Sod Buzzard

Sod’s Final Six For Season: The Pheasant Belt Watches (….sigh)

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Not much time this evening, so I’m going to skip the normal  pomp and pageantry associated with most of my posts.  In dining terms, I’m skipping past the salads and appetizers and going straight for the meat and taters.  Pile them high, darn it.  In the tradition of all big games, I will include Mrs. Sod’s can’t miss college bowl pool strategy of comparing mascots  to determine a winner as well.

9B  Canistota and Hitchcock-Tulare

The Canistota Hawks are the best team in the state.  Period.  They may be 9B, but they have left a path of destruction through the best of 9 man football this year.  They have speed, power, leadership, and they are good.  Quietly, Hitchcock-Tulare returns as an undefeated state champ, one of three teams with a shot to repeat. The Patriots are a strong team, and with all due respect to the esteemed Captain Tony, I’ve got to go with Canistota over the Patriots big.  Hawks 48-12.  Could be bigger. 

Mrs. Sod’s sees a Patriot on Veteran’s Day.  It would be un-American to not go with the Patriots.

9A Harding County and Hanson

It’s all we’ve got left.  The mighty Ranchers go in with an undefeated and largely unchallenged record.  A source close to the Sod Buzzard has again confirmed that this game will not be played in Newell.  I am also told South Dakota DOT officials have been busy over the last couple days constructing barb wire gates across Highways 79, 85 and 20 with a note that the last one out of the county is asked to shut them.

The Ranchers are the Boise State of high school football.  They have a quarterback with Madden like numbers, a bunch of nifty atheltes that make plays with the ball, some big strong linemen, and a field that gets treated like a gimmick but provides a huge home field advantage, even if it’s just psychological.  And no respect to be found anywhere.  As much as the folks in the eastern quarter of the state are convinced of their superiority in all phases of life other than frost bite immunity (and evan a handful of ice fishermen I know in that Sisseton area will debate me for hours on that), one of those darn west of the river teams lucked their way into it again. 

This is a great Ranchers team.  And they will face a great team as well.  The Hanson Beavers are defending state champs and weathered a couple set backs early in the season to return to defend their title.  They seem to have assumed West Central’s throne as, come November, the most consistently succesful program over the last five years.  They play well and they just keep pulling aces out of the deck when they reshuffle each graduation.  I have a ton of respect for this program.  When you win that consistently and play the competition this team does, it’s not luck or whatever you may.  It’s coaching, it’s tradition, and it’s a group of young men committed to being the next ones to bring the gold trophy home.  And they do. 

Showing a little regional favortism, this is the match up I look forward to watching the most.  I will be pulling for the Ranchers in this one big time, but to be perfectly honest, I also think this Hanson team just knows a bit more about winning under this situation.  I’m picking Hanson to win 28-20, but I will be sporting purple and gold and I sincerely hope I’m wrong. Go Ranchers.

Mother Buzzard trumps me however, knowing that a Rancher would trap, destroy, and sell a Beaver in a heart beat.  The lady says she’ll take the Ranchers, and she will leave me at a home when she goes to the #3.

 9AA Bridgewater-Emery-Ethan and Viborg-Hurley

Jordan Connor versus Cory Jacobsen.  I know it’s a little deeper than that and there is plenty of talent on both teams, but these are two of the real studs in the state.  The landlocked Seahawks return to a familiar patch of ground while Viborg and Hurley are pretty unfamiliar with second week November football, at least since 2ooo.  These are two big 9 man teams.  Lots of beef coming from these two Region 3 teams.   I think Coach Van Leur will just keep handing the ball off to Mr. Connor.  Maybe not the 48 carries he had in the semis, but 35 or so.  Landhawks top the Cougars 34-20. 

Now the lady friend would anticipate a strewn pile of feathers in the CRP ground with big paw prints all around, but no big cat to be found.  Advantage Cougars.

11B Mobridge-Pollock and Flandreau

Mobridge-Pollock came to Winner and took two big wins at Not Harvey Naasz Field this year, and I tip my hat to them.  They are good.  Flandreau avenged an early loss and has played great football.  This seems to be match of teams with speed and size and, on paper, should be a dandy.  Neither team has any experience playing in a state title game since Reagan was president and Janklow was governor (the first time.)  Having watched only one of these teams, I’m going with what I saw. If Flandreau can make some plays and get the Tigers to press a little, advantage Fliers.  The Tigers are undisciplined and the inmates seem to run the asylum.  They will commit penalties and can make mistakes.  I am guessing that the Fliers are more disciplined, and that would give them the advantage.  Fliers 20-14.

Mrs. Sod is still a little sore at the season ending at the hands of the Tigers.  I don’t know what Flies in Flandreau, but load up the Mrs. and she’ll take down the Tigers from a healthy distance away.  Advantage Fliers.

11A Dell Rapids and Harrisburg

Two Sioux Falls area teams.  That’s great. Dells 34-20.  And Harrisburg parents want the coach fired by half time. 

The Mrs. could give a crap about these two teams. Quarriers sounds cool, so go with it.

11AA SF Washington and SF O’Gorman

Ditto.  Other than watching Matt Hermanson, big whoop.  O’Gorman is the big underdog.  Washington outlasts O’Gorman 28-24.  Like last year, the Warriors have more bullets in the magazine at the end. 

And finally, Mrs. Sod would naturally favor the Warriors over any other teams. 

Again, good luck to the Ranchers.  Prove me wrong, please.

PLOW ON, MY FRIENDS.

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Sod Buzzard

44 Minutes A Game Is Not

Monday, November 8th, 2010

75 degrees and no wind are normally weather conditions reserved for dome games under the grain bin roof of the DakotaDome, but that is what all of South Dakota was blessed with for semifinal Saturday.  Incredible.  Under absolutely perfect conditions at Not Harvey Naasz Field, two of 11B’s top teams slugged it out. For 44 minutes, the Winner Warriors hung with the dome bound Mobridge-Pollock Tigers, but that’s 4 minutes short of a bus trip east.    In the end a very athletic Tiger team ran through arm tackles and rode the momentum to a victory.  The Tigers are the only team to hand Winner a loss on their home field since Belle Fourche in the first game of the 2008 season.  These Tigers did it twice this year.  

