Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lady Jaguar Volleyball - Step 2, Sub-Semifinal Win!

Yes, they are excited...the expression on her face says it all.

The Lady Jaguars won their fifth straight sub-section semi-final match tonight in a 3-1 win over the third-seeded Albany Huskies at the Paynesville Area High School. It also marked the fourth season in the past five that our Lady Jaguar volleyball team will have at least one player finish the season with over 300 kills, as April Hansen earned her 300th kill of 2006 tonight in game four.

They also up their record to 27-3 while closing in on their third straight sub-section championship title in 6AA-17. To achieve that lofty mark, they will have to defeat Sauk Centre this Thursday night, November 2, back at the Paynesville Area High School. Match time is 7:00. Fans will need to come early and be prepared for a standing-room only crowd.

Since 2000, the Lady Jaguars have played in six Sub-Section 6AA-17 championship matches. In 2000, after going 8-0 in their second season in the Central Minnesota Conference, they met a state-ranked and heavily-favored Sauk Centre team and lost 3-0. In 2002, they met Sauk Centre once again, this time as slight underdogs, and defeated the MainStreeters 3-1 for the first time in school history, in the sub-section championship. In 2003, they met a state-ranked Albany Huskies team and lost 3-0 in the sub-section championship. In 2004, they went in as the number one seed and defeated Melrose 3-0 for the school's third sub-section championship. (The first was earned in 1997 by a Mandy Illies-led squad that finished 21-8 overall, losing in the Region 5A semi-final match to 6th-state-ranked Delano.)

Then in 2005, as everyone vividly remembers, the Lady Jaguars went in as the number one seed and defeated Sauk Centre 3-1 for the Sub-Section 6AA-17 championship, on their way to the school's first ever team-state tournament berth.

Again, fans are asked to come early to Paynesville and be ready for the most rock-'em-sock-'em volleyball match this area has seen in playoff action this century.

And bring your Jaguar pride while you're at it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Jaguar Football - We Were Robbed - Heartbreaker at Murdock

The Jaguars were successful after this timeout in getting the ball back with enough time to drive downfield to tie or regain the lead. It was not meant to be, however.

Going up against a team in a football program that has one losing season since 1994, the Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Fighting Saints, our Jaguar football team performed in their best-played game since the 1997 season, in a game where both teams knocked heads for four full quarters and the decision was not made until the final minute. The Jaguars lost 14-7.

On paper, this should not have even been a game. The Saints' entered the game with a 7-2 record, a number-ten ranking in the latest Class A associated press poll, and a 28-15 record during the previous four seasons with two conference championships and one state tournament berth (2004). Meanwhile, our Jaguars were 3-6 this season, 7-30 over the previous four seasons, and 1-4 in the playoffs. The game played on the field, was the hardest-hitting battle one could imagine.

K-M-S finished the regular season 6-2, and Praire South Conference champions, as well as being ranked 10th in the final regular season Class A associated press coaches' poll. They took a world of confidence into the Section 5A playoffs and met up with our 3-6 Jaguars team and received all the punishment and hard hitting they could ask for. Our Jaguars took a 7-6 halftime lead and played a solid second half, giving up the deciding touchdown near the end of the third quarter.

They mounted what hopefully would have been a tying or game-winning touchdown drive from deep in their own territory with about 6:00 on the clock in the fourth quarter, trailing 14-7. They advanced with very thrilling, heart-stopping plays to keep the chains moving while moving into K-M-S territory. With 1:01 on the clock and a fourth-and-one possession at the Saints' 45, Michael Zenzen bulldozed his way for at least one yard. Jaguar fans on the sideline who were close to the action went nuts, wild with excitement, as they could sense their team was moving in for a potential game-winning score. To their stunning dismay, however, the referee spotted the ball at least 12 inches short of where Zenzen came down with the ball. You simply had to be there to believe it. The referees, noticing how close their spot was relative to the first-down location, called for a measurement. The Jaguars' hearts were ripped out as the call came: two inches short, K-M-S ball.

This is no way to end a football game. You let the players decide who wins and loses, and who makes the mistakes and who plays the game right. A referee has no right to take the game away from a team that is getting the job done and advancing the ball downfield. It ended as a game of "what if's" just as other games were all season long (Maple Lake - what if the lightning storm did not appear?; Pierz - what if we scored on our first drive?; Kimball - what if the team showed up and played their game against 0-5 Kimball?; Holdingford - what if over and over; Howard Lake - what if we didn't throw an interception with 5:00 left?) ... A 2-6 season was not far from being a 7-1, 6-2, or 5-3 season.

The bottom line is that the Jaguars played an incredibly entertaining and well-played football game against one of the better Class 1A football programs in Minnesota. They have everything to be proud of for that. "State" was not meant to be this season, however.

The Fighting Saints' advance to the Section 5A championship at the FargoDome. They will face the Wabasso Rabbits, defending section champions and 2005 State Semi-finalist. The Class A eleventh-ranked Rabbits pounded the Dawson-Boyd Blackjacks (4-6) into the ground on their home field today, winning 65-12.

The gap between where our Jaguar football team is today and the point where a section championship is achieved has been narrowed during 2005 and 2006. It shows how hard work pays off, while our guys work to overcome a mountain of misery endured by past Jaguar teams.

The Jaguars will come back in 2007 stronger and better than ever, ready to do damage in the Central Minnesota Conference and win the Section 5A championship.

The Jaguars hold their heads and helmets high after the heartbreaking loss to K-M-S.

**In other action involving Central Minnesota Conference teams:

Pierz 40, AT Braham 6 !!! (Pioneers are 10-0)

HL-W-W hosted ACGC tonight in a 5AA semi-final and lost 17-7 to finish 7-3 overall.

Maple Lake traveled to #1-seeded Eden Valley-Watkins and lost 27-14 to finish 5-5 overall.
EV-W moves to 9-1.

Prediction: the CMC will once again put two teams in the Class 2A state tournament: EV-W and Pierz, for the THIRD straight season.

More to follow.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Lady Jaguar Volleyball - Step 1, Sub-quarterfinal win

Friday, October 27th- Step one is complete, many steps yet to be taken...

Our Lady Jaguar volleyball team defeated the seventh-seeded Holdingford Huskers tonight in a quick three game sweep, 25-13, 25-17, 25-10, during their final home match of this year during their Sub-Section 6AA-17 opener.

Heidi Lensing was perfect in attacks, converting 17-of-17 attempts into 11 kills. April Hansen added nine and served a team-high seven aces. Sarah Gruber recorded 14 assists and Emily Roelike had 16 digs. Hansen is now 13 kills away from totaling 300 kills for the 2006 season. She achieved that mark during the playoff opening win in 2005 over New London-Spicer.

With the win, the Lady Jaguars move to 26-3 on the season, two wins short of tying the school record. They will meet the third-seeded Albany Huskies next Tuesday, October 31 at the Paynesville Area High School at 8:00pm.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

WANTED - 1,000 fans for Jaguar Football on Saturday in Murdock

Kayla Davis (dressed as the Jaguar Mascot) holds the "school flag" which has appeared at all home games this season for the Jaguar football team. We hope to see it displayed at K-M-S as well as we get behind our guys and cheer them towards a possible section championship.

