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Sunday, October 31, 1999
What a Week!
What a tremendous week this has been! Great performances by high school kids competing in sports they love to play, in front of many supportive fans. Is there any question that high school activities (sports, choir, band, orchestra, drama, knowledge bowl, mock trial, odyssey, JETS, and many more) is the purest form of entertainment we have at our disposal? Watching kids apply what they have learned in a team or group setting is very envigorating. People who say we should cut co-curricular activities from the school budget don't understand the educational value of those activities. In this era of grad standards and performance assessments
making their way into the curriculum plan in all areas of education, one needs look no further than involvement in co-curricular activties for a model of learning. Did you know that less than 3% of the entire school district 544 budget goes to fund all of these activities? That's a bargain any way you slice it. Think about it, or ask a student how valuable co-curriculars are to them. Ask an employer: if you have two candidates for a job, both equally skilled, but one has experience in team settings from co-curricular involvement in school and the other one doesn't, who do you hire? The lessons learned from this type of participation, in my opinion, are the lessons we continue to draw from through our entire lifetime. Okay, that said, I applaud Underwood and Battle Lake for their support of their school building projects and encourage Fergus Falls and Perham voters to vote Yes on Tuesday. The impact will be felt by students in Districts 544 and 549 for years to come. Remember, your vote makes a huge difference.

I got off on a tangent there didn't I? But, hey, it's my column! Now on to those accomplishments!

37-2-1! That's the Otter boys soccer record over the past two seasons. Coach Bjerke pointed out to me that this team has never had to try to regroup following a loss. Their only losses ended their seasons the past two years. I don't have the official numbers, but Luke Johnston is the all-time career scoring leader for Otter soccer and should be in the top five for the next fifteen to twenty years. He and Nate Townsend were the co-captains for the first Otter boys soccer team to qualify for a state tournament appearance. They fell behind 2-0 to White Bear Lake Thursday night, but came back to make it 2-1 late in the game and had created some great scoring opportunities. This team will always be remembered for their firsts and their intensity! Jon Matteson really frustrated All-State and All-Metro player Chris Lagos. He'll be seeing #5 in his nightmares!

Tim Erickson from Ben Brimhall for the touchdown! Three times on Saturday night those two seniors hooked up for six points! Erickson had 8 catches for 159 yards and made several outstanding catches. Brimhall threw for 213 yards, including a couple of passes that were "things of beauty"! I don't know how else to describe them! His 20 yard pass to Erickson in the third quarter was as perfect a pass as you can throw! Also, #7 can run! He had scrambles that turned into 23, 16, 14 and 11 yard gains. Caleb Rudnick came up bigger than big, when he sacked Rocori QB Rick Burtzell as he frantically sought out a receiver for the two-point conversion that would have tied the game and forced an overtime. The Otters will play Sartell, a 32-28 winner over Detroit Lakes, Thursday at 8:00 p.m. in the Fargodome. Sartell scored the final 18 points of the game in DL to upset the Lakers.

West Central Area continues their unbeaten season (10-0), with a 20-14 win over a stubborn Ottertail Central team. What a great year for both of those teams. Don Seipkes' crew can hold their heads high. As for the Knights, Hawley is their next roadblock to a state tournament berth. They play Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. in the Fargodome for the Section 6AA title.

Hillcrest manhandled Laporte on Thursday, 43-6, holding them to only 3 offensive yards in the first half. Everyone got into the act on offense as touchdowns came from many different sources. The Comets are fine-tuned and as healthy as they've been in quite awhile as they prepare for their game at 3:00 p.m Wednesday with Verndale. They have already played the Pirates twice, splitting their season series. I like the Comets in the Fargodome!

I will see you at a game or two this week!

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, October 27, 1999
I Love E-Mail
It is really great to receive E-Mail messages from several of the visitors to this website! The first week we were up I received several congratulatory messages, several wishing me well in this venture, and have continued to receive several per day with various topics, including some story contributions (one of which is featured in our "Blast from the Past"). I got one Tuesday afternoon from Greg Meidt, son of former Rothsay football coach, Gerhard Meidt (whose 1972 State Champs we featured in a recent "Blast from the Past"). Greg had been turned on to our site by friends in the area and paid a visit. He also updated me on what his dad is up to in 'retirement'. Some retirement! Coach Meidt is still Coach Meidt. He is the defensive backs coach for Bethel College, off to a 5-2 start this season. His son Chris Meidt, Greg's younger brother, is the offensive coordinator at Bethel. Greg said that although Bethel is a pretty good offensive football team, they don't average 46 points per game like his dad's teams did over 12 years of coaching in Rothsay. What years they were!