Nothing fancy.  Few passes.  Just a lot of nice gains on first down and the ability to bust out the big play when needed.  With the score tied 14 all, Winner held on a 3rd and goal situation, and Mobridge elected to kick a short field goal to take the lead.  The Warriors took over and could not convert.  On a 2nd and 20, Jesse Deinert went off right tackle and broke several tackles and busted loose for a 65 yard TD run.  Winner took over with about 2 to go and went out on downs.  Mobridge-Pollock added another TD on a 4th and 6 situation with under a minute where the Tigers QB just didn’t go down and found the end zone again.  Hats off to the Tigers for a solid showing.  They have a big strong line that dominated in this game and took the Winner ground game away.  Winner had some chances, especially in the 2nd quarter, but it didn’t materialize.  

That said, it was a great year.  This team spent the whole season being the one on the schedule that their opponents wanted to win.  They got the best of them all year long and came from behind to win a couple big games.  The loss of four all state players was abosrbed by young men who stepped into their roles and gave it their best.  The Warriors left the field disappointed no doubt, but knowing that it was all left there as well.  The cupboard isn’t bare as the Warriors JV team was unbeaten, so the tradition of football in Winner looks to be in good hands.  

Fellas, nice job.  That should be a sentiment shared by many others in our communities.  These kids become heros overnight sometimes and go from being somebody’s baby brother or big brother to being front page news on the Saturday RC Journal.  They have zits, algebra tests, and can text faster than I can type.  They are kids.  Playing a game for kids.  We enjoy talking about this stuff and sports keeps communities alive, but let’s not forget that it’s a game.  The sun came up without any problems in Winner Sunday morning.  Gloriously, to be real honest.  I hope these kids who played football this fall have the wonderfuil memories that I and so many others did from our high school days.  

Along the sentiment of the link between sports and a community, this piece was submitted by a fan of SportsBuzzard from the western part of the state who we will call “Home on the Rangers.”  He (or she) gave me these thoughts on the game Saturday night in Buffalo - 

Welcome to Harding County, South Dakota, population about 2000 tonight, a game night.  At the field you are greeted with a firm handshake. You don’t want to bring a weak shake to these Ranchers it will be rejected harder than Dikembe Mutumbo in his glory days. 

Nostalgia runs wild with stories of the glory days and strangers become friends while hearing the teary eyed stories of Cory Ginsbach, the toils of their labor, and the pride they have in their team. An alumnus in Sioux Falls writes his elderly mom that he will be listening to the game, but he is more nervous for this game than he was as a player. 

The legend of Ryan Baier spreads like a wildfire around Ab Penn Field. 

“Did you hear that he was steer wrestling and he broke the steers neck!” 

Another old timer finishes the next part of the story by saying, “He felt terrible, his dad told him not to worry about it and to get back on 

that horse. He did, and he broke another steers neck!” Keep that kid away from me I think as I see the bowling ball with a neck roll tackle a kid in the open field. 

After the game, Jace Jenson smiles as people pat him on the back and compliment his two touchdown catches. When somebody asks if he is sore, he wrily replies, “Yeah, but dad is gonna make me work cows tomorrow so I better get over it.” Jenson’s shoes are missing some the legendary gold paint. People notice as he stands at the 50 yard line of the old cow pasture in Buffalo. It is part of the lore, the tradition; like Notre Dame painting their helmets gold; the Ranchers do so to their shoes. On this particular night they ran out of spray paint and Jenson sacrificed the gold for his teammates. Deep down he knows its not about the shoes, especially when you have hands and football saavy like he does. Padraic Duffy (writer for the journal) fights his way through the sea of Purple and Gold to find Austin Brown, the birthday boy. He looks like a Kenny G fan in the middle of a death metal mosh pit. Middle school kids swarming him and their favorite players even though they didn’t see the game because they were too busy engaging in a game of their own in the end zone. One little kid exclaims that he is going to be the next Austin Brown. You don’t realize how good Brown is because he makes all the throws look easy: the fade route, swing pass, and deep out with the flick of his wrist. 

There is a mass exodus to the local watering hole. Even the grumpy bartender seems pleased with the crowd. The rabid fans fall completely silent as the local sports come on. They cheer as they see Chek Giannonotti and Taz Olson rumbling for touchdowns. They go nuts as they see Jess Fiest return an interception for a 102 yard touchdown. Not many dry eyes in the #3 and absolutely nobody without smiles from ear to ear. Suddenly, the good old days don’t seem so long ago. Will this be the second Rancher team to bring the title home?   

The next day an elderly man that looks like an Ansel Adams painting with wrinkles in all the perfect parts of his face tells some people that he will not be making the trip to Vermillion. Looks like he will be the only person left in Buffalo on Thursday. Somebody has to watch the town. Good luck Ranchers!

Thanks Homie. 

To the Ranchers, my sincerest best of luck.  I hope all of us in the geographic area will pull for them on Thursday.  To the rest of the teams that came up short, such is life.  Things happen along the way, some good and some bad.  Some within our control, some not.  As in life, preparation is a great precursor to success.  Enjoy and cherish these times, they go by fast.  Take it easy a couple weeks, then let’s get rolling on basketball and wrestling. 

In basketball, how about STM, Winner, White River, and Custer as early season contenders.  In wrestling, Stevens, Hot Springs, look to be tops in their classes, and maybe Sturgis will finally win a few matches.  (That’s a joke, Clint Wilson.  No need to chicken wing a buzzard, now.) Plenty of girls teams have high hopes as well.  It will be a fine winter season.

To my readers, thanks for your comments and thoughts when shared.  I’ll address any thoughts you have.  The beauty of this blog is that our opinions can be shared.  There may be shred of sarcasm and humor twisted in, and we like to have fun.  Continue to share in that, and thanks for a great football season. 

Come Friday, let’s get ready to welcome home a champion. 

PLOW ON, RANCHERS!

 

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Sod Buzzard

Let’s Paint That Dome Purple And Gold

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Semifinal Saturday is upon us.  Now don’t look out your window tomorrow to determine that, as semifinal game aren’t normally played outdoors with a kickoff temp over 60.  Semifinal night is normally associated with weather.  I think of 1986 when Winner traveled to Custer and played with a windchill hovering around zero.  Cleats were traded for tennis shoes by some players.  In 1989, Winner traveled to Spearfish and played a highly touted Spartan team lead by Lance Marr and Jason Martin.  The field had piles of snow surrounding the field after a weekend storm piled snow on the field.  I think of 199o when we snuck back to Winner for matchup with Lead-Deadwood and a college friend we dropped off in Gregory as his Stanley County Buffs played there.  By the time we got to about Avon on our drive back east, it was a full fledged snow storm.  Four balled tires and a couple hours later from there, we made it back.  1994 saw a big snow storm as well that fell prior to the first round games and lingered throughout.  Winner and Sisseton played in a snowstorm as well in 1997 for the chance to go to Vermillion.  Maybe fortunately, Winner lost that game, as the Redmen got thumped  50-0 by West Central that year. And I remember a 2001 matchup in Winner that was around 10 degrees, fortunately with no wind.  As I watch the game in a hoody tomorrow night, I’ll be thankful for the nice weather.