**Note- See the Thursday updates below for more scouting on K-M-S**

Yes, this is Jaguar country. No holding back of your Jaguar pride allowed. On behalf of our Jaguar football team, 1,000 Jaguar fans are requested to attend the Section 5A semi-final game at Murdock at 3:00pm this Saturday, October 28. In terms of playoffs, it is a very short drive, let's make the most of this wonderful opportunity. We've come out in droves for basketball and volleyball, now it is the football team's turn to soak in our Jaguar pride.

Let's show the K-M-S Fighting Saints that their school spirit comes in second place to ours, and give our guys an additional boost as they work to make history at B-B-E. We can do that in a positive fashion, displaying true sportsmanship, while at the same time putting a bi
g ol' factor of intimidation into the mix at Saturday's football game in Murdock.

Imagine, the K-M-S players and fans getting on the field and seeing a sea of blue and silver on the visitor's side of the field. We can make this game a "home" game for our Jaguars. Bring to the game your neighbors, friends, anyone you can think of. For students with friends in Sauk Centre, Melrose, and Paynesville, tell them to go too! Football teams from those schools lost their playoff openers and will have Saturday afternoon free to come along. It will be worth giving up your Saturday afternoon and driving the short trip to Murdock.

Early scouting reports state that the football roster for K-M-S is made of mostly sophomores and juniors. They have three seniors who contribute heavily on both sides of the ball, led by a very talented 6'5" 225-pound Tight end/Defensive end Sam Kavanagh, nephew of highly successful former K-M-S head coach Chuck Kavanagh. Their signal-caller is first-year starter (sophomore) Kevin Steinhaus, who has been known to air the ball out quite frequently relative to K-M-S tradition which has always been, run, run, and then run some more. They deploy three different feat
ured running backs, although one was recently injured and will not play during playoffs. Their starting center is a sophomore, and his backup is a freshmen.

**The latest - from Thursday night - I'll just give a few comments and bits of information I picked up while talking to a K-M-S coach and player.

-The K-M-S players are confident they will beat our Jaguars. They put part of their confidence simply into having the game on their home field (and that's a valid point on their part).
-They play 25 kids during the game as regulars, out of the 38 total on their 9th-12th grade roster. The two main seniors who will play are two-way players, Alex Baker and Sam Kavanagh.
-Besides that, K-M-S is able to employ heavy platooning, especially on their offensive line. This has enabled them to provide good protection for their young quarterback.

The player I talked to was quoted as saying "I want to take all eleven of their guys out when I'm on defense."

He's never had this sight in his life before, though...

If this is what the K-M-S defense sees during the game, they're in for alotta hurting!

**Update on Thursday afternoon: A senior starting offensive lineman for K-M-S was tagged with an alcoholic minor on Tuesday night after their football game, so he will not be suiting up and playing on Saturday. It throws a wrench in the game preparation of K-M-S as they re-shuffle lineman to fill the gap.

Also, my sources say that one of the K-M-S players stated that numerous players did not "show up to play" (mentally) on Tuesday night against Upsala-Swanville, and they definitely were looking past the Patriots for their section quarterfinal matchup.

Their quarterback struggles against tall secondaries, and their running backs do not fare well against punishing hits. Because of a late-season injury (broken leg!) to senior Justin Johnson, they are down to two main running backs (Baumann/Skogstad) and a reserve back (Matt Rosemeier) and do not have a true fullback player. One of those backs, freshmen Joel Baumann, is lightning fast but also does not do a good job of protecting the ball while also running straight up, not putting his head down as a running back should do. In an open field, hardly anyone would catch Baumann. However, for him to get to open field on Saturday afternoon, he has to get across our Jaguars' defensive line and avoid our monster linebackers. (All I can say is, good luck.)

The key to this game will be the Jaguars' ability to lay good, solid hits on the K-M-S backfield early on, and to play with a high level of intensity for four straight quarters. An early lead would be helpful to snapping the confidence of the young K-M-S squad. It is their chance to step up and grab onto a wealth of respect and attention from central Minnesota football followers.

In 2005, playing mostly freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, K-M-S lost 10-8, running out of time as they drove downfield for a possible game-winning score, in the section semi-final at Ortonville. They finished 5-5 overall, then losing three seniors to graduation, including their starting quarterback.

In 2004, K-M-S took a 3-5 record into the playoffs where they won three in a row, taking the section title, then losing in a hard-fought battle in the State 1A quarterfinals against highly-ranked Ottertail Central of Battle Lake/Henning (who has since moved to Class 2A) to finish 6-6 overall.

In 2003, a senior-dominated K-M-S squad was 9-0 and seeded number one, ranked 4th in state, and hosted Dawson-Boyd in this same game, the semi-final, at Murdock. Dawson-Boyd pulled ahead in the game's final two minutes 27-22, and K-M-S ran out of time as they attempted to drive for a come-from-behind win.

In 2002 they finished 6-2 in the regular season, 5-1 in the Prairie Conference to tie for the championship. They lost 47-19 in the Section 5A final at the FargoDome to state-ranked Osakis and finished 8-3 overall.

So adding it up, since 2002 the Fighting Saints have gone 21-11 in the regular season, and 7-4 in Section 5A playoffs, for a composite record of 28-15. In that same span from 2002 to 2005, the Jaguars went 7-30 overall (6-26 in regular season play and 1-4 in Section 5A playoffs), winning their section quarterfinal over Osakis 20-13 in 2003 and going 0-1 to start playoffs the three other seasons.

K-M-S has history and tradition on their side. Our Jaguars have fate and good karma on theirs.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Jaguar Football - That's a whooping! 53-19 Win

The Jaguars kneel at halftime at their high school athletic complex Tuesday night after building a first-quarter lead of 21-7, and halftime lead of 33-7, over the fifth-seeded Ortonville Trojans to open up Section 5A playoffs.

Our talented, hard-hitting Jaguar football team is 1-0 to start the playoffs for only the fifth time in school history, and the first time since 2003. The Jaguars hammered on a poor fifth-seeded Ortonville Trojans team tonight and won by a final score of 53-19. They built leads of 21-7, 33-7, and 41-7, before an evenly-played fourth quarter took place and our Jaguars came out on top.

In the process, the Jaguars set a new school record for points scored in a playoff game, topping their previous record set in 1997 when they blew out Kimball 41-8 in their Section 5AA opener.
It is also the most points scored by ANY Jaguar football team since 1988, when the very first Jaguars football team beat Brandon-Evansville 68-12. (No, that is not a mis-print.)

The ENTIRE community from Jaguar country needs to be in Murdock at 3:00pm on Saturday afternoon, October 28th, to cheer our Jaguars on to victory and earn a trip to the Section 5A Final.

The Jaguars have won a second-round football playoff game only once before in school history, in 1997, when they finished as Section 5AA runners-up. This very well could be the year they win again in the semi-final round, as they take on a 7-2 Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Fightings Saints team out of the Prairie (South) Conference.

From other games in Section 5A, Wabasso made a big statement with their quarterfinal win tonight over 7th- seeded Renville County West, pounding the Jaguars into the ground at the Wabasso football field 65-0. (Ouch!) At Murdock, the number-one seeded K-M-S Fighting Saints barely got past 8th-seeded Upsala-Swanville Area 19-6. Third-seeded Dawson-Boyd earned a shutout at the Dawson football field against Royalton, winning 22-0.

In games involving Central Minnesota Conference teams, Pierz (9-0) won 48-8 in their Section 4AA opener, showing they are again looking at returning to the state tournament for the third straight season.

