A Tiger’s Roar: Pat Mitchell (1939-2015)

A Tiger’s Roar: Pat Mitchell (1939-2015)
Dean Smith coached Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Rasheed Wallace, Larry Brown, and Kenny "The Jet" Smith. (Courtesy: WUNC)
Dean Smith coached Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Rasheed Wallace, Larry Brown, and Kenny “The Jet” Smith. (Courtesy: WUNC)

Dean Smith, the legendary University of North Carolina basketball coach, passed away Saturday evening at age 83. The recurring theme over the past several days is not about Smith’s won-loss records and being one of the best college basketball coaches ever. It was about Smith the individual: principled, graceful, teacher, and a father figure. Dean Smith lived a full life.

Mentioning Smith gives me an opportunity to tell you about another individual, who passed away last Wednesday. Similar to Smith, he too was principled, graceful, teacher, and he was one of the best coaches in Iowa.

Pat Mitchell was the head football coach at Cedar Falls for so long, I thought he was the only coach the Tigers ever had.

For a long time, I never thought there was anyone before him (Ed Lyons) and I swore that there would be no one after him (Brad Remmert).

Pat Mitchell taught and coached at Cedar Falls High for 47 years, 24 trips to the post-season, and 39 playoff wins. (Courier archives)
Pat Mitchell taught and coached at Cedar Falls High for 47 years, 24 trips to the post-season, and 39 playoff wins. (Courier archives)

From 1967 to 2014, no one was identified with Tigers football more than Coach Mitch, who died on February 4th after an extended battle with cancer.  If there was anyone else who knew how to use the UNI-Dome to his team’s advantage, Mitch was the master of it. Playing the Tigers in the UNI-Dome was a house of horrors for opponents far and wide.

Mitch’s teams played smart, strong, and fast. If you dug yourself a hole against CF, good luck trying to crawl out of that hole…you were cooked. That’s what happens when you face a guy who is 4th all time in wins (344-138-2) in Iowa prep football.

But Mitchell was more than a coach…he was an iconic figure in the annuls of Cedar Valley sports, particularly in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area. He coached against Reggie Roby, Kerry Burt, Jerry Moses, Chris Klieman, Tim Dwight, and many others who have become stars and legends in Iowa prep football.

Mitch is on the list of local coaches, that if you just mention their last name or nickname, people knew who you were talking about: Dick Marcussen and Dan List at CF, Howard Vernon, Steve McGraw, and Dave Natvig at East Waterloo, and George Dutcher, Bob Siddens, and Glenn Strobridge at West Waterloo.

The players Mitch coached, I either watched or played against: Terrence Freeney, Chris Nuss, Jason Hamrock, Mike Flagg, Matt Purdy, Barkley Hill, and Gabe Hurley, among so many.

But it was the rivalries…oh those rivalries. When East, West, CF, and Columbus got together on a Friday night, it wasn’t a football game…it was a battle royale. The heydays of the old Big 8 Conference was a special time: iconic coaches, outstanding players, and the stadiums that were rocking. There was pride on the line…and a city championship to be won.

There are three program defining games, in my view, that made Mitchell and the Tigers’ the formidable powerhouse that they are now. Incidentally, all three was against a city rival, East Waterloo.

In 1971, the Tigers were leading East 24-13, late in the 4th quarter at UNI’s old Latham Field. Behind talented Tiger quarterback Bill Salmon, CF jumped out to a big lead. But, the Trojans rallied with two touchdowns in the last 5 minutes of the contest for a 25-24 win. East went on to win their 6th straight mythical Class 4A state title.

That loss set up the second defining moment in 1972 when CF pulled off a 10-9 upset win over East. That win was all the momentum they needed to qualify for the playoffs, which was instituted that year by the IAHSAA.

