Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hall of Famers to Highlight Friday Night in Colo

Call it basketball's version of "Homecoming." Since I played basketball in high school and not football, I always wondered why the football team got to have one extra special night every year during homecoming, and the basketball team didn't. I guess that's the way every school does it and probably always has. That's why I think it's extra neat that Colo-Nesco has implemented its "Hall of Fame" night during the basketball season the last two years. It's a chance to recognize special achievements by Royal alums and also a good excuse to get back to Colo and watch a high school basketball game. And what better time to do it? The Colo-Nesco boys are 14-2, while the girls are 11-6--which would place the tandem as one of the best boys/girls combos of the last twenty years.

On Friday night, January 28, the school will induct four members into its Hall of Fame--Myndie Berka, Doug Riese, Missy Miller and Luke Nessa. Berka led the lady Royals to their first-ever state tournament appearance in 1989 and starred as a pitcher for the Iowa State University Cyclones softball team in college. Riese was an all-state football player who accepted a full-ride football scholarship to UNI and was also a key member of the 1990 boys state championship basketball team. Miller was selected as Miss Iowa Basketball in 1992, the award given to the best female basketball player in the state of Iowa. She scored 3,783 points in her career and helped lead her team to four consecutive state tournaments. She is also an Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Hall-of-Famer. Nessa was a star track and field athlete that high-jumped at the University of Iowa.

It's true--it may not be that perfect autumn night, with a full harvest moon as the backdrop to the Friday night football lights, wandering the sidelines in a sweatshirt while sipping a cup of hot chocalate--but it's still Colo-Nesco, it's still a chance to connect with some old friendly faces, and it's still a chance to celebrate and reminisce. And hey--everyone knows Colo-Nesco is a basketball school, not football! :) See you in Colo Friday night!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

C-N Girls Regional Pairings

The Colo-Nesco girls are having a terrific season. Four of the top five scorers are freshmen and sophomores, but despite the teams youth, the Royals are 10-6. It's hard to believe that only four games remain in the regular season. The girls finish at Meskwaki, at home against GMG, at Don Bosco, and at home against Dunkerton before the post-season begins on Thursday February 10 at Colo. Out of the 16 teams in Colo-Nesco's Regional, only 2 teams have more wins than the Royals: Montezuma and Lynville-Sully. Here's a look at the Regional pairings.

Springville (6-9) vs. Belle Plaine (7-9)
Central City (10-5) vs. Lisbon (9-6)
Waterloo Christian (0-16) vs. Janesville (8-8)
Don Bosco (8-7) vs. Cedar Falls NU (7-9)
GMG (2-11 vs. Meskwaki (6-9)
Madrid (1-13) vs. Colo-Nesco (10-6)
HLV (3-11) vs. Montezuma (11-5)
BGM (4-9) vs. Lynville-Sully (13-2)

A closer look at the top 5 teams in the Region:
Lynville-Sully: Currently rated #6 in girls class 1A. 50.7 ppg; 45-148 3 pointers; 28 blocks; 190 steals; 19.0 point difference per game. 2 losses were to North Mahaska(13-1) 34-22 and Iowa Valley (11-3) 41-40. Top 3 scorers are Brianna James 12.7, Tara Van Rees 10.9, Danielle Samson 8.9

Lisbon: 48.4 ppg; 33-153 3 pointers; 56 blocks; 279 steals; 8.9 point difference per game. 6 losses were to Lone Tree, Bellevue Marquette, Prince of Peace, North Linn, East Central adn Wilton. Top 3 scorers are Melissa Alger 11.9, Kady Light 9.4, Emily Svatosch 6.3

Colo-Nesco: 47.3 ppg; 46-198 3 pointers; 53 blocks; 269 steals; 9.1 point difference per game. 6 losses were to West Marshall, East Marshall, #2 Tripoli, Nevada, #11 North Tama twice. Top 3 scorers are Madison Eley 11.0, Jessica Johnson 8.6, Caitlyn Riese 7.1

Montezuma: 45.9 ppg; 48-128 3 pointers; 37 blocks; 194 steals; 10.6 point difference per game. 5 losses were to Lynnville Sully (twice), North Mahaska, Eddysville-Blakesburg, and Keota. Top 3 scorers are Brittany Bryan 17.4, Emily Long 11.2, Courtney Latcham 5.0

Central City: 41.1 ppg; 36-125 3 pointers; 57 blocks; 142 steals; 1.5 point difference per game. 5 losses were to Maquoketa Valley (twice)(#9 in 2a), Edgewood Colesburg, Monticello (#8 in 2a), and North Linn. Top 3 scorers are Tanya Hendrickson 12.1, Meghan Simmons 12.1, Rachel Enabnit 7.5

Monday, January 10, 2011

Boys Basketball District Groupings

There are 138 schools in Class 1a boys basketball in the state of Iowa. Only 8 will make it to the state tournament. On Monday, the groupings for each district came out. Here is the grouping for the Colo-Nesco boys:

Colo-Nesco 10-1
Royals average 56.2 ppg; give up 36.0; 189 assists (#1 in 1a); 67 Blocks (#2 in 1a); 169 steals (#3 in 1a); 31-117 three pointers; 45.6 % FG; average margin victory is 20.1; one loss was to Don Bosco

East Greene 9-1
Hawks average 60.1 ppg; give up 42.7; 140 assists; 27 blocks; 74 steals; 30-91 three pointers; 47.5% FG; average margin of victory is 17.4; one loss was to Exira-Elk Horn Kimballton (40-37) who is currently rated in the top 10 in class 1a.