Purple And Gold Pride

We are down to two contenders to represent the western segment of our state.  As suggested in my title, I’d love to see a strong purple and gold presence over the first two days of dome games.  And if you are from Sully Buttes or Flandreau, you aren’t invited on the purple and gold party list.  Two of West River’s most consistent and winning programs (save maybe STM and Philip) over the last decade have big games tomorrow to determine if their seasons extend a week or if they check in pads on Monday.  I’m sure hoping that the boys in purple and gold from these two rural western South Dakota communities get to keep practicing.

In Winner and Buffalo, football is a more than a big deal.  You are born into a tradition that goes back about forty years.  Both teams really rose to excellence beginning in the early 70′s.  Harding County’s list of conference titles in that time frame is longer than the list of grievances pending against ER#1, and that’s saying something!   Since the dome era began in 1981, one of these two teams has been there in almost half of those years.  Both teams had strong coaches who led them to their levels of play.  Ab Penn and Harvey Naasz built these programs to what they have become.  Jay Wammen and Dan Aaker currently carry those torches and sustain the flames.  Kid from these communities had alot of dads and uncles that played, they grew up playing ball in the endzones or on the practice fields, they toted water on the sidelines as kids, they dreamed of being Tom Mathis or B.J. Padden or Brandon Bell or Forrest Sainsbury playing games in their backyards, and they were happy to play scout team and pay their dues as freshman and sophs.  Wearing a purple and gold letter jacket in these communities means that you are a part of that tradition.  It means that you are a Warrior or you are a Rancher.  And that is a big deal. 

Congrats to all the coaches, players, fans, and on line listeners.  Let’s take this one more step and win a couple big games for both communities. 

Dishing It Up: Some Pheasant Belt Skinny

A source close to the Sod Buzzard has confirmed that Sully Buttes has efforted to get this semifinal game moved from Ab Penn Field.  Seems the Chargers and their fickle following don’t find the field to their pleasing.  They have tried to get the game moved to Newell.  Just for the record, the field does not seem to be slowing the Ranchers down in any way, shape, or form.  And, they have the fact that Sully Buttes handed them their last and only loss last year.  That’s a lot for Ranchers to ruminate upon.  Maybe after the Ranchers cut the power and turn the Chargers into a mere trickle, they can get some tips on lawn care from the Sully Buttes faithful.  Or maybe the Newell people, as their field seems to be popular.

Picks From The Sticks

I pride myself on giving you numbers based on facts, and I plan to continue to do that.  Now I’m sure that plenty of folks were a little cranky that picked against some of westerly brethren last on Monday’s games, but I was 9-0. 

Going out west first, I think this is indeed the Ranchers year.  They seem to have too much talent and too many reasons not to lose.  I like the Ranchers in this one 34-12.  And, I think the Chargers will have more personal fouls than touchdowns. I think I can speak for the people in White River and say GO GET THEM, RANCHERS.

Winner hosts a high energy Mobridge-Pollock team that has had a potent offense all year long.  Their only loss is to Linton, ND, who recently had their season come to an end at 9-1.  This is a very good team, led by the athletic Dexter Netterville, Bailey Friesz, Greg Fred, Tim Szczur, Jesse Deinert, and a big strong line.  This a pretty senior heavy bunch, so this may be their year to do it or not.  This team will put points on the board and via the big play and will capitalize on mistakes, like all good teams do.  The Warriors will need to minimize turnovers on offense, win the special teams battle, and keep the Tigers from the big play.  3rd down conversion will also be a deciding factor.  The Tigers converted 3rd down after 3rd down in the first game and kept drives alive.  The first game was 20-10 in the start of the 4th quarter when Winner started a drive inside their one and went over 90 yards only to have that drive stopped by a pick.  Had the Warriors punched that one in…..coulda, woulda, shoulda.  Coach Dan Aaker and staff will certainly have this team ready to go.  This team has made trips to Vermillion the last two years by winning big semifinal games at home, and I think they will do it again this year.  If Winner limits turnovers (which I think they will), 16-14 Warriors.  If they don’t, Mobridge will win. 

My picks for Vermillion:

11AA Washington and Roosevelt

11A Dell Rapids and Canton

11B Roncalli and Winner

9AA Chester and Viborg/Hurley

9A Harding County and Hanson

9B Canistota and Hitchcock-Tulare

 

Good luck purple and gold.

PLOW ON, MY FRIENDS!

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Sod Buzzard

Taking A Crack At All Nine: The Pheasant Belt Expanded

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

After taking in three hours of SPINE TINGLING action this afternoon watching the Packers and Jets 9-0 football debacle, I am just hoping for a little better action tomorrow night in not region championship games.  48 goes to 24 by bedtime Monday.  I’m gonna to expand the boundaries  of my beloved Pheasant Belt and pick all nine games that involve west river teams.  First off, good luck to all of the kids, coaches, fans, parents, and schools.  Playoff time is a wonderful experience for every team and continues to whittle down until there are just six slices of euphoria pie.  Here’s to hoping your fork and plate are ready for your serving tomorrow night. 

11AA- Sioux Falls Lincoln travels to Rapid City Stevens as the Raiders look to play on and make a stab a state title.  The Patriots are led by two of the most lauded juniors in the state Alex Schultz and Trey Naasz.  Trey is the grandson of a certain man in Winner that the field is not named for, and he’s good.  Stevens will need to avoid the mistakes that cost them their first matchup with Lincoln and control the ball.  I’m pulling for Stevens, but I think Lincoln takes a 27-13 win and makes it a Sioux Falls final four in 11AA.

11A - Little Wound travels to Harrisburg as the Mustangs get a glimpse of quarterfinal football.  Take a picture and enjoy the view before kick off.  Harrisburg 53-0

St. Thomas More hosts perennial contender West Central.  The Trojans have stumbled early the last couple years, but showed last week in thumping Sisseton that they won’t be an easy out.  Thomas More would love to prove that they aren’t the pushovers everybody loves to cast them as.  I think STM plays their tails off but comes up short in the end, West Central nips them 28-24

Hot Springs goes to Canton as the Bison stampede east.  Canton has lost twice this year to teams still playing ball and beat some good teams along the way.  The Bison seem to be playing their best ball after stumbling early.  I don;t know if the Bison have the depth to compete with Canton, but if they can limit turnovers and make a play or two on special teams, funny things can happen. I just don;t think it will happen though, C-Hawks 28-6.

