Friday, August 31, 2007

What a Night! Jaguars Football Trounces West Central Area 33-8, Second Straight Season-Opening Win

From 1988 to 2006, the Jaguars football team had never won two straight season openers.

Not until tonight.

The Jaguars hosted a high-powered West Central Area Knights team, defending Heart O' Lakes Co-Champions, at our high school sports complex and treated a large hometown crowd to a 33-8 victory. It is the widest margin of victory ever in a season opener, beating the old record set in 1988, when the first edition of B-B-E football defeated Bertha-Hewitt 35-12.

With the win, the Jaguars take an early lead in the Section 5A standings, collecting 7 section points by defeating a Class AA school.

It should also be noted that West Central Area brought what may be the largest "visiting" crowd we have seen in many years. They had nearly half the stadium bleachers filled with red and white (Knights' colors). Since the 1980s, West Central Area has had a strong football tradition. It would be quite thrilling to see B-B-E bring back some of the glory days our area had in football in the 1960s through the mid-1980s.

***Update on Tuesday, Sept 4...I have new photos from the game posted on my Sports Photos Website. The link to that can be found under my "links" section at the right column on this website.

Results of games with Central Minnesota Conference teams:

Eden Valley-Watkins crushed Class AAA Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 42-6.

Class AA Kimball shredded Class AA St.John's Prep 55-0.

Mayer Lutheran defeated Maple Lake 12-9.

Pierz defeated Rice Lake (Wisconsin) 28-7. The Pioneers traveled to Rice Lake for this game.

Rockford defeated Jordan 30-14. Both are Class AAA schools. In 2006, Jordan destroyed Rockford 46-7 in the season opener, which set the tone for Rockford's disasterous 1-7 season.

Rockford surely will have their trip to B-B-E last season on their minds next week, when they entertain our Jaguars for the Central Minnesota Conference opener on Friday, September 7. In 2006, the Jaguars blanked the Rockets 27-0 while starting the season 2-0. It was key in helping the Jaguars gain home field advantage for the Section 5A quarterfinals.

The trip to Rockford will be an excellent measuring stick to see if this year's version of Jaguars football is for real.

I think they are.

Section 5A team results from tonight and Thursday night:
**(A double-asterisk denotes that it is a Section 5A team)
New Ulm Cathedral 14, **Renville County West 7...Could be a fluke? Who knows, but NUC was State Runners-up in 2006 in Class A. RCW has not had a winning season of football this decade. Are they a darkhorse in Section 5A? Time will tell.
Wabasso 27, **Buffalo Lake-Hector 7.
**Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 50, Pillager 14.
**Dawson-Boyd 20, **Canby 8.
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 36, **Russel-Tyler-Ruthton 0. (TMB is a Class AA school)
**Minneota 51, Fulda 6.

For reference, oddsmakers suggest that K-M-S is the Jaguars' top opposition in Section 5A. Their opponent last night, Pillager, was 2-7 in 2006, 4-5 in 2005, and 1-8 in 2004. They are Class A members of the Prairie North Conference.

Minneota is also very good, going 8-2 in 2006 and 5-4 in 2005. They are in Section 5A as well, and up until tonight I did not know that. I was somewhat upset that I failed to find that information until tonight. Minneota and K-M-S are both very good teams. The Jaguars will simply have to "out-point" them during the regular season and get the best seed possible for playoffs.

Minneota defeated Ortonville 27-14 in the third week of last season on their way to a 5-0 start. The Jaguars crushed Ortonville 53-19 in the playoff opener last season.

Section 5A has numerous talented teams this year, a change from the past few seasons when Wabasso won three of the past four section titles. After looking over season previews for other section teams, and looking at the Friday night scores, it is apparent that the Jaguars will have to win at least three or four games for any hope of earning a top-four seed for playoffs.

Also, the section has nine teams, meaning a winless season will shut the last-place team out from post season play. The Jaguars are already a contending team, but with the section having at least two other contending teams, only continued hard work in practice and smart play on the field will keep their hopes of playoff success alive. I see Dawson-Boyd and Renville County West as dark horses in the section, with Minneota & K-M-S as the top teams in the section. (Along with our Jaguars, of course!)

