The Week That Wasn’t

December 19th, 2008

Every basketball season has a week that throws a big old monkey wrench into the schedules.  No matter how well the schools plan out their schedules, inevitably Mother Nature gets her way and things grind to a halt.  This last week was that “stuff hitting the fan” time.  The one-two punch of a Tuesday snowstorm and Thursday ice/sleet/snow combined to wipe out every high school sporting event at the first crucial junction of the season.  Christmas is around the corner, and with it comes the annual Holiday Break quiet period.  Most of the teams around the state will not have played an official game since last Friday or Saturday, meaning they will have been sidelined for over 3 weeks.  The few schools that did get games in this week, and the ones who have games between now and Christmas, will still have the Holidays off, but that extra game or 2 could give them a slight advantage when classes come back in session.

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Jeff Woody: 2008 KXnO FFN Player of the Year

December 9th, 2008

Congratulations to Southeast Polk Running Back Jeff Woody, the 2008 Football Friday Night Player of the Year.  He was announced as the recipient Monday night at Christopher’s.  Here is a video wrap of the ceremony, courtesy of KXnO.com.

2008-09 HSBB Update

December 2nd, 2008

High School Basketball on KXnO just keeps getting bigger and better.  Not only are we presenting play-by-play of CIML basketball, we’re also bringing the wraparound coverage that makes Football Friday Nights so popular to the hardwood.  During the Halftime Report, and during Postgame, we will receive updates from our correspondents all around the CIML.  Even when we’re unable to bring you the excitement of PBP coverage, you won’t be left out in the cold, because KXnO will be presenting a special HSBB show following Tuesday and Friday Energy games.  So remember that for high school sports coverage, it’s 1460 KXnO.

HSBB 2008: Teams to Watch

December 1st, 2008

Every basketball season is filled with storylines, and this one is no exception.  Here are a few girls’ teams that I’ll be tracking throughout this winter:

Exira (Class 1A): The clock is ticking on this small Audubon County school district.  Voters rejected a bond referendum in October to replace the elementary school, and the district will most likely have to enter into whole grade sharing by 2010.  The Vikings, led by Second Team All-State Center Hallie Christofferson, are ranked in the Top 15 in the pre-season after making last year’s State Tournament.

IKM-Manning (2A): Speaking of whole grade sharing, the recently joined-at-the-hip Wolves have come out with a bang.  The Football and Volleyball teams both made it to the State Semifinals, and the Girls Basketball Team is a Top 10 squad.

Davenport Assumption (3A): The Class 2A Champions have moved up a class, which is nothing new for the Knights.  They have spent the last few years hovering around the dividing line between 2A and 3A, but a spike in enrollment almost assures that they will remain in the higher class for the next few years.

Ballard (3A): With 3 players signing with Division 1 schools, it’s hard not to pick the Bombers to win it all.  But, as last year’s OT loss to Bishop Heelan in the Semifinals shows, you can’t count on anything.

State Football, The Day After…

November 23rd, 2008

Well, the hardware has been distributed, and the tears shed, at the 2008 State Football Championships.  Here are some of my thoughts from the Playoffs in general…

  • The expanded Playoffs system didn’t seem to have the catastrophic effect some predicted.  There was no wave of upsets in Substate, nor were there any major injuries caused by playing the extra game.  The system could use some minor tweaks, like maybe going to 24 teams in 4A, but it wasn’t too bad for the first year.
  • The Class 1A Championship was probably the most entertaining 3-0 football game I have ever seen.  Actually, both opening acts (8-player on Friday, 1A on Saturday) were probably the best games of the weekend.
  • Speaking of the 8-player Championship, I would hate to be the kid from Armstrong-Ringsted who let the Lenox defender through on the FG attempt.  There’s no guarantee that the kick would’ve come close to being good, but you have to give your team a chance.  I have a feeling the coaching staff will be emphasizing “Inside-Outside-Middle” every practice of every week next season.
  • Coaching decision of the week has to be Sothern Cal’s decision to go for 2 in OT against North Tama in Class A.  Not only did they forego an almost-certain tie and a second OT, they did it using a formation that makes Boise State look like the Wing-T.
  • As exciting as 8-Player, A and 1A were, the rest of the games were anti-climatic.  Solon, Bishop Heelan, and Valley all made sure that the entire state knew that they were by far the better team on the field.

2008 KXnO Football Player of the Year Nominees

November 21st, 2008

Marty and Miller have announced the nominees for the 2008 KXnO Football Friday Night Player of the Year award.  The 6 contenders for the award are:

David Barrent, Sr, WDM Valley

Michael Chia, Jr, Indianola

Zach Cutkomp, Sr, WDM Valley

Grant Mayfield, Sr, Dowling Catholic

Walker Woods, Sr, Waukee

Jeff Woody, Sr, Southeast Polk

The KXNO Player of the Year will be announced at Christophers on Monday, December 8.