In Section 5AA, fourth-seeded Maple Lake (5-4) beat Norwood-Young-America in a thriller, 28-26 in overtime. As mentioned before, our Jaguars (3-6) won 53-19. Defending Class 2A champions and top-seeded Eden Valley-Watkins (8-1) hosted Kimball (2-7) and beat the Cubs 41-20. Second-seeded Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (7-2) hosted Paynesville (3-6) and beat the Bulldogs badly by a score of 43-14.

That makes five (so far) CMC teams to win playoff openers, all five having high seeds and hosting tonight's game. It shows just how elite the Central Minnesota Conference is. Winning is the only thing that counts in playoffs, and CMC teams went 5-1 in playoff openers (and the lone loss by Kimball was to fellow CMC member Eden Valley-Watkins). Holdingford and Rockford, both good teams who would win many games in other conferences, both missed playoffs in their respective sections (5AA and 4AAA), thanks mostly to the tough schedule that comes with being a CMC member.

Here is what was in the West Central Tribune about tonight's game:

BBE 53, Ortonville 19

Austin Kampsen ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns as Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa pounded Ortonville 53-19 in Belgrade. Mike Zenzen and Scott Simonson also rushed for touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Jackson Illies plunged for another score and threw 15 yards to Pat Roelike in the third quarter to extend the Jaguars’ lead to 41-7. Chad Starr added a 47-yard kickoff return for six points in the fourth quarter.

The defense was led by Simonson with nine tackles and Zenzen and Ryan Weller with eight each. Donovan Johnson and Brent Gregory each had a sack.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Jaguar Football - The Day of the Big Game

Three Jaguar football players talk strategy with defensive coordinator David Schwinghammer during halftime against Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted.
Their improved defensive play this season has raised their chances of winning playoff games, last done in 2003 and only five total times in school history.

It doesn't get much more exciting than this. The forecast is for cool, sunny weather on Tuesday night, with the game's kickoff set for 7:00-pm. The local team, our Jaguar football team, will host their playoff opener as the fourth seed in Section 5A.

Their opponent, the Ortonville Trojans, went into a nosedive as the regular season came to a close last week, after a major upset to an 0-6 Canby Lancers team on their home field, a 30-13 loss. That was followed by a 28-0 shutout again at their home field to Class AA Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (5-3), a team with nothing to brag about as they play in a mostly Class A conference, the Little Sioux of southwest Minnesota. The Trojans finished their season 2-6 after a 1-3 start. They were shutout in two of their final three games, with one shutout against Class A Russel-Tyler-Ruthton (3-5). They averaged 13 points per game and gave up 33 points per game, as stated previously, against mostly Class A competition.

On paper, they should be no match for our Jaguars, who have averaged 16 points per game on offense while giving up 28 points per game on defense...against all Class AA and AAA competition, with the exception of their opener against Ogilvie.
Three of their Class AA opponents, Pierz and Eden Valley-Watkins and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, all are superior football teams to any Little Sioux Conference football team. The Jaguars played very good football against two of those three teams.

The same could be said about teams from the Prairie and Southern Minnesota Conference (no offense to Wabasso or K-M-S). They just don't stack up to the elite teams of the CMC.

The Jaguars are two or three years away from truly challenging for a Central Minnesota Conference title. (Yes, write that down as you read it first here...we WILL seriously challenge for the CMC title in 2008 or 2009.) However, the time to win a section championship is right now.

Doing such would grease the wheels like nothing else could for a true resurgence of our downtrodden football program, as our school has very real and very tough football talent in the junior-high and senior-high grades. The question is: how do we get them to stay out for football through their senior year?

Bringing busloads of high school students and non-football student-athletes to the FargoDome...and possibly HHH Metrodome...would be the key sparkplug needed to bring more new faces out for football next August. It starts tonight, Step 1 of many steps to come this fall for our Jaguar football team.

Jaguar Football Opens Playoffs at Home

While it was not the way they wanted to earn it, our Jaguar football team picked up a top-four seed in Section 5A to earn a first-round playoff game for the first time since 1997, and only the third time in school history. Their strong schedule and early-season wins combined to give them 20 section points, out-distancing fifth-place Ortonville by 6 points in the standings. With the exception of their loss to Kimball, the Jaguars improved their level of play throughout the season and will head into the playoffs with the best chance of winning their section since 1997, when they lost 14-12 in the Section 5AA championship.

They wrapped up a grueling Central Minnesota Conference schedule at Howard Lake last Wednesday, against a Lakers' team that was fighting for a two-seed in their section. With 5:00 remaining, trailing 21-6, the Jaguars were driving towards the endzone when an interception returned for a touchdown ended nearly all hopes of a win. They awaited word for Ortonville's loss to Tracy-Milroy, and with the Trojans' 28-0 loss our Jaguars locked up the fourth seed and first-round home playoff game.

The Jaguars started slow on offense while playing a solid defensive game, holding the Lakers to two touchdowns in the first half. In the second half, after giving up one more touchdown to the Lakers, the Jaguars punched into the endzone to start the fourth quarter. It was all the scoring the Jaguars could get, as they lost 27-6 to the third-best team in the conference. The Lakers, usually a lower-half conference team, finished 5-2 (3rd) in the CMC for the first time this decade.

On their opening possession, the Jaguars picked up only one first down and ten yards. The Lakers, helped by a shorter field with 50 yards to the endzone, drove the distance in 2:21 to go up 7-0 on their first possession.

On their second possession, the Jaguars went three-and-out and then promptly got the ball back after the punt on the hands of Austin Kampsen, who grabbed an interception deep in Jaguars' territory. The Jaguars would gain only one first down, on two runs by Michael Zenzen, before facing another punting situation.

Zenzen layed a solid hit on the Lakers' punt returner, causing a fumble that was recovered by Johnny-on-the-spot Adam Borgerding at the Lakers' 42 as the first quarter ended. The Jaguars' offense sputtered as they were forced to punt again.

On the Lakers' next series, a great defensive stop by Scott Simonson helped slow them down after earning two first downs to get deep in Jaguars' territory. Dustin Gruber then grabbed an interception with a 10-yard return.

The Jaguars would get only one first down, however, and punted with 3:50 on the clock. The Lakers capitalized by scoring on an 18-yard reception to go up 14-0 with 1:17 left in the first half.

Two big runs by Austin Kampsen and Michael Zenzen were not enough in the final 70 seconds though, as 70 yards was the distance required to hit paydirt.

Adam Borgerding inflicted two hard hits on Lakers' running backs to open up the second half, and with Zenzen's deflection of a pass, the Jaguars forced a punt.

Repeating a similar pattern of the first half, the Jaguars would again gain only one first down on their next series. The Lakers scored five plays later on a 27-yard reception with 3:09 left in the third quarter.

Finally, the Jaguars put a scoring drive together, going 70 yards in four minutes. They began by running the ball six straight times for a first down and 26 yards. Suddenly two thrilling pass receptions covering 33 and 23 yards were earned by Chad Starr and Dustin Gruber, getting the Jaguars to a first-and-goal, one yard out possession. Quarterback Jackson Illies snuck in the touchdown to erase the goose-egg, Jaguars down 21-6 with 11:00 left in the game.

The Jaguars' defense picked up its game and held the Lakers on a fourth-and-three play at the Jaguars' 33. They were boosted from an incredible stick by Chad Starr on a crucial third-and-four play, as Starr layed out the Lakers' running back to force the fourth down play.

