Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday Night Lights, Part I - Jaguars Football Falls in Heartbreaking 27-20 Loss, Shane Weller Hauls in School-Record 224 Receiving Yards

The Jaguars football team gave nothing short of a valiant, leave-it-all-on-the-field effort in their 2008 season opener. Just when one counted them out, down 27-6 in the middle of the 4th quarter, the Jaguars came roaring back against a good West Central Area Knights team. A win and the much-needed Section 5A playoff points that would come with it were not in the cards, though, as time ran out on the late would-be comeback.

I hope to get a small capsule from both the WCA coach as well as Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted's coach... The Jaguars travel to HL-W-W next Friday for the 2nd game of the year. I'm almost certain that the game will be at the Lakers' new high school south of Howard Lake. (This would be a big step up from their current field, which has hosted numerous "mud bowls" over the years.) I don't have a full update on the progress of the athletic fields for their new 9th-12th grade facility.

Scores from the area from Friday night's action on the gridiron:
Montevideo 12, St.Cloud Cathedral 6
Albany 55, Yellow Medicine East 0 (OUCH!... 16 Huskies combined for 527 rushing yards on 62 carries...Whew!)
Benson 16, Sauk Centre 14 (Did not see that coming...Benson was 0-9 in 2007)
NL-S 48, Paynesville 0 (another OUCH!)
Eden Valley-Watkins 33, Pipestone 0
Kimball Area 35, St.John's Prep 0
Foley 34, Lac qui Parle Valley 0 (LQPV had a 100+ mile trip home after this loss...!)
Milaca 30, Minnewaska Area 14
Pierz 27, Rice Lake, Wisconsin 20 (the Pioneers scored with 19 seconds left for the win)
Becker 40, St.Michael-Albertville 39 (Becker stopped a conversion attempt late in the game to preserve the win)
AC-G-C 49, Morris Area 22
Hancock 54, Bertha-Hewitt 42 (Defense? who needs that)
Jordan 50, Rockford 19

The Jaguars girls tennis team battled at the Moorhead Quadrangular on Friday, a meet that went from 10am to 5pm. Below is a photo taken once the meet was completed. No, they're not in a serious pose here either!

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Jaguars Volleyball Takes Down Sauk Centre in Season-Opener via Sweep -- Jaguars Girls Tennis Picks Up Win over Parkers Prairie

Talk about fan support!

It was a successful day for the Jaguars on the volleyball court, at Sauk Centre, to open the 2008 campaign. Final results were 25-12, 25-14, 25-19. It is hopefully the first of many sweeps this season for the state-ranked Jaguars, defending Central Minnesota Conference and Section 5A champions.

The volleyball team has a week of practice ahead of them until next Thursday, September 4, when they travel to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted's new high school (south of Howard Lake) for the CMC opener.

I'll be adding action photos from the match at on Saturday.

No word on cross country results from Maple Lake.

The Jaguars girls tennis team picked up their third win of the season in a 5-2 win over Parkers Prairie on Thursday. Today, Friday, they are at a quadrangular in Moorhead, where they will face state-ranked Crookston, where head coach Katy Westrom graduated from in 2003. She will coach against her former coach sometime today. I hope to be there if I can get my work done and get on the road.

Then...last but not least, tonight's the football opener for the Jaguars, at West Central Area High School, located on the west side of the small town of Barrett, MN (population 350). It's roughly a 1/2 hour west of Alexandria, and 55 miles northwest of Belgrade on Highway 55. Kickoff is at 7:00pm. Whew, I can't wait.

I hope to post results from tennis & football later tonight after my big roadie!

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jaguars Volleyball Season Opener - at Sauk Centre Thursday Night

The Jaguars will take on the Mainstreeters on the road to open the 2008 season. It's a much better drive than Ortonville! Sauk actually lost their season opener, on Tuesday this week, by a 3-1 margin to fellow West Central North Conference rival Melrose Area. I was actually surprised to see some of the stats from that match. I expect Sauk to pick up their game and play much better tonight.

I also expect a huge crowd. Tonight will be the most exciting volleyball season opener I've seen since 1995, when the defending conference champion Jaguars traveled to New London to face the NL-S Wildcats. (The Jaguars won that match 3-1 and ended up tying NL-S for the West Central South Conference championship that season, after going 14-0 in the league in 1994.)

The Jaguars girls tennis team is at the Parkers Prairie Triangular today, beginning at 9:00am. The Jaguars girls and boys cross country teams open their season today at Maple Lake at 4:00pm.

