John's Journal
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.)
Lourdes Impressive In 3A Victory Over Albany11/19/2010
The best word to describe Rochester Lourdes’ 22-7 victory over Albany in the Class 3A football semifinals? Workmanlike. The Eagles were methodical and impressive in advancing to the Prep Bowl.

Adam Lentz scored two touchdowns and rushed 33 times for 250 yards, and he was one strong weapon for Lourdes. The Eagles outgained Albany 336-141 and were aided by two Albany turnovers.

--Time check: The 3A game was the quickest of the day, lasting 2 hours, 5 minutes. The 2A game between Caledonia and Ottertail Central kicked off at 6:38, moving us a little closer to schedule. The scheduled start time for that game was 5:45.

--Quote of the day/ Brainerd coach Ron Stolski, talking about his team’s fan support a few hours before the Warriors’ 5A game against Rosemount: “I don’t know how many buses are coming. A billion?”

--The Brainerd team did some pregame stretching and warming up at the Vikings’ practice facility in Eden Prairie. More than a few people in the press box pondered the question of whether that may result in some bad mojo.

--*Diet Coke Count: 7. (*once again, this includes the consumption of Diet Pepsi and Diet Mountain Dew. Legally, I think I have to say that.)
Ending The Day With A Great Big Number: 17,00011/19/2010
The biggest number from today’s football show at the Metrodome has little to do with yards and points. It’s a number that means eyeballs.

Grandstadium.tv, the MSHSL partner which is webcasting the state semifinals as well as next week’s Prep Bowl, had a big, big Friday. Even before the final game of the day began, 17,000 viewers from 23 countries and 47 states had tuned into the webcast. To quote one of the Grandstadium staff members, “We’re crushing last year’s statistics. It’s fun.” The address is www.grandstadium.tv

--Catching up: Caledonia beat Ottertail Central 55-7 in the Class 2A game and Rosemount leads Brainerd 7-0 in the first half of the 5A game that will end our day at the dome. (Updates from the 5A game can be found on Facebook and Twitter.)

--Haircuts of the day: Caledonia players (right) with what could only be called blond Mohawks.

--Best surprise meeting: When I heard a voice calling my name from the stands, I looked up and saw my friend Mark Kroulik, the former coach at Stephen-Argyle. This was Mark’s first season away from the game and he looks great. The only downside was that his wife Beth didn’t make the trip, too.

--Can any team top the number of fan buses that came to town from Brainerd? The Warriors had 16 of ‘em. More than 700 Brainerd students bought their game tickets before leaving town.

--Referring to today’s earlier mention of Friday’s debut of the new Harry Potter movie, this Twitter message was filed by my college sophomore daughter this evening: “Going to see #hp again!” Doesn’t surprise me one bit.

--Diet Coke Count: 7.

--And now we rest. We’ll kick off another six-game lineup at 8 a.m. Saturday. See you soon …
Can't Get To The Metrodome? You Can Still Watch The Games11/18/2010
Reminder: If you're unable to watch the state semifinal football games in person on Friday and Saturday, you can see them on the nearest computer screen for free

All the semifinal games can be seen live via webcast on 45.grandstadium.tv. The Prep Bowl can be seen live on KSTC-45 or 45.grandstadium.tv

Getting Primed For Two Days Of Indoor Football11/18/2010
It's not football 24/7, but the state semifinals provide us with almost-dusk to dawn (and beyond) football for two days inside the Metrodome. The extravaganza begins at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

I'll be parked in the Dome for all 12 games, providing instant updates from every game on Facebook and Twitter and posting my thoughts, opinions and the world-famous Diet Coke Count right here on the Journal. Speaking of the Count, here's what I wrote earlier in the week about this highly controverisal subject:

"We have an issue here. The Metrodome, once a Coke-only facility, is now Pepsi-only. Pepsi also produces Diet Mountain Dew, which is actually the old scribe’s No. 1 choice, even over the beloved Diet Coke. With the state semifinals and Prep Bowl coming up over the next two weekends, do I begin a Diet Mountain Dew count? Or is that a slap in the face to the tradition-laden Diet Coke Count? I’ll be pondering this heavy question in the days to come, and feel free to offer input via the email address at the top of this post."

Diet Cokes aside, here's the schedule for the semifinals...

State Football Semifinal Schedule
Friday’s Games
8 a.m.: Nine-Man/ Lanesboro (10-2) vs. Goodridge/Grygla-Gatzke (12-0)
10:15 a.m.: Class 1A/ Goodhue (9-3) vs. Barnesville (12-0)
12:45p.m.: Class 4A/ St. Thomas Academy (11-0) vs. Totino-Grace (10-1)
3:15 p.m.: Class 3A/ Rochester Lourdes (12-0) vs. Albany (12-0)
5:45 p.m.: Class 2A/ Caledonia (12-0) vs. Ottertail Central (12-0)
8:15 p.m.: Class 5A/ Rosemount (11-0) vs. Brainerd (11-0)

Saturday’s Games
8 a.m.: Nine-Man/ Underwood (10-2) vs. Cromwell (7-4)
10:15 a.m.: Class 1A/ New Ulm Cathedral (11-1) vs. Minneota (11-1)
12:45p.m.: Class 4A/ Mahtomedi (10-2) vs. Rogers (11-0)
3:15 p.m.: Class 3A/ DeLaSalle (11-1) vs. Holy Family (12-0)
5:45 p.m.: Class 2A/ Triton (12-0) vs. Eden Valley-Watkins (12-0)
8:15 p.m.: Class 5A/ Mounds View (11-1) vs. Wayzata (9-0)