hold your hand over your heart during the national anthem as the flag flutters at half-staff. Bow your head during the moment of silence to honor this week's victims. Get on your feet for the opening kickoff. Watch our young people -- players, cheerleaders, fans -- as they smile, holler and laugh together during this evening that is tradition both athletic and social. Buy popcorn, listen to the band, cheer first downs, simply celebrate.

Maybe administrators at every school can find a recording of God Bless America, and across our states -- Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and beyond -- we'll sing together when the game ends. Just like a family.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Class 1A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/10/2018 10:31:06 AM

Provided by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 1A
1. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (12) - 222
2. Minneota (3) - 211
3. New Life Academy - 184
4. Mayer Lutheran - 164
5. Caledonia - 149
6. Wabasso - 141
7. Pine River-Backus - 121
8. Mabel-Canton - 116
9. Rush City - 84
10. Ada-Borup-West - 72
Others Receiving Votes: Windom 37, Bethlehem Academy 25



Class 2A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/10/2018 10:30:44 AM

Provided by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 2A
1. Stewartville (6) - 174
2. North Branch (6) - 170
3. Kasson-Mantorville - 154
4. Marshall - 142
5. Concordia Academy - 126
6. SW Christian - 120
7. Kenyon-Wanamingo - 113
8. Sauk Centre - 88
9. Watertown-Mayer - 81
10. Belle Plaine - 54
Others Receiving Votes: Park Rapids 18



Class 3A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/10/2018 10:30:18 AM

Provided by the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association.

CLASS 3A
1. Champlin Park (9) - 149
2. Lakeville North (1) - 141
3. Lakeville South - 126
4. Eagan - 118
5. Minnetonka - 111
6. Shakopee - 88
7. Stillwater - 86
T-8. East Ridge - 77
T-8. Northfield - 77
10. Forest Lake - 49



Class 2A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/10/2018 10:29:10 AM

Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.

CLASS 2A
TEAMS
1 Edina
2 Minnetonka
3 Rochester Mayo
4 Mounds View
5 Eastview
6 Prior Lake
7 Hopkins
8 Maple Grove
9 Duluth East
10 St. Cloud Tech

INDIVIDUALS
1 Karin Young (9) Eastview
2 Nicole Copeland (11) Edina
3 Maddie Suk (12) Hopkins
4 Aili Hietala (10) Duluth East
5 Andrea Jansson (12) Edina
6 Ellen Puzak (12) Minneapolis Southwest
7 Lauren Ferg (12) Eagan
8 Kelsey Dorr (12) Princeton
9 Zoe Adkins (9) Maple Grove
10 Delaney Schurhamer (11) Woodbury



Class 1A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/10/2018 10:28:32 AM

Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association.

CLASS 1A
TEAMS
1 Breck
2 Blake
3 Litchfield
4 Rochester Lourdes
5 Virginia
6 St. James
7 Jordan
8 LeSueur-Henderson
9 Minnewaska
10 Osakis

INDIVIDUALS
1 Arlina Shen (11) Blake
2 Katie Mulvey (12) Trinity at River Ridge
3 Clare Palen (11) Rochester Lourdes
4 Shanna Kinny (12) Litchfield
5 Sonia Baig (10) Blake
6 Ally Agerland (9) Holy Family Catholic
7 Natalie Allison (12) Rochester Lourdes
8 Renata Hernandez (12) St. James
9 Danielle Thorfinnson (11) Minnewaska
10 Sofia Walker (12) Mounds Park Academy



'What A Wonderful Group Of Young Ladies You Have'
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/7/2018 12:09:23 PM

Here's an email that was sent this morning to Waseca High School girls soccer coach Jenaro Delgado and cc'd to activities director Joe Hedervare, principal Jeanette Swanson and me. It was written by an official who wanted to commend the Waseca athletes for having a great attitude and having fun Thursday evening when the team played a game against Mankato Loyola...