From their own 32 with 8:00 left, the Jaguars again began moving the ball and drove downfield, lifted by a 21-yard reception by Steven Gruber, who reached above his head for a great two-handed grab at the Lakers' 43. A short dump pass to Michael Zenzen would be all the Jaguars could get from there, however, as they got to the Lakers' 27 before the returned interception sealed their fate.

The Jaguars rushed for over 150 yards, led by Zenzen's 118 yards on 22 carries for a healthy 5.4 yards-per-carry. Illies was 6-of-15 in passing for 108 yards, gaining confidence as the game developed against a tough Lakers' secondary.

After elevating their level of play on offense and bringing their defensive average down from a dismal 42-points-per-game in 2005 to their current 27-points-per-game, the Jaguars are ready to make noise in Section 5A, just as planned during preseason practices. Wabasso and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg are their biggest obstacles in the way to a section championship, teams who have nothing on the top teams in the Central Minnesota Conference.

They look for an overflow crowd at our high school athletic complex as we get behind our Jaguars and cheer them on to playoff success. A second-round game would presumably be at Murdock against K-M-S at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon. Visit http://bbejaguars.blogspot.com for complete event site/location information, section analysis and playoff opponent scouting.

Lady Jaguar Volleyball - Seedings Are In

Our Lady Jaguars, shown here during a timeout against Buffalo Lake-Hector last week, have much to be excited about as they enter Section 6AA-17 playoffs beginning this Friday at home against Holdingford.

Lady Jaguar Volleyball - Ready to Rumble!

Living up to the pressure they've carried all season long, our Lady Jaguar volleyball team set a new school record for regular-season wins last week, beating all three opponents to move to 25-3 going into playoffs. In 2003 the Lady Jaguars went 23-3 in regular season play before going 2-1 in Section 6AA-17 to finish as runners-up to Albany. In 2005 they went 24-2 in regular season play before an unforgettable 4-0 run through Section 6AA to earn the program's first-ever "State" berth in Class 2A.

Playoff action begins this Friday, with our second-seeded Lady Jaguars hosting seventh-seeded Holdingford. The Sub-section 6AA-17 semi-finals will be held next Tuesday October 31 (Halloween!) at the Paynesville High School. The first match is at 6:30pm with Sauk Centre facing the Osakis/EV-W winner. The second match would most likely be our Lady Jaguars taking on the Albany Huskies, beginning at about 8:00pm.

The sub-section championship is next Thursday, November 2nd, also at the Paynesville High School. Please go to this new Jaguars' Sports Blog for daily, up-to-the-hour information on event sites/locations, as well as opponent scouting and section analysis for our Jaguar athletic teams: http://bbejaguars.blogspot.com.

*NOTE: See below for a possible dilemma for Jaguar fans on Thursday, November 2nd.

Sauk Centre squeezed out the Lady Jaguars for the number-one seed. This last happened in 2002, the first year our Lady Jaguars made a section final appearance, after knocking the Mainstreeters out in the sub-section championship. Let's make a statement to Sauk Centre and show how to support a high school athletic team while helping history repeat itself.

Lady Jaguars 3, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted 0

The Lady Jaguars faced a solid Lakers' squad to finish the conference schedule and came away with a hard-earned 25-23, 25-21, 25-21 win. They battled through three close games and held to a lead most of the way while keeping the Lakers from getting their offense in gear. It is their fourth conference championship since 2000, and sixth overall since their first volleyball title in 1994. It caps their eighth season in the CMC, with an overall conference record of 47-10.

April Hansen led her team by going 24-of-28 in attacks with 13 kills. Ashley Lensing was perfect in hitting on 17-of-17 attacks for 10 kills. Heidi Lensing was 18-of-22 in hitting with seven kills, Katie Gruber was 12-of-13 for two kills, Sarah Gruber went eight-of-eight for one kill, Jena Schroeder was two-of-two in attacks, and Emily Roelike was one-of-one in attacks. Sarah Gruber was also 45-of-51 in setting for 18 set assists, with Jenny Hieserich going 22-of-25 in sets with seven set assists.

Lady Jaguars 3, Buffalo Lake-Hector 1

In their second match in two days against a tough opponent, the Lady Jaguars rose to the occasion. It was evident from the start that the Mustangs would mount a strong big to upset their opponent after being soundly beaten in the Willmar tournament's championship match by our Lady Jaguars. The Lady Jaguars won 25-13, 25-19, 20-25, 25-17.

April Hansen led the squad in hitting with 16 kills, followed by Heidi Lensing with 15 and Ashley Lensing with nine. Hansen, Sarah Gruber and Ashley Lensing served three aces each, with Gruber earning 16 set assists. Jenny Hieserich was an excellent 22-of-23 in the setting department with 10 set assists. Lindsay Goodwin was a force at the net with four ace blocks. Emily Roelike played an excellent game at the libero position, earning 23 digs.

Lady Jaguars 3, Osakis 1

In a re-scheduled match last Wednesday afternoon, our Lady Jaguars faced an Osakis team on the road that had a winning record for the first time since the 1990s. The Silverstreaks were no match, however, even after picking up a big in in a very stretched-out game two, 30-28. In the other three games, the Lady Jaguars played top-notch volleyball on both defense and offense, winning 25-10, 25-16, 25-10. The Silverstreaks also received the fifth seed, their highest seed since Section 6AA was created in 1999.

Heidi Lensing led her team with 15 kills in 23-of-25 attacks, followed by Ashley Lensing with 12 kills in 17-of-21 attacks and April Hansen with 11 kills in 26-of-31 attacks.

Underclassmen Sarah Gruber and Emily Roelike were perfect at the service line, going 15-of-15 and 31-of-31, respectively, with Gruber earning two aces and Roelike earning six aces. Roelike also added 16 digs.


1- Sauk Centre
2- B-B-E
3- Albany
4- Osakis
5- Eden Valley-Watkins
6- New London-Spicer
7- Holdingford
8- Long Prairie-Grey Eagle
9- Paynesville

Osakis defeated Eden Valley-Watkins in a late-season match to edge out the Eagles' for the fourth seed. Holdingford finished with nine wins, edging out LP-GE who ended with six wins. New London-Spicer played in tough tournaments throughout the season and finished with eight wins, edging Holdingford for the sixth seed and missing out on a second-straight pounding by our Lady Jaguars to open the playoffs. NL-S will open at Albany, who is in a rebuilding year with no clear standouts on their team.

Sauk and B-B-E are about as close as they get in terms of talent and skill. B-B-E's prowess on offense is perhaps edged slightly by Sauk's finesse and defensive savvy. Where the Lady Jaguars have the edge that beats anything else, is in experience, earning twice what Sauk had in 2005, including their state tournament experience.

Prediction: Next Thursday, November 2nd, our local Jaguar fans will be in a race from Fargo, ND down Interstate-94 to the Meier Grove exit, then 22 miles down Highway 4 to the Paynesville High School. (Hopefully not an actual race, but they will be hard-pressed on time.) The FargoDome hosts the Section 5A championship at 3:00pm. Total mileage between the two locations is a whopping 160 miles. The football game wouldn't be over until at least 5:00pm, possibly 5:30, meaning fans will have to gas up before traveling to Fargo, eat at the FargoDome, then average 80-mph down I-94 to get to Paynesville in time.

A sobering thought: last year for the sub-section championship match at the Albany High School, the gymnasium was filled to capacity and at match time, fans were lined up into the parking lot waiting to get in. Obviously, a Sauk/B-B-E matchup this time around would bring even more fans than last time.