In other Jaguars sports action next week, the Cross Country teams host the annual B-B-E Invite at the Prairie View Community Golf Course on Thursday, September 6. The meet will begin at 5:00. Also, the Jaguars girls tennis team travels to St.John's Prep on Thursday. They enter September with a winning record for the first time in school history (7-6). The Jaguars volleyball team (1-0) travels to Rockford on Thursday night to open up the CMC schedule.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Jaguars Girls Tennis Drops First Match at Minnewaska to Parkers Prairie 4-3

On Friday morning at the Minnewaska Area High School tennis courts, the Jaguars girls tennis team dropped a close match to the Parkers Prairie Panthers by a 4-3 team score. The Panthers got out in front with strong leads in most of the doubles & singles matches, but the Jaguars hung tough and nearly pulled off the win.

In the early afternoon match, the Jaguars met the host Lakers and fell by a 6-1 score. The Jaguars picked up a super tiebreaker win at No.4-singles.

They now have a small break until next Thursday when they travel to St.John's Prep for a non-conference match against a fellow Section 5A team. Their makeup date with Melrose Area is Friday, September 7. On Saturday, September 8, they will compete at the Becker Quadrangular.

See you at the football game tonight. Go Jags!

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Friday Night Football Begins - Jaguars vs. Knights

Across the country on Thursday and Friday nights this week, young men suited up in football gear will carry their school and community pride onto football fields in small towns and large cities everywhere on the map.

In the local prep football opener at our high school athletic complex, the Jaguars football team will battle with the high-powered West Central Area Knights on Friday night with a 7:00 kickoff. The Knights went 8-2 last season against all Class 2A opposition, and they are good year after year.

Also, good luck to the cross country teams as they travel to Maple Lake for their second meet of the season today. Coach Kiosol reported the results to me from Monday, and it was noteworthy to see a Jaguars' Junior high team member take third place in the 1-mile in his first-ever cross country race. Complete results from that meet and today's meet will be published in next week's local newspapers.

Friday morning I'll be at the Minnewaska Triangular, which is slated to begin at 8:30 at the Minnewaska Area High School tennis courts. The Jaguars girls tennis team is set to face Parkers Prairie in the first match, followed by a match up with the host Lakers, who went to the Class A state tournament in 2006.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Jaguars Volleyball Sweeps Ortonville 3-0

The Jaguars won tonight in their season opener. The B- and C-squads also were victorious, repeating last year's three-squad sweep over Ortonville for the 2006 season opener.

The No.10-ranked (Class A) Jaguars are 1-0 in non-conference play. The Jaguars' Central Minnesota Conference season opens up on Thursday, September 6, at Rockford, which is their next match. After that match, the schedule heats up considerably, with the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted tournament two days later on Saturday.

Tonight during the volleyball match, I pulled up and looked at the AP state ranking polls. The 2nd poll of the season came out yesterday, and lo-and-behold, our Jaguars volleyball team cracked the top-10! I showed the website on my laptop to a few parents sitting near me. I will be publishing that as a part of my sports articles next week. After giving that credit to the team, I won't mention it the remainder of the season, since state-rankings do not win competitions. It's a great accomplishment to land a state-ranking for the third year in a row, but let's not forget that because of past success, a target will be on our backs whether we're ranked or not.

Volleyball scores from around the area:
Other Section 5A teams:
Bertha-Hewitt 3, Browerville 0
Pine River-Backus 3, Staples-Motley 0 (PR-B is in Sub-section 5A North, S-M is a Class AA team)

It will take a great deal of time to get used to a new playoff section, involving Class 1A. The road to find playoff success will be a long journey this season, but after watching the varsity team perform tonight, we are definitely on our way.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Jaguars Girls Tennis Dual with Melrose Area Cancelled

The tennis dual between the Jaguars girls tennis team and Melrose Area was cancelled due to wet conditions from the light mist that's been ongoing all day today around central Minnesota.

The Minnewaska Quadrangular that was scheduled for last Thursday and also cancelled due to wet conditions has been moved to this Friday (Aug 31). Montevideo is unable to attend, so it will be a Triangular, with host Minnewaska, our Jaguars, and Parkers Prairie.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Jaguars Girls Tennis is 7-4, Earn a Split at the Benson/K-M-S Triangular

The Jaguars girls tennis team split their matches at the Benson/K-M-S triangular
today. They defeated the host Brave-Fighting Saints 4-3 and lost to MACCRAY/Renville
County West by the same score, 4-3. The team record is now 7-4.

Gaining just a split in the triangular is big for the team, as the competitiveness displayed in Benson will pay off big when sub-section seeding takes place for playoffs in October. The hard work of the team, combined with the great scouting by Coach Westrom, paid off today.

