John's Journal
The Daily Cookie Report ...10/5/2010
Hello from Brooklyn Park. Specifically, the John’s Journal staff has unloaded the bus and all the production vehicles at Edinburgh USA golf course, where the final fall area meeting is underway. This is stop No. 8 on the Magical Mystery Area Meeting Tour. We are in a ballroom at Edinburgh, and returning to a major topic from Monday’s report out of Rochester, let’s talk about cookies.

Here is an excerpt: “ … the cookies and coffee are going fast. If any cookies are left by the time the meeting ends, I will eat as many as I can during the ride back to the Twin Cities.”

This little statement resulted in a landslide of email responses … a landslide being two emails on the subject of cookies.

Email No. 1: “I was wondering why Dave doesn’t bring us back cookies any more from the Area Meetings.”

This was sent from an anonymous cookie lover at MSHSL World Headquarters, and it referred to Dave Stead not bringing leftover cookies back to the office from area meetings. The inference was that the John’s Journal staff was eating all the cookies. Truth in Cookies Fact: I ate as many as I could, but Dave was still able to cart a whole bunch of cookies back to World Headquarters.

Email No. 2: “I am planning on attending Tuesday's Area Meeting and hearing how the Student SID program is progressing. A word to the wise, you better get your cookies early!”

I will not identify the author of this email other than to say he or she is an administrator who is capable of composing and sending emails. When said person entered the meeting room at Edinburgh this morning, he or she grabbed my arm and said, “Where are the cookies?”

I broke the news: We have been provided with muffins instead of cookies. This is disappointing, since everybody knows that cookies are for breakfast and muffins are for lunch.

But the meeting continues (that's the meeting in the photo) and we are soldiering on …

Enjoy your Tuesday.
47 Undefeated Football Teams ... But Not For Long10/5/2010
The following has been posted on the MSHSL Facebook page, kicking off a little discussion ... feel free to join in!

There are 47 unbeaten football teams in Minnesota as we enter Week 6. Three games this week pit 5-0 vs. 5-0: Becker at Rogers in Class 4A, and Spring Grove at Grand Meadow and Floodwood at McGregor in Nine-Man. What's the big game in your area?

Good Morning From Beautiful Rochester10/4/2010
The MSHSL staff (or at least part of the staff: Dave Stead, Kevin Merkle and the John’s Journal contingent) are in Rochester on this lovely Monday morning for the seventh in a series of eight fall area meetings.

We have already been to St. Cloud, Marshall, Mankato, Fergus Falls, Thief River Falls and Chisholm, and the final area meeting of the fall will be held Tuesday at Edinburgh USA in Brooklyn Park. Each school sends an administrator to one of the area meetings, which provide strong face-to-face communication between the MSHSL and member schools.

Today’s meeting is being held at the Clarion Inn in Rochester, and the room is overflowing. I count 70 heads in the room, and the cookies and coffee are going fast. If any cookies are left by the time the meeting ends, I will eat as many as I can during the ride back to the Twin Cities.

The agenda is the same for each meeting. There are 21 items on the agenda, including financial information, rules and bylaws, concussion education, eligibility and many others. I speak to the groups about things like John’s Journal, Facebook, Twitter and the new Student Sports Information Directors program. I also distribute Student SID media credentials to any school that wants to have them.

Dave is speaking to the group (see photo) as I write this from a table in the back of the room. I better wrap this up, since I’m up to bat shortly.

Have a great Monday.
Underwood Volleyball Coach Gets 500th Win; This Week’s Rankings10/4/2010
Diane Ross, the volleyball coach at Underwood, recorded her 500th career victory last week. According to the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association website, Ross is the 12th member of the 500-win club.

Underwood will take a 2010 record of 12-2 into a Monday night match with Henning. Ross’ all-time mark is 500-215.

Ross, a graduate of Windom High School, previously coached at Bird Island-Lake Lillian, which became BOLD in 1990; her record there was 209-102. She has been at Underwood since 1997, where her teams have gone 281-111. Ross has coached seven conference championship teams, seven sub-section champions and five section champions. Her 1997 and 2003 Underwood teams placed fourth at the state tournament.