Should the volleyball match be moved to Friday, November 3rd? Then this problem arises: the section championship is the very next day, Saturday, at UM-Morris.

A simple solution:
Move the volleyball match up one hour, to 8:00pm. It's not like B-B-E and Sauk Centre fans have a long drive back home after the volleyball match. This would allow time for Jaguar fans to make the 150-mile trek from Fargo to Albany. Driving 70-mph still makes it a 2-hour, 25-minute drive. There is a good chance fans couldn't get on the road until 5:30, giving little room to breathe even with an 8:00pm volleyball match.

Here's where coaches and athletic directors will have issues to work through. It's no lie that the A.D. can be a most thankless job filled with headaches. This is one example.

Anyone up for sponsoring small airplanes from Fargo to Paynesville?

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Lady Jaguar Volleyball - Tremor in Section 6AA

The Lady Jaguars huddle up during the first part of their final home match before playoffs begin in earnest next Thursday, October 26th. Needless to say, it's time to dig down and work together to write another chapter in our volleyball program's history.

Tremor in Section 6AA...

The Montevideo Thunderhawks quite literally served notice tonight that they are not to be taken lightly by anyone, and after being snubbed in the state ranking polls, even with a 21-2 overall record, they made a strong statement about how powerful their team is by knocking down undefeated and fourth-ranked (Class AA) St.Cloud Cathedral in four games.

The match was held at Montevideo high school, a place that Jaguar fans from the 1990's may remember as being quite the hostile environment, and a place we were always happy to come away with a win from. St.Cloud Cathedral learned how tough a true high school atmosphere really is when they ran into a buzzsaw, picking up game one 25-21 but then dropping the final three, 25-19, 29-27, 25-18.

Since 1997, when Montevideo won its first West Central South Conference title in volleyball, the Thunderhawks have been one of the better programs in west central Minnesota. They have had only one losing season since 1997, that coming just last year, when they went 12-13 overall and went 1-1 in the playoffs. They have suffered numerous playoff upsets since 1997, though, and have never gotten out of their sub-section.

This year they are led by a new head coach, Joanna Naumann, who was previously their assistant. Somehow the new mix is working, being helped by the fact that they return their entire starting lineup from 2005 and that they are 12 players deep. One of their leading hitters, Brooke Moseng, has two older sisters who were standout athletes for Montevideo dating back to 1999. Brooke undoubtedly remembers those playoff losses her sisters endured and is leading the 2006 team towards playoffs with a vengeance.

It reminds one of our Lady Jaguars' playoff run in 2005, when they demolished all section opponents and would not be denied "state" under any circumstance, after falling one or two wins short of "state" four of the previous five seasons.

Montevideo 3, St. Cloud Cathedral 0

MONTEVIDEO — Anna Zyovolski had 27 kills, but St. Cloud Cathedral (14-0 West Central, 26-1 overall) fell.

Montevideo 21-25-29-25, St. Cloud Cathedral 25-19-27-18

St. Cloud Cathedral highlights — Andrea Harstad 10 kills, 6 blocks; Anna Zyovolski 27 kills, 4 digs, 1 block, 1 ace serve; Allison Croat 2 kills; Mara Brixius 1 block, 6 kills; Deanna Novak 9 digs; Tori Brixius 6 digs; Alex Lenzen 4 digs, 1 ace serve; Nina Lindquist 42 set assists, 7 digs, 4 blocks, 2 ace serves.

Montevideo highlights unavailable.

It must be noted that Montevideo's strength-of-schedule pales in comparison to our Lady Jaguar's schedule. While local fans, including myself, have often said we need tougher opponents on our regular-season schedule, the truth is that we in fact do have a tough schedule and play a number of quality opponents in conference, non-conference, and weekend tournament matches. (With the exception of the Minnewaska tournament, which hasn't had a tough opponent for our Lady Jaguars since 2003.)

When one looks at Montevideo's schedule, it's noteworthy that they have a large number of "cupcakes" and Class "A" teams. So they're 22-2 record is nothing to brag about.

Then when you look at St.Cloud Cathedral's schedule, you will learn that tonight's Montevideo win over the Crusaders was not that shocking of an event.

See this link to find the schedules for all Class "AA" volleyball teams:


Scroll down to "Section 5AA" and "Section 6AA" to find Montevideo, St.Cloud Cathedral, and our Lady Jaguars.


Strength-of-schedule matters 100% of the time.

In 1994 our Lady Jaguars went through an undefeated volleyball season, 22-0, before being thumped by Sauk Centre twice in playoff action (inter-conference, and sub-section). Sauk had about a half-dozen losses, but was a better team in the playoffs. Their strong schedule gave them the stamina needed to edge our Lady Jaguars in the sub-section championship match that year 3-2, the full five games.

In 1995, our Lady Jaguars lost only once in regular-season play (to New London-Spicer), to finish 21-1 before playoffs and as West Central South conference champions for the second straight season (tied with NL-S for the crown). Though being seeded number two, they were swiftly knocked out of sub-sections in a sweep during the semi-final match against a 14-7 Sauk Centre team, a very tough loss indeed. Current Lady Jaguar C-squad coach Mandy Illies was a sophomore on that team and could vividly tell you about that season and it's heartbreaking ending.


Before our Lady Jaguars would see Montevideo in a possible Section Final matchup on November 4th at the University of Minnesota-Morris, they have to get out of their district tournament. Beating Sauk Centre is the most likely path to achieving their third-straight district championship.

Sauk Centre has only three quality wins, over Class AAA teams Sauk Rapids (18-6) and Melrose (15-11) twice. They have quality losses against Jordan (26-1) and St.Cloud Cathedral (26-1). They have a tie against Maccray (12-8-2) in a weekend tournament. Every other match the Mainstreeters have played was against average or below-average teams, especially in the West Central North, which had bad teams in their fourth-through-eighth-place finishers.

Our girls will return to state. They have really turned up their passing and defense, starting at the Willmar tournament on October 6th. Everyone talks about Sauk Centre and how bad they want to beat us in sub-sections and return their program to state for the first time since 2001. What everyone forgets is that our girls were there last year; Sauk was not.
It gives our team an edge as well as more focus and determination to return.

They have unfinished business to take care of. Sauk and Monte will try, but they will not get in the way of our team.


Here are the teams of our sub-section, including their overall records heading into playoffs. I have listed them in my predicted order they will be seeded. Holdingford (8th) and Paynesville (9th) will meet in a "pigtail" match to determine who would play the top seed.

Our Lady Jaguars will probably get Holdingford in their first match. Eden Valley-Watkins could be their district semi-final opponent for the second straight season, and they will thoroughly enjoy thrashing the Eagles as revenge for their Homecoming loss on September 28. Then comes Sauk Centre.

Two conference opponents and then a neighbor to the north will make for an exciting district tournament.

Section 6AA-District 17 teams:

Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (25-3)

Sauk Centre (20-4-1)

Albany (14-12)

Eden Valley-Watkins (12-10)

Osakis (14-13-1)

New London – Spicer (7-19)

Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (7-12)

Holdingford (9-13)

Paynesville (0-18)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Jaguar Football - Section 5A prognostication

Our Jaguars line up for the Star Spangled Banner before their season-opening win at Ogilvie. They are positioned for an exciting run at a section championship, something unheard of as recently as two years ago.