11B – Winner hosts Bon Homme in a matchups of teams of who swapped playoff victories in the late 90′s at the 11A level.  The Cavs are led by a talented senior running back in the likes of Jared Van Winkle.  They had one of the classes top QB’s in Tad Schuurmans, but he was injured early in the year.  They have tried three starters since and have settled on sophomore Blaise Vanacek.  They have a stout defense that has given up less a touchdown a game and shut out four of nine opponents they have faced.  Winner is coming off a 24-0 shutout of Stanley County last Tuesday.  The Warriors rely on a strong running game with Cody Blare, Austin Richey, and Austin Calhoon all the toting the rock, and Calhoon has really stepped up in the last half of the season.  The Warriors defense has also improved as the year went and has been opportune at producing turnovers and limiting the big plays.  I think Winner will come out and play inspired football in defense of their title and will fight off the Cavs for a 22-13 Warriors win.

9AA - Philip travels to Chester where the Scrappy Lap Dogs look to continue their season against the Kreutzfeldt led Flyers.  Drew and Dylan account for a huge chunk of their offense and these kids know how to compete.  Philip is no stranger to November football over the last decade and they look to carry on the Scottie tradition.  I think the Flyers have too much at home, Chester 32-14.

9A – Harding County hosts Andes Central  in a match up of one team that has accomplished a lot and one that thinks they have accomplished a lot.  The Ranchers are a great football team with a lot of talent.  Andes Central is also talented, but has piled wins and gaudy numbers against one of the worst schedules in the state.  They have been thumped by the good teams they’ve played and that trend will continue, as the Ranchers ride tall in the saddle 36-12.

9B – Timber Lake goes to Hitchcock-Tulare.  I’m not going to pretend to know much about the Panthers, but I do know the Patriots are 9-0 and the defending state champs.  Timber Lake has lost big to quality teams this year and this is a quality team.  Patriots 52-0.

And finally, Colome travels to Gettysburg.  The Battlers have lost two close games to teams still playing ball and have beaten another contender in Sully Buttes.  The Cowboys are feeling sky high with a a gaudy 8-1 record that includes wins over a lot of not so great teams.  They have an all stater in Zach Harter at QB and have a solid stable of backs that can gain some yards, but I don;t know that they have faced a defense this stiff since they got smacked around by Corsica-Stickney in the middle of the year.  If Gettysburg gets up early, I don’t know that the Cowboys can find their way back.  If Colome can make a play on defense or special teams and maintain the lead, they have a great shot.  I’m going with the Battlers at home, Gettysburg 34-18.

I’d love to see all nine west river teams win and will be pulling for a great showing.  Good luck to everyone and for those I’ve picked against, prove me wrong.  Please. 

PLOW ON, MY FRIENDS!

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Sod Buzzard

Friends, Fun, and Football: November In the Pheasant Belt

Friday, October 29th, 2010

The field has been cut from 96 to 48 teams.  In one night last week, half of the pool had their dreams squashed.  And the remaining group gets cut in half three more times before it’s all said and done.  It’s the way we crown champions and it’s the best way around.  Win and advance.  No byes, no passes, no mulligans, no excuses, no “walks”, no “free” throws. No pitch counts.  Not in football.  You earn it.  Maybe the “best” team doesn’t win in the eyes of all, but the team that ends that 48 minute battle  on a short acre of grass with the bigger number on the board, they’ve earn victory.  Gotta love it.

I’m glad every community doesn’t get to experience November football.  I don’t say that to sound aloof, but winning playoff games is such a special experience for kids, coaches, parents, fans, and communities.  .  It should be appreciated and earnedWindows get painted.  Some towns print t-shirts.  Players get a little bigger pat on the back at the convenience store.  Teachers make assignment plans wondering if their kids will be making any long trips on that second Monday in November.  The buzz.  The anticipation.  The nervousness.  The stupid haircuts.  The signs in the windows downtown.  The gas station street sign says  GO TEAM!  This doesn’t happen for a conference game or season opener.  This is what these boys have dreamed of.  To be the ones to break through and do it, or to be the group of kids not to screw it up in communities like Buffalo, Avon, and Hartford. Gotta love it.

This is where memories are made.  Where friends sit around a table in 25 years and remember details of that semi final game in Custer in 1986 when it was around 0.  That playoff game that sticks in your mind.  Maybe it’s Sisseton last year beating mighty West Central.  Maybe it’s Todd County making it to within a game of a trip to Vermillion.  The boys on the fields will soon be men, but the conversations in years to come will take them back to that moment in a matter of seconds.  You remember your buddies pouring out of the stands to give you a hug.  You remember slipping an f-bomb in fornt of your Mom and not getting in trouble for it.  Then anyway.  (At least I remember that one.)  You remember the bus trip home and the smiles and the feeling that this is why you lifted, why you came in at 6 AM, why you got smacked around as a freshman holding that stupid blocking dummy, why you stuck it out, and why your buddies did, too. 

Just as quickly, and for more each week, that joy may be short lived.  By the time it’s done, 90 teams end the playoffs with a loss.  Some get dominated and are happy just to have made it.  Some get upset and feel they’ve let everyone down.  Some know “this was the year” and come short.  Some have an injury or two that changes fate.  Some fall victim to a lucky tip or an unbeleivable kick.  Some will be left answer that ever challenging question…”What if….?”

My only advice, LET PLAYERS PLAY, LET COACHES COACH, AND LET US ALL BE FANS.  Enjoy it while it lasts, this comes but once a year.

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Sod Buzzard

Feeling Playoffs In The Air: Among Other Things In The Wind

Monday, October 25th, 2010

First round football playoffs is one the best nights of the year.  Ranks right up there with first night of basketball districts, the first day of the NCAA tourney, and New Year’s Day.  Go to the game, wait in line for a hot chocolate, drink it before it becomes cold chocolate, cheer your team on, and hear home to see who won and who didn’t.  There’s always a few upsets that change the face, and with the modified reseeding format, those upsets could prove to change the landscape greatly.  The Pheasant Belt offers a few intra-regional games this week and some rematches of interest.

Weather could become a factor tomorrow as the winds are expected to HOWL.  This could favor teams who like to keep it on the ground, wreak havoc on kicking and return games, and make those going away shots in the cornfield next to impossible. 