It's always fun to see the number of e-mail entries we get in our NFL prediction contest. By the way, Mark Becker is our most recent winner, with only one wrong last week! Mark has been a consistent player and of course every week he plays he increases the odds that he'll win one of our end of the year cash prizes. In case you haven't heard, when you enter the contest, you get an entry in our drawing for $75, $50 and $25 cash prizes at the end of the season. So get back to our home page and enter!

Be watching for our Fergus Falls Youth Hockey pages, coming in November. The hockey season is about to get underway. Paul Hadland is among a group of hockey boosters starting recreational hockey nights for boys in grades five through eight. There is no traveling involved and no checking allowed. This is a program for those youth who are not a part of the traveling hockey programs in the Fergus Falls Hockey Association. The cost is $35.00 which includes the required registration in USAHockey. The games will be on late Sunday afternoons and sometimes on Saturdays at the Satellite Hockey Arena. Registration can be done in person on Saturday afternoon, November 6th, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the hockey arena, or by calling Paul at 739-3461.

Otters host Rocori on Saturday in the Section Eight 4A football playoffs on Saturday night at seven. The cost is $5 for adults, $3 for students. Remember, no passes are accepted during the post season. Let's hope for another beautiful night! This fall, almost every night there's been a football game, it's been very pleasant weather. Next time you see 'Fuzz' Noreen tell him how great his field looks! Between FFHS, Hillcrest and FFCC, we have three of the best fields in the state! Great job guys!

I'm sure you baseball fanatics (I know you're out there), are wondering about my next attempted bus trip. How about this, Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16, 2000. Sammy Sosa and the Cubs at the Metrodome for a 6:05 p.m. Saturday game, stay overnight at a luxurious (okay, reasonably priced) hotel, then catch "Big Mac" and the Cardinals in a 1:05 p.m. Sunday game at the Dome. Price to be determined, but mark down the dates and start thinking about it. It will be the first of many www.craigolsonsports.com baseball trips in the years to come, including Cooperstown in 2001 when Kirby should be a first ballot inductee. Reserve late July-early August of 2001 for that one. We'll hit Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park and Cooperstown for sure.

Okay, that's all for now. See you at a game!

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, October 24, 1999
The Fall Classic and All Century Team
As I write this, I am drying my eyes after watching the pre-game show leading up to game two of the 1999 World Series, the last Fall Classic of this century. I admit it, I have been weeping as I watched the introduction of the All-Century Team. The tears weren't gushing, but flowing slowly as the great major leaguers were introduced in front of a jam-packed Turner Field in Atlanta. For many, myself included, baseball has been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember. It has a romanticsm that no other sport, great as they may be, has. I can't explain it. I don't know why this game has this type of affect on me, but it does. I get goosebumps watching a ceremony like the one I saw tonight. I get goosebumps when I think of many, probably hundreds of moments throughout my lifetime, that baseball has touched me. Bear with me as I pass along some of the names and accomplishments of the All-Century team members.

I was okay until I saw Ted Williams being helped to the center of the platform. 'Teddy Ballgame', the 'Splendid Splinter', the last man to hit over .400 (.406 in 1941), winner of two triple crowns, and hitting a homerun in his last at bat in the majors. Ted could have sat out his team's double header on the last day of the 1941 season and assured himself a .400 average, in fact his manager asked him if wanted to. Williams, true to form, would have none of that. All he did was go 6 for 8 in the two games and raise his average!

Other outfielders on the All-Century Team included Willie Mays (the 'Say-Hey Kid'). What a tremendous player, many consider him the greatest all-around player in the history of the game. Willie hit 660 homeruns, third all-time, was an all-star 24 times and won eleven gold gloves (could he cover centerfield!). All-time homerun king 'Hammerin' Hank Aaron. His record setting 715th homerun occurred 25 years ago. He finished with 755 and is also the all-time RBI leader. He too was a 24 time all-star. Stan 'The Man' Musial, another 24 time all-star selection and a three time MVP. Ken Griffey, Jr., the youngest player on the team at 29, already with 398 career homeruns. Babe Ruth, who started his career as a pitcher and finished it as an American legend (714 HR's). The 'Yankee Clipper', Joe Dimaggio, with his 56 game hitting streak, Mickey Mantle whose 1956 triple crown season was one of the greatest ever and Ty Cobb whose lifetime .367 batting average is higher than any other player in the history of the game.