They host Melrose Area, one of the top teams in Section 5A, in a home match on Tuesday afternoon. The West Central Tribune, as well as one of the Melrose Area tennis parents I spoke with on Monday, said that the match will be at our high school beginning at 4:00. All my other sources say that the match will take place at the city park tennis courts across Highway 55 from our elementary school. On Tuesday, I spoke with that Melrose parent again, and her daughter then told her that the match will in fact be at the city park courts near our elementary school. These would be the same tennis courts that the school district pays a "lease fee" of $800 per year for, while the un-cracked tennis courts at our high school, a mere parking lot's length away from where varsity tennis players attend class during the week, will sit empty.

Tuesday night the Jaguars volleyball team also has a home event, when they kick off the 2007 season by hosting Ortonville in a non-conference match.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Girls Tennis is Off to Red Hot Start - Two Wins Away from Tying School Record for Team Wins in a Season

The Jaguars girls tennis team was "OH so close" at going 3-0 at the Lac qui Parle Valley/Dawson-Boyd Quadrangular on Saturday at the LQPV High School tennis courts.

The team started off the day at Lac qui Parle Valley the right way with a convincing 6-1 win against Milbank (SD). They followed that with a tough 4-3 loss to Marshall, in a match filled with tiebreaker and supertiebreaker sets.

Coach Westrom was beaming with pride over the stamina displayed by the Jaguars after they faced off with Marshall, a match that could have gone either way. For comparison purposes, Marshall is a 3A school in football, compared to our classification of 1A.

They finished the day with a sweet 4-3 win against host Lac qui Parle Valley, one of the premier girls tennis programs in west central Minnesota. It was the first Jaguars win over the Eagles in school history. Marshall clipped LQPV by a 4-3 score as well to finish as meet champions with a 3-0 record.

The Jaguars team record is now 6-3, basically setting a new bar for girls tennis at B-B-E.

The Jaguars girls tennis team returns to action on Monday morning at the Benson/K-M-S Triangular, held at the Benson High School tennis courts. They will face off with the host team as well as MACCRAY/Renville County West (a paired team). Coach Westrom has already done a fair level of scouting on the teams, who are both new Section 5A opponents for the Jaguars.

Also coming up this week: Tuesday night the volleyball team hosts Ortonville to open the regular season for the defending Central Minnesota Conference/Sub-Section 6AA-19 champion Jaguars, who are now a member of Section 5A for playoffs. That evening the high school sit "lights out" and empty, while the match will take place at the elementary school.

On Friday night, the football team hosts West Central Area at our high school football field, with kickoff at 7:00.

The cross country teams are in action on Monday at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, then on Thursday at Maple Lake.

This Jaguars sports update brought to you by:

Friday, August 24, 2007

Girls Tennis Has 4-2 Team Record, Wins Again Today Against Morris Area -- Best Girls Tennis Start in School History!

This morning beginning at 10:00, the Jaguars tennis team hosted Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta in a dual meet. They won 5-2. Also adding to the fun for the team were three wins in exhibition play, two at singles and one at doubles. The Jaguars are now 4-2 overall, ensuring that they will have more wins this season than they did in the entire 2006 season when they finished 3-17.

The team's 4-2 record is the best start to any season of Jaguars Girls Tennis.

The hard work the team put in all summer long is paying off. Coach Westrom stated that the team is very excited about their great start to the season.

It is very unfortunate that school officials did not allow the team to compete at their high school tennis courts, which sat EMPTY today while they were seven miles further up the highway.

The busy action does not let up for the Jaguars girls tennis team.

Tomorrow (Saturday) they travel to the Lac qui Parle Valley Quadrangular, which begins at 9:00. Last season, the Jaguars picked up the first win of the 2006 season by defeating Milbank (SD) by a 4-3 team score.

Next Monday (August 27) the Jaguars are at the Benson Triangular, followed by a home match on Tuesday against Section 6A powerhouse Melrose Area.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Minnewaska Tennis Quad Called Off

The Jaguars girls tennis team will be coming home early from the Minnewaska Quad today, as the meet was called off due to the light mist that hasn't let up all morning. Coach Westrom said the courts are too wet to play, and there's no sign of sunshine on the horizon to make the meet a "go".

They will now prepare for the Lac qui Parle Triangular on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jaguars Girls Tennis is 3-2 Overall, Has Excellent Showing at Osakis Quadrangular with Two More Wins

The Jaguars girls tennis team is 3-2 in their first five matches for the first time since 2003, after going 2-1 at the Osakis Quadrangular today. The Jaguars won a total of five team matches in both 2004 and 2005, then won only three matches during the 2006 season. To be fair, the Jaguars had a good amount of seniors on the roster in 2004 and 2005, and none in 2006. Instead of making predictions about this season, I will let the team do the talking with their matches on the court.