Coach,

I'm Joe Schleis. I had the pleasure of centering your game last night in Janesville. I'm a bit of a night owl. After walking my dog, cleaning up, eating and watching a few Drew Carey Show reruns, I decided I needed to let you know what a wonderful group of young ladies you have representing Waseca.

Prior to the JV game, your varsity (seated in the stands) got up and was dancing to the warm-up music. The girls collectively yelled "Joe!. I believe my wife and daughter, sitting nearby, may have helped with my name. I turned when hearing my name; I saw the fun the girls were having and did a little 4- or 5-seconds dance move from the edge of the track. We're told as officials that we need to find "rapport" with the student-athletes. Their collective chearing was proof that my "human" side was seen. I, too, enjoyed seeing this side of them. I was more than the "guy with the whistle." I may have had an advantage. I've worked games in Waseca, both summer and fall, since your seniors were 6 or 7. I'm a firm believer that knowing the referee isn't always a bad thing.

After your first goal, and of course I didn't see it, some of your girls returned to your half of the field doing what my wife heard was "the Joe." Your girls, when they passed me after the goal were impersonating my little dance routine. My family greatly enjoyed this. Being able to know their roles on the field, as well as mine, and still finding a way to have fun with it, speaks volumes of their maturity and character.

Best of luck this season, with or without, "the Joe."

Thanks for the exceptionally pleasant evening.
Joe Schleis



Nine-Man Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/5/2018 4:39:07 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 5 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

NINE-MAN
1. Spring Grove (4) (1-0) 48
2. Stephen-Argyle (1-0) 28
3. Verndale (1) (1-0) 27
4. Nevis (1-0) 24
5. Grand Meadow (1) (1-0) 21
6. Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (1-0) 19
7. Underwood (1-0) 18
8. Cromwell (1-0) 14
9. Cook County (1-0) 11
10. Houston (1-0) 10
Others receiving votes: Bertha-Hewitt 9, Lake of the Woods 9, Westbrook-Walnut Grove 9, Cleveland 8, NCE-UH 8, Lanesboro 7, Ely 6, Mountain Lake Area 6, Goodridge-Grygla-Gatzke 6, Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 6, South Ridge 6, Edgerton-Ellsworth 5, Hill City-Northland 5, Hills-Beaver Creek 5, Red Rock Central 4, Silver Bay 3, Mountain Iron-Buhl 3, Bigfork 3, Laporte 1, Wheaton-Herman-Norcross 1.



Class 1A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/5/2018 4:38:40 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 5 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 1A
1. Minneota (4) (1-0) 46
2. BOLD (1-0) 31
3. Wabasso (1-0) 29
4. Mayer Lutheran (1-0) 25
5. Mahnomen-Wauben (2-0) 24
6. Goodhue (1-0) 21
7. Ada-Borup (1) (1-1) 18
8. Blooming Prairie (1-0) 17
9. Rushford-Peterson (1-0) 14
10. Ottertail Central (1-0) 11
Others receiving votes: United South Central 9, Dawson-Boyd 8, Adrian 8, Deer River 4, Fertile-Beltrami 3, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 2, Lakeview 2, Polk County West 2, Red Lake County 1.



Class 2A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/5/2018 4:38:09 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 5 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 2A
1. Minneapolis North (1-0) 52
2. Caledonia (5) (1-0) 50
3. Pipestone (1-0) 39
4. Barnesville (1-0) 26
5. Maple River (1-0) 23
6. Maple Lake (1-0) 17
7. Chatfield (1-0) 13
8. Redwood Valley (1-0) 12
9. Breckenridge (1-0) 11
(tie) Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City (1-0) 11
Others receiving votes: Roseau 10, Royalton 9, Warroad 8, LeSueur-Henderson 7, Eden Valley-Watkins 7, Sauk Centre 6, Frazee 5, Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta 5, Pillager 4, Hawley 4, Lewiston-Altura 3, Bagley 3, Paynesville 3, Concordia Academy-Roseville 1, Aitkin 1.