Others honored were Brooks Robinson, 16 time gold glove winner; Mike Schmidt, 3 time MVP; Cal Ripken, Jr., 2632 consecutive games; Lou Gehrig, the 'Iron Horse', 23 career grand slams; Yogi Berra, most hits and games in world series history and a three time MVP; Rogers Hornsby, his .424 average in 1924 is the highest of the century; Honus Wagner, winner of 10 National League batting titles; Jackie Robinson, he broke baseball's color barrier in 1947 and in the process became a national hero; Johnny Bench, a feared hitter on the 'Big Red Machine' of the '70's, and one of the greatest backstops of all time; Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub, and of course, Mark McGwire, 49 homers his rookie season and 70 in 1998, both single season records.

Pitcher, what a group of hurlers gathered in Atlanta. I'll take any of them on my team. Nolan Ryan, 5714 strikeouts and 7 no-hitters; Warren Spahn, the winningest lefty in National League history; Walter 'Big Train' Johnson, 110 career shutouts; Cy Young, 511 wins and an award named for him that goes to the best pitcher in each league every year; Sandy Koufax, 0.95 era in 57 world series innings, the most dominant pitcher in the early 60's; Roger 'The Rocket' Clemens, 5 time Cy Young Award winner; Christy Matthewson, Lefty Grove and Bob Gibson (1.12 era in 1968 and 17 strikeouts in one world series game).

This team was voted on by the fans and the fans voted Pete Rose onto the team as an outfielder. Rose, of course, is serving a 'lifetime' ban from baseball, for allegedly betting on baseball games, including games involving his own team. Commissioner Bud Selig extended an olive branch by allowing Rose to be on the field and be honored by the fans with his peers. Rose got a loud, long ovation and was then given the third degree in a post-ceremony interview by reporter Jim Gray. It was not an appropriate time for the type of questions Gray was asking and it tainted the evening's festivities in my mind. I don't necessarily agree that Rose should be re-admitted to baseball, but he did deserve to be treated better on this occasion, by the media.

Some great players, some great memories, a great game. Thanks for letting me share a few thoughts about it with you.

By the way, I picked the Yankees in 6, but it may be a sweep. They are dominating the Braves, leading 5-0 in game two after winning game one 4-1.

When does spring training start?

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Friday, October 22, 1999
Its Playoff Time!
There's nothing quite like the high school playoffs. No matter what the sport, the playoffs hold an excitement that can't be manufactured. Teams have been working hard since mid-August, trying to find the right combination of players, that chemistry that produces a champion. Now, in the course of just a few weeks, we'll see champions crowned and we'll see our favorite teams, one by one, end their seasons. Make it a point to attend as many playoff games as you can. It's envigorating to see these young student-athletes challenge their physical, mental and emotional limits as they try to reach the next level.

History was made Thursday afternoon when the 1999 version of Otter boys soccer became the first soccer team in school history to qualify for a state tournament berth. Their 1-0 win over St. Cloud Tech has landed them in the state AA quarterfinals against White Bear Lake on Thursday in St. Louis Park. Game time is 7:30. Scott Bjerke's team has won more games (19) than any previous Otter boys soccer team.

The West Central Area Knights are 8-0. 7-0 against Heart O' Lakes Conference teams. That is a great accomplishment. Coach Mike Frisch told me one of the big differences between this year's unbeaten team and the 6-2 team a year ago has been creating good breaks rather than bad ones. That can be directly attributed to the experience factor. A lot of the Knights were new to varsity last year and that extra year of playing time is huge! Pre-season goals were to have a winning season and be in the thick of the conference race. 8-0, H-O-L conference champs. Time to raise the bar!

A team to be reckoned with in Section 6AA will be Ottertail Central. The Bulldogs are 6-2 and have been an impressive offensive team this season. They open at home against Ortonville Tuesday night at 6:00. The game will be played in Henning. Coach Don Seipkes is hoping the layoff after the forfeit victory over Menahga won't hurt his team. The running game has been outstanding with Micah Tysver and Travis Christensen each rushing for over 100 yards in the last three games.

Hillcrest is hoping to have Jon Ronnevik back in the lineup for Thursday night's playoff semifinal at LaPorte. Ronnevik had knee surgery after week two of the season and has been given the doctor's okay to start running. He can resume contact Tuesday and will see the doctor again before the game. The Comets have missed Ronnevik at the guard spot and will be strengthened by his return.

