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June 18, 2012A belated Happy Father's Day to all. It is my own Father's Day celebration which makes my report on the annual Sertoma 8-Man Classic a bit tardy. (FYI, Golf with the kids was a highlight, as was the cheeseburger I enjoyed Sunday afternoon...)
Two topics of note today. The first is the 8-Man Classic, which certainly lived up to the name, and also the progress of our Huskerland preseason magazine, a five-month project which is nearly conclusion, at least in our office.
As for last Saturday, the opening few drives (I use that term loosely) weren't anything special - the game was scoreless midway through the second period, this in light of last year's 7-0 final. Ugh. But after a while, and once the West calculated the wind, the big plays were numerous, especially in the passing game.
Ryan Mitties of Creighton was the West offensive MVP and did generate 112 yards of offense and scored on a pair of one-yard runs but there were other West heroes, to be sure.
* Kalen Anderson of Loomis scored the game's final TD on a 24-yard run but will certainly always remember his thrilling 74-yard punt return for a touchdown.
* Pleasanton's Colin Janitscheck completed nine passes for 231 yards, including an 81-yard TD strike to Sargent's Jed Fenske and a 66-yard pass to St. Mary's Tait Sibbel, who also had two interceptions.
* Fenske, who scored twice, the other TD coming on a four-yard run and caught six passes for 132 yards. And terrified defenders every time he touched the ball.
The East showed a lot of heart in coming back from a 21-0 deficit - time to turn out the lights on most all-star games, especially those played in 80-degree heat in the middle of the afternoon - but the cut the deficit to 27-22 before the West scored three quick TDs to put the game away.
The East had good luck on the ground, rushing for 225 yards, with St. Francis's Blake Krings leading the way with 74 yards on the ground, much of it as the East rallied in the third quarter. Pawnee City's Garrett Borcher rushed for 62 yards and also scored on the East's biggest play, a 99-yard fumble return.
I have been to many of these all-star games over the year, but as the PA blared the names you knew this one was different. So many great athletes from so many schools; 2011-12 was truly a banner sports year for Class D athletes.
The biggest mystery to me came during the pregame, when I came onto the field in the south end zone area. Usually, almost always, there is a lawn tractor sitting there, and on that lawn tractor, usually, almost always, sits Mullen coach Mike Brown and former Sandhills coach Reggie Smith. They weren't there this year, taking away some of the luster of the event. Well, sort of...
As for the football book, it has been taking most of my time since early February. We have had lots going on at our two newspapers (Central City, Elm Creek area; think Fort Kearny Conference) and turnover in our staff. All if it has thrown be way behind but I rallied late and today, only three days late, I will be sending the manuscript to our publisher in New York City. We should have the magazine returned to us sometime in early August.
Now would be a great time for you to call our office at 800-323-3929 to order your copy or get your season's subscription to Huskerland. The magazine alone is $20.00 (postage paid) while the 12-issue subscription is $32.00, including the magazine.
As usual, it's been a blast putting the thing together, none of it more enjoyable than the in-person interviews I have compiled with about 20 players from across the state.
With the magazine out of the way we will also be able to amp up our on-line coverage, which will be nice. Thanks for staying with us as we got through these last few weeks and we look forward to bringing you football coverage for the next six months or so, capping it all with a review of the state finals.