Today at Osakis, they defeated West Central Area by a 4-3 score in the first match of the day. That was followed by another win for the Jaguars against Upsala-Swanville Area by a 4-3 score. The day ended with a tough loss to host Osakis by a 7-0 sweep. I haven't read anything on the Osakis team, but my guess is that they are very good.

After having a day of practice tomorrow, the Jaguars are back in action on Thursday at the Minnewaska Quadrangular, which begins at 9:00am.

Right now I'm off to the football cookout at the high school, as the Jaguars are finishing up practice. The new Booster Club food wagon is on scene.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Girls Tennis Goes 1-1 in Home Triangular, Fights for Five Tiebreakers against Long Prairie, then Defeats U-S-A by a 4-3 Score

The B-B-E Jaguars girls tennis team began today by facing Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, a former Section 6A rival. This season and in 2008 the Jaguars will be in Section 5A for playoffs.

In tennis, there are seven "matches" within the team match. Four singles, and three doubles teams. In five of the seven matches, the Jaguars faced off with the Thunder in tiebreaker sets. Unfortunately, the Jaguars did not come out on top when the dust settled, and Long Prairie finished with a 5-2 win.

They followed that with a 4-3 win over Upsala-Swanville Area. At least one of those individual matches went to a tiebreaker.

It was a great start for the team, which has seven seniors on the roster, something never seen before at B-B-E in girls tennis. The previous highest number of seniors on the girls tennis roster at B-B-E is six, in the 1999 season. Full details on the match will be in next week's Observer and Bonanza Valley Voice. It was a very good start to what should be an exciting girls tennis season at B-B-E.

This Jaguars sports update, the first of the new school year! brought to you by:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

B-B-E Varsity Girls Tennis Hosts Triangular at the High School on Friday

The official start to the 2007-2008 sports year begins on Friday, August 17 at B-B-E. The varsity girls tennis team will open up their season tomorrow (Friday) morning with a home triangular meet at the high school campus tennis courts. The meet begins at 8:00am.

They are led by a new head coach, who is also the new K-12 vocal music teacher at B-B-E. A full preview of the team and their new coach will appear in next week's Observer and Bonanza Valley Voice issues.

I'm not sure if I'll get full previews of all fall sports done by next week's press deadlines. I want to begin the fall by giving the girls tennis team extensive coverage, as they tend to get overlooked by everyone but their parents once school resumes after Labor Day.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fall is Here! Well... Almost

The official opening-day practices for football, volleyball, cross country, and girls tennis begins on Monday for all area high school teams. The B-B-E girls tennis team will be led by a new coach, the name of whom I haven't gotten yet. Coach Mike Richards returns for his third season as head coach of the Jaguars football team. They are gearing up for the season-opening game at our high school football field on Friday, August 31 against West Central Area. I incorrectly stated back in June that we would make the trip to Barrett for the season opener. To my surprise, we will in fact get a home game for the season opener!

Can't beat that.

Kevin Weller begins his first year as head coach of the girls volleyball program. The cross country program will continue to be led by high school teacher Erin Kiosol.

We're looking at a thrilling fall of sports at B-B-E.

Elrosa Saints Lose Out to Lake Henry in an Extra-Inning 5-3 Loss.

The Elrosa Saints lost on Saturday afternoon to Lake Henry in an elimination game of the Region 15C tournament. Lake Henry went on to lose to St.Martin by an 11-0 score on Sunday afternoon. St.Martin then proceeded to lose a nail biter to Spring Hill in the Region 15C seeding game. Spring Hill will make its first state tournament trip in the team's history (dating back to 1983).

Friday, August 10, 2007

It Rained in Belgrade! I'm Not Even Kidding

At around 1:00am on Saturday morning, the skies opened up over western Stearns County with enormous winds and rains, along with a hint of hail. The hail and wind died off quickly and the rain continued. After glancing at the radar on Weather.Com, it appears as though this area will get another round of rain in the next hour.

While it may put a damper on the Region 15C Final Four in Lake Henry, I am guessing their well-constructed ball diamond will soak up any rain the skies send its way.

We were in desperate need of rain, and it looks like we're getting what we needed.