Tomorrow, Friday, the Jaguars football team opens up at West Central Area for the 2008 season opener.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Well This Was an Interesting Exchange

Despite the best efforts of a few people like "Lynette B" from Brooten who will stoop to the bottom of the barrel to show their hatred, I'm still here. I'm not going away that easily. Throwing a few rocks at me won't dampen my spirits, despite how nasty some may get. Actually a few more comments were added that threw darts at me from "Lynette B" and some of her gang. Nasty stuff. In spite of all that, this week both local papers, and the Sauk Herald, will both have complete sports sections as Fall 2008 is fired up at full steam. Don't thank me, simply buy a paper, go to a Jaguars sporting event, support the kids. In the end, that's what it's about.

Read below to understand what the fuss is about...and to make sense of what I said above.

On Monday, August 11th, the West Central Tribune ran this article including the following =

"The Willmar School Board has decided to ask voters to approve an operating levy in a referendum this fall. ...The district ’s current levy of $498.49 per pupil raises $2.3 million a year. ...The first question would add $201.51 per pupil to the existing levy bringing the total levy up to 700 ...The $700 levy would allow the district to maximize state aid available to districts with levies. ...The board did discuss an operating levy two years ago ..."

Below is an exchange on the Tribune's internet blog comments for this story. I ("Randy O - Sunburg") was commenting on the idea that small schools have to work within their budgets in everything they do. If they don't have the money they can't be spending it. Willmar is hoping to pass an excess levy vote and I hope it goes through for them. Times are tough, and as we experienced at B-B-E in June of this summer, it is a very difficult political environment to raise property taxes. I don't advocate "cheapening" education, but I also don't advocate raising pay when the public is not behind the idea. In the end, the taxpayers foot the bill.

And here's part of what was said...

Brian B, how can we convince the public that taxes must be raised so the salaries can get paid? No one will talk about that. In our property-poor district of B-B-E, high salaries will break the district. It's not sustainable.
Randy O
Sunburg, MN
08/12/2008 1:06 PM
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Richard, the problem is not the teachers, it's the system they are forced to operate in.
Rick C
Willmar, MN
08/12/2008 1:09 PM
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I am not sure what I proved. You will attract good employees anywhere with good salaries. Again- very, very few teachers in the public schools make this kind of money. Starting salaries are around 30,000. It will take a lot of schooling and years to get to the point you are worried about. I don't think this is what is going to "break" schools. Also - why should teachers make less just because they teach in a small district? They shouldn't, which is again why I believe our gov. needs to step up and support our schools more.
Amy K
Benson, MN
08/12/2008 1:36 PM
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As enrollment continues to decline, the district needs to become more efficient and work within its means instead of asking taxpayers to bail them out again. operate within a budget like businesses do. We hire a new superintendent and the first thing he does is tax us more.
Renae G
Willmar, MN
08/12/2008 1:53 PM
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Schools are not a business. Just as churches are not a business. Can't compare apples and oranges. Schools and churches are not in the business of making money. We're not bailing out the school, we're making up for State of Minnesota's lack of funding for education. We're bailing out the Pawlenty administration - the no new taxes but more user fees system of governing and leadership. Also, why take a cheap shot at our new superintendent? This was a school board decision. It would be the same whether Leedom were still here or not. I,for one, agree with their decision and back them 100% We are lucky to have the quality people we have serving on our board. I've said it before and I'll say it again - I have never ever voted against a school referendum and I never will. I'll go to my grave supporting public education. I'm so grateful for the wonderful education I received growing up in Willmar - the many outstanding teachers and coaches. I want my kids to have the same great experience and opportunities I had. Any way you look at it this involves money and resources. Administrators, teachers, and coaches have already had to submit lists with cuts etc. If this doesn't pass and we have to cut another two million or so, it is going to be just terrible for our young people. They are our future. They are worth every penny of the small sacrifice we are all called to make on their behalf.
Jay C
Willmar, MN
08/12/2008 2:17 PM
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Ok I found a little more info.. Case in point. What I found were 2005 figures... average salary for teachers at K-M-S was around $38,000. Average salaries at B-B-E was around $49,000 which ranks them near the top of all small schools in Minnesota with K-12 enrollment under 1,000. The staff at both schools (KMS/BBE) have younger and older teachers. I know 90% of the staff at both school districts. This is what I'm talking about. K-M-S has their budget under control, they are frugal while also having a strong school system.
Randy O
Sunburg, MN
08/12/2008 3:05 PM
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This proves nothing. You do not know the background of the education of these teachers. How many of them have master's degrees? You also do not know exactly the amount of years these people have put in at both places. I think you are focusing on the teachers when the problem is with gov. funding. I am much more upset with our gov. not giving us enough funds than a school like BBE giving teachers good salaries that they deserve.
Amy K
Benson, MN
08/12/2008 3:13 PM
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Frugal and strong school systems don't go hand in hand. To get good, quality educators, it costs money.
Jay C
Willmar, MN
08/12/2008 3:16 PM
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Randy O. Get a life.
Lynnette B
Brooten, MN
08/12/2008 3:22 PM
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I was wondering when someone would throw out a 2-year old response.
Randy O
Sunburg, MN
08/12/2008 3:41 PM
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Still no one has talked about how to come up with the money to pay teachers more money. What are we trying to teach here, spend money that we don't have?
Randy O
Sunburg, MN
08/12/2008 3:43 PM
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Friday, August 22, 2008

