Well, our Morris Area Chokio Alberta Tigers were out on the gridiron Saturday night, for the earliest opener I can remember. Would turnout be affected? I rode my bike out to the UMM baseball diamond, as I have done often since Big Cat opened, and took a look at the spectacle at Big Cat. I was actually hoping to see a small fan turnout. I was hoping for signs that parents would be gaining wisdom and holding their sons out of football, for the sake of the boys' health.
Wisdom appears not to be taking over. In spite of the constantly mounting evidence of football's unacceptable risks, MACA has a vigorous program with vigorous fan support. The fan turnout appeared substantial. That's what keeps football going: the support of fans and their dollars. Dollars: that's really the key.
I suppose I should be happy the Tigers won 41-6. I'm pretty indifferent but I'll go ahead and report on the game anyway (duty-bound). There was no suspense. The Tigers were up 20-0 after one quarter. Yawn. We scored seven points in the second quarter and 14 in the third, while all the while West Central Area had zippo.
I'm thankful the Willmar newspaper even had coverage of the game in today's (Monday) edition. That paper often whiffs on Saturday events. I'd wager that only half of last year's MACA football games got reviewed in the Willmar paper. Last year the opener had an 8 p.m. start which prevented coverage in Saturday's edition. Also, the Tigers tended to play in places that weren't known for calling in stuff.
You know, instead of a "scoring summary," I wish that paper would have more details about scoring drives. The actual scoring play might be routine. It might have been preceded by a truly electric play. I sure paid attention to full scoring drives when I wrote for the Morris paper. I might even give attention to key blocks, with names supplied. That was then.
Six touchdowns by the Tigers
Anyway, Chase Metzger scored the first Tiger touchdown on a run from the one. The conversion try misfired. Jacob Zosel plunged in from the one for MACA's second touchdown. The conversion try went awry. Next it was Eric Staebler scoring for the Tigers, on a 48-yard pass reception from Trent Marty. Marty passed to Taylor Staples for two points on the conversion.
It was Metzger scoring the Tigers' touchdown No. 4: a 20-yard pass catch that had Marty on the throwing end. Ricky Hernandez kicked the PAT. The onslaught grew as Staebler hauled in a 37-yard pass from the pinpoint Marty. Hernandez kicked the ball through the uprights on the PAT.
So, now the game has become quite the blow-out. Toby Sayles added cushion with a nine-yard touchdown run. Hernandez again kicked the point-after.
West Central Area scored its only touchdown when Miles Wing caught a 14-yard pass from Jake Larkin.
Let's pore over the stats. Zosel paced the Tigers' running game, taking 14 handoffs and covering 76 yards. Ryan Dietz had six carries for 25 yards. Chase Metzger plunged forward for 20 yards on four carries of the pigskin. Sayles had ten yards on seven carries. Marty picked up eight rushing yards. Diego Arreguin rushed for seven yards and Dakota Luepke for two.
Marty was 100 percent efficient passing the football. His four-for-four numbers produced a whopping 154 yards - quite the memorable night. Sayles had one pass attempt. Staebler hauled in three receptions good for 134 yards. Metzger's catch picked up 20 yards. Staebler punted just once. We sacked the WCA quarterback four times.
The tackle chart reveals the following: Brady Jergenson (6.5), Mitchell Dufault (4), Sayles (3.5), Brendan Goulet (3), Staebler (3) and Luepke (3).
Tanner Johnson rushed for 48 yards for WCA. Caden Fernholz rushed for 32. Jake Larkin completed two of three pass attempts for the Knights. Ross Anderson completed two aerials in six tries. Jordan Beuckens caught two passes and Miles Wing caught one. Jacob Combs did the WCA punting. Blake Amundson intercepted a pass. These Knights stood out on the tackle chart: Ben Anderson, Jacob Dreschel, Amundson and Larkin.
So, the curtain has opened for Tiger football with a triumph, overpowering in fact. Is it a prelude of things to come? A full week of August remains. We're lucky the temperature wasn't overbearingly hot on Saturday.
The Tigers will have two home games completed before school starts. Let's see, there are only two more in the regular season? One of those will be Homecoming. It's early to be focused on school but that's the way it is. Football (here at least) appears as popular and well-supported as ever. It might take a whole lot of laws (or lawsuits) to get football knocked down. Lawyers and insurance companies may take care of things. Don't bet against insurance companies. On the way down, football is likely to become a club sport. Schools will detach. Why do "towns" need to play other "towns." We are more advanced than in the days portrayed in the movie "Hoosiers." (Did Gene Hackman ever get the girl?)
I'm posting this before noon Monday and I see no headline specifically about this game on the Morris Sun Tribune website. I do see a headline making a big deal out of something Vaughn Dieter did. I know how that goes.