Jason’s Blog: HS football time…
Posted By: Jason Iacovino
I'm a huge fan of summer and it always saddens me when you can feel it ending. All the signs are there--back to school sales, the conclusion of the fair, preseason NFL football, and high school sports practices.
Later this week, we will have our first game broadcast of the 2014-15 school year on KRFO when the Owatonna volleyball team battles Prior Lake on Thursday. Then on Aug. 28 it will be back to football as the Huskies travel to Winona to kick off the season.
Football--particularly high school football under the Friday night lights--tends to be my consolation for falling leaves and temperatures in the coming months. This season will feel a little strange for our area teams.
For Owatonna, you start by trying to replace nearly 30 senior from last year's State championship team. Suffice it to say things are going to feel different in practice for veteran coach Jeff Williams' squad. The conference also has a new feel, with the addition of Red Wing and Northfield (The Huskies do not play Red Wing in 2014, they will play at Northfield on Oct. 15).
Owatonna has a good chance to start 2-0 with games at Winona and Rochester Century, but after that, it will be a grind for the new guys. The great news is coach Williams' staff has remained fairly constant, something you don't see much of in a high school program lately. Hopefully they will be able to have things rolling by the time Owatonna opens at home against Faribault on Sep. 12. That game will be followed by what should be the toughest test of the year against Mankato West on Sep. 19.
This is also the last season of conference scheduling before the MSHSL's "district scheduling" takes effect in 2015. This won't alter Owatonna or Triton's schedule a whole lot, but it will change some for Blooming Prairie. The Awesome Blossoms, who were defeated by Bethlehem Academy in the Section final each of the last two seasons after making State appearances in 2009 and 2011, will still have B.A. in its scheduling district, but it will lose a rivalry with New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva for the foreseeable future after the two teams wrap up on the regular season on Oct. 15 in New Richland.
BP will also see Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (Sep. 5) and Lester Prairie (Sep. 12) for the last time in a while, but their district includes St. Clair, United South Central, Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, and Mankato Loyola, who round out this year's schedule (BP opens at home against the Crusaders on Aug. 29).
Looking at our Kat Kountry 105 FM area football schedule, I am looking forward to seeing BP battle Lester Prairie on Sep. 12 as these two programs have gone back and forth over the years and will go their separate ways after this season. I'm also excited about the NRHEG vs. WEM on Sep. 26 as the Buccaneers will be hungry after the Panthers beat them last season. BP at Bethlehem Academy (Saturday, Sep. 27) has been as crazy of a rivalry as you can get the last two seasons, and we close out the regular season with two rivalry games in New Richland, as the Panthers host Medford (Oct. 10) and BP (Oct. 15).
That final game between the Blossoms and Panthers will be special. NRHEG has lost the last three meetings after winning three straight from 2008-10. The games have generally been close and the coaches, administrators, and players know each other well. My hope is both teams will enter that game undefeated on the season.
I will miss the great weather we've been having. As I said, nothing beats summer in Minnesota...but the more I dream about high school football, the more I am ready to embrace the fall colors that are just a few short weeks away. Roy Koenig, Brad Fischer, Brennen Toquam, and I look forward to covering our area football teams and appreciate our listeners on KRFO-AM 1390 and Kat Kountry 105 (104.9 FM). Remember, you can hear the games live on the internet (krforadio.com and katkountry105.com) and on your smart phone using the free RadioPup app.
Jason Iacovino can be heard Tuesdays and Fridays on KRFO-AM 1390 at 3:50 p.m. Leave a comment below and follow him on Twitter @JasonIacovino.