Class 3A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/5/2018 4:37:35 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 5 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 3A
1. Pierz (5) (1-0) 67
2. Rochester Lourdes (2) (1-0) 53
3. Jordan (1-0) 40
4. Fairmont (1-0) 35
5. Pequot Lakes (1-0) 28
6. Perham (1-0) 24
7. Breck (1-0) 22
8. Proctor (1-0) 21
9. Glencoe-Silver Lake (1-0) 18
10. Jackson County Central (1-0) 14
Others receiving votes: East Grand Forks 12, Annandale 11, Mora 11, Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 10, Providence Academy-Heritage Christian Academy-Maranatha 9, Stewartville 9, Worthington 9, St. Peter 8, Rockford 8, Park Rapids 7, Spectrum 7, Brooklyn Center 6, Cannon Falls 5, International Falls 3, Zumbrota-Mazeppa 2, St. Croix Lutheran 1.



Class 4A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/5/2018 4:37:04 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 5 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 4A
1. Holy Angels (5) (1-0) 59
2. Cloquet (1-0) 56
3. Winona (1-0) 36
4. Detroit Lakes (1-0) 35
5. Waseca (1) (1-0) 28
6. Hutchinson (1) (1-0) 27
7. Zimmerman (1-0) 23
8. Fridley (1-0) 22
9. SMB-Wolfpack (1-0) 20
10. DeLaSalle (1-0) 18
Others receiving votes: Marshall 17, Willmar 16, Becker 14, Richfield 8, Rocori 7, Big Lake 7, Mound-Westonka 7, Mankato East 7, Delano 6, South St. Paul 6, Albert Lea 5, Duluth Denfeld 5, Hermantown 4, St. Paul Academy/Minnehaha Academy/Blake 3, Benilde-St. Margaret's 2, Hibbing 1, Foley 1.



Class 5A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/5/2018 4:36:29 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 5 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 5A
1. Owatonna (5) (1-0) 56
2. Elk River (1) (1-0) 54
3. Mahtomedi (1-0) 39
(tie) Andover (1-0) 39
5. Mankato West (1-0) 31
6. St. Thomas Academy (1-0) 21
(tie) Robbinsdale Cooper (1-0) 21
8. Chanhassen (1-0) 17
9. Bemidji (1-0) 14
10. Spring Lake Park (1-0) 11
Others receiving votes: Tartan 6, Waconia 5, Bloomington Jefferson 5, Chisago Lakes 5, St. Louis Park 4, Rochester Mayo 2.




Class 6A Football Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/5/2018 4:35:57 PM

The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 5 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters):

CLASS 6A
1. Eden Prairie (3) (1-0) 48
2. Minnetonka (2) (1-0) 47
3. Cretin-Derham Hall (1-0) 36
4. Lakeville North (1-0) 33
5. Prior Lake (1-0) 27
6. Edina (1-0) 26
(tie) Maple Grove (1-0) 26
8. Blaine (1-0) 11
9. Champlin Park (1-0) 5
(tie) Wayzata (1-0) 5
Others receiving votes: Roseville 4, Mounds View 3, Buffalo 2, Totino-Grace 2.



Class 1A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/5/2018 11:21:29 AM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association

CLASS 1A
1. Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (9) - 177
2. Minneota (3) - 171
3. New Life Academy - 145
4. Caledonia - 134
5. Mayer Lutheran - 129
6. Wabasso - 99
7. Pine River-Backus - 97
8. Mabel-Canton - 85
9. Bethlehem Academy - 61
10. Rush City - 59
Others Receiving Votes: Ada-Borup-West - 22, Windom - 20, Carlton - 14, Fillmore Central - 10, Spring Grove - 10, Wadena-Deer Creek - 8, St. Clair - 7, Sacred Heart - 6



Class 2A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/5/2018 11:20:57 AM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association