For the weekend it seems that the farmers who rely on irrigation will get a much-needed breather. They've been working their tails off all summer long (with a small break on the 4th of July) to keep their crops going.

The August Fest softball tournament in Belgrade, hosted at the B-B-E High School's athletic complex, begins at 9:00am. The rain should soften up what are without a doubt very hard and unforgiving outfields in the diamonds on the high school grounds.

The Elrosa Saints play at 2:30 against Lake Henry. I am sure no one will second guess the choice between the August Fest parade in Belgrade, or the Saints game!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Elrosa Saints Advance to Region 15C Final Four -- Defeat New London-Spicer 6-4 on Sunday Afternoon

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The Saints witness a truly eye-opening display of terrible sportsmanship during the NL-S game on Sunday, a few dumb moves that led to the player's ejection. Not a good thing considering all the children in attendance.

The Saints will now play Lake Henry, a 12-1 loser to St.Martin today, in another elimination game next Saturday afternoon at 2:30.

Starbuck was eliminated earlier today by Spring Hill by an 8-1 score.

This B-B-E area sports update brought to you by:

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Elrosa Saints Start Regions the Wrong Way -- Loss to Lake Henry by a 1-0 Score

In the Region 15C opener, against the runner-up from the Stearns County South League, Elrosa lost 1-0 to Lake Henry, who also is hosting the region tournament. The Lakers won on a walk-RBI.

The Saints now face New London-Spicer in an elimination game on Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm.

St.Martin defeated Starbuck 1-0, and Spring Hill shredded New London-Spicer 13-4.

Friday, August 03, 2007

B-B-E Bombers Legion Team Completes Their Season at Districts -- Suffers Heartbreaking Loss to Paynesville 12-8 Today

This afternoon the Bombers Legion baseball team lost 12-8 in regular innings in heartbreaking fashion to Paynesville in the Division II, District 6 tournament. Both teams were fighting to get out of the loser's bracket and into Saturday's championship round. B-B-E had built a 7-3 lead in the sixth inning, but fell apart after that. They had a wonderful season, nonetheless, and all of our communities should be proud of the hard work these young men have put into their game to represent B-B-E. Their regular season record was 6-4. They proceeded to go 3-2 in the District 6 playoffs, for an overall final record of 9-6.

Tomorrow and Sunday the area can enjoy numerous baseball games at the Lake Henry diamond, as they host the Region 15C tournament. The Elrosa Saints take on host Lake Henry at 1:00 on Saturday.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bombers Have Rough Second Round at Districts, Lose 6-0 to Cross Lake in Winner's Bracket Quarterfinal

The B-B-E Bombers American Legion team faced what I feel was the best team in the seven-team field, Cross Lake, today at Paynesville Area High School, and lost 6-0. They now will work to fight out of the loser's bracket, beginning on Friday at 12:30pm, again at Paynesville. They will face the winner of tonight's game in Regal between Kimball & Paynesville.

They played well until the top of the sixth inning, when three errors led to three unearned runs by Cross Lake. Meanwhile, they could not kickstart the offense and were limited to one hit at the plate.

More to follow later.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

American Legion District 6 Championships This Week Thurs-Sat. **Bombers Advance With Forfeit by Hinckley

The B-B-E Bombers (9-4 overall) will open up the Elite Eight round of the District 6 tournament beginning Thursday (Aug 2) at 3:00pm in Paynesville at their high school diamond. They will face the winner of the Crosslake/Sebeka game, which will take place at 10:00am on Thursday in Paynesville.

Hinckley was scheduled as their first-round opponent Thursday morning, but they forfeited. It is not the most unusual thing in the world for a summer activity like this, as Sartell also forfeited a trip to the State Tournament in Babe Ruth baseball. That allowed Sauk Centre to go to State in that.

It sure boosts the Bomber's chances of advancing out of the district tournament! They are 1-0 in the double-elimination tournament, with none of their pitchers throwing any pitches thus far. A nice way to start!

At 12:30 in Regal, Kimball will take on Bertha-Hewitt. B-H is also a team including players with state tournament experience, as the Bertha-Hewitt Bears made "State" in 2006. They also have numerous Legion state appearances this decade.

The other four teams in the Elite Eight are: Paynesville, Pierz, Crosslake, and Sebeka. Sebeka was the American Legion Division II state champion in 2004. Paynesville was the Legion state champs in 2003.

The tournament continues on Friday, with all games being played at the Paynesville High School's diamond. The championship set for 1:30 on Saturday. As the Bombers win their games over the weekend, I will post the results and the times for their next games.