|Noah Carlson of the Trojans (image from "Scout")|
The venerable Truman is still close to sports because of a significant family connection. It's with his great grand nephew. Quite a stellar athlete, that individual is. Noah Carlson of Rushford-Peterson is a five-time state track and field champion. Right now the focus is on football where Noah is ascending nicely with his teammates.
This past Saturday, the Rushford-Peterson boys were on the field at the shiny new U.S. Bank Stadium. Noah rushed for 236 yards in this state semi-final success. The Trojans of R-P owned this game, scoring 49 points in the first 24 minutes! The final score was 49-0 over Browerville/Eagle Valley. Davin Thompson coaches the Trojans. The Browerville/Eagle Valley coach is Wayne Petermeier. Hey, that name sounds familiar.
The Tigers of Browerville/Eagle Valley may have been humbled at the end, but they overachieved toward the end of the season to reach this impressive height. They were just 5-3 entering the post-season. Petermeier wasn't sure if his team was going to win a post-season game. He knew his team had to be "perfect" against R-P, he said, and that of course was an elusive goal.
Rushford-Peterson is now seeking its fourth state football championship. The previous crown came in 2006. I remember when our Morris Area Tigers with coach Jerry Witt made the long trip to R-P in southeastern Minnesota for a playoff game. We won. That was in our climb to Prep Bowl. What tremendous personnel we had then. We had a thrilling passing game.
Good as the Tigers were this past fall, we were pretty conservative with the pass. But we were named the Minnesota High School Football Team of the Year. I'm still a little bothered by that award - the credibility behind it, guys. No doubt, Rushford-Peterson has just as good a program. Truman would love to chat with you about it.
R-P will now face top-ranked Minneapolis North in the Class 'A' Prep Bowl at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, back at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Noah Carlson is a senior who obviously has the attention of college athletic programs. He has over 2,600 yards rushing and 46 touchdowns this season. Will he do football or track and field in college? At present it's not certain.
R-P has been dealt one loss: it came in the last game of the regular season to Goodhue. Spokesmen for R-P said the loss was like a wakeup call and may have had positive effects. R-P sports a 12-1 record. In the most recent win, the Trojans marched for a touchdown on their first possession. Carlson scored on a run from the four. Then on their next possession, Carlson capped it all with a 24-yard scoring scamper. The rout was on. Early in the second quarter, Carlson made it 28-0 with a 13-yard touchdown run. Carlson made it 42-0 with 1:30 left in the first half, this time covering 60 yards of real estate in a thrilling run. Parents of the reserve players had fun in the second half, watching as the reserve Trojan players took over.
On a sad note, Truman's wife Edna passed away not long ago. She's beaming down from heaven, assuredly. I went to high school with Dave Carlson, son of Truman and Edna. Dave was two years older than me. At that time, grades 10-12 were in the high school building which was still new. Dave was a trombone player. I remember how Dave and the trombone section were featured in the introduction to "El Cumbanchero." The band director was John Woell who commanded the school marching band in the last grand chapter of its history.
Let's get back to the subject of the current award being celebrated at our school: "Minnesota High School Football Team of the Year." It bothered me as soon as I read about it. How could one school be singled out from 140 "nominees." Public relations for the Vikings, who co-sponsored the award? Consider all the losing teams who submitted entries that must have required time. You can argue that MACA had an unfair advantage because we share our top-notch football facility with a college. I wouldn't care that much except that we got $10,000 as part of the award. I was concerned enough that I sent an email to Dave Stead, executive director of the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL). The name of the award suggests that the MSHSL at least has its imprimatur on it. Who else would I send the email to? Here's the email I sent:
Mr. Stead - The Morris Area Chokio Alberta football team was honored in Oct. as the Minnesota High School Football Team of the Year. Most importantly the school gets $10,000. The Minnesota Vikings co-sponsor the award. A representative of the Vikings, Brett Taber, was quoted in the Morris paper (10/22) saying the "marching band" was a factor in getting the award. Morris Area High School does not have a marching band. I would like to suggest that the $10,000 could have been given to a program or a fund that would benefit all public high schools, not just one chosen from among 140 "nominated" schools in the state. Did Morris submit erroneous info, i.e. the marching band? It wouldn't be important except that $10,000 was at stake. Also, football at the NFL level has nothing in common with high school football. The Vikings are professional entertainment. Morris might have an unreasonable advantage in sharing a top-notch stadium with the local college. Many small towns wouldn't have this opportunity. Thanks for your attention.
I appreciated that Mr. Stead, a busy guy, read my email and responded to it, albeit in a brief way:
Good luck to the Rushford-Peterson boys this Saturday. Truman will not stick his neck out and predict a win, but certainly he can envision such a thing!
Addendum: I remember when Gary Lembcke and I were chatting in the school hallway about a baseball trade just announced, and I guess we were a little loud. Truman, just outside his classroom, reprimanded us. Then after a pause, Truman said "yeah, I know, Frank Robinson for Doyle Alexander." He was joining our conversation about this baseball trade that seemed a little lopsided! He has a heart of gold.