Ankeny Christian 8-3
Eagles average 57.1 ppg; give up 46.6 ppg; 115 assists; 17 blocks; 168 steals; 53-239three pointers; 37.9% FG; average margin of victory is 10.5; three losses were to Exira Elk-Horn Kimballton (66-51), East Greene (60-48) and Grand View Park Baptist (72-57). A matchup against the Eagles would pit two future college teammates against each other--Tim Olejniczak (25 ppg) against Brandon Eley--both of whom will be playing for AIB next year.

Coon Rapids Bayard 7-3
Crusaders average 48.7 ppg; give up 47.2 ppg; 121 assists; 10 blocks; 73 steals; 52-146 three pointers; 40.4% FG; average margin of victory is 1.5; three losses were to Des Moines Christian (50-42), Guthrie Center (56-48) and Panorama (69-44). Coon Rapids handed Exira-Elk Horn Kimballton its only loss of the year, 40-38.

Glidden Ralston 5-5
Van Meter 3-7
Madrid 2-7
Paton Churdan 1-9
SE Webster 1-11

Colo-Nesco is in district 12. Assuming the winner of District 12 will play the winner of District 11 to advance to the state tournament, the best schools on that side of the bracket are North Tama and Lynville Sully--both rated in the top 10 of the latest AP rankings.

Monday, January 3, 2011

4 Things to Be Excited About As a Broncos Fan

The Denver Broncos just finished the 2010-2011 season with a 4-12 record. And no, the four wins aren’t what I’m referring to in the title of this article as things to be excited about. Or are they? Maybe, with 4 wins, the Broncos have officially hit rock bottom. It’s the lowest win-total since John Elway was drafted in 1982 and the second lowest of my lifetime. But what it did, was force the Broncos organization to make some much-needed changes. As a Denver fan, here are four things that make this disaster of a season something to be excited about:

1. #2 Draft Pick: With four wins, the Broncos secured the second pick in the draft, allowing them to finally draft a franchise player on the defensive side of the ball--an area left barren by former coach Josh McDaniels. The Broncos will most likely draft shutdown corner Patrick Peterson from LSU.

2. The return of John Elway—Elway is expected to be named Vice President of Football Operations this week. If “the greatest football player ever” is half as good in the front office as he was wearing #7 for the Broncos, better days are on the way.

3. The hiring of a new head coach—Will it be Jim Harbaugh? Jeff Fisher? John Gruden? Bill Cowher, maybe? Three things are for certain: Josh McDaniels set the franchise back 4-5 years with his horrible personnel decisions; Elway is already evaluating Harbaugh at Monday night’s Orange Bowl; Any of the aforementioned coaches would be terrific hires. I can’t remember an off-season with so many good coaches available.

4. Tim Tebow—Yes, he still has his critics—lots of them. But Tebow’s will to win and compete at the highest level showed during the Broncos’ last few games. And Tebow showed that he CAN run at the pro level. Tebow ran for 94 yards and a touchdown in yesterday’s loss to San Diego. He also threw for 205 yards and 2 touchdowns. Critics will point to his 16 of 36 completion rate and inability to throw the deep-ball, but hey, Michael Vick had the same criticism in his early years in Atlanta. I say, give the kid the ball next year and build the offense around him. Find some athletic playmakers like Philly has done, and see what he can do. For the season, he completed 41 of 82 passes for 654 yards, with 5 TD’s and 3 Int’s. He ran the ball 43 times for 227 yards (5.3 avg) and 6 TD’s. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Adam Robinson spits in the face of Hawkeye Nation

(Please welcome guest blogger, Arrend Jelsma. Arrend lives in Florida with his wife Nicole and newborn baby girl, Claire. Arrend is my cousin and is a passionate sports fan just like myself. Unlike myself, Arrend is a HUGE Hawkeye fan, and should add some balance to the Sports Caffeine site! Welcome Arrend!)

By Arrend Jelsma

It was February 1, 2008 when Adam Robinson first visited Iowa City with dreams of playing for the black and gold. Not highly recruited out of Lincoln High School in Des Moines IA, the 2 star recruit didn’t know if Iowa would call his name or if he would be overlooked and maybe have to settle at the “Sister School” Iowa State. In May he got the offer and his chance at stardom in Iowa City.