2008 IGHSAU Pre-Season Rankings

November 20th, 2008

The IGHSAU has released their preseason basketball rankings.  The number ones are:

4A: Linn-Mar

3A: Ballard

2A: MFL-Mar-Mac

1A: Springville

Out of last year’s champions, only Springville in 1A is ranked #1 in their class.  2A champ Davenport Assumption jumps up to 3A, where they are ranked #6, 3A winners Bishop Heelan are #3, and Iowa City High starts their 4A defense at #7.

Tis the Season…

November 20th, 2008

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for images like this.  Things get going this weekend with jamborees, including the CIML one at the Knapp Center Saturday.  If you get the chance, go out and enjoy some early roundball.

2008 State Football Championship Predictions

November 17th, 2008

Well, the 3 month odyssey to Championship Weekend is almost complete.  The field of over 300 hopefuls has been narrowed down to 12 contenders, fighting for the chance to hoist the trophy at the center of the Dome.  Here are my semi-informed, semi-gut predictions for the games, listed in the order in which they will be decided:

8-Player, Armstrong-Ringsted vs. Lenox, 10:35 AM Friday: The magic number is 80.  The field is 80 yards long, and the teams will probably combine for at least 80 points.  Therefore, I am going to go with the school whose BEDS enrollment is closer to 80.  I’ll take the A-R Mustangs, enrollment 75, over the Tigers of Lenox, enrollment 89.

Class A, North Tama, Traer vs. Southern Cal, Lake City, 2:00 PM Friday: Both teams plowed through the Playoffs like a city truck through a snow drift.  Southern Cal’s only loss was a 10-7 loss to Class 2A competitor Roland-Story, and they beat perennial freight train Madrid in the semifinals.  I say the So Cal Mustangs pull it off and make the short drive back to Traer feel like an eternity for the Red Hawks.

Class 4A, Valley, WDM vs. Cedar Falls, 7:05 PM Friday: This is the marquee catfight of the weekend, with The Cedar Falls Tigers from the East against “The Machine”, the Valley Tigers from the West.  CF will have a hometown advantage, but Valley is no stranger to long road trips this year, having to play at Sioux City North in the final week of the regular season.  Zach Cutkomp will end his career at Valley with one final feather in his helmet, a State Championship.

Class 1A, Emmetsburg vs. West Lyon, Inwood, 10:05 AM Saturday: Both teams faced challenges in the quarterfinals.  West Lyon swqeaked by Council Bluffs St Albert, while Emmetsburg ended the feelgood story of Aplington-Parkersburg.  With kickoff sceduled for early Saturday morning, this game could come down to who is less sleepy.  The E-Hawks have to travel half as far as the Wildcats, so I’ll take Emmetsburg.

Class 2A, Central Lyon/George-Little Rock vs. Solon, 1:00 PM Saturday: This is another game where the bus ride to the Dome could have an effect.  CL/GLR is so close to the Minnesota border, Google Maps’ best route from Little Rock to Cedar Falls sends you through Albert Lea.  That alone is reason enough for me to pick them, but when Jon Miller says “No one is beating Solon”, then I have to go with him.

Class 3A, Decorah vs. Bishop Heelan Catholic, 4:00 PM Saturday: The Bishop Heelan Crusaders made it to Championship Weekend last year, finishing 2nd to Keokuk.  Decorah’s played into November 4 times this decade, finishing 2nd in 2003.  Both teams are looking to win their school’s first State Championship since before the first Gulf War.  Heelan’s seniors won’t want to finish their careers coming up short twice in a row, and it’s that kind of drive that will put them over the top.

To all the players and coaches, best of luck this weekend.  To the fans, enjoy yourselves because you never know when you’ll get back.

HS Basketball on KXnO 2008-09 Edition

November 16th, 2008

It’s hard to believe that we’re down to only 2 weeks before the start of High School Basketball.  One again Des Moines Sports Station, 1460 KXnO, will be bringing you a full docket of live game broadcasts from across the CIML.  Here are some of the highlights from this year’s edition of HS Basketball on KXnO:

  • The season starts off with a bang as Metro Conference powerhouse DM Hoover hosts WDM Valley on December 2.
  • The Battle for West Des Moines moves from the gridiron to the gymnasium as Dowling Catholic hosts Valley on December 16.
  • KXnO’s first game after the Holiday Break also marks the first of 4 appearances on 1460 by the Ames Little Cyclones and uber-recruit Harrison Barnes.  Barnes & Co. host Valley on January 6, make the return trip to WDM on January 30, travel to the Roundhouse on the south side to play DM Lincoln on February 3, then wrap up our regular season coverage by travelling to Hoover on February 20.
  • 2008 State Qualifiers Southeast Polk and Waukee both make appearances on KXnO this season.  The Rams travel to Ankeny on January 13 and to DM North on February 10, while the Warriors travel to Urbandale on January 20 and host those pesky Valley Tigers on February 6.

Marty Tirrell will once again serve as the play-by-play voice of High School Basketball on KXnO, with his regular radio partner Ken Miller keeping everyone up to date at the High School Score Desk and yours truly, Steve “Choo Choo” Young, doing my best to pull it all together behind the control board.  You can find the full 2008-09 schedule here.