Senior offensive and defensive lineman Ross Johnson will miss the rest of the season for the Fergus Falls Otters. Johnson, who has been playing with the aid of a knee brace all year, was injured near the end of the first half on Wednesday in Bemidji. He will have surgery in November and doctors are saying it will be at least eight months of rehabilitation. Johnson is the captain of the Otter wrestling team and was hoping for a return trip to the state tournament this year. Ross is a hard worker and a very nice young man. Injuries are a part of sports, but it's always tough to see this happen, especially to a senior.

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, October 20, 1999
Fall Season Winding Down
Shelly Kangas and her girls soccer team made a tremendous run during the Section 5A playoffs. Three 1-0 games, two of them wins, one of them over the top-seeded Lakers in Detroit Lakes, and the loss coming against a good Duluth Denfeld team in Proctor. Some pretty impressive stuff. This is a monumental year for the Fergus Falls girls soccer program. This team is the first to win a post season game, and their defensive play was truly outstanding. They allowed only 20 goals in 15 games and were involved in 11 shutouts, five wins, five losses and a scoreless tie. The offense struggled, scoring only 15 goals on the way to a 5-8-2 season, but goaltender Joanna Erlandson, kept every game close with her MVP type year! Way to go girls, you've set the standard by which future girls soccer teams will be measured.

The first fall season to come to an end was girls tennis. The Otters completed that season last week in Grand Forks. Coach Derek Abrahams had a very young team, only four seniors, and will return his entire singles lineup next year. Eighth-grader Kim Lindblom held her own at number one singles against pfedominantly junior and senior opponents. After two years of varsity seasoning, look for Kim to make big strides between now and next season.

Bruce Strom's West Central Area Knights had their best season ever, finishing at 13-4. Senior singles player Ashley Christians is still playing in the individual section tournament. Her next match is Thursday in Grand Forks.

Check out our new feature on the home page, the Integrity Computer Systems Area Athlete of the Week. Every Monday we'll feature a new athlete from one of our area schools. John Kilde of Hillcrest was our first person so honored (remember that for a future trivia contest), and now Micah Tysver of Ottertail Central. Two great high school football players and two very nice young men. Thanks to Kevin Burkhardsmier and everyone at Integrity for sponsoring this great feature! Have a nominee? E-mail us!

I apologize! I have forgotten to post the winners of our NFL Prediction Contest the past couple of weeks. I had been reporting it here in this column, but I've had too much other info I guess! As friend and co-worker Charlie Kampa is fond of saying, "It slipped my so-called mind!" This past week the winner was Al Pendergrass with four wrong. Frank Morehouse also had four wrong but finished second when it went to the points in the Monday night game. So, our winners so far are Mike Smith, Tom Spencer, John Rose, Jeff Swedberg, Dean Nielsen and Al Pendergrass. Remember, there is a Thursday game this week, so get your picks in by 6:00 p.m. Thursday to be eligible. Pass the word along to your friends and family! When you enter each week you receive an entry into our end of the year cash drawing for $75, $50 and $25! Keep playing! The weekly prize is $20!

Check out Chris Wasberg's great two-part piece on the Otter Boys Soccer Team. You'll find it on the Service Food Special of the Day (be sure to look up the daily deli specials, too)! This guy can write! By the way, the Otters will host St. Cloud Tech on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in the Section 8AA championship game. You can tune it in live on AM 1020-KJ Oldies.

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Saturday, October 16, 1999
More College Athletes
I really love hearing about all the area student-athletes continuing their schooling and their athletic competition at the collegiate level. My last column was devoted entirely to news of that nature. This column won't be entirely on that subject, but there are so many great things happening for area kids who are competing.

Jill Field, former standout high school athlete at Agassiz Valley High School, is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, running cross country for coach Gary Wilson. Jill was redshirted last year after suffering a stress fracture about a week before her freshman season was to begin. Jill exceeded everyone's expectations of her return to competition, as she won the BluGold Invitational at Eau Claire on October 1st. She has cracked the top ten on the team and has made the traveling squad. The Gophers are ranked 12th in the nation and they will be hosting the Minnesota Open on October 22nd. Her father, Brad, says Jill really loves life at the "U" and her family is thankful for the positive experience she is enjoying after a stressful recruiting experience during her final year of high school. We'll keep you posted on her progress!

Otter girls swimming coach Tom Uvaas is excited about the number of former swimmers competing collegiately. His daughter, Trina Uvaas, is swimming for Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and will most likely be competing in the 200 backstroke, the 100 backstroke and the medley relay. Maria Bigwood is at the U of M and working out in the Individual Medley and freestyle events. Renee Renelt is at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Kristin Swenson is at Macalester and Erin Boole is at Gustavus-Adolphus.

