John's Journal
Like Father, Like Son: The Multisport Boumans Of Buffalo9/2/2018
It’s not surprising, genetically speaking, that Aidan Bouman is a talented football player. His father, after all, is Todd Bouman, who had a lengthy career as an NFL quarterback. Todd is now the head football coach at Buffalo High School, where Aidan is the starting quarterback.

Football, however, isn’t the only family tradition. Aidan also is following in his dad’s footsteps as a multisport athlete. Todd was on the football, basketball and track teams in high school at Russell-Tyler-Ruthton in southwest Minnesota, then played football and basketball at St. Cloud State. Aidan also plays basketball for the Bison, and that won’t change despite his announcement in June of a verbal commitment to play college football at Iowa State. He was the Cyclones’ first commitment from the Class of 2020, making the decision months before his first day of school as an 11th-grader.

“I don’t want to let my teammates down,” he said of his decision to continue playing high school basketball. “I think it really helps me develop different athletic aspects, like agility and those things. Especially building team chemistry, and a lot of the guys on the football team play basketball, too. Being with them for different sports helps in both seasons.”

Aidan had a strong opening game Friday, completing 27 of 42 passes for 311 yards for four touchdowns with no interceptions in a 38-28 win over visiting Brainerd. His scoring throws covered 37 yards to Damien Biegert, 15 yards to Tony Dahl, and 19 and 9 yards to Treyton Welch. Welch also threw a 50-yard pass to Biegert that opened the scoring for the Bison.

“He did a lot of good things,” Todd Bouman said of his son. “He comes to the sidelines and says, ‘I missed this read, I shouldn’t have missed that throw.’ There are always things to get better at, but he’s getting so much more of managing the game and not always thinking he has to make the big play, just taking the short stuff when they’re not giving us the big plays.”

Aidan is already taller this his father. Todd, 46, is 6-foot-2 and his son stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 225 pounds. Another difference is that Aidan is lefthanded. If you look at photos of both of them throwing the football, it is almost a mirror image because their motions are so similar.

The Boumans have visited a lot of colleges, including Minnesota, Nebraska, Iowa and Notre Dame. They visited Iowa State last spring and Aidan attended a camp there in June. That’s when he made his decision.

“They’re all great places,” he said. “I took my first visit to Iowa State before spring break and felt something special there. I’ve never met coaches as personable, the whole family feel there was incredible. They chatted with my sister and were great. And they’re building something special there.”

After Todd completed his college career in 1997, he signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent. He also had NFL stints with the Saints, Packers, Jaguars, Rams and Ravens from 1997 to 2010. He played in 44 games during his NFL career, starting seven. He was the Vikings starter for three games late in 2001 when Daunte Culpepper was injured; Bouman was named NFC offensive player of the week after he completed 21 of 31 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns against Tennessee.

He began his high school coaching career as an assistant in Buffalo in 2007, and later he helped his brother Troy, then the head coach in Pipestone. On both occasions, his coaching career was interrupted by calls to join NFL teams. This is his fifth season as the head coach of the Bison.

“I came back to high school because I had great high school coaches growing up,” Todd said. “As much as you enjoy college and the NFL, you never forget those Friday night lights with your buddies at your school.”

Aidan’s athletic genes don’t come solely from his dad. His mother, Courtney (Powers) Bouman, is in the Willmar High School Hall of Fame after a multisport career there and played volleyball at St. Cloud State. The Boumans also have a daughter, Aivary, who is a freshman at Minnesota-Duluth.

Aidan Bouman passed for two touchdowns in each half against Brainerd on Friday, using a combination of dropbacks and rollouts. It’s challenging for defenses to see a quarterback of his size, with superb footwork, rolling out and exhibiting great vision down the field. He had great pass protection, with zero sacks. The Bison offensive line includes 6-foot-8, 275-pound left tackle Hunter Poncius, who has committed to North Dakota State.

“The offensive line, I can’t say enough about them today,” Aidan said after Friday’s game. “We knew Brainerd was going to be aggressive coming in, and they did an absolutely amazing job today, no sacks, great overall play by them. And with our receivers, we have so many options it’s just hard to stop us. Obviously Treyton’s a D1 player (with offers from North Dakota State and Northern Iowa), and you saw Biegert, he caught two touchdowns right away, Tony Dahl, we have so many options and everybody played great today. It was a fun game.”