Let’s start with 9B, where 7-1 Colome hosts wildcard 4-4 Wolsey-Wessington.  The Warbirds have four losses to playoff teams and four wins over teams that aren’t in the playoffs.  I think the Cowboys win their round one game 32-6

In 9A, the Kadoka Kougars make the long trip to Ab Penn Field and the “real field” turf.  Meaning…really, it’s a field.  Won’t stop the Ranchers from smearing the Kou by a 52-0 score.

In 9AA, the 6-2 Scrappy Lap Dogs from Philip head to (Ch)Eureka to take on 7-1 Eureka/Bowdle.  The Patriots only was a 12-0 early loss to a solid Sully Buttes team.  I just don’t see Philip having enough to carry on, but I hope I’m wrong.  Patriots 28-20.  Gregory travels to Viborg-Hurley.  The Gorillas are 5-3 but seem to be peeking at the right time with the Braun twins leading the way.  The Cougars only loss is to Avon, and they have pounded the rest of their schedule.  This should be a high scoring contest.  I thought Gregory underpreformed the first half of the year and they now seem to be playing to their level of talent.  I’m going Gorillas 38-34.  BEEP…BEEP……BEEP……BEEP!  That’s the sound of White River backing into the playoffs after losing thier last two games.  The Tigers head to Leola-Fredrick to take on the 7-1 Titans.  Their record may just be a little deceiving as their wins come over seven teams, none of whom have a winning record.  I think it’s close, but the Tigers need to prove that they have the same passion to win on the gridiron as they do in other sports.  Titans 26-20.

Onto 11B, where Bennett County hosts Mobridge-Pollock.  The Warriors are the higher seed here, but come in considerable underdogs in this game.  Both teams are 7-1, but the Tigers have played an 11B heavy schedule, while the Warriors have wins over four 11A teams.  The Warriors think they deserve some respect, and after their 45-0 white washing at the hands of the Tigers tomorrow night, they should have a little less to complain about.  This Mobridge-Pollock team should make a deep run in the playoffs.  Winner hosts Stanley County in a rematch of their week two OT thriller.  The 7-1 two time defending Black Hills Conference Champion (hee hee) Warriors have looked better in the last half of the year.  Stanley County, 4-4, have led in every game they have played this year.  Winner knows how to play football this time of year, and I think Coach Aaker will have the Warriors ready to go tomorrow night.  Warriors 30-14.

Finally in 11A, the Todd County Falcons travel to Little Wound for a rematch.  Afternoon football in Kyle.  The Falcons fought hard in consecutive losses to Bennett County and Chamberlain to end the year.  Little Wound comes in 5-3 with losses to Pine Ridge, Hot Springs, and Bennett County.  I think Kevin Hunter leads his Mustangs to a first round win, 28-8 over the Falcons.

There you go folks.  Safe travels tomorrow to all, and as always…

PLOW ON, MY FRIENDS!

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Sod Buzzard

Wrapping 2010 Regular Season And Feeling Sixier Than Ever

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

And in 24 hours…….the 2010 regular season will all be done.  Then we patiently wait for the pairings to come out (except for a few dorks with calculators like me trying to crack the code) to find who’s going where and who’s staying put. 

Let’s update the playophph statii (I know it’s actually statuses, but it’s not radiuses, so why shouldn’t it be statii) of the greater Pheasant Belt teams.

IN, TICKET PUNCHED:

11A – Todd County currently sits third in power points in region 3.  They got spanked by Bennett County in the last 3 quarters of the game and this week face a physical Chamberlain team that has been beat soundly by a lot of good teams.  TC looks to be matched up with Little Wound in their first round game, and that isn’t likely to change no matter the outcomes of their games this week 

11B - Winner completed the regular season last week and looks to be home for the playoffs as long as they are in it.  Barring a complete meltdown by Stanley County tomorrow night against Miller, the Buffs will face the Warriors next Tuesday at Not Harvey Naasz Field.  Bennett County slipped behind Mobridge-Pollock in the power points this week, but a win over 11A Little Wound tomorrow afternoon should spin the bottle back their way and allow them to host the Tigers.  Have fun with that.

9A – Gregory- By way of their win last week over South Central, they are in at the three spot in Region 3.  Gregory has a tough test this week at Plankinton/White Lake, then likely will travel to Viborg-Hurley in the first round.

9B – Colome looked to have their region locked up, but Gettysburg may be able to sneak past them.  Both teams face 9AA opponents this week, but the Battlers will likely get more help with the bonus points from the teams on their schedule than the Cowboys will with their schedule opponents who have a cumulative total winning percentage of .375 thanks in large part to Corsica/Stickney’s 6 current wins.   The Cowboys need to win at Fetzer Field tomorrow night against the free falling White River Tigers who seem to be pulling their late October diappearing act again, then get some help from a lot of teams not likely to win.  It could actually benefit the Cowboys, who will likely host a wildcard team if they win the region or get a rematch with Kimball.

 KNOCKING ON THE DOOR:

11B – Stanley County is so far in the door that you can set a place for them at the table.  They have weathered some ups and downs and lost a couple close games late and could be 5-2 just as easy as they are 3-4.  But they aren’t.  They  face Miller in a season finale.  These two teams faced off last year with both teams’ playoff hopes riding on a win and the Buffs put a 50-0 whipping on them.  I don’t see the Buffs tanking this one, and they will lock up that four spot with a win.  Even with a loss they are a pretty solid in, but I don’t  see the Buffs backing in.  They likely will travel to Winner in round one.

9AA –   In region 4, Philip should be in at the four spot in Region 4 unless they lay an egg against Kadoka tomorrow night. The Scotties will likely be making the trip to Lemmon to face the currently blemish free Cowboys.  Region 4 looks pretty wide open with some darn solid teams.  White River should be a lock as a wildcard if they win tomorrow evening in the land of kelly green and could back even back in with a loss.  I’m sure Coach Krogman would like to get the win and know for sure tomorrow night.

9A – Kadoka has a solid hold on the four spot in region 4 and should be fueling the bus for Buffalo.  They face Philip tomorrow night and would love to take a rolled up newspaper to the Scrappy Lap Dogs, but I ain’t seein’ it happen.

OUT TO PASTURE ALREADY

11B -  St. Francis. Make the streak 54 after tomorrow night.  Richard Nixon had a better six years.

9AA – Lyman could screw things up for Wall tomorrow night.  Upset special, anyone?

9B – Jones County, you are officially OFF THE SCHNIDE. Nice job Yote-lings.  They finish the year with New Underwood and look to play spoiler.  And Lower Brule looks to give another team their only win on the year tomorrow night when they face Oelrichs.

Enough of that, let’s look at my six pack and again an extra twelve for the long night ahead. 

