John's Journal
Saturday’s Biggest News Came In The Pool11/20/2010
As we close out a busy Saturday and a very busy week, let’s salute one of the finest athletes in Minnesota high school history. Here is an item that was posted on the MSHSL Facebook page as well as the MSHSLjohn Twitter account shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday …

SWIMMING BULLETIN: Rachel Bootsma of Eden Prairie has set a national record in the 100-yard backstroke. She won the Class AA race tonight in 51.53 seconds; the previous national record was 51.85. Congratulations Rachel!

That is an incredible accomplishment, and it helps us appreciate all the talented and committed student-athletes in Minnesota. That's Rachel in the photo at right.

Speaking of talented and committed athletes …

--Anoka-Hennepin won the battle of unbeatens and knocked off two-time reigning champion Park Center 5-4 for the CI division adapted soccer championship. All five goals for Anoka-Hennepin came from junior Zach Theroux.

--Unbeaten Robbinsdale/Hopins/Mound-Westonka won its third consecutive PI adapted soccer championship with an 8-1 win over Dakota United.

--Wrapping up Saturday’s football games from the Metrodome, Triton held off Eden Valley-Watkins 12-6 in the 2A semifinals and Wayzata held off Mounds View 21-16 in 5A in the the final game of the semifinals.

--Let's wrap up the weekend with the following statement: Diet Coke Count: 9.
State Football Semifinals Are Under Way11/19/2010
Good morning from the Metrodome, where the annual two-day extravaganza of state football semifinals is off and running. The teams from Lanesboro and Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke have opened today’s six-game slate with a Nine-Man semifinal game.

Both teams are backed by enthusiastic crowds. Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke’s last trip to the state playoffs came in 1991, and the Blue Devils have a large following this morning. Lanesboro is the early leader in the contest for the best nickname. They are, of course, the Burros, which might be darn hard to beat as we go through games today and Saturday.

My alarm rattled my brain at 6:30 this morning, I entered the Dome through the loading dock at 7:43 and posted the day’s first online updates on Facebook and Twitter at 7:57.

Let’s see how the day plays out …
Nine-Man: Lanesboro Beats Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke 34-2611/19/2010
We began the day of football semifinals in grand style, with Lanesboro holding off Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke 34-36 to advance to next week’s Prep Bowl. The only downside to the day’s first game was that it lasted more than two and a half hours, pushing the start of the second game back about half an hour past the scheduled kickoff time. We’ll see how the schedule plays out the rest of the day.

The statistics don’t exactly tell the story of this game. Goodridge's Dillon Olson ran 43 times for 280 yards and Goodridge had 427 total yards to Lanesboro’s 309. In possession time, Goodridge held the ball for 31 minutes, 22 seconds to 16:38 for Lanesboro. The Burros lost two fumbles to one for the Blue Devils.

But Lanesboro scored on four consecutive possessions in the middle of the game and used two defensive stops to win the game. The Burros stopped Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke at the 1 on the Blue Devils’ opening drive, and Jake Reed intercepted a pass inside the 10 to end Goodridge’s final drive of the game.

Here’s a recap of the day so far …

A 67-yard TD pass from Lanesboro’s Braden Hanson to Lucas Johnson.

Long, back-and-forth, zigging-and-zagging run by Goodridge’s Hanson. But … offsetting penalties nullified the play.

Lanesboro Burros. Obviously.

Again it’s Lanesboro, with a little set of horse shoes (donkey shoes?) imprinted on their pants.

Straight-ahead kickers in the Nine-Man game.

The crew for the Nine-Man and1A games. They hail from Hopkins High School, and they are so into their job that they have their own newsletter, called “Pull It Tight.”

The athletic director from a Class 5A metro school, standing on the sideline during the Nine-Man game, said, “Some of these guys could play for us.”

Lanesboro’s colors are orange and black but there was a smattering of orange caps in the Goodridge crowd … hunting caps.

Class 1A teams Goodhue and Barnesville both wear purple. When I saw three ladies wearing big floppy purple hats, I wasn’t sure who they were cheering for.

*Diet Coke Count: 2.5. (*this includes the consumption of Diet Pepsi and Diet Mountain Dew. Thank you.)
One Thousand Yards And One Harry Potter Fan11/19/2010
In the second game of the day at the Metrodome, Barnesville defeated Goodhue 49-30 in what could easily be termed a track meet. The teams not only combined for 79 points, but they also accumulated 1,073 yards.

Barnesville had 527 yards and Goodhue had 546. But here’s the odd thing: Goodhue ran a total of 96 offensive plays to only 39 for Barnesville. That’s a pretty good indication that the Barnesville Trojans had their track shoes on.

Barnesville averaged 13.5 yards play to Goodhue’s 5.7. The Trojans had scoring plays of 29, 82, 74, 9, 54, 95 and 26 yards. Barnesville ran for 460 yards and Goodhue passed for 386. Barnesville led 21-7 after one quarter and it was basically a trade-off of long plays after that.

Adam Rice had 198 rushing yards and Zach Hochhalter 161 for the Trojans. Goodhue’s Brandon Dowden completed 22 of 43 passes for 386 yards with two interceptions.

Barnesville will play in next week’s Prep Bowl against the winner of Saturday’s game between Minneota and New Ulm Cathedral.

--I was asked to do a halftime interview during the 1A game, talking to a member of the student crew from, which webcasts the games. The interviewer was Kathleen Gamble, a senior at Rosemount High School. She did a great job, asking me about the MSHSL Student Sports Information program and assorted John’s Journal/Facebook/Twitter business.

When I asked Kathleen (that's us in the photo) if she would be in the dome for tonight’s Rosemount-Brainerd Class 5A game, she said no. She explained that today is opening day for the new Harry Potter movie. I understand completely.

--Barnesville fans pulled off a neat change on a large, professionally made sign that hung in front of their seats. It originally read, “Home of the Trojans.” But using some duct-tape technology, the “H” was transformed into a “D.” Very nice.

--Game time updates: The Class 1A contest lasted 2 hours, 32 minutes. Class 1A lasted 2:39. Not a good trend.

*Diet Coke Count: 4.5. (*this includes the consumption of Diet Pepsi and Diet Mountain Dew. There … all the bases have been covered.)
Best Game Of The Day (And The Fastest)11/19/2010
Today’s Class 4A semifinal football game between Totino-Grace and St. Thomas Academy was played in 2 hours and 12 minutes. That’s not nearly as important as the score – Totino-Grace 28, St. Thomas Academy 21 – but it was a good trend after the first two games went longer than that. Trying to squeeze six games into one day can be, shall we say, a challenge.

The 4A game great fun to watch. Totino-Grace locked up the win with two fourth-quarter touchdowns and the individual star for the Eagles was senior Nick Frandsen. He caught two touchdown passes from Alex Kreuser and rushed 18 times for 11 yards, but his biggest play may have come on defense.

Frandsen intercepted a pass at the Cadets 26, and three players later he caught a 24-yard tipped touchdown pass to put the Eagles ahead 28-21 with 5:42 left.

--As I write this, Rochester Lourdes leads Albany 13-7 in the second quarter of the Class 3A semifinals.

--Today's ball boys come from Osseo, Anoka, Minnetonka and Watertown-Mayer. Good job, kids!

*Diet Coke Count: 6. (*this includes the consumption of Diet Pepsi and Diet Mountain Dew. Legally, I think I have to say that.)