Brainerd’s Ron Stolski, who is in his 57th season as a head football coach, called Bouman “as good a quarterback as we've seen in a very long time.”

As a sophomore starter last season Aidan completed 55 percent of his passes, throwing for 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions and averaging 267 passing yards per game. He played in five games as a freshman, passing for 10 scores.

Once Aidan announced his college decision, questions started coming up about his basketball career. Some think he should concentrate on football and give up his winter sport.

“I never wanted him to specialize,” Todd said of his son, who also played baseball until a few years ago.

Aidan said, “I’ve definitely heard some of that. It goes through your head but I’ve loved basketball since I was little and we’re going to have a great team. I don’t want to miss out on any of that.”

Only one football game into his junior year, Aidan said he’s excited about what the rest of his high school career will hold, in both sports.

“I’m trying not to rush anything,” he said. “I want to enjoy these last two years of high school. My friends, I’ve known them since I was little. I want to enjoy this time with my friends.”

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

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn
Class 2A Girls Tennis Rankings8/28/2018
Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association

1 Edina
2 Minnetonka
3 Rochester Mayo
4 Mounds View
5 Eastview
6 Prior Lake
7 Hopkins
8 Eagan
9 Eden Prairie
tie-10 Duluth East
tie-10 Mahtomedi

1 Nicole Copeland (11) Edina
2 Maddie Suk (12) Hopkins
3 Aili Hietala (10) Duluth East
4 Andrea Jansson (12) Edina
5 Ellen Puzak (12) Minneapolis Southwest
6 Karin Young (9) Eastview
7 Nikki Ridenour (9) Roseville
8 Kelsey Dorr (12) Princeton
9 Delaney Schurhamer (11) Woodbury
tie-10 Lauren Ferg (12) Eagan
tie-10 Zoe Adkins (9) Maple Grove
Class 1A Girls Tennis Rankings8/28/2018
Provided by the Minnesota Tennis Coaches Association

1 Breck
2 Blake
3 Litchfield
4 Rochester Lourdes
5 Virginia
6 Osakis
7 St. James
8 Minnewaska
9 Jordan
10 LeSueur-Henderson

1 Arlina Shen (11) Blake
2 Katie Mulvey (12) Trinity at River Ridge
3 Clare Palen (11) Rochester Lourdes
4 Shanna Kinny (12) Litchfield
5 Ally Agerland (9) Holy Family Catholic
6 Natalie Allison (12) Rochester Lourdes
7 Sophia Martin (12) Breck
8 Renata Hernandez (12) St. James
9 Danielle Thorfinnson (11) Minnewaska
10 Elise Bierbaum (10) Litchfield
Who Wants To Take Over The MSHSL Snapchat Account For A Day?8/28/2018
(NOTE: If you don't know what Snapchat is, you are hereby given permission to ignore this post.)

Hey students and student-athletes, how would you like to be in charge of the MSHSL Snapchat account for a day and spotlight what happens at your school?

Have your athletic/activities director send an email vouching for you to me:
No More Talk: It’s Football Night In Madelia 8/25/2018
MADELIA – Outside a back door to Madelia High School, a few footsteps from locker rooms and the gymnasium, were a dozen bicycles. The bikes – not one of them chained to a tree or anything else -- were in varying postures, some leaning against the exterior wall and others appearing to have simply collapsed on the grass. It was Friday, and it was football night in Madelia.

High school football will kick into high gear next Friday, when teams all over the state play their first games. A select few opened a week early, which was the case when the Jaguars of Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman came to play the Madelia Blackhawks in a nine-man contest in this community 24 miles southwest of Mankato.

Nine-man football can be explained with this statement: Take out the tackles. That means three offensive linemen. At one point during the first half, GHEC/T coach Bennett Senf wanted to have a word with his guys and hollered, “O line, over here!” Center Dylan Benes and guards Caleb Benes and Matt Heckman – the entirety of the starting offensive line -- hustled to his side. Heckman, the right offensive guard and a 6-foot-5, 220-pound sophomore, wore number 8.

Another oddity: These same two teams will meet again on the same field in early October. Nine-man schedules are often written down in pencil at first and sometimes change because of such vagaries as school districts forging new cooperative teams (which can bump them up into Class 1A) or schools, on short notice, dropping varsity football because of low participation numbers. Let’s not even get started on the fact that in some sports athletes from various combinations of Friday’s competing schools are on coop teams, such as the M(Madelia)/T(Truman)/GHEC/ML(Martin Luther) Jayhawks in girls and boys track and field, coached by Madelia head football coach Nick Willaert.