Jaguars Girls Tennis Defeats Morris Area 5-2

The Jaguars girls tennis team (2-5) turned things around from the past two days and came home from the Morris Area high school tennis courts with a 5-2 victory. It comes on the heels of a very tough Triangular and a Quad the past two days.

The tennis team is at the Benson Quad on Monday, followed by the Melrose Quad on Tuesday. At Melrose, Benson/K-M-S and Maccray will also participate. B/K-M-S and Maccray are both in the Jaguars' sub-section.

On Saturday I'll be at the Benson football scrimmage, where our Jaguars will shake off the rust and see what they're made of against Class AAA Montevideo, state-ranked Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, and the host Benson Braves. It begins at 9:00am at Chiefs Field at the Benson High School athletic complex.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jaguars Tennis Battles at the Minnewaska Quadrangular

In the first match of the day, the Jaguars lost to the host Lakers 6-1. Their second opponent was Parkers Prairie, and the Jaguars fell by a razor-thin margin in a 4-3 team loss that came down to a third-set tiebreaker in the three-doubles match. They also fell in an equally close 4-3 loss to Montevideo to close out the Quad.

More photos will be available for purchase on the Sauk Herald photo gallery online, which can be found at the following link:

I already have a few shots from one of the Jaguars football practices I went to this past week. In a 2nd album, I have 129 of my 500 photos from Elrosa's Centennial celebration that viewers can also purchase.

In another comparison, the Benson newspaper website has 4 x 6's for sale for $3.99 each. The Willmar paper has them priced at $11.50 for a 4 x 6. On the Alexandria newspaper website (the Echo Press), a 4 x 6 runs $4.00. At the Sauk Herald website a 4 x 6 is $2.50, a nice price compared to what I've seen so far on other area newspaper websites.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jaguars Girls Tennis Falls to Two Strong Opponents at Sauk Centre Quad

The Jaguars girls tennis team (1-2) lost 6-1 to host Sauk Centre and 7-0 to Yellow Medicine East today. They were unable to play Park Rapids, as Park Rapids did not know it was a Quad and was already at the max schedule of 28 regular season matches.

More will be added Thursday. The Jaguars continue at the Minnewaska Quad tomorrow, beginning at 9:00am at the Minnewaska Area High School tennis courts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Jaguars Football Fundraiser - Get Your Jaguars Gold Cards!

All varsity Jaguars football players (9th-12th grade) are currently selling their Jaguars Gold Cards for $15 to the public. Talk to your nearest football player to grab one. They are in a contest to sell a bunch before Thursday night (this week), when they have their annual pre-season lock-in at the high school.

News from other sports...

The Jaguars girls tennis team travels to Sauk Centre today for a 9:00am Quadrangular that includes Park Rapids, Yellow Medicine East, and the host Mainstreeters. Sauk looks impressive and is 4-1 going into today's Quad at their high school tennis courts. I think the Jaguars have a good chance of going at least 2-1 in the three matches.

The Jaguars volleyball team travels to Litchfield on Thursday night for a four-team scrimmage that also includes Willmar and Buffalo-Lake Hector. BL-H found themselves receiving votes in the pre-season Class A coaches poll. I'll add for the first time on here that our Jaguars were ranked #3 in Class A. It was a pleasant surprise to me, as I figured they'd be in the 8-9-10 spot on the rankings. Initially I didn't really care for "state-rankings" but after some discussion with coaches and parents I realized that the recognition is something to be proud of. While the wrong attitude can go two ways...either you hide the state ranking or you become over-confident because of it...I now look at it as something we should expect. I'm finally used to the idea, since the Jaguars first became ranked in Class AA in October 2003. I can say this before the season starts without jinxing anything... The volleyball team has been state-ranked consistently since August 2005.

