Archive for August, 2008

It really is a track meet on grass

August 23, 2008

Thank goodness they start these eight-man games at 7 p.m. instead of 7:30. They’re going to be hell on deadlines.

It’s 8:40, the first half just ended and there are nine touchdowns on the board.

Surprisingly, five of them have come from Central City, which holds a 36-27 lead.

The Wildcats couldn’t stop Northeast Hamilton on its first four possession, but forced turnovers on the next two. That’s the difference.


Eight-man debut

August 22, 2008

We’re ready to to start at Central City. Northeast Hamilton brings a 25-game regular-season win streak into the contest.

This is small-school football for sure. Smoke is wafting from the grill near a new concession stand (the folks here are extremely proud of it).

The band has played the national anthem and school song (Go U Northwestern). The band consisted of 14 members. But, honestly, they weren’t bad.

Central City won the toss. The Wildcats will receive …

Gazette preseason football rankings

August 22, 2008

Courtesy of Jeff Dahn


1. West Des Moines Valley

2. Bettendorf

3. Cedar Rapids Washington

4. Southeast Polk

5. Iowa City High

6. Ankeny

7. Cedar Falls

8. Cedar Rapids Xavier

9. Johnston

10. Davenport Assumption


1. Sioux City Heelan

2. Harlan

3. DeWitt Central

4. Marion

5. Oelwein

6. Clear Lake

7. Waverly-Shell Rock

8. Le Mars

9. Carlisle

10. Benton Community


1. Solon

2. Central Lyon-GLR

3. North Fayette

4. Humboldt

5. Iowa City Regina

6. Mediapolis

7. Carroll Kuemper

8. Eagle Grove

9. Clarinda

10. Wilton


1. Aplington-Parkersburg

2. Council Bluffs St. Albert

3. Northeast

4. West Lyon

5. West Branch

6. Starmont

7. Saint Ansgar

8. Emmetsburg

9. Lawton-Bronson

10. Maquoketa Valley


1. Southern Cal

2. Madrid

3. Wapsie Valley

4. North Tama

5. Algona Garrigan

6. Avoca AHST

7. Mason City Newman

8. Montezuma

9. Woodbury Central

10. WACO


1. Stanton

2. North Sentral Kossuth

3. Armstrong-Ringsted

4. Ventura

5. Tri-County

6. East Mills

7. Melcher-Dallas

8. Lenox

9. Walnut

10. West Central

Our yearbook, our crutch

August 22, 2008

The Gazette is beginning its weeklong tour through Eastern Iowa prep football. Today, we spotlighted the entrance of 8-man football into Linn County, along with state rankings, players to watch, etc.

Each day, we do capsules on area teams in a certain class. This year, our job was made much more difficult.

The IHSAA and/or Iowa Coaches Association publishes a yearbook, which provides schedules, returning letterwinners and other valuable information that media can use.

The yearbooks used to be released in July. Every year, they’ve come a little later. This year, apparently, they’re on back order.

It has made our job a lot more difficult. Fortunately, because of earnest staffers like K.J. Pilcher and Al Gruwell, we’ve been able to weather the storm.

Shawn Johnson … a rumor, and only a rumor

August 20, 2008

Word from Des Moines says there’s a buzz that Shawn Johnson might compete as a diver for the West Des Moines Valley girls’ swim team.

This is strictly hearsay. A rumor. But interesting, huh? Many of the top divers in Iowa come from gymnastics backgrounds.

Can you imagine the size of the crowd at Marshalltown on a Friday night in November if Johnson would qualify for state? Would Bela Karolyi stew and stammer at the judges’ scores? And would anyone understand him?

Our preseason lineup

August 19, 2008

Everything is subject to change of course, but here is our plan of attack on preseason work. It begins Friday.

Friday 8/22: Prep football overview, with preseason rankings and 8-man capsules

Saturday 8/23: Class A football package

Monday 8/25: Class 1A football package; volleyball season preview

Tuesday 8/26: Class 2A football package; girls’ swimming season preview

Wednesday 8/27: Class 3A football package

Thursday 8/28: Class 4A/MVC football package; cross country season preview

Set your clocks accordingly.

Hail to the Trojans … and Vikings

August 18, 2008

Iowa City West had the state’s top athletics program in 2007-08.

Says who? Bank Iowa, of course.

Bank Iowa sponsors a Traveling Cup challenge. Iowa City West accumulated the most points in any class, with 940.8. Athletic achievements are noted. So is academic prowess. They have a scoring formula that’s far too complicated to go into here. Here’s a link to the site:

Other notes on this:

West ranks #1 among 4A schools. Waukee is #2. Not so long ago, Waukee was a “small school.” Now it’s a growing athletics powerhouse. Someday, some say, it will be the largest school in the state. It doesn’t sound like a stretch.

Decorah was the top program in 3A with 700.5 points. Marion was fifth.

Four of the top six schools in 2A were private schools, led by Council Bluffs St. Albert.

Wapsie Valley was the 1A leader.

Back to work

August 18, 2008

Vacation is over.

Four days at the Twin Lakes. An anniversary date. A weekend kids baseball tournament.

Batteries are recharged for another school year.

It’s time to get back to work.

Week Zero, minus 16 days

August 6, 2008

(OUR APOLOGIES … CAL is at Springville in Week Zero. IHSAA website gave us incorrect info.)

Northeast Hamilton is an 8-man football powerhouse. The Trojans were state champions in 2006, then advanced to the quarterfinals last year.

They invade Central City as 8-man makes its Linn County debut Aug. 22. That’s commonly known as “Week Zero.” We’ll be there, and we’re excited about it.

In other Week Zero games, all 8-man encounters, Olin travels to Janesville and Springville hosts Latimer CAL.

For the geographically challenged, Northeast Hamilton is in Blairsburg, which lies between Webster City and Iowa Falls on old U.S. Highway 20.

Latimer is west of Hampton, on Highway 3, hugging I-35. According to, that’s a trip of 128.2 miles, or 2 hours 23 minutes. Blairsburg to Central City is 123.7 miles. Two hours, 6 minutes. Don’t chuckle too loud, Springville and Central City fans, unless your football son is a senior. You go to CAL and Northeast Hamilton next year.

One of our new favorite teams, the Bison from Buffalo Ridge, makes its debut in Week Zero. That’s a conglomeration of Galva-Holstein and Schaller-Crestland. They’ll play against Correctionville River Valley at home. That could be Holstein, Schaller or Early. We’re not sure, and we won’t be there. We’ll be at Central City.

Warriors are #8

August 6, 2008