CLASS 2A
1. North Branch (10) - 176
2. Stewartville (1) - 159
3. Marshall (1) - 154
4. Kasson-Mantorville - 145
5. Kenyon-Wanamingo - 134
6. Concordia Academy - 120
7. SW Christian - 116
T-8. Belle Plaine - 87
T-8. Watertown-Mayer - 87
10. Holy Angels - 42
Others Receiving Votes: Sauk Centre - 15, Park Rapids - 12, Norwood-Young America - 7, Maple Lake - 6



Class 3A Volleyball Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/5/2018 11:20:20 AM

From the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association

CLASS 3A
1. Lakeville North (7) - 133
2. Champlin Park (2) - 128
3. Eagan - 117
4. Lakeville South - 104
5. Stillwater - 91
6. Forest Lake - 80
7. Minnetonka - 59
8. Hopkins - 56
9. East Ridge - 46
10. Northfield - 45
Others Receiving Votes: Shakopee - 40, St. Michael-Albertville - 25, Elk River - 8, Eden Prairie - 7, Prior Lake - 6



Like Father, Like Son: The Multisport Boumans Of Buffalo
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/2/2018 8:10:20 PM

It’s not surprising, genetically speaking, that Aidan Bouman is a talented football player. His father, after all, is Todd Bouman, who had a lengthy career as an NFL quarterback. Todd is now the head football coach at Buffalo High School, where Aidan is the starting quarterback.

Football, however, isn’t the only family tradition. Aidan also is following in his dad’s footsteps as a multisport athlete. Todd was on the football, basketball and track teams in high school at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton in southwest Minnesota, then played football and basketball at St. Cloud State. Aidan also plays basketball for the Bison, and that won’t change despite his announcement in June of a verbal commitment to play college football at Iowa State. He was the Cyclones’ first commitment from the Class of 2020, making the decision months before his first day of school as an 11th-grader.

“I don’t want to let my teammates down,” he said of his decision to continue playing high school basketball. “I think it really helps me develop different athletic aspects, like agility and those things. Especially building team chemistry, and a lot of the guys on the football team play basketball, too. Being with them for different sports helps in both seasons.”

Aidan had a strong opening game Friday, completing 27 of 42 passes for 311 yards for four touchdowns with no interceptions in a 38-28 win over visiting Brainerd. His scoring throws covered 37 yards to Damien Biegert, 15 yards to Tony Dahl, and 19 and 9 yards to Treyton Welch. Welch also threw a 50-yard pass to Biegert that opened the scoring for the Bison.

“He did a lot of good things,” Todd Bouman said of his son. “He comes to the sidelines and says, ‘I missed this read, I shouldn’t have missed that throw.’ There are always things to get better at, but he’s getting so much more of managing the game and not always thinking he has to make the big play, just taking the short stuff when they’re not giving us the big plays.”

Aidan is already taller this his father. Todd, 46, is 6-foot-2 and his son stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 225 pounds. Another difference is that Aidan is lefthanded. If you look at photos of both of them throwing the football, it is almost a mirror image because their motions are so similar.

The Boumans have visited a lot of colleges, including Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Notre Dame. They visited Iowa State last spring and Aidan attended a camp there in June. That’s when he made his decision.

“They’re all great places,” he said. “I took my first visit to Iowa State before spring break and felt something special there. I’ve never met coaches as personable, the whole family feel there was incredible. They chatted with my sister and were great. And they’re building something special there.”

After Todd completed his college career in 1997, he signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent. He also had NFL stints with the Saints, Packers, Jaguars, Rams and Ravens from 1997 to 2010. He played in 44 games during his NFL career, starting seven. He was the Vikings starter for three games late in 2001 when Daunte Culpepper was injured; Bouman was named NFC offensive player of the week after he completed 21 of 31 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns against Tennessee.

He began his high school coaching career as an assistant in Buffalo in 2007, and later he helped his brother Troy, then the head coach in Pipestone. On both occasions, his coaching career was interrupted by calls to join NFL teams. This is his fifth season as the head coach of the Bison.

“I came back to high school because I had great high school coaches growing up,” Todd said. “As much as you enjoy college and the NFL, you never forget those Friday night lights with your buddies at your school.”