Jeremiah Longnecker and Pat Mitchell with a celebratory hug after the Tigers' 15-14 win over Linn-Mar to win the 1986 Class 4A state title. (Courier archives)
Jeremiah Longnecker and Pat Mitchell with a celebratory hug after the Tigers’ 15-14 win over Linn-Mar to win the 1986 Class 4A state title. (Courier archives)

The third program-defining game was the 1st round playoff game against East in 1986. In the regular season, the Trojans pancaked the Tigers, 49-14. In the rematch at the UNI-Dome, CF stymied East and stunned the favorite to win the 4A title with a 12-6 win. It was the Tigers who went on to win a state title that year, defeating Linn-Mar, 15-14.

The Tigers would repeat that effort again in 1987, by losing to East in the regular season and beating the Trojans in the 1st round again, but fell short to Dowling Catholic, 21-3 in the semifinals.

The 1986 title was the only one Pat Mitchell would win. Mitchell and the Tigers came close several times, finishing as runner-ups 4 times (’82, ’99, ’05, ’08).

No one had a bad thing to say about Coach Mitch. Why should they? Being a coach is not about play calls, touchdowns, and championships. It’s about people. His players loved and respected him. Cedar Falls rallied behind the Tigers, all due to Mitchell’s personality: positive, delightful, tenacious, and never giving up.

It never dawn on me that one day Mitch would finally hang it up. For the last ten years, Brad Remmert and him were co-coaches and the Tigers continued the high level of success in Class 4A. Mitchell made the decision to retire before the start of the 2014 season.

In December, my brother-in-law was inducted into our high school’s basketball ring of honor. During the ceremony, I was mentally looking back how those moments and the people I was fortunate to watch, read, and listen, as well as played against, have shaped my view of respecting history and traditions. Yes, I am biased towards my alma mater, East High, but it would be foolish to not include a guy like Pat Mitchell, a rival, in being such an important figure in our community, with regards to sports.

Mitch’s passing feels like an end of an era for me. It’s hard to imagine one person, being at one school for nearly your entire life (I recently turned 39. Mitchell was at CF for 47 years). It was a little hard this past fall to not to see a highlight of Mitch on the sidelines. It was because I, and so many of us from the Cedar Valley, were so used to it.

The roar of the greatest Tiger in Cedar Falls High School history is now silent.

Pat Mitchell lived a full life and people will remember the person that Mitch was. The wins and losses are secondary.

As it should be.


“There’s No Use Complaining…It’s Here”: A Guide to District Football Part 1

“There’s No Use Complaining…It’s Here”:  A Guide to District Football Part 1
Starting tonight, all of the classes, from 8-man to Class 4A will be playing district football. All other sports will remain in conferences.
Starting tonight, all of the classes, from 8-man to Class 4A will be playing district football. All other sports will remain in conferences.

It was going to happen. The question was “when”, “how”, and “who”?

No matter how much kicking-and-screaming there was from the eastern side of the state, they were going to be corralled with the west and finally be under one system, with the rest of everyone else.

Now, it’s here. It’s time to get acquainted.

Iowa Class 4A football…meet district football. 

There’s no use continuing to complain about it…from the eastern side of the state to the scribes in Sioux City who’s still think that it’s a CIML conspiracy. It’s time for a new era…and some things to understand about district football as we open the curtain to the 2014 Iowa prep football season.

If you want a short history of how we’ve gotten here, you can go here from a 2011 blog post. The same problems back then are the same problems now: travel, costs, and enrollment numbers, which many fans tend to dismiss the latter, but at this point, it’s become a big factor.

The constant chatter since the formation of the 4A districts in February have been over two pressing questions: how can a team with a losing record qualify for the playoffs, and how does the IAHSAA determine who gets into the post-season.

Well…let’s answer them the best we way we can. Nothing’s perfect, you know.

Q: How did Mason City get into the playoffs with an 1-8 and 2-7 records? That makes no sense.

A: That’s simple. Your district record > overall record. Yep, your district record trumps your overall record.