WOW! It's late Saturday afternoon as I write this column and the Otter soccer teams are flying high! The Fergus Falls girls, seeded fifth in Section 4, have won two 1-0 games in the playoffs, including today's upset of the top-seeded Lakers in Detroit Lakes. They play Tuesday in Proctor in the Section semifinals. Shelly Kangas has got to be beaming, and very proud of her girls!

The Otter boys avenged last year's loss to Elk River with a 4-2 win in the semi's and will now face either Tech or Apollo on Thursday at four o'clock in the Section championship game at the Middle School Field. Andy Mathison scored two goals and Preben Hesvik had a goal and an assist. The Otters were intense and played very good defense, led by Jon Mattson, Paul Hicks and Brandon Kelman.

Sara Foslien, a senior for the Brandon-Evansville Chargers volleyball team, has been named the Little 8 Conference player of the week for the week of October 4 through October 8. In two wins over Underwood and Rothsay, Foslien served 22 of 24 for 17 points including 6 ace serves, had 8 kills and 17 digs. Her team is undefeated and Sara appears to be healthy after struggling with some injuries this season.

Brandon-Evansville received the number one seed in the Region 6A South Sub-Section Volleyball tournament. Wheaton is seeded second, Chokio-Alberta third, KMS fourth, C-G-B fifth, Hancock sixth, Herman-Norcross seventh and Campbell-Tintah-Fairmount eighth. The tournament begins October 28th.

In the North Sub Section the seeding went like this: 1-Ulen-Hitterdal, 2-Underwood, 3-Battle Lake, 4-Lake Park-Audubon, 5-Rothsay, 6-Hillcrest, 7-Ashby, 8-Parkers Prairie, 9-Circle of Life.

Some big nights for running backs Friday. Brian Larrivy of Fergus Falls had 36 carries, 178 yards and 2 TD's. Larrivy had to carry the load because of injuries to David Karst and Chad Hopponen.

Jake Sternhagen scored four times and rushed for 147 yards on 20 carries for West Central Area.

Micah Tysver scored all 26 of his teams points, four touchdowns and a two point conversion while rushing for 244 yards. He and teammate Travis Christensen have each gained over 100 yards in the last three games.

It's a short week for football teams, MEA week. Games are Wednesday and Thursday this week. Also, lots of seeding results coming this week in volleyball and football. Stay tuned.

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Wednesday, October 13, 1999
College Athletes
It's hard to believe that Clayton Horgen is a Senior at Concordia. The Fergus Falls High School grad is having another great season kicking the football. Horgen was named the Special Teams Player of the Week in the M-I-A-C last week. He punted 7 times, averaging 48.5 yards per punt, assisting the Cobbers in their 17-10 victory over St. Olaf. He also kicked a 27 yard field goal and two PAT's. Concordia is 4-0 in the M-I-A-C heading into Collegeville Saturday to face St. John's. The Johnnies were upset by Bethel last week.

Jenny Gronner (Underwood), is seeing some playing time for the Bison volleyball team. She has been in 13 of the 20 matches the Bison have played, seeing the floor in 17 of their 68 games. Here .343 kill percentage is tops among all Bison hitters with 30 kills and only 7 errors on 67 total attacks. She is averaging 1.76 kills per game.

Meegan Shebeck (Underwood), is playing the backrow and setting in a 5-2 offense for the Hamline University Pipers. Meegan is a junior and is in her first year at Hamline, after setting for Ann Williams at FFCC for two years. Hamline is 9-10 overall and 2-4 in conference play. Meegan is majoring in psychology and is interested in physical therapy and sports medicine.

Kellen Shebeck (Underwood), is transferring to FFCC next semester. Shebeck is a freshman at Hibbing Community College and was going to play both basketball and baseball for the Cardinals. Kellen wants to be closer to his family and friends and will switch at the semester break. Kellen is a top-notch catcher and will be playing baseball for Kent Bothwell at FFCC. He's a nice young man and will be a great addition to FFCC.

Two other Underwood grads, Aaron Sletten and his sister Megan Sletten, are both on collegiate golf teams. Aaron is in his first year at division II school, Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. Lawton is about 90 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. He transferred to Cameron when Texas Lutheran went from D-II to D-III and stopped giving scholarship money to athletes. Aaron is a junior, and recently finished 13th in the Oklahoma Invitational with a three-round score of 75-68-75---218.
Megan is a sophomore at Texas Lutheran where she is one of the top five players on the golf team. The Bulldogs placed third out of fourteen teams at the Hardin-Simmons University Invitational in Abilene, Texas.