Statewide, there are several matchups that will have direct impact upon playoff seeding.  Leading off Crow Creek at Pine Ridge. That’s right folks, it’s playoff football time on the rez(s)!  The Thorpes could move into the top four power points in 11A with a win and host at least their first two playoff games, LOVE IT.  The Cheiftans could sneak in as an 11B  wildcard with an upset.  Dakota Valley and Tea both need a win to lock up playoff spots, and the self adulating Titans are coming off their only win of consequence, ever.  Deubrook and Estelline (up north of Brookings, westerlies) as Deubrook looks to lock up a home game on Tuesday night.  Bon Homme travels to Elk Point/Jefferson, the land of alfalfa and baseball, where Bon Homme looks to lock up a home game Tuesday night and the Huskies look to avoid getting aced out by a wildcard. Faith hosts Timber Lake to determine who gets the one spot in in Region 4 of 9B, and also in the vicinity Dupree and Bison slug it out for the three and four seeds in the same region.  Eureka/Bowdle and Herried/Selby duke it out to see who travels and who may host a likely rematch next Tuesday in the greater North Central area, our cousin lands, the Goose Belt.  In 11A and 11B, Sisseton and Redfield/Doland look to showcase offsetting air and ground attacks.  Out west, STM and Belle square off in a matchup that doesn’t mean as much as most years, but the Broncs would love to knock off the Cavs going into the playoffs like they did a couple years back.  Again, these two teams could turn around and play again in round one.  Wagner travels to Platte as South Dakota high school football’s version of the Oedipus complex hosts the VandePanthers.  Vermillion faces West Central, who travels to the dome for the first time a darn while.  The Trojans are currently the four seed in their region (wow) and could move up three with a win.  The Tanagers likely have a date in Canton next week for round one.  The 9 man game of the week will be in the Land of Moreau as the unbeaten and untied Cowboys of Lemmon/McIntosh host Harding County.  Any time Ranchers and Cowboys get together, you’ll be mopping the floors in the morning and probably serving more roast beef and mashed taters than you can shake a stick it.  Well this time, it’s the cream of the crop in 9 man matchups in this here state.  In the 11 man ranks, unbeaten and number one contender Dell Rapids travels to Harrisburg and the coolest high school stadium in the state.  The Quarriers hold a spotless record, while H-burg took an early knockdown from Tri-Valley and have stumbled not again.  Should be a great game.

Now in my beloved Pheasant Belt,in slightly mixed up honor of John Wayne this week:

The Ugly – (Hey there is still one game on the schedule?)

South Central falls to Andes Central.  But the Cougars fight to the end.  Little Wound over Bennett County (of course, wink, wink) and Philip will borrow a K from the Kadoka Kougars for a 4th quarter TKO.  And in the Schnide Bowl II, I’m taking Oelrichs to knock off Lower Brule as well.

The Bad – (LOSING RECORDS , PLEASE COME HERE)

6.  Miller at Stanley County.  Advantage Buffs.  I think they come up to win and lock their spot up.  Buffs 37-14.

5.  Chamberlain at Todd County.  These two teams swapped victories last year.  the Cubs have played a tough schedule and have one win to show for it.  As with a lot of years, they have athletes, but can’t put a winning team together.  The Falcons look to finish with a win before heading to Kyle for a probable rematch with Little Wound next week.  I’ll go with the Falcons at home in a squeaker, but wouldn’t be shocked if the Cubs become one of the few teams to end the year with a win.  TC 27-24.  Or vice versa.

4.  Jones County at New Underwood.  The Tigers need the win to have a chance to get into the playoffs, while the Jones County is undefeated in the last week.  I think the Yote-lings play their best game of the year, but fall short of containing Alex Anderson and fall 38-20.

3.  Lyman at Wall.  How could the Eagles lose to a presumed bad team like Lyman?  Well the Wall Doppler Radar has a upset advisory over most of eastern Pennington County tomorrow night!  Raiders sneak out of town with free ice water, a picture by the dinosaur (read the sign, don’t climb on it), and a stunning 30-24 win.

The Good – (BOTH TEAMS WITH WINNING RECORDS AND SOMETHING TO PROVE)

2.  Gregory at Plankinton/White Lake.  The Jeckyll/Hyde primates of Gregory rolled it up on South Central last week and look to get a big win over a P/WL team that will be the one seed in their region with a win.  The Gorilla tend to do the opposite of what I pick, so I’ll go P/WL 28-14 over Gregory and hope my Bennett County jinx can be extended east.

1.  White River at Colome – This should be the areas best matchup.  The Cowboys are confident in rolling up a 6-1 record so far and hope to lead their region after tomorrow night.  The Tigers need a win to assure themselves a spot in the playoffs.  White River looks to avoid the same fate as last year where Colome knocked them out of the playoffs.  Should be a good game, but Zach Harter leads the Cowboys to a win in the 4th quarter 28-18.

PLOW ON, MY FRIENDS.

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Sod Buzzard

Few Greeks in the Pheasant Belt, But The Six Remain

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Strap it up now if you want to play November ball.  Let’s look at this week’s six.

First off, Little Wound plants St. Francis at least four touchdowns, and Todd County over Bennett County.  (wink, wink)

6.  SCHNIDE BOWL 2010 – Lower Brule at Jones County.  The Yote-lings look to chalk up a victory on the scoreboard this season, and this looks like their best shot.  Lower Brule forfeited last week, and for the Jones County boys sake, I hope this one is played and not forfeited.  If it’s played, Yotes 38-12.  If not, 1-0 Yotes.

5.  Miller at Winner.  Winner looks to close out the year with a win to close out the Big Dakota Football Conference.  Miller needs the win to stay in the playoff hunt, while a Warrior victory parks their buses for at least the first two weeks of the playoffs, or as long as they win.  I see Winner getting a 30-10 win on Parent’s Night at Not Harvey Naasz Field, recently selected as one of Sports Buzzard readers’ favorite fields.  Remember though, $1.25 for M&M’s.  (Insider tip – Stop at Sooper Dooper on your way to the field for your M&M’s.)

4.  New Underwood at Lyman.  I smell an upset cooking in Presho.  New Underwood comes in at 2-4 to face the Raiders who wear red from Lyman County.  The youngsters in red and black put it together tomorrow night and defeat the purple and gold clad westerlies 28-20.  Then they clean a trailer load of pheasants Saturday.

3.  South Central at Gregory.  The Gregory County Shootout.  More flame orange and camaflouge than navy and red will decorate the stands.  This game has big playoff implications for both teams.  I pick another upset here, the Cougars steal a win 28-22 by controlling the clock and not turning the ball over.