(Seed, Team, Overall Record, Section Point Total)

Points awarded: Class A win: 6, Class AA win: 7, Class AAA win: 8.
Class A loss: 0, Class AA loss: 1, Class AAA loss: 2.

Number one seed: K-M-S (6-2) 37 points

#2 Wabasso (6-2) 36 points

#3 Dawson-Boyd (3-5) 20 points

#4 B-B-E (2-6) 20 points

#5 Ortonville (2-6) 14 points

#6 Royalton (2-6) 13 points

#7 Upsala-Swanville (1-7) 8 points

#8 Renville County West (1-7) 6 points


The seven other Section 5A teams had these results:

Adrian 14, @ Dawson-Boyd 0 (Adrian finished 8-0, #2 Class A ranking)

@ KMS 54, Pillager 16 (Pillager finished 2-6)

@ New York Mills 46, Royalton 14 (NYMills finished 6-2)

@ OTC 44, USA 14 (OTC finished 6-2)

TMB 28, @ Ortonville 0 (TMB finished 5-3)

@ Wabasso 22, Red Rock Central 12 (RRC finished 4-4)

Sleepy Eye SM 34, RCW 32 (SESM finishes 2-6, RCW ends 1-7)


Dawson-Boyd and Ortonville play in the mostly Class A Little Sioux Conference. The Little Sioux Conference has the solid teams of Class A state-second-ranked Adrian and fifth-ranked Minneota, as well as state-ninth-ranked Class AA Maccray, and a solid Class AA
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton team.

Wabasso plays in the Southern Minnesota Conference, a very tough all Class 1A conference. They played good teams from McLeod West (losing 6-2 in week 2), New Ulm Cathedral (winning 12-6), Springfield (losing 16-6 at Springfield), and Red Rock Central (winning 22-12 in the final game).

McLeod West finished 7-1, with their only loss in the opener to defending 1A champion Springfield, 27-0. Red Rock is a consolidation of Jeffers, Storden, Lamberton, and Sanborn. Red Rock finished 4-4, with their four losses being to Springfield, New Ulm Cathedral,
McLeod West, and finally, Wabasso. Springfield finished 7-1 and was ranked #4 in the last Class A state poll, and their only loss was a 14-7 loss to New Ulm Cathedral.

Wabasso is a solid team that has gone through a tough schedule. However, their schedule still isn't as tough as the Central Minnesota Conference. Not even close.

Quite honestly, Dawson-Boyd should be seeded #4. It's yet to be seen whether the difference between a 3rd or 4th seed matters. Either way KMS and Wabasso will be tough obstacles to overcome and hard-nosed, error-free football will be required to win Section 5A.

If they had the third seed, they would host Royalton (2-6), who is not as tough as Ortonville, playing against poorer competition but having the same record. The downside to being seeded number three is that a playoff-opening win would give them a trip to Wabasso, something we all love as Jaguar fans, right? (trip there in 2003 and in 2005). Wabasso would be their second-round opponent if they were seeded number three.

Wabasso finished 6-2, K-M-S finished 6-2. Wabasso's competition, while some being very good, is all in Class A. K-M-S always plays Ottertail Central in Week 2, and OTC is in Class AA. Therefore, K-M-S gets the tiebreaker just for playing OTC (They lost 23-18 this season), and thus the number one seed.

In my opinion, Wabasso is a better team than K-M-S. They have definitely played better competition. K-M-S's toughest opponent was Browerville, who finished 6-2. Their next toughest opponent was OTC, who finished 6-2 against mostly Class A competition.
All other Fighting Saints' opponents were poor or very poor competition. Wins over poor or very poor competition are nothing to get excited about.

Which brings me to talking about the two wins our Jaguars collected in their first two games. They did what they were supposed to do, and they beat Ogilvie by a big margin, then shutout Rockford in week 2. Ogilvie finished their season 2-6, with one of their wins coming over a very bad St.John's Prep team. Rockford finished 1-7 (if Maple Lake beat them in Week 8, which I think they did.)

Yes, those wins feel good, but they are nothing to be excited about. What's more exciting is how they played in their losses to Pierz, Holdingford, Howard Lake, and even Maple Lake. They
played hard through all of those games and never gave up against very tough, hard-hitting competition.

In all reality, their loss to Holdingford was really a win. They would have beaten Maple Lake were it not for the lightning storm we endured that Friday night at the high school. With just those two extra wins and the 4-4 record, suddenly we're in third place with 32 points...close to Wabasso at 36 and K-M-S at 37.

Then...if we had shown up and played well against Kimball, now we're 5-3 with 39 points, and the NUMBER-ONE SEED! If you sit and really think about it, I'm not even stretching things that much with that train of thought.

My other fact I'll throw out is that our defense is a much better unit than it was in 2005. The Jaguars gave up 340 regular-season points in 2005. That was bad, nothing more needs to be said about that. They scored 117 points, nothing to brag about either. In 2006, they scored 127 points, yet more importantly had only one shutout compared to three in 2005. This season, they gave up "only" 222 regular-season points. That is quite a difference (340-222).
The way our guys hit this season, and lay licks on the backfields of their opponents...it shows a much-improved defense. Defense wins championships. A section championship is the path to the state tournament. Enough said there.

Our football program is turning the corner...but we're not there yet.


Now I will discuss the team that beat them out for the third seed, Dawson-Boyd, who finished 3-5 overall, and explain why I think they should be seeded number four instead of three.

Dawson-Boyd opened the season with a 20-14 loss to Ortonville, who ended up 2-6 and went into a tailspin towards the end of their season.

Their second game was against Canby, a team who started 0-6 before beating Ortonville 30-13 in game 7, and ended 1-7 overall. Dawson-Boyd barely beat Canby 14-6.

In their third game they lost 18-12 to Murray County Central, a team that finished 4-4 overall in the Camden (mostly 1A) Conference.

In game four, they were beat by state-ranked Minneota (7-1) 35-24. This was the Blackjacks most competitive game against a very good opponent.

In game five, Dawson-Boyd beat Class AA Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 32-8. This could be labeled a pretty big upset, as the Panthers ended their season 5-3, including a 28-0 spanking of Ortonville, with a close loss to Maccray 15-14 and Adrian (8-0) 23-20. Dawson-Boyd hosted TMB, and perhaps the Panthers were overlooking them going into the game. (TMB was 3-1 going into that game.)

In game six, Dawson-Boyd traveled to Maynard and was smoked by a very good Maccray team 33-0. Maccray finished 7-1 overall, and they are a Class AA team.

In game seven, Dawson-Boyd blanked a very, very bad Fulda team 28-0. Fulda finished their season 0-8, and scored more than 13 points in a game only ONCE, against Ortonville, barely losing to Ortonville 34-31 in Ortonville.

In game eight, against a very good Adrian team that ended 8-0 and is ranked in the top-four in Class A, the Blackjacks lost 14-0. This game was in Dawson, and Adrian was happy just to get out of there with a win.

To be frank, Dawson-Boyd was blanked in their final two games against a good AA team (Maccray) and a very good A team (Adrian). They beat up a very, very bad Class A team (Fulda)...so their final three games were nothing to be proud of no matter how you look at

In all measures, our Jaguars are a better team who have played against considerably stronger competition than Dawson-Boyd. Not only that, but gosh-darn-it, they deserve a home playoff game even though they're 2-6, and they did not even show up at one of their games (figuratively speaking, at Kimball). Let's be honest, we have had good football teams since joining the Central-MN-Conference in 1999, but they just never got a good playoff seed (never higher than 6th) and could never get any momentum going entering the playoffs. This year's team tied the regular-season record of our 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2005 teams. However, this year's team will be rewarded with a home playoff game, simply because the bottom four teams in the section are really bad this season. I will argue all night that they deserve what they're getting, because they've worked for it and earned it.