Fergus Falls high school grad, Eric Ecker, is now a Senior at the University of South Carolina. Ecker's 9th ranked Gamecocks recently finished second to #5 Oklahoma State at the Taylor Made Red River Classic held at the Dallas Athletic Club in Dallas, Texas. Eric tied for 11th place in the individual competition with a 10 under 206 including rounds of 68-68-70. Earlier this season he was tied for 24th at the Carpet Capital Classic at The Farm in Rocky Face, Georgia. Eric shot the best round of the three-day tournament, a six under par 66 to climb 26 spots on the leaderboard the final day.

NDSU Senior receiver, Tim Strehlow, is rapidly moving up the ladder in a number of career receiving categories. In fact, his next touchdown reception will tie him with Len Kretchman for the career lead with 24. He also needs just 9 yards to pass Kretchman and move into second place in receiving yardage. Len is currently second with 1915. T.R. McDonald is first with an unapproachable 2,544 yards. Kretchman stands fifth in career receptions with 84, a mark Strehlow has already passed. Len played for the Bison in their "glory years" from 1985 through 1988.

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Monday, October 11, 1999
St. Louis 4-0?
The St. Louis Rams are the only unbeaten team in the NFL. Yes, the St. Louis Rams. Their quarterback is Kurt Warner (no not the running back from Seattle, that was Curt), but the Arena Football League's Most Valuable Player (and maybe the NFL's MVP this year). The way he has performed and his team has performed so far has been remarkable. Five touchdown passes on Sunday against San Francisco, four of them to Isaac Bruce. Dick Vermeil has built an offensive juggernaut (don't you love that word?). The most amazing thing about Sunday's win is the way they dominated the 49ERS. True, they aren't the 49ERS of old, but they are still a good football team. Plus, they had to play without their main running back, Marshall Faulk, who left the game with an injury. The prospects are good for the Rams to continue their success as their schedule is very favorable. Home and home match-ups remaining with New Orleans and Carolina, road games at Atlanta, Tennessee, Detroit Philadelphia and San Francisco, and home games with Cleveland, the Giants, and Chicago.

Denver and Atlanta are finally winners, but barely. The Falcons held on to beat the Saints, and the Broncos had to rally to beat the Raiders. Key injuries have really hurt Atlanta (Jamaal Anderson, Chris Chandler) and key personnel losses have hurt the Broncos (John Elway, Steve Atwater and now the injury to Terrell Davis).

Otter Tail Central had an amazing offensive effort against USA (Upsala-Swanville Area), on Friday night, rushing for 568 yards in a 48-7 win. Travis Christensen (17-207-2) and Micah Tysver (19-174-1) were the beneficiaries of some outstanding play from the offensive line. OTC had 65 snaps from center and ran the ball 58 times, averaging over 10 yards per carry.

Talk about great offensive line play, how about West Central Area. They kept the ball for all but six plays in the second half as they beat Breckenridge 35-7. Jake Sternhagen was at it again, rushing for 164 yards and scoring two touchdowns. The Cowboys lost two key players Jon Bogenreiff (ankle) and Ryan Abel (knee) in that game. They are uncertain of their status for Friday night.

Agassiz Valley benefited from the return of Brian Field, who caught a key third down pass play during the Thunder's winning touchdown drive, and also allowed the Thunder to operate in a double tight end set offensively. 6'10", 310 pound junior defensive lineman Matt Sogn seems to have found new life at nose guard. Coach Al Krueger moved him from his defensive tackle spot and Sogn responded with 2 sacks and 7 tackles.

Nathan Kriel of Barnesville is a member of the 1999 Bemidji State University Football Team. Kriel, a senior majoring in industrial technology. is an offensive lineman for the Beavers. Bemidji State is 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the NSIC this season.

Bears fans and Vikings fans will enjoy Chris Wasberg's "Tale of Two Teams", the Special of the Day. Check it out. Oh, by the way, Chris is a Bears fan, as you will be able to tell when you read the article.

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Saturday, October 9, 1999
STUFF
Otter boys soccer, seeded #1 in Section 8AA. They play Brainerd on Thursday at home, 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. Bjerke's guys deserve the seed. A state tournament berth in very realistic for this bunch! They won't be happy with anything but that.

Arne is at it again. Justin Arneson returned the opening kick-off 90 yards for a touchdown in Morris last night. He left many would-be tacklers eating his dust on the way to the end zone. What a tremendous weapon!