2.  Wall at White River. Must win for the Tigers, Wall virtually wraps up a home first round game with a win here.  The Tigers tanked at the end of last year when all they had to do was win to get in, Coach Krogman hopefully has this year’s team ready to go for two tough games to wnd the year.  Prove me wrong Tigers, Wall 34-18.

1.  Philip at Harding County.  Statement game for both teams.  I think the statement will be that the Ranchers love them some football.  This is the Buzzard 9 man GOTW for good reason.  These two teams have been the most consistently solid 9 man programs west of the moat in the last decade and have piled up the regualr season wins.  I see the Ranchers coming away with a convincing 36-12 win.

Good luck to all area teams, safe travels to all, safe hunting this weekend, and give some hunter wrong directions this weekend just for the fun of it.

There are some HUGE game elsewhere in the state as well. In honor of Opening Weekend in the Pheasant Belt, I’ll give you my statewide 12 pack to go with the regional 6 pack. No picks in these packs though.

How about 9AA top dog Bridgewater/Emery/Ethan against 9B’s unbeaten Canistota, who may be the best team at any level of football in South Dakota this year.  (I hope I don’t have to get out the drawing pad and fat markers to draw the picture for anybody.)  Or unbeaten Leola/Frederick traveling to once beaten Eureka/Bowdle in a 9AA playoff picture painter.  Once beaten Sully Buttes hosts high scoring and unblemished Herried/Selby in Onida in another huge 9 man game.   Wilmot and Hamlin are both 4-2 and need a win in this big matchup over yonder northeast.  And finally in the 9 man ranks, how about Mt. Vernon and Hanson.  The Beavers seem to put it together this time of year. 

In the big schools, Sturgis seems to be getting healthier and could make some noise if they can knock off O’Gorman.  Good luck, Scoopers. There was a time not so many years ago that eveybody hated O’Gorman and accused them of recruiting and gobbling up the local talent.  Funny, I don’t hear much of that anymore.  I’m guessing that they send a certain Rapid City school a REALLY NICE Christmas card every year saying THANK YOU, THANK YOU, and THANK ….YOU!

In 11A the Black Hills Conference has some huge games in the big picture.  Lead/Deadwood travels to  Hot Springs and Custer hosts Belle Fourche in games that four teams desperately need to win.  Two will, two won’t.  Also in the BHC, Pine Ridge is riding high and look to lock up region 3 of 11A if they can get past a Douglas team that has struggle mightily this year.  I would love to see the Thorpes get a win here, then have somebody form WAY OVER EAST make that trip to Pine Ridge for a round two game.  I can hear the squeeling already and the cries to revise playoff formatting.  Again.

Over east in 11B, Elk Point/Jefferson and Garretson play a big game on the field turf in Garretson (should have went with blue like Boise State) amongst Region 2 and 3 contenders.  11 man’s top matchup is in 11A in Hartford as West Central hosts Dell Rapids.  The Quarriers are undefeated (until about 9:30 Friday night.)  Tri Valley hosts Platte-Geddes/Dakota Christian in another huge contest.  Last year’s tilt was dandy, I expect nothing less this year.

And in one more for the road, let’s go to Vermillion, where South Dakota’s most unique mascoted team hosts Madison in a game that means little.  None the less, a certain well dressed spotter mans the headset, sees a flaw in the Bulldog defense, and exploits the weakness.  Chalk up the win for Vermillion, and give credit to that mystery spotter.  Who really dresses sharp.

PLOW ON, MY FRIENDS.

PLOW ON, MY FRIENDS.

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Sod Buzzard

Pheasant Belt Playophph Scenarios

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Week Seven.  Already.  Dang.

I have designated all of the Pheasant Belt teams in three categories.  Some are in, some aren’t in, and some won’t be in.  Let us dissect who’s in what category.

IN, TICKET PUNCHED:

11A – Todd County currently sits third in power points in region 3.  They have games up coming with Bennett County and an improved Chamberlain squad whose only W last year was against the Falcons.  Even with losses in both of these games, Kornely’s Flying Circus should stay in that 3 spot for a brief  stay and likely face Little Wound if Pine Ridge gets a win against Douglas tomorrow night.

11B - Winner has one game remaining and currently leads region 3.  With a Winner win, they will likely lock up home field advantage for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs.  They play their final game Friday night in Winner against Miller, then rest up for their first round game.  That will likely be a rematch with Stanley County, who took the Warriors to the wire early in the season on the banks of the Bad River.  Bennett County rides a one loss record right now and will host Mobridge-Pollock in the first round if they win their last two West River Conference games against Todd County and Little Wound, or travel if they stumble in either of them.  All of those bonus points for beating 11A schools will come in handy.  Mobridge-Pollock may well be the best team in the region but suffers power point-wise due to a poor and 11B heavy schedule.  Don’t understimate the Tigers as the three seed, they are the real deal.

9B – Colome will win region 3 with a couple wins to end the year, but would fall to no lower than the 2 spot even if the stumble, which ins’t likely.  That stated, the only team they faced thus far over .500 beat them soundly.  This a talented Cowboy team, but they are largely untested.  They face two  teams on the playoff bubble in the next couple weeks, but they could also both be out.  They will likely host a wildcard team into their region in round one.  The Cowboys face Kadoka tomorrow night, then host White River in a season finale that will likely be win and in for the Tigers.  They were in the same boat last year and Colome handled them.

KNOCKING ON THE DOOR:

11B – Stanley County has weathered some ups and downs and lost a couple close games late.  They could 5-2 just as easy as they are 3-4.  But they aren’t.  They are off this week, then face Miller in a season finale.  These two teams faced off last year with both teams’ playoff hopes riding on a win and the Buffs put a 50-0 whipping on them.  I don’t see the Buffs tanking this one, but they lock up that four spot with a win.  Even with a loss they are a pretty solid in, but I don’t  see the Buffs backing in.  They likley will travel to Winner in round one.