The Jaguars cross country teams have been working hard in pre-season while getting ready for their first meet on August 28th at Maple Lake. They host the Jaguars Invite at Prairie View Community Golf Course on September 4th. I don't have an exact count yet on what the numbers for the girls and boys teams are, but I do know the students who are out for the sport have big hearts and put everything they have into Cross Country. Their head coach, Erin Koshiol, is also very passionate about CC and has been a great leader since taking the reigns in 2004.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Elrosa's 100-Year Celebration 3-Day Weekend Kicks Off With "Old Timer's Baseball Game"

Next week many more pictures will be available for purchase at the Sauk Centre Herald website. I'll add details next week about that. The link to the Sauk Herald is By Friday, August 22nd, I will have pictures up from Elrosa's celebration. Over the weekend I'll be adding Belgrade August Fest pictures, Brooten Bonanza Valley Days photos, and then fall sports photos as I take them. The price per picture is $2.50 for a hand-held size photo, much cheaper than what I saw on the Willmar paper's website, where prices begin at $11 per photo!

My initial guess is that over 300 Elrosa Centennial photos will be online available to purchase.

Below are pictures from Saturday's events...

Mark Herickhoff MC'ing the All-School Reunion program.

Kevin Weller, owner of Belgrade Feed Company, is ready to toss a handful of candy out near the end of the parade route.

Alan Lieser (left) and Doug Winter cook up a mean set of hamburgers and hot dogs for the B-B-E Booster Club's foodstand.

Steve Spanier and his girlfriend rode their rig, a big square baler, during the parade. He said that an hour after the parade the outfit would be back in the field hard at work.

A picture from Sunday's pudding eating contest...

This Elrosa centennial celebration update is brought to you by:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Jaguars Girls Tennis - Season Opening Win Over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/ Upsala Swanville Area 4-3

The Jaguars won their opening match of the season 4-3. Only 10 more team wins and they'll have a new school record!

Long Prairie-Grey Eagle is paired with Upsala-Swanville Area this season. USA was going to fold the program due to low numbers, and LP-GE graciously offered to take in the remaining USA players who wanted to keep going out for the sport.

Next Wednesday, August 20th...the Jaguars tennis team travels to Sauk Centre for a Quadrangular that begins at 8:15. The next day they travel to Minnewaska Area for another Quad that begins at 9:00. On Friday (Aug 22) they travel to Morris Area for a dual meet against the Tigers at 10:00.

I'll update more info this weekend.

See you in Elrosa over the next 3 days... Old-Timer's baseball game at 7:00 tonight at Saints Field. On Saturday at 3:30 the Grand Parade (130+ units) will take place.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jaguars Volleyball Pre-Season Scrimmage at Willmar High School Thursday Night

I just got the schedule from Coach Weller =

Here's who the Jaguars play:
4:30 - Willmar Cardinals
5:30 - Benson Braves
6:30 - Murray County Central (Fulda) Rebels
7:00 - Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Fighting Saints
7:30 - Central Minnesota Christian School Bluejays

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Elrosa's 100-Year Celebration This Weekend

Click on this photo and you should be able to see the poster/schedule better:

Sedan Daze takes place on Saturday as well.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Great Weekend Darkened by a Tragic Death - **Address for Donations Added on Tuesday

While the August Fest activities were most enjoyable for everyone involved in Belgrade over the weekend, I was saddened to learn about the accidental death of a young man who lived in Brooten during this summer.

Oscar Alenjandro Ramirez, 17, of Eagle Pass, Texas, died Saturday afternoon after a drowning accident at Games Lake Park in rural New London. Apparently the water was crowded, which is typical at this popular beach and swimming area. I have no idea if that was a factor in the death. It was reported that the lifeguards responded immediately to the drowning. Unfortunately, all efforts to revive Oscar, known also as "Alex" by some in the B-B-E area, failed.

According to posts in the West Central Tribune online blog (""), this young man was a worker who lived at the migrant camp near Brooten. I only read good things about him on there. (Except for 2 racist pigs that decided to throw their terrible back-woods hick attitude out on the world wide web.)

**I just spoke with Father Jeff, the local priest for the B-B-E area. He gave me the following address for donations to help the Ramirez family in this time of unthinkable tragedy. They are raising funds to help with bringing Oscar's body back to Texas for their funeral. A memorial service was held on Sunday night in Brooten at the Catholic church.

