John's Journal
Looking Back On Some Big Webcast Numbers11/22/2010
A huge number of people watched last weekend’s state football semifinals on the internet via the webcasting services of GrandStadium not only webcasts events, but it also gives high school students opportunities to learn about broadcast productions by working on the webcast crews. It’s a true win-win.

During the semifinals Friday and Saturday at the Metrodome, more than 36,000 computer user from 34 countries/territories viewed the webcasts, a 77.67 percent increase from a year ago. In Minnesota, almost 30,000 viewers came from 306 cities, an 85 percent jump.

The upcoming Prep Bowl games – four on Friday and two on Saturday – will be webcast by Grand.Stadium. Here’s the lineup:

10 a.m.: Nine-Man/ Lanesboro (11-2) vs. Cromwell (10-4)
1 p.m.: Class 1A/ Barnesville (13-0) vs. New Ulm Cathedral (11-1)
4 p.m.: Class 2A/ Caledonia (13-0) vs. Triton (13-0)
7 p.m.: Class 5A/ Rosemount (12-0) vs. Wayzata (10-0)

Noon: Class 3A/ Rochester Lourdes (13-0) vs. Holy Family (13-0)
3 p.m.: Class 4A/ Totino-Grace (11-1) vs. Rogers (12-0)
Back At The Metrodome, Choosing Football Over Sleep11/20/2010
Good morning once again from the press box in the big blue room. We’re under way on Day Two of the state football semifinals. I left the dome at 11:15 last night and walked back in at 7:35 this morning. In between was half an hour of driving to get home, a few minutes of sleep and another half an hour of driving to get back downtown. As my dear sweet wife once told me, “You can sleep when you’re dead.”

The first game of the day just began, with Cromwell meeting Underwood in a Nine-Man contest. Both schools are from the northern regions of the state. Game two will be a meeting of southern schools: New Ulm Cathedral vs. Minneota in Class 1A.

--With Rosemount’s 28-14 win over Brainerd on Friday in the Class 5A semifinals, a trend of metro schools playing for the big-school title continued. Mounds View and Wayzata will meet tonight in the other 5A semifinal, assuring that two metro schools will face off in the Prep Bowl next Friday.

The last time a non-metro team won the large-school state football title was in 1987, when Moorhead defeated Winona 13-7 in the championship game. The last time a non-metro team played in the big-school title game was 1995, when Rochester Mayo lost to Stillwater 31-7.

--Diet Coke Count: Zero (let’s see how long that lasts…)
The Great Diet Coke Mystery11/20/2010
I learned this morning that during Friday’s games, someone without the proper credentials attempted to get into the press box and was stopped – if not wrestled to the ground – by security. The person’s mission, from what I was told, was to deliver a Diet Coke to me. Wonderful thought. Many thanks. But there’s no need to slip past security. It’s easier to walk around to the front of the press box and hand it to me. I will drink it with great gusto.

--Speaking of which … Diet Coke Count: 1.

--Sign in the Underwood crowd: “Fire Childress. Hire Ross.” Yes, the Underwood coach’s name is Chuck Ross.

--Cromwell defeated Underwood 18-12 in today's Nine-Man lid-lifter. No. 2 on the docket is Minneota vs. New Ulm Cathedral in Class 1A.
A Prep Bowl With No Hyphens? It Can't Happen11/20/2010
(Amending earlier post: The MSHSL Media Specialist has learned that Totino-Grace, which will play in the 4A Prep Bowl, includes a hyphen. Kindly disregard the key point raised in this posting...)

As the state football tournament has evolved, one fact is rising to the fore: If Triton defeats Eden Valley-Watkins in today's Class 2A semifinal game, we will have a hyphen-free Prep Bowl.

It’s up to you, Eden Valley-Watkins Eagles. It’s all on your strong shoulders to hold up the glory of the hyphen for all your brothers-in-hyphenated-arms out there across our great state. Think about Ada-Borup and Alden-Conger, Babbitt-Embarrass and Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart, Plainview-Elgin-Millville and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva and all the other hyphenated schools.

--Two games have been completed here at the Metrodome. Cromwell beat Underwood 18-12 in Nine-Man and New Ulm Cathedral beat defending champion Minneota 34-33 in Class 1A. Right now, Rogers and Mahtomedi are on the field in the 4A semifinals.

--1A is getting high marks for scoring lots of points. A total of 146 points was put on the board in the two semifinal games.

--In the Never Give Up Division, we present the Cromwell Cardinals. They had a record of 2-4 six weeks into the season, but now they have strung together six consecutive victories and will meet Lanesboro (11-2) in the Prep Bowl next week for the Nine-Man state championship.

Lanesboro followed a similar theme, losing the first two games of the season before turning things around. Nine-Man football always provides good stories

--The pep band song that will be hard to top: New Ulm Cathedral’s version of “Phantom of the Opera.”

--Season’s Worst Handshake: Having spent time on the practice field in Minneota during the preseason and attending the Vikings’ season opener at Adrian, I have come to know coach Chad Johnston. As he walked off the field at halftime, we met briefly. I totally botched the handshake, extending a fist for a knuckle bump while Chad went with the traditional handshake. My bad, coach.

--I mentioned the cadre of ball boys at the Dome on Friday. Saturday saw the addition of ball girls. Great job, girls.

--Diet Coke Count: 3.
The Great Diet Coke Mystery Has Been Solved11/20/2010
Referring to an earlier post from today … the following dispatch has landed in my email depository:

I tried to get you a Diet Dew last night. I wasn't wrestled to the ground but that guard lady wasn't budging. I looked for you from both sides but didn't find you. That's when I went to the door from the hallway. Sorry I missed you.
Gary Hildebrandt
Mountain Lake”

Gary is a good guy, coach and administrator whom I have known for years in my travels around the Minnesota prep world. I am not worthy of such respect from such a guy as Gary.

But this is the Diet Coke Count monster I have created. It has taken on a life of its own …and it makes for great stories.

--Diet Coke Count: 5.