Brian Larrivy rushed the ball 13 times of 80 yards. He ran hard. He's another one of those kids that gives you everything he's got on every play, that's why he's succesful! He never comes off the field and is having a great year at D-end, too.

Jake Lieser put a couple of hurts on the kick return men from Morris in the fourth quarter. Two big hits, just the way his coach likes them!

Tim Erickson made another clutch catch in double coverage for six points! Great focus and athleticism.

Luke Draxten, every kick is perfect. It's not a question of IF he can, only WHERE will he?

Chad Hopponen left the game with an injury. We'll let you know. He was watching from the sidelines in the final minutes.

Morris has an interesting press box arrangement. We were right above the Otters (10 feet?), and the Morris coaches were right above us (20 feet?). We could hear everything the Otter coaches were saying on the sidelines...so could the Morris coaches.

John Kilde's stats are going to be incredible this year. He only carries the ball 9 or 10 times a game and gets anywhere from 120 to 210 yards. 206 on 10 against Ashby on Friday. Can you say All-State?

Luke Hansen can fly! Two catches, 120 yards, 2 TD's. Matt Draxten and Matt Brue threw them his way. These young Comets are getting some valuable playing time. They will be ready when it's their turn.

35-7. West Central Area manhandles Breckenridge. Teams don't beat the Cowboys 35-7. They just don't! Mike Frisch has a winner in Barrett. This bunch can play! Jake Sternhagen (see comment on Kilde).

Tony Thiel, Jr., also has a winner in Wheaton. They are 6-0 after beating Verndale 19-14. Hillcrest is at Wheaton Friday.

Agassiz Valley upset Mahnomen. A big win for Al Krueger's bunch. Just so happens the win coincides with the return of senior Brian Field (tight end-defensive end) to the lineup. Brian broke his collarbone in three places (Ouch) the first day of contact drills. More than coincidence?

What is Don Seipkes feeding his Bulldogs? 71 points last week, 48 this week, what next?

I'm having fun, but I've really got to go to bed. I'm on the radio in two hours. See you at the Spartan Homecoming game, 2:30 Saturday...it's their final home game...don't miss it!

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Tuesday, October 5, 1999
Homecoming and More
What a fun week in Fergus Falls! Homecoming for Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (check out the 'Special' by Chris Wasberg), and Homecoming for FFCC. The Comets will host Ashby (Coach Risbrudt's home town) at 4:00 p.m. Friday and the Spartans host Minnesota West (Worthington) at 2:30 Saturday afternoon. Not only is it homecoming week, but it's also the final home games for these two teams, so show your support by attending both games. The Comets are in search of a number one seed in their section, while the Spartans are just trying to survive the season (two more weeks). It's great entertainment, and these guys have been working hard to improve every week. Show them you appreciate what they're doing!

The status of Mike Strohmeier and Josh Tolle? Good question. We probably won't know until Friday, but one or both may be available for quarterback duty this Saturday. It's also possible that neither will be available.

Jason Bruns of Hillcrest has been working out this week and should be able to play on Friday. Coach Risbrudt is looking at using Bruns at right guard and leaving Nate Stoltenow at fullback. Bruns could make a huge impact on the offensive line for the Comets. Hopefully he'll be healthy for the rest of the year.

Terry Miller's Ashby Arrows have been bitten by the injury bug the past two weeks. Sophomore lineman Joe Quernemoen broke his leg against Chokio-Alberta and receiver/defensive end Tyler Synstelien was lost for the season with a separated shoulder last week against Verndale. Tough on your depth when you have a roster of 27 to begin with.

Tom O'Donnell of Underwood and Jared Polzine of Henning are members of the 1999 Bemidji State University Football team. O'Donnell, a senior majoring in criminal justice, and Polzine, a freshman majoring in elementary education are both defensive backs for the Beavers. Bemidji State is 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference on the NCAA Division II level.

Terri Strom's Brandon-Evansville Chargers are ranked sixth in the class 'A' girls high school volleyball poll with an undefeated 16-0 record. They lead the Little 8 Conference race by a game over Barry Johnson's Battle Lake Battlers, who have put up a 5-1 conference record.

The battle for the Heart O' Lakes Conference lead in football will take place in Breckenridge on Friday when the Cowboys host the West Central Area Knights. Both teams are unbeaten this season. The Cowboys have allowed fewer points (33) than any other H-O-L team. The Knights have scored more points (172) than any other conference team. West Central Area is also the leading rushing and total yardage offense in the H-O-L. The Knights boast the top passer (Dave Drexler) and top rusher (Jake Sternhagen) and the two leaders in sacks (Josh Hagen and Adam Koplin) in the conference.

