John's Journal
Buffalo ’52: A Team That Never Lost, Never Gave Up A Point10/7/2012
In 1952 a gallon of gas cost 20 cents and the Korean War and Cold War were in full swing. The United States successfully detonated the first hydrogen bomb that year, the TV show “Dragnet” premiered on NBC (for the one in three American homes that had a television), nearly 58,000 cases of polio were reported in the U.S. and shortly after the high school football season ended, Dwight Eisenhower was elected president.

So what hasn’t changed since 1952? Well, a member of the royal family is now in the 60th year of her reign as Queen Elizabeth and the 1952 Buffalo High School football team remains a Minnesota legend.

The 1952 Bison played eight games, winning seven and having one end in a scoreless tie. The most remarkable statistic is this: They did not give up a point all season.

“Sixty years is a long time,” said Richard Mills as he smiled and remembered. Mills, a junior left halfback in 1952, was standing in the gymnasium at Buffalo High School on Friday, where 13 members of the ’52 team – and one cheerleader -- were guests of honor. The gym was packed with students for the Homecoming pepfest, and the kids roared as the old Bison were introduced one by one and escorted into the gym by current players. The 1952 players wore matching commemorative purple t-shirts with their numbers on the back.

“I’m both honored to be here and blessed to be here,” said Don Houston, who was a junior right end in 1952. “When you see what’s happened to some of the people, I’m very fortunate to be where I’m at and I hope the best for all these kids that are coming up.”

The ’52 Bison are gray-haired grandpas and some get around with the help of walkers, but the memories flow. They rolled to the Wright County Conference championship, beating Maple Lake 28-0, Monticello 6-0, Howard Lake 46-0, Dassel 32-0, Delano 26-0, Cokato 13-0 and Annandale 19-0, along with the 0-0 tie with Kimball in the penultimate game. There were no overtimes or playoffs in those days, and the Bison of 60 years ago are believed to be one of the few teams in Minnesota history that never gave up a point.

“The only time anybody just about scored against us was a guy standing in the end zone, they threw him a pass with nobody around him and it went right through his hands,” Mills said. “I think that was the only time anybody even came close to scoring on us all year.”

The ’52 players were also honored at Friday night’s Homecoming game against Moorhead. On a cold and windy evening, they were served a pregame dinner inside a heated tent at the football field. They posed for photos, traded stories and were introduced individually before the game, escorted once more by current players as they walked onto the field.

Most of them were farm boys in the 1950s, and some attended country schools before coming into town for their high school years. Farm chores were a priority and football was a simple game.

“Before a football game I went home and milked the cows and fed the cows,” said Warren Krause, a sophomore right guard in 1952. "One thing I thought was interesting: we were not allowed to eat before football games. And there was no water provided on the field. I never recall anybody fainting or anything.”

Houston married his high school sweetheart, Gerrie, (pictured) who was a cheerleader in 1952 and joined the football players for the weekend reunion. The Houstons have spent their lives in Buffalo, as have several of the ’52 Bison.

“A lot of them live quite a ways away, but quite often we talk on the phone,” Don Houston said. “We’ve had good memories with this whole crew. It’s very interesting to see how they have changed over the years. It’s a good thing we have name tags.”

Most of the football players also played basketball and baseball in high school. “If you were an athlete you played everything,” Houston said. “We didn’t have track, we didn’t have hockey, we didn’t have a lot of sports.”

Other than four years of college, Krause also remained a Buffalo resident. He had an older brother who played Bison football and two sons who did the same. And this season, one of the 2012 seniors is his grandson, Andrew Krause.

Andrew, a lineman, knows all about his grandpa’s football history.

“He’s told me a lot of stories,” Andrew said. “Back when I started playing football as a little kid, my grandpa told me how he played on the Buffalo Bison football team. He could brag that his team was undefeated and unscored-upon, and it’s a great honor to fulfill. I’m very proud that I have that legacy behind me.”

--To see a photo gallery of the 1952 team, go to the MSHSL Facebook page.