Dawson-Boyd ended with 20 points, earning 7 points by beating Class AA Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, 12 points by wins over Fulda and Canby, and one point with their loss to Class AA Maccray. Our Jaguars finished with 20 points as well, with 14 points with wins over Rockford (8 pts- Class AAA) and Ogilvie (6 pts- Class A), and then six points with six losses to Class AA teams.

And Maple Lake, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Eden Valley-Watkins, and Pierz would all tear up any Little Sioux Conference team other than Maccray, who could compete with at least Maple Lake and HL-W-W. The Jaguars played solid football against three of those four CMC
teams and were outplayed by defending Class AA champion Eden Valley-Watkins.

Then I go back to my earlier comment...what would a third-seed gain us? It would mean a second-playoff-game trip to Wabasso. It would be entirely possible to win there, but I think our chances against K-M-S are much better.

At that point, it would all depend how bad our guys want to play in the FargoDome for the Section 5A championship, the chance to say to anyone for the rest of their life that they played in the state football tournament, and the pride of saying they were the first Jaguars in post 1988-school history to take a boys team to "State".

The dates/times for the Section 5A tournament are: Tuesday October 24th 7:00,
Saturday October 28th 3:00, Friday November 2nd 3:00.


Winning at K-M-S, on a Saturday afternoon in Murdock?


Beating Wabasso, who played in the Metrodome in 2005 in the Final Four of Class 1A, up in the FargoDome on a Thursday afternoon?


While the boys should not be looking ahead to the FargoDome, I sure am. Just don't tell them that.

After thrashing Class AAA Rockford 27-0 on September 8th, our Jaguar team celebrates the big win to start 2-0. Since then they have endured incredibly tough losses in various fashions, including a lightning storm no less, yet came out with their spirt in tact and will to succeed still present and accounted for.

Jaguar Football - Home Playoff Opener


Our Jaguar football team will open up the Section 5A playoffs next Tuesday, October 24th, at our high school athletic complex where they will host the 2-6 Ortonville Trojans. The Jaguars themselves are 2-6 as well, but have endured nothing less than the most brutal schedule
of any Class A football team in the state.

The Trojans have two Class AA teams on their schedule, the rest are all 1A teams. The Jaguars played six Class AA teams, one Class AAA team, and one Class A team. The Trojans finished their season by hosting Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, losing 28-0.

The Jaguars finished their season tonight at Howard Lake, against the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers (6-2 overall, 5-2 CMC), who finished in third place in the ultra-competitive Central Minnesota Conference. The Jaguars played very competitive football, but lost 28-6. It was a 21-6 game with 5:00 remaining and the Jaguars driving deep into Lakers' territory, when an interception returned for a touchdown by the Lakers took all hopes of winning away from the Jaguars.

The Jaguars will host their playoff opener for the first time since 1997, when they finished as Section 5AA runners-up. This year they finished with 20 section points, good for fourth place, losing a win-loss tiebreaker to third-place Dawson-Boyd (3-5), who will host Royalton (2-6) in their opener. Ortonville finished 2-6 with 14 points, Royalton finished with 13 points.

The Jaguars look forward to an overflow crowd at their home field.

Game time is 7:00. See you there.

Section 5A Football Standings and Predictions


1- KMS 5-2 31 points

2- Wabasso 5-2 30 points

3- Dawson-Boyd 3-4 20 points

4- B-B-E 2-5 19 points

5- Ortonville 2-5 13 points

6- Royalton 2-5 13 points

7- U-S-A 1-6 7 points (Upsala-Swanville Area)

8- RCW 1-6 6 points (Renville County West)

Explanation of the "points" system for Section 5A.

6 points for a win over a 1A opponent, 7 points for a win over a 2A opponent, and 8 points for a win over a 3A opponent. Zero points are awarded for a loss to a 1A team, 1 point is awarded for a loss to a 2A team, and 2 points are awarded for a loss to a 3A team. This explains how the Jaguars have 19 points even though their record is 2-5 overall. The early season win over Rockford yielded a whopping 8 points.

Here is a snapshot of each section team and a prediction of how the final game of the season will go for each team.

After starting 0-2, K-M-S is poised to win out. They host a
fair 2-5 Pillager team in their season finale, and
they will pound them. They will finish 6-2, with a tiebreaker
over Wabasso since they lost to AA Ottertail Central in game
#2, giving them 37 points and the coveted number-one seed.

Red Rock is not gonna beat Wabasso...Wabasso will finish 6-2
with 36 points, against all 1A competition. Wabasso is good,
enough said there.

After two truly dis-tasteful losses to Kimball and Holdingford,
the B-B-E Jaguars are thoroughly angry enough that they will
travel to Howard Lake and pound the Lakers into the ground.
The Lakers are 5-2 and in position to get a decent playoff seed
in Section 5AA and will be fired up to beat the Jaguars.
However, the Jaguars played remarkable with Jackson Illies in
his 2nd game as starting quarterback against Holdingford, relative
to their dismal performance at Kimball the week previous. With
two practices before the Howard Lake trip, they will continue
to put it all together and will finish strong, 3-5 overall,
five losses to AA teams, and one win each over an A, AA, and AAA
team...giving them 25 points while locking up #3 in Section 5A.

Dawson-Boyd has had a tough schedule...they'll finish 3-5 with
competitive losses to strong teams from Minneota, Murray County
Central, class AA Maccray, and a quality win over AA Tracy-Milroy.
They pounded a really bad Fulda team, and had a close win over
Canby, who just picked up their first win over Ortonville and is
1-6 overall. They'll finish 3-5 with 20 points. They won't defeat
Adrian in their season finale. They may be a sleeper in the section.

Adrian killed Ortonville 50-6, then barely beat Tracy-Milroy 23-20
at Tracy. TMB should beat Ortonville without any problems.
Ortonville will finish 2-6 with two class AA losses, and two wins
over 1A teams, giving them 14 points. If they beat T-M-B, they
would end up 3-5 with 20 points. But they won't, because they
got pounded by a bad 0-6 Canby team, 30-13 in Ortonville.

Royalton has one loss to AA United North Central...I don't see
them winning at New York Mills. Even if they finished 3-5 and
beat NYM, they would end up with 19 points...or else 2-6 and
13 points, which is most likely. They're a decent team but
they have a handful of losses to poor 1A teams.

Thanks Osakis, you barely beat USA, dropping the Patriots to
1-6 overall...the Patriots lost in triple OT to AA United North
Central. They lost 12-0 to Royalton...other losses have been
close except the 64-20 pasting by K-M-S. They will not beat
AA Ottertail Central and will finish 1-7, with 8 points, giving
them a tiebreaker over presumably 1-7 RCW, for the 7th seed.

RCW is really bad, and they'll probably end up 1-7 with 6 points,
however they may beat the 0-7 Sleepy Eye St.Mary's Knights in
their season finale to end up 2-6 overall with 12 points.


Throwing caution to the wind, here's my predictions:

#1- KMS 6-2, 37 points

#2- Wabasso 6-2, 36 points

#3- B-B-E 3-5, 25 points

#4- D-Boyd 3-5, 20 points

#5- O'ville 2-6, 14 points

#6- Royalton 2-6, 13 points

#7- U-S-A 1-7, 8 points

#8- RCW 1-7, 6 points

First-round games:

K-M-S will shred RCW and advance.