It’s crazy, but follow me here. In states that have district football (Missouri for one), how you finish in your district usually determines if you get in the playoffs. In the case for 4A, the top four teams in each of the 8 districts advances to the playoffs. If you win even one district game, and those below you don’t, you have a chance to play beyond Week 9…as long as you are in the top 4 in your district.

In the case of Mason City, this is how they got in with sub .500 records. In 2012, they finished 4th in their division with a 1-3 record (1-8 overall). Des Moines Hoover finished last with an 0-4 division record (1-8 overall. A win over a non-division team). Remember, the top 4 in each division (nowdistricts) advances. Ft. Dodge and Council Bluffs Lincoln advanced with 2-3 division records, 3-6 overall.

Ft. Dodge and Sioux City have done division football for the past two seasons. The test run is over for them. District football is waiting for them. (Sioux City Journal)

Everyone in eastern Iowa were irate about it, but when you look at the 2012 playoff field, Waterloo West (3-6), Cedar Rapids Kennedy (4-5), Burlington (3-6), and Iowa City High (4-5) got in with sub-.500 records from the east side. Ottumwa (2-3, 4-5 overall) also got in. Eight sub-.500 teams (4 from each side of the state) got in.

Not good enough?

2013: Mason City finished 2-7 overall, 2-3 in division. Hoover finished 4-5 overall, and 2-3 in division. Mason City defeated Hoover head-to-head, thus the Mohawks had the tie-breaker and ended up 3rd in their division, Hoover in 4th.

Both teams, along with Des Moines East (1-4 division, 2-7 overall), Ankeny and Sioux City North (both 4-5) qualified. Over on the east, Waterloo West, Dubuque Hempstead, Clinton, and Davenport Assumption had 4-5 records…and made the playoffs.

It’s not that district football “helped” bad teams get in…it was expanding the post-season field from 16 to 32 that was the real culprit in allowing teams with losing records get in. So, if you’re going to whine about Mason City, the same could be said for Burlington for a 3-6 record in conference play.

It’s all a wash.

In the next post, we’ll answer the question about the uneven split of Class 4A and why there’s 46 schools and not 48.

“The Streak” Gives Way To A New Streak

Iowa City Regina after winning their 4th straight Class 1-A football title. (Benjamin Roberts / Iowa City Press-Citizen)

On Friday, November 22nd, the Iowa City Regina High School football team won their fourth straight Class 1-A state football championship. More importantly, they accomplished two more things: they broke a 41-year old record and, if you are willing to accept the Iowa High School Athletic Association‘s interpretation of the record book, they tied another record.

IC Regina head coach Marv Cook. Cook has done something that only one other has done...reel off a winning streak for the history books. (Des Moines Register archives)
IC Regina head coach Marv Cook. Cook has done something that only one other has done…reel off a winning streak for the history books. (Des Moines Register archives)

Huh? Here’s an explanation.

Regina’s win was their 56th in a row. They eclipsed the longest winning streak record of 55, which was set by East Waterloo, my alma mater, from 1965 to 1971. The second one? Regina tied East for the longest unbeaten streak in state football history at 56.

There were no overtime procedures and no playoff format until 1972. Therefore, the IAHSAA credited schools with ties.

How ironic that the topic of ties in football just happened to be the water cooler topic on Monday?

Yes, Iowa did not have a playoff system.  Before 1972, the media pollsters determined who was the state champ in each class at the end of the season (9 games).

What Iowa City Regina did is amazing and spectacular. I’m happy that they did it, because records are meant to be broken.

With that in mind, I feel it’s appropriate to recognize what East High did, because it’s a story worth talking about.

How important was “The Streak” to East High, Waterloo, and Iowa prep sports?

Plenty, when you consider the events the world would see between October 1965 and November 1971.

The buildup in Vietnam and social unrest in America was starting to percolate in the fall of 1965 when East High traveled to play Cedar Rapids Regis in Week 8.  The game ended in a 6-6 tie.  It was an up and down season for the Trojans, with one game remaining against their crosstown rivals, West High.  Beating the hated Wahawks would be a fitting end to the ’65 campaign.  The Trojans won 40-7 and ended the season with a record of 4-4-1.