*Schools/teams John has visited: 187
*Miles John has driven: 3,064
(*During the 2012-13 school year)

--Join the MSHSL on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook button on the right side of John Millea is on Twitter @MSHSLjohn
Sportsmanship And Fun On A Windy, Cold Evening10/6/2012
Here's another example of the positive things that happen in high school activities. This email was sent Friday from soccer official John Paisley to the athletic directors at Becker and Little Falls, Dave Niemi and Aaron Sinclair:

Dave and Aaron;

I don't send messages like this often .... but every once in a while I have a game that triggers communication with schools ....

Today at Becker it was windy, cold and almost dark by the time we finished up a 0-0 OT game. The fans' dress reminded me of the old Met stadium at a mid-December Vikings game ... I put on every layer I could find in my bag. The coaches did their best to humor and encourage their players. The kids played hard, laughed at the cold, had fun with the fans, and both goalkeepers got down and dirty to keep their teams in the game ....

Good luck in the sections and hope to have a chance to officiate another Becker-Little Flyers game next year ...

John Paisley
Stadiums, Conflicts And Timelines: MSHSL Board Looks Ahead10/4/2012
There was lots of information as well as lively discussion when the MSHSL Board of Directors held its October meeting Thursday. The hottest topics involved schedules and sites for several state tournaments that will be impacted by a new college hockey tournament at Target Center, the demolition of the Metrodome and construction of the new Vikings stadium. No decisions were made Thursday.

With the National Collegiate Hockey Conference tournament coming to Target Center for at least five years beginning in 2014, there will be conflicts with the current dates for the girls state basketball tournament and/or boys state basketball tournament. That means options must be explored by the MSHSL.

There are many options, including moving one or both basketball tournaments to a different week … shortening the number of games in the Twin Cities by going to a Final Four format for each class instead of having eight teams come to the metro area … beginning the tournaments on Tuesday instead of Wednesday (meaning more lost school time). It’s possible that start dates for the basketball seasons also could change.

With construction of the new Vikings stadium and demolition of the Metrodome, the football season and playoff format may have to be adjusted beginning in 2015. It’s anticipated that TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota will host the Prep Bowl until the new stadium opens; this may mean the Prep Bowl could be held one or two weeks earlier due to weather concerns. In one scenario, the football season could start one week earlier and the playoffs could be shortened by one round in order to play the Prep Bowl games two weeks before Thanksgiving weekend. MSHSL staff is waiting for further information on the stadium timelines.

--The board recognized Pam Macias, who is retiring after many years as MSHSL volleyball rules interpreter.

--MSHSL lobbyist Roger Aronson told the board that the MSHSL has been invited to offer input on the design of the new Vikings stadium in order to make it the best venue possible for high school activities.

--The board discussed becoming a presenting partner with the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League. In the 2012 season, 57 teams representing 100 Minnesota high schools and 1,500 students were part of the MSHSCTL.

Decisions on many of these issues could be made at the board’s next meeting on Dec. 6.
Great Sportsmanship Is Everywhere10/3/2012
Here's a great sportsmanship story! This email was sent to Osseo athletic director Ray Kirch this morning ...

Mr. Kirch,

I am a parent from Lakeville South and was attending the Victoria Lions Cross Country Meet yesterday. The last race was the boys JV "C" race. A young man from Waconia was in last place by a significant portion and he was struggling to finish the race. The crowd that was left was trying to encourage him and when he came by our camp our girls rooted him on. At that point he still had about 600 meters left to go.

At this point in the race there is a large loop up and down a hill and as he came down the other side I saw that 2 boys were running with him and I thought that his team had finally come alongside him to encourage him. I was wrong. As he approached the finish it warmed my heart to see that two young men from Osseo were the ones running him in. They walked with him for a bit after the race and it was evident from a distance by their body language that they were encouraging him and congratulating him on finishing. It is one of the many reasons I love this sport - such great kids! Your coaches and your teams deserve a word of praise and thanks!

Lori Lubow
On Thursday's Agenda: MSHSL Board of Directors Meeting10/3/2012
The 20-member MSHSL Board of Directors, which meets six times a year, will meet Thursday morning at MSHSL headquarters in Brooklyn Center. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m.

The agenda is light on action items, and discussion topics will include football and basketball tournament formats/schedules, and the possibility of adding clay target shooting as an MSHSL activity.

You can stay updated on the meeting by following @MSHSLjohn on Twitter, newsworthy updates will be posted on the MSHSL Facebook page and a wrap-up will appear here on John’s Journal.