MACA fans made the rather demanding trip to Pillager Saturday (10/28) for a night playoff game. Post-season football often calls for a substantial travel commitment. I'm not sure it's prudent to have so many of the visiting team fans drive home so late at night. But that's the way it is.
MACA had its season end on a down note, partly because it was a loss and partly because we failed to score points. It was a lot different from the Tigers' playoff opener that saw them score plenty of points in a win over Breckenridge. The Breckenridge game was where we wanted it to be: here at Big Cat Stadium.
At Pillager Saturday we were defeated 36-0. So the season of 2017 is over and in the books for our orange and black. Our final record is 4-6.
The Huskies of Pillager were led by Dylan Loftis who scored three touchdowns. Pillager lived up to its top-seeded status. We were seeded No. 4. The Saturday game was in the Section 6-AA semis.
Pillager had a 1-2 punch coming at the Tigers in the ground game. Eli Horn rushed for over a hundred yards to complement Loftis. We were dominated in the total yards category, 380-91. All of Pillager's 380 yards were on the ground! Josh Doss of the Huskies attempted four passes and completed none.
Pillager scored in each of the four quarters. It was Loftis scoring the first TD as Pillager built its advantage - it was on a run from the seven. The conversion run try failed. It was Horn scoring at 9:38 of the second quarter on a run from the one. Loftis carried the ball successfully on the conversion play. Loftis scored the third of the Huskies' three first half touchdowns, at 6:53 of the second quarter. He scored from the ten. Horn added two on the conversion run.
The third quarter saw Logan Gjovik score a touchdown at the 9:01 mark. He scored on a six-yard run and also carried successfully on the conversion. Pillager applied finishing touches on this 36-0 win with a TD in the fourth that had Loftis carrying the football from the two. The conversion try was unsuccessful.
The Tigers had 86 rushing yards on 32 carries. Our passing game was negligible as it typically is. We had one completion in three attempts for five yards. So, the total offense numbers were 91 yards for MACA, 380 for the hard-charging Huskies. Loftis rushed for 139 yards on 20 carries. Horn's stats were 109 yards on 20 carries. Gjovik rolled forward too, accumulating 75 yards on 14 carries.
Pillager takes an 8-2 season record to the next level. The Huskies now face West Central Area in a game set for Friday, 5:30 p.m. at the Fargodome. WCA is the No. 2 seed.
Volleyball: Tigers 3, Litchfield 1
The Tigers ended a hiatus from competition and came on strong Tuesday (Oct. 31, Halloween) to defeat Litchfield in the post-season. Coach Kristi Fehr's Tigers roared with this 3-1 success and now advance to play Paynesville on Thursday at Minnewaska. Paynesville needed five games to advance past New London-Spicer.
Our Tuesday win was No. 20 in this most impressive season. Scores vs. Litchfield were 25-12, 25-17, 24-26 and 25-16. Jenna Howden stood out in several phases, one of them serving where she had two aces. Karly Fehr, Jenna Larsen and Riley Decker each had one serving ace. Karly Fehr in her specialty of setting chalked up 48 assists.
Howden was a power at the net with her team-best 21 kills. Bailey Marty pounded down ten kills and Larsen had nine. The list continues with Fehr (8), Kenzie Hockel (5) and Lexi Pew (5). Pew was tops in ace blocks with three. Fehr had two ace blocks and Howden had one. Decker impressed in her forte of digging with 26. Marty dug up the ball 20 times, and Fehr and Howden each had 16. Hockel came through with seven digs and Larsen had five.
The orange and black takes a 20-5 record into the next round of play.
Anyone want to predict?
Another contest that is coming up is the referendum for Morris Area High School. I was curious what advice the late Laura Carrington might give. Hers was a voice of wisdom, often a conservative voice. I contacted a friend who like me, knew Laura well, and here's how he responded by email:
Laura always complained that they didn't do / budget plan for repair / updates. Let it go to h--l and then talk new or major updates. Counties are guilty of the same actions. I talked to a customer in North Dakota and he said the district has three schools and they take a section each year and do mechanical updates. I guess that makes too much sense!
Mike O'Keefe, RIP
"Salt of the earth" describes Mike O'Keefe, who unfortunately has left our mortal ranks. As my mom would say, "he's in a better place now." Earth was a mighty satisfying place for Mike. He was gregarious, relaxed and reassuring in his stance toward everyone who entered his world. I didn't see him as much as I would have liked the last few years. We'd occasionally see the O'Keefes at DeToy's Restaurant.
I appreciated Mike's concern over the fact I never got married. He approached this subject with a touch of levity. He had advice too. It's all tucked away in the back of my mind. I saw Mike regularly at Beyer Ford which I visited weekly for taking photos. I'll never forget his "rattlesnake eggs" gag, which totally "got me" the first time! "Caution when opening."
If I'm fortunate enough to come across Mike in heaven, he'll probably greet me by saying "You haven't gotten married since the last time I saw you, have you?" His voice by itself seemed to make all your problems go away. He's with son Tony in that "better place" now.
Whither the Morris paper?
The Sun-Tribune or Stevens County Times, whatever, struggles today. The paper is a very weak shadow of what it once was. I was on the staff during the Sun Tribune's heyday, when we published twice a week and the paper was thick. I covered the UMM Cougars, not comprehensively but with a decent amount of commitment, in the days when UMM either had no sports information director or had an SID in name only. Mark Fohl would not object to this sentence if he read it.
My early work as a stringer was especially fun because I wasn't pressured to work full-time with its manic demands, nor did I fill out those dreadful timesheets. Timesheets put unreasonable pressure on me and often left me feeling like I was in a no-win situation. In that earlier "stringer" phase, maybe I was lifted by the sheer joy of youth! College gave me a cynical hard edge. The 1970s had its disturbing elements.
The Morris Sun Tribune today has weakened greatly in terms of subscription and readership. That shouldn't surprise you. Here's an assessment I received recently via email from a newspaper publisher/acquaintance of mine in western Minnesota. His candor and bluntness is refreshing.
The subscriber numbers in Morris are shocking. I believe they've dropped below 2500 paid subscribers. I see on the Minnesota Newspaper Directory website that circulation is around 2900 but that figure can be sugar-coated with fictional newsstand numbers. The official Minnesota Newspaper Association website directory says circulation is 2800 (not verified) and I have a hunch that is the Hancock and Morris numbers combined. That's a newspaper that may not exist in five years. I really believe a majority of the problems in Morris are caused by Sue Dieter and probably also from very poor top-down management by the Forum. She is aloof, arrogant and obviously in the wrong profession. It is a damn shame for that town. I will rail and rail on the Fargo Forum, but as we see in Alexandria and the Echo Press, it is possible to run a good show in the Fargo Forum family. I am befuddled at the difference between the Alexandria and Morris newspapers.