The major league baseball playoffs are underway. My picks, for what they are worth: Atlanta over Houston in five games and Arizona over the Mets in five. In the American League, the Yanks to sweep the Rangers and the Indians to beat the Red Sox in five games (Pedro will win the only two for Boston). Look for Atlanta and the Yanks in the World Series, although I would love to see the Diamondbacks make it!

Jeff Swedberg, after playing second fiddle for three weeks, won the week four NFL prediction contest with only two wrong! Way to go Sweds! Fred Evenson, Scott Hoffman, Ken Anderson, Kevin Burkhardsmier and Tom Spencer (week 2 winner) were all in the running but all picked Miami on Monday night. Only Sweds went with Flutie's Bills. Go to the home page (just click on the Big Logo at the top of the page) and enter the contest this week. Winner gets $20 and everyone who enters receives an entry into our end of the year cash drawing for $75, $50 and $25! What are you waiting for! Tell your friends!

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Sunday, October 3, 1999
True Warriors
The members of the Spartan football team that remain healthy are to be commended for their perseverance. This has not been an easy season for FFCC. The bad news started before the season began when All-Conference quarterback Dustin Solarz was unable to play because of his recovery from off-season shoulder surgery. Red-shirting is a possibility, but not a certainty for Solarz. Mike Strohmeier seemed to be a solid replacement after throwing for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first game as a Spartan (a debut similar to that of Solarz in '98). However, Strohmeier suffered a concussion in week two of the season, missing all but three offensive series against Northland, and then suffered a shoulder injury in week three that has kept him sidelined the past three games. He may return against Minnesota West on Saturday. Freshman Josh Tolle struggled in his first action as a Spartan against Northland and in week 3 against Vermilion, but was settling in to the starting quarterback role when he went down with a sprained ankle against Central Lakes (he threw 3 scoring passes against the Raiders). Enter Brandon Hooker, a lefty, who had been out for football but decided not to play when he was informed that he would be used as a tight end, not a quarterback. With all the qb injuries, Hooker (so the story goes), slid a note under Coach Lloyd Danzeisen's office door offering his services as quarterback. The coaching staff agreed and Hooker started the game at Rochester this past Saturday. Good news, bad news for Hooker...the good news is you're the starting quarterback, the bad news is we're playing the number 7 ranked Community College football team in the nation. The Spartans were outmanned and overmatched in Rochester, losing 69-13, but to a man, they persevered. With only 23 healthy bodies for a college football game, the Spartans 'sucked it up' and made us proud. Consider the injury list: Mike Meringer (DB-knee), Matt Leto (C-mono), John Nundahl (DT/C-major knee-out for year), Dave Lohmann (TE-sprained knee), Nate Pierson (WR-neck & back-out for year), Strohmeier (shoulder), Tolle (ankle) and Solarz (shoulder surgery-out for year). Add the death of guard Nate Kidder's sister and of coach Jay Johnson's mother earlier this season, and the year has been very difficult for this team. Let's show some support for these players who remain by attending this Saturday's homecoming game against Minnesota West (Worthington). They deserve a huge crowd to show their appreciation. Hang in there guys!

The Detroit Lakes Lakers put on an incredible display of a dominating running game in the second half of their 25-20 win over Fergus Falls last Friday night. Flint Motschenbacher's club ran 38 plays to the Otters 14 in the final two quarters, as they came from behind to win. Quarterback Ryan Manke is an impressive athlete. It will be interesting if these two teams match-up in the playoffs. Count on it happening!

Defensive lineman John Anderson scored a touchdown in that game! He picked off a Manke screen pass and rumbled (linemen always rumble) into the end zone for six points!

Terry Harrington's boys cross country team has won four straight invitational titles, including the John Hermes this past Thursday. It should be a great section meet in Alexandria on the 28th of October.

Mark McGwire won the home run championship once again, hitting 65, two more than Sammy Sosa. Before last year, only twice had players hit 60 or more in a season (Babe Ruth, 60 in 1927) and (Roger Maris, 61 in 1961). In the last two years, McGwire has hit 70 and 65, Sosa has hit 66 and 63. It is truly incredible what these two sluggers have done in consecutive seasons. What will they do for an encore in 2000? Stay tuned!

Please e-mail any comments or suggestions to us at [email protected] . We would love to hear from you!
Posted By Craig Olson
Lake Region Healthcare
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