The start of the 1966 season brought some uncertainty.  The Trojans had talent and great players.  They started the season against Burlington with a 53-0 win.  Right off the bat, something was special about the ’66 squad.  Win after win, in dominating fashion.  East went 9-0 and were declared the state mythical champions in 4-A.  It was their first mythical title since 1941, and their second ever undefeated season. Remember, the playoffs didn’t start until 1972.

Howard Vernon was East’s coach from 1962-68. “The Streak” began under his tenure. Vernon later on became the long-time principal at Iowa City High. He was inducted into the East High Football Ring of Honor in 2013 and recently honored with a bust at City High. (Courier file photo)

The following year, 1967, ended up the with the same result:  an undefeated team.  Something was brewing in Waterloo, and it wasn’t a tea party. Against Dubuque Wahlert, East’s defense held the Golden Eagles to a minus 64 total yards.

The spring and summer of 1968 dramatically changed the American societal landscape.  The assassinations of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., anti-war demonstrations over Vietnam, racial riots, and the tumultuous Democratic National Convention in Chicago put America in a vastly different paradigm that would leave lasting impressions to this day .

The aforementioned events played a pivotal role as East started the ’68 season.

In a Week 1 home game against St. Joseph’s of Chicago, Illinois, a scrape between fans erupted in the East High stands.  Minutes later, it became a full-scale brawl.  Before both teams knew it, the entire home stand at Sloane Wallace Stadium was empty, as the fights spilled into the streets.  The teams kept playing…in front of a near empty stadium. The east side of Waterloo turned into chaos, as the riot got bigger and uglier.

The National Guard was called in to stop rioters from looting. In one instance, early in the season, East moved one of their home games to an out-of-town opponent’s stadium and play a 3:00 pm game, so that the team could return home before a city-wide curfew at sundown.

And yet, it didn’t distract the Trojans at all, except for close wins against Ames, a shootout over Ft. Dodge, and a 28-27 win over crosstown rival West in a battle between #1 vs. #2. East captured their third mythical 4-A title over football powerhouses Dowling Catholic, Sioux City East, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, and Davenport High (now Davenport Central).

Jerry Moses, father of popular ISU star J.J. Moses and Milan Moses, was a three year starter for East (;67-’69) and was an first-team All-State and named High School All-American. (Waterloo Courier file photo)

The 1969 team was, in the opinion of many at that time, the most dominant football team in state history. With Jerry Moses at running back, the Trojans ran roughshod on everyone in their path. It’s much like what Dowling, Valley, and Ames did this season…racking up points like a pinball machine. In fact, Valley’s 88-0 win over Council Bluffs Jefferson this season was the most points scored by a 4-A team since East High’s 98-6 demolishing of Newton in Week 2 of the ’69 season.

The ’69 squad held the IAHSAA record for the most team points scored with 504, Moses alone scored 244 of those points himself.

The 1970 and 1971 seasons were no different. The 1970 game versus West was televised on KWWL-TV, which was reported to be the first for the station. An overflow crowd of 9,000 packed Sloane Wallace Stadium to see East pull out a 20-9 win. In Week 4 of 1971, Cedar Falls was leading by two touchdowns late in the 4th quarter, when East moved the ball on the ground and scored twice for a memorable 25-24 win.

The 1972 Munich Olympics, marred by the kidnapping and massacre of 11 members of the Israel Olympic team, shocked the world. However, one of the positive stories of the Olympics was Dan Gable winning the gold medal in wrestling…without giving up a single point. Gable was a West High grad and all of Waterloo was glued to their television sets to watch him put his opponents on their backs.