Ninety minutes before kickoff Friday, Nick’s brother and defensive coordinator, Steve Willaert, was standing at a white board inside the school, 34 players watching and listening intently.

“No more talk. No more ‘potential,’ ” he said. “Let’s go out there tonight and prove to everybody, prove to yourselves, what kind of team you’re capable of being. Should we do that tonight?” (The response: “Yes sir!”) “Do you want to do that tonight?” (“Yes sir!”) “Let’s get it done.”

Shortly before kickoff, the 24 GHEC/T Jaguars in uniform took a knee in the west end zone to hear Senf’s final words. They were splendid. “Twenty-four as one, there’s nothing stopping us,” he said. “Love will get us there. I love you guys. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than coaching you guys.”

In the end, Madelia got it done but not without a few fits and starts, which was no surprise for game No. 1. The Jaguars scored on the opening drive, with Owen Wolter throwing to Clay Gieseke for a short touchdown. Josh Sletta ran for 42- and 30-yard scores on Madelia’s first two drives to give the Blackhawks a 13-6 lead. After Wolter hit Carter Spear for a 38-yard TD, Madelia led 13-12 at halftime.

The Blackhawks spent intermission inside a two-lightbulb equipment shed behind the east end zone. They knew they had bungled their second drive in the second quarter, with two touchdowns called back by penalties. On one of them, the flag flew along the GHEC/T sideline; Madelia coaches barked from across the acre as Senf, recognizing the correctness of the call, smiled and said, “Those guys gotta watch the rules meeting videos, baby!”

Inside the shed, Nick Willaert said, “We’re killing ourselves. Let’s run the plays like they were designed and we’ll be fine.”

Rain began falling during halftime and lasted most of the third quarter. The mudders took over and Madelia finished the game with 301 rushing yards. Every Blackhawks play in the second half was a run; Logan Anderson scored from 18 yards and one yard, and Angel Zamora scored from 38 yards in the last two minutes for a final score of 32-12.

Senf told Fairmont Sentinel sportswriter Kyle McAreavy how proud he was.

“It’s a very young team. We have four seniors and one of them never played. Our starting guard, Matt Heckman, he came out on Monday. We literally built this in three days and there’s nowhere to go but up. We were right there at halftime, we just need to finish. I think if this squad stays together, it’s such a dangerous team. I’m very proud of our effort, I’m very excited going forward. We have a lot to work on, but boy we did some great things.”

Off the field, the evening’s atmosphere was somewhat low-key, probably based on two facts: a rainy day and the teams’ combined record of 4-14 last season. There was no lack of enthusiasm by the cheerleaders, however. The GHEC/T cheer squad, the first for a football game in at least a decade, was excited. The same mood permeated the Madelia cheer squad, which included a calm, friendly poodle named Jingles (wearing the school colors). Hip-hop music played on the public-address system before the game; during the game announcer (also the Madelia/Truman/GHEC cross-country coach) Kris Demaris – one of few females handling such duties -- was fantastic. Claire Dau, sports director at KEYC-TV in Mankato was there along with Mankato Free Press scribe Chad Courrier, not only a sports reporter but an MSHSL basketball official, as well … talented and committed on both fronts.

Following the final whistle, Nick Willaert spoke to a happy bunch of Blackhawks after they had cleared the first hurdle of the new season.

“Hey, nice job,” he said. “We need to learn from this. First thing is we have to maintain our focus; we see what happens when we do and what happens when we don’t, right? It’s the good and the bad. In the second half you guys did a really good job.”

As the boys disbursed for hugs and congratulations from family and friends, Sletta was on the phone, ending the conversation with, “Thank you. Love you.” Josh then spotted a visiting reporter, walked over wearing a smile and said, “Thanks for coming to our game.”

Turns out Josh’s dad, Jason, was in Utah on a long-planned trip that was booked before the football schedule was finalized (see above: “written down in pencil at first”). One of Josh’s cousins had kept Jason up to speed over the phone as the game progressed.

Josh was all smiles, like everyone else from Madelia. The GHEC/T Jaguars, although disappointed, had lots of reason to be proud and excited, just as their coach said.

The rain had stopped and the 10 o’clock news was near so folks headed home to watch Claire’s TV coverage. Some of them traveled on bicycles.

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

Follow John on Twitter: @MSHSLjohn