John's Journal
Class 2A Football Rankings9/15/2017
The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 13 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters).

CLASS 2A
School Total Points Prv
1. Caledonia (8) (2-0) 80 1
2. Barnesville (2-0) 67 3
3. Pillager (2-0) 51 4
4. Minneapolis North (2-0) 50 T5
5. Maple River (2-0) 46 T5
6. Eden Valley-Watkins (2-0) 36 2
7. Hawley (2-0) 34 7
8. Triton (1-1) 21 9
9. Royalton (2-0) 17 8
10. Chatfield (2-0) 16 10
Others receiving votes: Lewiston-Altura 8, Concordia Academy-Roseville 4, Tracy-Milroy--Balaton 4, Pipestone 3, United North Central 2, Redwood Valley 1.
Class 1A Football Rankings9/15/2017
The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 13 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters).

CLASS 1A
School Total Points Prv
1. Rushford-Peterson (6) (2-0) 64 T1
2. Wabasso (2-0) 58 T1
3. Braham (2-0) 55 3
4. Murray County Central (2-0) 38 4
5. Minneota (1) (2-0) 36 7
6. BOLD (2-0) 33 5
7. Goodhue (2-0) 32 9
8. Mayer Lutheran (2-0) 24 6
9. Ada-Borup/NCW (3-0) 16 NR
10. Blooming Prairie (2-0) 8 NR
Others receiving votes: Red Lake County 7, Ottertail Central 7, Randolph 3, Red Lake 3, Hillcrest Lutheran 1.
Nine-Man Football Rankings9/15/2017
The Associated Press state high school football polls for the week of September 13 (first-place votes in parentheses, record and total points as voted upon by a statewide panel of prep sportswriters).

NINE-MAN
School Total Points Prv
1. Waubun (4) (2-0) 70 2
2. Cromwell (1) (2-0) 62 3
3. Spring Grove (3) (2-0) 61 5
4. Stephen-Argyle (2-0) 56 4
5. Houston (2-0) 42 NR
6. Grand Meadow (1-1) 29 1
(tie) Cleveland (1-1) 29 7
8. Nevis (2-0) 28 T8
9. Ely (2-0) 25 6
10. Hills-Beaver Creek (2-0) 19 T8
Others receiving votes: Wrenshall 5, Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 4, Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal 3, Cook County 3, Cook-Orr 1, South Ridge 1, Red Rock Central 1, Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 1.
The Bobs And Brenda: Committed To Volleyball In Albany 9/15/2017
ALBANY – Whenever high school volleyball is played, there are things you can count on. There will be two teams, a net, a ball and two officials positioned at either end of the net.

At Albany High School, three other people are just as reliable as the net, the ball and the court. They are lovingly known as The Bobs and Brenda, and they have worked at nearly every Huskies home volleyball competition for a combined total of 82 years.

Bob St. Marie and Bob Havard (pictured) are retired Albany teachers who serve as line judges, standing in rear corners on opposite ends of the court and waving red flags to signify whether the ball landed inside or outside the lines. Brenda Utsch, a pioneering athlete in the early days of girls sports in Albany, is the official scorekeeper.

They are legends in this Stearns County town, 22 miles west of St. Cloud on Interstate 94.

Brian Hines has been on the Huskies volleyball coaching staff for 20 years (16 as an assistant and now head coach) and he has never known anyone other than The Bobs and Brenda filling those roles.

“The Bobs and Brenda have been so phenomenal and always reliable for us,” he said. “Talk about volunteerism at its highest; giving of themselves for a school district and a community. You can’t ask for any more.”

The three were in their usual spots Thursday night when Albany hosted Little Falls in a Granite Ridge Conference match. On a warm September night, the gym – which is next door to the school’s swimming pool – was a somewhat sticky place. Towels were used frequently to wipe sweat from the court. But that didn’t deter the line judges or the official scorekeeper, who did their jobs as they have always done as the Huskies recorded a 25-10, 25-17, 25-20 victory.

St. Marie has been in his volleyball role since 1987, and Havard and Utsch since 1991. Brenda, a three-sport athlete in the 1970s who is a member of the school’s athletic Hall of Fame, also is the scorekeeper for home girls and boys basketball games and handles offensive statistics on game nights for the Huskies football team.

Asked what she enjoys the most, Utsch immediately replied, “The kids!”

Brenda (pictured) works as a volunteer and the Bobs are each paid $30 per match. But they are not in it for the money. The Bobs are former athletes and coaches; Havard graduated from high school in Salem, South Dakota, in 1960 and St. Marie from Mounds View in 1957. Havard was an industrial arts teacher and St. Marie taught math.

“It’s the best place in the house to watch the match,” St. Marie said of standing in the corner of the volleyball court.

The three have rarely missed a match in all these years. It’s not rare for officials to arrive at the school and ask, “Where are the Bobs? Are the Bobs working tonight?”

“We talk a lot about Purple Pride in Albany and those three are Purple Pride,” said Huskies athletics/activities director Scott Buntje. “It’s those type of people who really make high school athletics and high school events happen. We just couldn’t be more fortunate than to have people like that in our community.”

The three are sometimes reminded of their longevity.

Havard said, “One parent asked me, ‘How long have you been doing this? It must be a long time because I remember you doing this when I was in school.’ ”

For the record, The Bobs and Brenda have no plans to step aside.

Before Thursday’s match, Havard put a hand on St. Marie’s shoulder and said with a smile, “If he goes, I’ll quit, too.”

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn

MSHSCA Hall Of Fame Class Announced9/14/2017
The Minnesota State High School Coaches Association is proud to announce its 2017 Hall of Fame inductees:

--Rick Ringeisen, Lakeville South, swimming, track and field

--Bruce Kugath, Shakopee, boys basketball

--Linda Gust, St. Louis Park, synchronized swimming

--Bud Bjornaraa, Burnsville, track and field

--Dan Schneider, Lakeville North, swimming

The Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet will be held Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Sheraton West Minneapolis. A social will began at 5 p.m. and the Banquet at 6:15 p.m. Tickets for the banquet can be purchased by contacting Jim Baker at 651-357-2937. Former athletes, assistant coaches and friends are invited to attend this celebration.