While East football had their streak, West High had their own streak going in wrestling under the great Bob Siddens. From 1968 to 1975, the Wahawks won 88 consecutive dual meets. That record held until Dowling Catholic ran off 136 in a row. Gable, Dale Anderson, and the Bowlsby brothers (John and current Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob) were on those amazing squads.

Bob Siddens and Dan Gable. Siddens and West High had their own winning streak going. They won 88 straight dual meets from ’68 to ’75. (InterMatWrestling.com)

East kicked off the new season against Sioux City East on September 8th. After East scored first, Sioux City East responded with a score of their own. When the final horn sounded, the Black Raiders upset the Trojans, 7-6. A missed PAT was the difference.

When Gable arrived home at the Waterloo Airport, he was given a hero’s welcome. But he wasn’t the only big story in town, as everyone was abuzz about East losing for the first time since October 1965.

When East went on their winning streak, there was no playoffs, no overtime, and no internet. Also, this occurred during the most turbulent time in American history.

East High’s winning streak was unique and special, given the events of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. For one, East was and remains one of the most diverse high schools in the state. Despite their racial differences, the players on those squads played together and represented Waterloo and it’s citizens.

They provided pride where there was discord. The fans packed Sloane Wallace Stadium every game to support East. With all of the distractions surrounding them, how East High continued to win during this era is nothing short but amazing.

Congratulations to the Regina Regals for being the team to finally break the record. Forty-one years is a long time and many teams have attempted it, but fell short many times. I hope that you start the 2014 season off with a win. Records are meant to be broken.

It’s Never Boring When You Have Topics to Write About

It started with a cause and a passion…five years later, a blog proved that it’s never boring in Des Moines, Iowa.

Today is the fifth anniversary of “Des Moines Is Not Boring”, a blog dedicated to touting and showing everyone that Des Moines is not boring…ever. The brainchild of Pete Jones has expanded over the years, with featured writers and topics, but the premise remains the same, which is there is plenty of events, activities, and things to do in Des Moines.

If Forbes and other publications have acknowledged that Des Moines is a busy place, then DMINB is doing their job.

Congratulations DMINB on this special day. From one local blogger to another, a tip of the fedora for a job well done and continued success.

No visit to the Iowa State Fair means not seeing the new tractors and combines for this John Deere guy. Remember my friends, nothing runs like a Deere.

For the first time in 12 years, I didn’t go to the Iowa State Fair. From a physical standpoint, I’m dealing with some pain in my right leg which makes walking or running unbearable at times. It was sad not being able to see some of the new things at the fairgrounds, but missing one year isn’t the end of the world.

Neither is missing a cold glass of cherry phosphate…and fried cheese curds…hot beef sundae….pork chop on a stick…sweet potato fries…JR’s mini donuts…you catch my drift?

If you have never heard or read anything from noted sports writer Wright Thompson, this week might be a good time to read some of his stuff. On Wednesday, his story on Dan Gable‘s fight to help save wrestling is required reading. To be honest, Thompson did a better job of telling the story and the life of Gable than the old SportsCentury episode did a decade ago.

As a native of Waterloo, Gable is one of the most recognizable faces that represent my hometown, along with the Sullivan Brothers, NFL great Reggie Roby, among a few others. However, Gable, with Bob Siddens, Jim Miller, Dave Natvig, Bob Buzzard, and others, put Waterloo on the map as the hotbed of prep wrestling in Iowa.

Picture of Dan Gable when he prepped at West Waterloo High for legendary coach Bob Siddens from 1964-66. (courtesy of DanGable.com)

For many sports fans, the return of football is much like the sports version of New Year’s Day. Friday will mark the return of prep football in Iowa, as Week 0 opens up for 54 teams, most of them in the 8-player class.

Where did the summer go? Sly and the Family Stone must have taken it with them.

Which brings me to do some shameless plugging, if you don’t mind. Good friend Marco Santana of the Des Moines Register profiled DM Webcasting earlier this week. I happen to know Greg Goaley and Pete Tarpey. So does everyone’s friend Paul Yeager.