St.Donatus Church
PO BOx 159
Brooten, MN 56316
(checks payable to St.Donatus Church, C/O Oscar)

As someone that lost my father to a farm accident, I know how quickly life can end. My motto is, live every day with passion, you never know which is your last.

Monday afternoon update... Coach Richards reported that 43 young men suited up this morning for the first official practice for the Jaguars football team. They will go to "2-a-days" starting tomorrow, Tuesday. Coach Westrom reported that the Jaguars girls tennis team will host Upsala-Swanville Area and Long Prairie-Grey Eagle on Friday in a 9:00am Triangular. It will take place at the high school tennis courts.

On Thursday night the Jaguars volleyball team will take part in a 6-team scrimmage at the Willmar High School. Competing with the Jaguars are Benson, Central Minnesota Christian, Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, Murray County Central (Fulda), and the host Cardinals. Action will run from 4:30 to 8:00pm.

Fall sports are here, whether we're ready or not.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Belgrade's August Fest Goes Off Without a Hitch - A Very Successful & Eventful Day

A few random photos from the day, which was a very good day in Belgrade. I took around 600 pictures of August Fest. I'm currently working with the Sauk Centre Herald to get the better ones on their website for sale to the public. I will let viewers here know when that is accomplished. I've got a horrendously busy week ahead of me, with the start of fall sports practices for the Jaguars, as well as the upcoming Elrosa Harvest Fest & 100-year celebration from August 15-17th.

This collection of August Fest photos brought to you by:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Stearns County Legion Playoff Championship - Lake Henry 4, Regal 0

The Regal Eagles lost 4-0 to the Lake Henry Lakers tonight in the county league championship. The Eagles were regular season champions, and they hosted the game tonight at Buddy Beier Field.

Once August Fest is complete this weekend, the fall Jaguars sports season kicks off with formal pre-season practices beginning on Monday, August 11th. I'll begin previewing all sports over the next couple weeks online and in the newspapers.

This local sports update brought to you by:

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Region Games Moved to Elrosa For Sunday Night

The Region 15C games re-start at 5:30 in Elrosa, when Spring Hill and St.Martin resume play tied 3-3 in the 4th inning.

Update when the night was complete: Spring Hill, the defending Region 15C champion, was eliminated by St.Martin in an 8-4 loss. In the nightcap, Lake Henry fell 2-1 to New London-Spicer. NL-S and St.Martin are the lone remaining undefeated teams in the tournament. They will play in a winner's bracket final game on Saturday, August 9, at Noon in St.Martin. The winner of that game gets a pass to the State Tournament. The loser will fight through the bottom half of the bracket to make it to the Region championship, slated for 2:30 on Sunday, August 10th.

On Monday night in St.Martin, New Munich takes on Atwater in an elimination game, where the loser is done for the season.

**Update on Tuesday:...New Munich rallied for 3 runs in the top of the 9th inning to overcome a 2-1 deficit in a 4-2 win over Atwater last night. They will face Lake Henry in another elimination game on Saturday at 2:30 in St.Martin.

Tonight, Tuesday, the Stearns County Legion Playoff Championship takes place in Regal at 6:30. The host Eagles will take on Lake Henry.

Belgrade August Fest Coming Up - August 8th & 9th

Events kick off at 4:30-7:30 at the VFW Club with the Fireman's Chicken Dinner. The Kiddie Parade is at 6:00. From 9:00-1:00am the VFW will host a street dance and beer garden with "Beer Daddy's" as the entertainment.

Saturday's events begin with an 8:00am Lions Club 2.5-mile run/walk. Registration is in front of North Fork Mutual Insurance at 7:15.

I'll add more information this week.

This local events update brought to you by:

Saturday, August 02, 2008

First-Round Region 15C Games: New London-Spicer, Lake Henry, St.Martin all Win Going Into Sunday's Games

On Friday night, the NL-S Twins defeated defending region champion Spring Hill 9-3 behind a complete-game performance from Darrin Ogdahl on the mound. The following day on Saturday, Lake Henry shelled the Cornbelt North Champion Atwater Chuckers 12-4. In the final game of the day, St.Martin pulled out a squeaker over New Munich 3-2.

Tune into 1150AM (KASM-Albany) on Sunday to find out what the thunderstorms have done to the schedule for the second-round games. The first game between Spring Hill and St.Martin began at about Noon.