9AA – Gregory and South Centralplay an elimination game on Friday.  Gregory currently has a solid hold on the three spot in region 3, with South Central in the 4 spot.  There are several other teams in other regions with higher power points than South Central, so unless the Cougars win Friday and then knock off a solid Andes central team, they are out.  Gregory basically locks up the 3 spot with a win, then faces a tough Plankinton-White Lake team in the season finale.  Even with two losses, the Gorillas could back into the three spot, but South Central has to win both games to have a shot.  It should be playoff atmosphere in Burke in this rivalry game.  The three seed in the region likely gets Bridgewater/Emery/Ethan, who already thumped Gregory.  The four seed likely gets a ticket to watch.   In region 4, Philip should be in, but could slip to a wild card with a loss to Harding County and some wins by Eureka/Bowdle and White River below them.  Philip has that big test this week, then faces flat land foe Kadoka to wrap up the regular season up.  The Scotties are all but seated at the playoff table now, and a win over Harding County would lock it up.  White River needs at least one win to stay alive in their region, but sits in a nice spot to be a wild card should they not take care of business.  Eureka/Bowdle is currently in the 4 spot, but they have two whoppers against undefeated Leola/Frederick and Herried/Pollock to wrap the year up.  White River could slide ahead of them with a win and two E/B losses.  Two Tiger wins punches their ticket.  Herried/Selby and Lemmon/McIntosh lead the region with unbeaten records, but will both be tested bu unbeaten teams to wrap up their seasons.  This one of the more interesting regions in all classes.

9A – Kadoka has a solid hold on the 4 spot in region 4, but they have two tough games against one loss teams Philip and Colome.  They will likely hold that 4 spot even with a couple losses to end the year, but could by chance get aced out by a wildcard.  9A looks pretty top heavy this year, and a 4 seed would earn them a trip to Ab Penn Field in round one.  Watch out for deer.

OUT TO PASTURE ALREADY

11B -  St. Francis. Firmly riding the schnide.  If my research is correct, the last Warrior win was October 8, 2004 against Cheyenne Eagle-Butte.  That’s a painful current 52 game losing streak.  That is owning the schnide.  Ouch. 

9AA – Lyman has some good young talent and should be a playoff visitor again next year, but even a couple wins to end the  year will be too little too late.  Don’t plan on the Raiders staying down long.

9B – Jones County and Lower Brule could face off in this year’s Schnide Bowl.  Maybe.  Lower Brule forfeited to Colome last week.  No word as to their availability this week.  The young Yotes from the greater Murdo area should be looking forward to this game after showing some signs of growth in the last couple weeks.  In looking at the Jones County roster, there could well be more fans in the stands than combined arm pit hairs on the players, this a really young squad.  Both teams are out with no chance of getting in.

Playoffs are always a fun time of year.  For those in – good luck.  For those not in – make it happen.  For those out – get after it in the off season and make it happen next year.

PLOW ON, MY FRIENDS.

 

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Sod Buzzard

A Few Things to Be Thankful For This Fall

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

In the spirit of getting past this little cranky stretch I’ve been on most of  this fall, I felt like it was time to look at some of the things that we can appreciate so far this fall.  First off, the weather in the western 2/3 of the state could overall be considered grand.  Now I’m not trying to jinx anyone here, but with the exception of one night when the temp “dipped into” the hgh 40′s, it has been great football weather.  Now we weren’t pumping 8 inches of rain out of town or still cohabitating with it like many in the Sioux River corridor, so I can say that.  Sure makes me appreciate a good Friday night.

I’m thankful for the National Anthem finally being played well at a high school football game.  The Northern State band was down for the River City Band Festival in Chamberlain and played before and during halftime at the Winner/Chamberlain game on Friday night.  They played well, loud, and festively.  Now they aren’t close to the THE PRIDE, but it just felt like more of a football game based on the band.  Nicely done Musical Wolves, this Buzzard greatly enjoyed the sounds and the show. 

I’m thankful for an SDSU and Notre Dame win all in the same weekend.  That’s been few a far between this year.  Notre Dame is hitting the soft and fleshy part of their schedule, but the Jacks are looking like .500 may be a stretch.  And along the lines of college football, I believe that USF and Augie are both still undefeated, Tech and Mines are 5-1, and Wesleyan and the U are 3-2.  SDSU picked up their first official win yesterday, but their showing against the vaunted Huskers was a loss for official records purposes only.  If not for a bogus block below the waist penalty, who knows.   They had a terrific showing.  It makes me think of what it could be like if 11B or 11A played 11AA.  Hmmm. And there are Dakota State and Northern, both firmly secured and riding the schnide.  Overall, a good first half for our collegiate teams who have a a lot of local talent on the rosters. 

I’m thankful the orange and camo invasion has not been here yet in full force.  And I’m thankful it won’t for another few days.  Then it’s two weeks or so of bedlam.  It is welcomed to see that a lot of hunters who have been coming to area farms for years and watched kids grow by seeing them annually each October come to games each fall.  I grew up with the same core of hunters that would come to our farm and I looked forward to Jack, Doc, Gary, and crew coming each fall, especially when they brought me my first shotgun.  As a whole they drive me nuts, but individually or in small groups, there are a lot of good people who come here.                          (And a few dinks.  Just being honest.  But that’s anywhere.)

I’m thankful for some exciting playoff races shaping in high school football and anxious to see if the revised playoff system is going to “fix” football like so many seem to think it will.  Who wins their way in, who gets aced out by a wild card, and who’s traveling to Pine Ridge for a 2nd round game?  I can hardly wait.

I’m thankful for the spirit of rivalry.  That one time a year your rivals come town or you go visit are games that you’ll always remember.  The Gregory County Shootout is coming up Friday as players from South Central and Gregory hook it, normally on the Friday of Pheasant’s Eve.  South Central is the coop of Burke and Bonesteel-Fairfax.  B/F was 9B and Burke was 9A for many years until the two merged about 5 years back.  Gregory dropped down from the ranks of 11B about the same time, and the natural rivalry has taken off from there.  Burke and Greogry lie about 8 mmiles apart, so the game is well attended and pretty spirited.  Gregory leads the series 3-2, with this year’s matchup looking like a dandy.  There are plenty of other great rivalries, but while this one is relatively new, it is a worthy of note.

And on a final note, I’m thankful for kids.  Kids who can play the games we banter about.  Kids who make mistakes and sometimes do thing miraculous things.  Like turn lights off when leaving a room or pull the keys out of their vehicle.  Lyman High School lost a 16 year old last week to a farm accident.  We out in the area I call the Pheasant Belt are largely farm and ranch kids and we have grown up helping and being a part of that.  It’s our way of life.  Every few years, the reality that we work with machines more powerful than us rears it’s mortal head.  Martin lost a young man who had recently graduated this summer as well.  For the family of Reed Lein, I trust God’s plan for him is being done, but I hope that you and your friends and your community can find comfort in knowing that, although that timeline isn’t ever easy or planned. 

Hey folks, enjoy the beautiful day and 3 day weekend if you are so scheduled.  Take a moment and be thankful for the blessings you have.

PLOW ON, MY FRIENDS!

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