Getting to do games with this guy on Friday nights…priceless. It’s time to “…go back, Jack, and do it again…” on August 30th.

This will be my fourth season working with Paul covering the CIML, notably Dowling Catholic and WDM Valley football and our third year webcasting high school football on the internet.

DM Webcasting is behind the live online streaming of both schools’ home games. Paul will handle the play-by-play duties, I’ll do the game and score updates on Twitter, Seth Drury has the sideline report, and we’ll make sure coach Andy Pollock knows how Aplington-Parkersburg is doing in their games.

In case you didn’t figure it out…there will be a heavy Wartburg presence in the pressbox.

UPDATE: Today, The Des Moines Register announced that they will carry a live feed of all the games this season, via DM Webcasting, on their website. That’s a big news for high school football fans across the state.

We’ll make our season debut next Friday as Valley hosts Waukee at Valley Stadium. I hope you can tune in, watch, and enjoy the broadcast, because as we all well know, “there is no cheering in the pressbox. If you want to cheer, buy a damn ticket”, as the great Duane Schroeder famously said.

A Little Help In Remembering a Dark Week in Iowa Sports

This week marks an anniversary Iowans have not forgotten without sadness: the tragic death of Chris Street.

The start of the new year has been quiet and busy, but 2013 will mark some important events in history…particularly here in Iowa.

Last week was the 30th anniversaries of the spectacular Simpson’s Furniture fire in Cedar Falls and the slaying of Black Hawk County public defender Alvin Davidson in front of the Brown Bottle restaurant in Waterloo.  Both incidents happen on the same day (January 10th).  Later this summer, July 20th, will be the 30th anniversary of Steven Hadley walking out of the John Deere (now Veridian) Community Credit Union and disappearing with $1.3 million in cash.  The Hadley embezzlement case was the biggest white-collar crime in the Cedar Valley before last year’s Russell Wasendorf’s PFG collapse.

But this week will mark a sad anniversary in Iowa sports history, and this is where I will need some help from my fellow alumni from East High in Waterloo.

January 19th will mark the 20th anniversary of the tragic death of Iowa Hawkeyes standout Chris Street in a car/snowplow accident outside Coralville.

Twenty years.

Fellow Wartburg grad and friend Jesse Gavin is the sports director at KCNZ radio (1650 “The Fan”) in Cedar Falls.  He is trying to locate former members of the 1990 East High boys hoops championship team to talk about their Class 3A semifinal game versus Street and his Indianola Indians as part of a story he is doing about local Cedar Valley sports ties to Street.

A good number of you know most or all of the players on that memorable Trojans championship team (Mike Davis, Cortez McGhee, Mike Roby, Brian Ross, Rodney Wallican, etc.) and probably still stay in contact with them.

If it’s not too much to ask from my fellow East High friends and classmates, could you help Jesse out by reaching out and asking some of the guys from the ’90 team to contact KCNZ and talk to Jesse about the semifinal game and the buildup to that highly anticipated matchup against Indianola and Chris Street?  It would be a great way for him to not only know what it was like to play against Street but also know about that great championship season for the Orange and Black.

Thanks in advance everyone for helping if you can with this story!


Jesse Gavin, sports director, KCNZ The Fan 1650

Email: Jesse@1650thefan.com

Local Dialing Area: (319) 277-1918
Toll Free Phone: (800) 913-9479

News and Sports Links – January 17, 2010

Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association
Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association

Today, we have some linkage for your reading pleasure.  We have more about the state of mental illness, a court case that could dramatically affect how high school sports are being streamed online, and a pro sports owner who is using “new media” to get his team’s message across.

In this Sunday’s Des Moines Register, stellar writer Tony Leys chronicled the struggle of the public to accept group homes for the mentally ill in Iowa.

CBS“60 Minutes” took an inside look, with the help of friends of shooter Jared Loughner and former Secret Service agents, deconstructed the path that took Loughner from being expelled from Pima Community College to walking into the Safeway store on January 8th.