And now, here are this week’s volleyball rankings …

1. Lakeville North (9) 135
2. Wayzata 126
3. Bloomington Jefferson 117
4. Blaine 102
5. Eastview 84
6. Apple Valley 79
7. Lakeville South 75
8. Waconia 66
9. Eden Prairie 60
10. Shakopee 58
Others: Centennial (33), Hill-Murray (11), Cretin-Durham Hall (9), Stillwater (9), Hopkins (4)

1. Jackson County Central (5) 89
2. Wadena-Deer Creek (1) 85
3. Hutchinson 73
4. Lesuer-Henderson 72
5. Belle Plaine 62
6. Jordan 59
7. Stewartville 56
8. Marshall 49
9. Rocori 30
10. Delano 14
Others: Byron (12), Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (8), Kasson-Mantorville (7), Caledonia (6), Minnehaha (5),

1. Minneota (8) 176
2. Bethlehem Academy (4) 171
3. Wabasha-Kellogg 143
4. Martin County West 122
5. Nevis 119
6. Mayer Lutheran 116
7. Canby 107
8. BBE 91
9. Windom 76
10. Win-E-Mac 72
Others: Mabel-Canton (60), Hancock (14), Lake of the Woods (11), Deer River (6), GFW (6), Sebeka (4), Heritage Christian (3), Nicollet (3), Bertha-Hewitt (2), Cherry (1)
Another Glorious Night For Football; Just Ask The Rosemount Irish10/1/2010
During one of the finest weeks of weather in the history of weather, I saw what those of you who live in northern Minnesota see every day in the fall. During our MSHSL road trip for Area Meetings in Fergus Falls, Thief River Falls and Chisholm – plus a couple of side trips I took to a Student Sports Information Directors workshop at Ada-Borup on Monday and a Bemidji-Hibbing volleyball match on Tuesday – I witnessed the absolute greatest scenery our state has to offer.

I’ve spent lots of time previously in northern Minnesota over the years, but never had spent three or four days driving through the peaking fall colors. Stunning, absolutely stunning, and it’s something that shouldn’t be taken for granted.

After driving more than 2,500 miles in September, I christened October on Friday by taking a much shorter trip to Rosemount High School, where the Irish football team played host to Lakeville South in one of the biggest games in the history of the South Suburban Conference. OK, OK, I know that the SSC has only been in existence for a few weeks, but that’s a pretty funny line, right? Neither coach – Larry Thompson of Lakeville South and Jeff Erdmann of Rosemount – argued with me when I made that statement during pregame warm-ups Friday.

And continuing the theme of great conditions and great settings, Friday’s game fit the bill perfectly. The temperature was just right for football, the crowd filled every seat as well of tons of standing room, and homecoming at Rosemount was as fine as they come. The marching band, the cheerleaders, the dance team, the Rosemount Super Fans, the sunshine, the lights, the anthem performed by the Rosemount choir – including several football players in uniform. Perfection.

(For photo galleries from the game, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.)

The game went Rosemount’s way almost from the start. Lakeville South moved downfield and opened the scoring with a field goal, but then it was all Irish. Rosemount’s first offensive play was a 53-yard TD run by quarterback Kevin Larson and the final was 35-3 in favor of the home team.

The victory marks the Irish as a serious contender in Class 5A. The Irish are 5-0 with regular-season games remaining against Apple Valley (0-5), Eastview (3-2) and Eagan (3-2). Rosemount is ranked No. 6 in 5A, and that may not be high enough. They are strong and diversified on offense, with a defense that is built on speed.

Lakeville South (3-2) may be a year away, especially when you look at quarterback Mitchell Leidner. He is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior who has a good arm and quick feet; he has thrown for more than 1,000 yards this season. The Cougars will finish the regular season against Lakeville North (3-2), Prior Lake (4-1) and Burnsville (2-3).

The Lakeville South-Rosemount game was a contrast in black and yellow. The South students dressed in all black, while the Rosemount kids went with a “Yellow-Out” theme. The Rosemount stadium has seating for 3,300 people, and with the overflow of standees the crowd was estimated around 4,000.

There are quirky, fun little traditions everywhere you go. At Rosemount, some fans have begun sharing Twizzlers (you know, the red stringy candy) whenever the Irish score. It’s known as Touchdown Twizzlers. After one of the many Irish scores Friday, someone said as the Twizzlers were distributed, “I hope they brought enough.”

If they didn’t, that was the only thing that wasn’t perfect on this football Friday.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 56
*Miles John has driven: 3,749

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