Wabasso will shred U-S-A and advance.

B-B-E will beat Royalton 41-8 and advance.

Dawson-Boyd will avenge their season-opening loss to Ortonville and advance.

(Thus, all top seeds will advance)

D-Boyd will travel to K-M-S.
B-B-E will travel to Wabasso.

At that point, anyone can win on those nights. I see the Jaguars
defeating Wabasso...finishing what they feel they should have
done in 2005, when they were down only 14-6 with 9 minutes left in
the game to the eventual section champion & state semi-finalist Rabbits.

It will end up being a K-M-S/B-B-E FargoDome Section 5A final
battle, with neighboring schools battling for "State".

What more could you ask for?

Lady Jaguars Tie Regular Season Win Record

Our Lady Jaguars won tonight in their final regular season home match, defeating Buffalo Lake-Hector three games to one, 25-13, 25-19, 20-25, 25-17. They will finish up their regular season schedule tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3:30 in Osakis, against the 13-12-1 Silverstreaks team, who is also a Section 6AA-North opponent and hails from the Prairie Conference.

April Hansen led the Lady Jaguars (24-3) with 16 kills, followed by Heidi Lensing with 15 and Ashley Lensing with nine. Hansen, Sarah Gruber and Ashley Lensing served three aces each. Gruber also had 16 assists, Lindsay Goodwin recorded four ace blocks and Emily Roelike piled up 23 digs while diving all over the floor like it was going out of style.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Jaguar Football - They mean business

The Jaguar football team is ready for business, prepared for their final regular season game against the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers (5-2 overall, 4-2 CMC). They will continue on offense without Josh Roelike at quarterback and Jordan Bouwmann at center, as well as lacking Isaac Anderson on defense, as those three players join other guys on the injured list.

However, sophomore Jackson Illies performed brilliantly last Friday night against Holdingford, and showed what a hard week of practice put in by the team can do.

Interestingly, they have been very business-like in their approach to the season, taking one game at a time. In talking to some of the team members, it is apparent that most guys have not put much thought into possible playoff matchups or scenarios. That's a good thing.

Such focus is one element of their dedication to turning our football program around and putting our school back on the football map.

Good luck guys, your win against the Lakers will deliver you a three-seed in Section 5A and bring home playoff action back to our community for the first time since 1997.

Jaguars Suffer Heartbreaking Loss

Going into last week's home Parents' Night game against Holdingford, our Jaguar football team
was confident in their chances after a solid week of practice, sitting in third place in Section 5A.
The Jaguars' hard play and unbending confidence ruled nearly the entire second half as they moved ahead 20-15 and held the lead until the game's final minute. Disaster struck, however, at the worst possible time (under 2:00 left) and the worst possible position (the Jaguars' eight-yard line) and allowed the Huskers to regain a 23-20 lead and hold on for the win.

On their opening drive, the Jaguars picked up two first downs with great runs from Austin Kampsen and Michael Zenzen before Zenzen went down with a slight knee injury. It was not looking good as the Huskers took over on their 44-yard line with one of our top defenders sitting on the sideline.

The Jaguars' defense was up to the task, gaining excellent penetration on the Huskers' backfield while holding them to no yards and three-and-out. They received the punt at their own 19 with 6:51 left in the first quarter. Austin Kampsen and quarterback Jackson Illies advanced the ball for one first down before the Jaguars would face a fourth-and-11 on their 35.

Michael Zenzen returned to action and blasted for an incredible 28-yard gain along the right sideline on a successful pitch from a fake punt, getting to the Huskers' 37. Five plays later,
including a 26-yard gain by Kampsen which brought first-and-goal on the 10, Zenzen ran in a 14-yard touchdown run, shedding would-be tacklers along the way. With one minute left in the first quarter the Jaguars were ahead 6-0.

The Jaguars' defense then held the Huskers to three-and-out once again, getting the ball back on their 42 as the second quarter began. They would themselves go three-and-out, though.

The Huskers then put on a sustained drive eating up over seven minutes on the clock. Chad Starr, Pat Roelike, and Zenzen all had big hits in the Huskers' backfield, but Holdingford would convert on two fourth-downs to earn first-and-goal at the five, scoring two plays later to take a 7-6 lead with 4:08 left before halftime.

Taking over on their 19, the Jaguars would muster only seven yards in three plays to bring a punt on fourth-and-three. A bad snap on the punt helped the Huskers' get possession with only 11 yards to the endzone with two minutes on the clock.

An unforgettable goal-line stand by the Jaguars developed with four straight incomplete passes.
On second down, Kampsen had a big deflection deep in the endzone next to the Huskers' 6'8" wide receiver. On third down, an even bigger deflection took place when the football shot towards the would-be receiver, and Chad Starr leaped in an NFL-like diving move to knock the ball down. Kampsen had one more deflection on fourth down, and the Jaguars took over on their 11.

They entered halftime down 7-6.

The Huskers would kick the Jaguars in the gut with a 69-yard touchdown reception on the second play of the third quarter, earning a two-point conversion and making it a two-score game, ahead 15-6. The Jaguars would then go three-and-out on their first possession of the second half.

The defense rose to the occasion, harassing the Huskers' quarterback into an intentional grounding, yielding third-and-forever. They then fumbled the ball, recovered by Brett Landwehr, with the Jaguars' sitting on the Huskers' 10.

On fourth-and-one, goal-to go, Jackson Illies carried the ball in for the touchdown. Michael Zenzen would earn two more points on his second blast into the endzone, Jaguars down 15-14 with 7:00 left in the third quarter.

On the Huskers' next possession, Pat Roelike would twice light up their running backs and help bring a fourth-and-inches play at midfield. Dustin Gruber then earned the stop, as the Jaguars took over with 5:00 left in the quarter.

On the Jaguars' first play, Austin Kampsen broke a 62-yard touchdown run to lift the Jaguars on top 20-15. The fans and sideline went nuts as the wind was literally at the Jaguars' backs.

The Jaguars' offense sputtered the rest of the game, though, but their defense remained strong
and kept the Huskers in check. Pat Roelike, Zenzen, Starr, and Landwehr all earned backfield tackles against the Huskers through four more possessions. The Jaguars even earned an interception on one series, yet could not make the Huskers pay by adding on an insurance touchdown.

The Huskers would capitalize on the pivotal play, a failed fake punt deep in Jaguars' territory,
giving the Huskers first-and-goal on the eight. It was nothing less than the most stunning reversal in a Jaguars' football game in recent memory as players and fans alike were shocked at the outcome.

All is not lost as the Jaguars did not fall out of the top-four of Section 5A, and going into the season's final game they sit in fourth place, a mere point behind third-place Dawson-Boyd.
The Blackjacks have no chance of winning their final game against Adrian, so this week's trip to Howard Lake is crucial as a win would vault the Jaguars to third place in the section and give them a first-round home playoff game for the first time since 1997. The Lakers were shelled by Pierz last week 27-6, so this game will be a battle.

The Jaguars have shown their ability to recover from tough losses. They have done it all season long and will do it once again even though this was the most emotionally difficult loss they have endured this season. Their will to succeed has given them the ability to overcome a wealth of adversity this fall, while at the same time helping them play an exciting, competitive brand of football. See you in Howard Lake.