No one thought he would see the field as quickly as he did, but a rash of injuries gave him an opportunity and he capitalized. Racking up nearly 1800 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2 seasons, Robinson filled a key role in the Iowa running game. While Robinson was never accused of being a speed burner, his versatility and constant motor enabled him to place the team on his shoulders. I still remember the Saturday in Ann Arbor where he made a crucial shoe string catch and willed our team to victory over the “Maze and Blue”. Adam Robinson was a on his way to becoming an Iowa homegrown legend until it all came unraveled…

December 27, 2010 in Des Moines, Iowa, according to the Iowa State Patrol, Robinson was a passenger in a vehicle pulled over for not having front license plates. Police say a trooper detected a marijuana odor from the vehicle, and then found marijuana after a search. Robinson, with rumors flying that he was involved in the D.J.K. drug ring, couldn’t help himself from hanging with the wrong crowd while his team was out in Arizona getting ready for a talented Mizzou team. (Heck Robinson and D.J.K. IS the wrong crowd and who knows how long they have been under the radar.)

With how far A-Rob had come to becoming the starter at Iowa, how could he just spit in the face of Kirk Ferentz and the rest of Hawkeye Nation? The team had been through more turmoil than any team I can remember and he selfishly got into trouble the night before the bowl game. While I hate to lose A-rob’s talent, he has to be removed from the team.

With Robinson potentially being off the team permanently, all 3 of the top young running backs (Wegher and Hampton being the others) to begin the season may now be off the team before next year. When you think about the talent that all 3 of these guys had you would think it could be the end of the powerful Hawkeye running game. But in the words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friend!”

When Marcus Coker was trying to pick a school he could go pretty much anywhere he wanted as a 4 star recruit. He saw the stardom that Shonn Greene achieved shortly after getting off of the furniture truck and imagined what he could accomplish running behind the Hogmalies that Kirk Ferentz recruits year after year, and chose Iowa.

Coker's size and speed remind me a lot of ex-Iowa running back Nick Bell. On Monday, ESPN Classic replayed the 1991 Rose Bowl where Iowa faced Washington and it was neat to look back at the talent of Bell and compare him to Coker. Little did I know how true the comparison was and that Tuesday night I would get to see the birth of a new super-star. Coker rattled off over 200 yards and set an all-time Iowa bowl rushing record as he led the underdog Hawks to a victory over the #12 ranked Missouri Tigers. I truly feel that with Coker and the incoming 6-4, 240 pound 4 star Rodney Coe coming in, we are going to see an Iowa backfield that will rival the John Clay and Dontee Ball backfield at Wisconsin. So no reason to be worried Hawkeye fans we have many more glory years to come!

Nebraska Limps into the Big 10

(Please welcome guest blogger, Arrend Jelsma. Arrend lives in Florida with his wife Nicole and newborn baby girl, Claire. Arrend is my cousin and is a passionate sports fan just like myself. Unlike myself, Arrend is a HUGE Hawkeye fan, and should add some balance to the Sports Caffeine site! Welcome Arrend!)

By Arrend Jelsma

Thursday night’s 19-7 Holiday Bowl loss to Washington is further proof that Nebraska’s entry into the Big 10 will be no picnic for Cornhusker fans.

Upon announcement of their entry into the Big 10, Nebraska fans have been purchasing their Big 10 title T-shirts by the thousands in Lincoln. But before they set their sights on the Stagg-Paterno trophy, they are going to need to replace their quarterback “T-Magic” (Taylor Martinez).

While racking up over 100yds per game rushing in 5 out of his first 7 games, Martinez (like Denard Robinson at Michigan) was being brought up in Heisman talks across the country. This made Big 10 fans nervous as Nebraska enters the Big 10 Legends division next fall. But as the season wore on, teams started to realize Martinez’s inability to throw the football and were able to stop his running style. Taylor only threw for over 200 yards in 1 game last year.

As the season wore on his running ability didn’t look nearly as explosive and it seemed like something was systematically wrong with the Nebraska offense. Late in the season, there were some highly viewed YouTube videos of Nebraska coach Bo Pelini melting down on Martinez on the sidelines during the Texas A&M game, and although we don’t know exactly what was said, it certainly didn’t look like a coach that was in love with his quarterback.

Like Denard Robinson, 6’0- 200 pound quarterbacks will not be effective over the span of an entire season in the Big 10 trying to run the football. They will play great the first 4 games and put up video game statistics, but if you can’t throw effectively you won’t compete for conference titles. If Nebraska wants to make it to the title game next year it won’t be with Taylor Martinez.

I predict at least 3 losses with this schedule:

Date Game
Sept. 3 Tennessee-Chattanooga at Nebraska
Sept. 10 Fresno State at Nebraska
Sept. 17 Washington at Nebraska
Sept. 24 Nebraska at Wyoming
Oct. 1 Nebraska at Wisconsin
Oct. 8 Ohio State at Nebraska
Oct. 22 Nebraska at Minnesota
Oct. 29 Michigan State at Nebraska
Nov. 5 Northwestern at Nebraska
Nov. 12 Nebraska at Penn State
Nov. 19 Nebraska at Michigan
Nov. 26 Iowa at Nebraska