Aidan’s athletic genes don’t come solely from his dad. His mother, Courtney (Powers) Bouman, is in the Willmar High School Hall of Fame after a multisport career there and played volleyball at St. Cloud State. The Boumans also have a daughter, Aivary, who is a freshman at Minnesota-Duluth.

Aidan Bouman passed for two touchdowns in each half against Brainerd on Friday, using a combination of dropbacks and rollouts. It’s challenging for defenses to see a quarterback of his size, with superb footwork, rolling out and exhibiting great vision down the field. He had great pass protection, with zero sacks. The Bison offensive line includes 6-foot-8, 275-pound left tackle Hunter Poncius, who has committed to North Dakota State.

“The offensive line, I can’t say enough about them today,” Aidan said after Friday’s game. “We knew Brainerd was going to be aggressive coming in, and they did an absolutely amazing job today, no sacks, great overall play by them. And with our receivers, we have so many options it’s just hard to stop us. Obviously Treyton’s a D1 player (with offers from North Dakota State and Northern Iowa), and you saw Biegert, he caught two touchdowns right away, Tony Dahl, we have so many options and everybody played great today. It was a fun game.”

Brainerd’s Ron Stolski, who is in his 57th season as a head football coach, called Bouman “as good a quarterback as we've seen in a very long time.”

As a sophomore starter last season Aidan completed 55 percent of his passes, throwing for 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions and averaging 267 passing yards per game. He played in five games as a freshman, passing for 10 scores.

Once Aidan announced his college decision, questions started coming up about his basketball career. Some think he should concentrate on football and give up his winter sport.

“I never wanted him to specialize,” Todd said of his son, who also played baseball until a few years ago.

Aidan said, “I’ve definitely heard some of that. It goes through your head but I’ve loved basketball since I was little and we’re going to have a great team. I don’t want to miss out on any of that.”

Only one football game into his junior year, Aidan said he’s excited about what the rest of his high school career will hold, in both sports.

“I’m trying not to rush anything,” he said. “I want to enjoy these last two years of high school. My friends, I’ve known them since I was little. I want to enjoy this time with my friends.”

--To see a photo gallery, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn



Class 1A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/2/2018 7:55:13 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association

CLASS 1A
TEAMS
1 Breck
2 Blake
3 Litchfield
4 Rochester Lourdes
5 Virginia
6 St. James
7 Minnewaska
8 Osakis
9 Jordan
10 LeSueur-Henderson

INDIVIDUALS
1 Arlina Shen (11) Blake
2 Katie Mulvey (12) Trinity at River Ridge
3 Clare Palen (11) Rochester Lourdes
4 Shanna Kinny (12) Litchfield
5 Ally Agerland (9) Holy Family Catholic
6 Natalie Allison (12) Rochester Lourdes
7 Sophia Martin (12) Breck
8 Renata Hernandez (12) St. James
9 Danielle Thorfinnson (11) Minnewaska
10 Elise Bierbaum (10) Litchfield



Class 2A Girls Tennis Rankings
Posted by John Millea (jmillea@mshsl.org) - Updated 9/2/2018 7:54:46 PM

Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association

CLASS 2A
TEAMS
1 Edina
2 Minnetonka
3 Rochester Mayo
4 Mounds View
5 Eastview
6 Prior Lake
7 Hopkins
8 Duluth East
9 Mahtomedi
tie-10 Maple Grove
tie-10 Elk River

INDIVIDUALS
1 Nicole Copeland (11) Edina
2 Maddie Suk (12) Hopkins
3 Aili Hietala (10) Duluth East
4 Andrea Jansson (12) Edina
5 Ellen Puzak (12) Minneapolis Southwest
6 Karin Young (9) Eastview
7 Lauren Ferg (12) Eagan
8 Nikki Ridenour (9) Roseville
9 Kelsey Dorr (12) Princeton
tie-10 Zoe Adkins (9) Maple Grove
tie-10 Delaney Schurhamer (11) Woodbury



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