Since 1968, a television tradition like no other.

Ben Jones, Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:  a federal appeals court is hearing oral arguments on whether or not the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association can sign exclusive contracts for Internet streaming of high school sports.  This was propelled by a suit filed by the WIAA in 2008 against the LaCrosse Post-Crescent for streaming the tournament games online without the WIAA’s permission.

Will the Iowa media and the IAHSAA and IAGHSAU be affected by the WIAA ruling? (Lee Navin/Des Moines Register)

On the flipside, the Michigan High School Athletic Association took a different approach to online streaming, as Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids Press, via MLive.com, reports.  The MHSAA is giving the schools and the students the opportunity to expand and cover their teams.

Finally, Bruce Dowbiggin from the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis feels that the new media, social media in particular, is the direction that sports and pro teams need to focus their attention to.

That is it for now.  Enjoy your holiday off today.

The Mayor, The Jayhawk, and I (Linn-Mar 64 Waukee 52)


Fred Hoiberg (left) and Bill Self (middle) at the Linn-Mar @ Waukee game.


Marcus Paige scored 23 points and Josh Montague added 13 as Linn-Mar defeated host Waukee, 64-52.  In front of a large crowd, with ISU coach Fred Hoiberg and Kansas coach Bill Self in attendance, Linn-Mar pulled away in the 2nd quarter and never trailed after being tied 10-10 after the first stanza.  Waukee’s Judd Welfringer was the Warriors’ leading scorer with 25 points, including 4 3-pointers.  It was Welfringer’s first game, after transferring from Arizona during the summer.

Hoiberg and Self were there to scout Paige, who is being recruited by several other major programs.  Welfringer is being recruited by Drake.  He was an all-stater in Arizona.


Waukee Warriors

Thoughts:  The Lions started out slow, but found their groove in the second quarter.  Being that this was the season opener, both teams had a tough time finding the hoop early on.  Waukee tried to slow things down on offense, but Linn-Mar started applying pressure on defense to force the Warriors to make bad shots.  On offense, the Lions worked their game plan with good passing and setting up shots from the perimeter for Paige, Montague, and Shane Benton, who scored all 11 of his points in the second half.  That also opened up the lane as well for coach Chris Robertson’s crew.

Paige’s jumper looked effortless and smooth from the outside.  He could have camped out all day from 15+ feet and score every time.

Shane Gogg, the 6’7″ sophomore for L-M, scored only 4 points, but looked and played more active than Waukee’s big men, who struggled to finish plays in the lane.  Jordan Stotts (6’7″ F Jr.) finished with 5 points and Matt Roling (6’6 C Sr.) scored 4 markers.


Linn-Mar Lions

It’s only the first game of the season, with that said, Linn-Mar picked up a good road win against a team that can compete in the CIML-Iowa Conference, if their big guys can muscle up and clean up on the boards.  Finding another guy besides Welfringer to score wouldn’t hurt either.  There is a lot of promise and talent around Welfringer.  The Lions were active around the hoop for offensive and defensive rebounds.

A few sideline bits:  When Hoiberg walked into the gym with his wife, the Waukee student section didn’t hesitate by shouting “Freddy, Freddy, Freddy” in his direction.  Hoiberg stops and waves to the section.  They did the same when Bill Self arrived, by chanting “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk” and “Bill Self, Bill Self!” Self cracked a smile and shook his head in amazement.

The Linn-Mar fans got a good chuckle when Paige was on the free throw line.  The Warriors students started chanting “Ashton” and “Demi”, as a reminder of the minor NCAA violation that embroiled when the couple met Paige and Josh Oglesby at the UI-ISU football game in September.

The Mayor was sitting in the Linn-Mar section for the entire game, as Self stood by the wall behind the north basket near the Linn-Mar bench.  At halftime, Hoiberg strolls over and chats up Self until the start of the 3rd quarter.