Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.
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RANDOLPH – Running the wing-T offense seemingly for four yards and a cloud of dust all game, Houston took a gamble to open the fourth quarter. Trailing 28-16 against 9-Man South-East foe Randolph, Hurricanes quarterback Harry Chiglo found Wesley Johnson running a fly in man coverage. The pass was complete, Johnson went 57 yards for the score, and the Hurricanes swept up the momentum.
There was some scoring before the fourth quarter, but perhaps that was just to make sure people were paying attention before the season-opening game on Friday for both Lake City and Pine Island got interesting at the end. Brady Braaten’s 1-yard touchdown run with 10 minutes, 42 seconds left in the game gave the Panthers a seven-point lead. But, at 3:38, Mitch Marien got the Tigers within a point with his own 1-yard score, but the go-ahead, two-point conversion failed.
Billed as a matchup of two teams coming off successful seasons, Goodhue gave early notice that its run to the Class 1A semifinals in 2015 could be backed up again this year. It’s early, but the Wildcats ran away from Kenyon-Wanamingo in the second half on the way to a 33-7 season-opening victory on Friday. Mason Huemann, who had 188 yards on 23 carries, got the first score of the game on a 26-yard run with 5 minutes, 56 left in the first quarter. The Knights responded early in the second quarter when Gavin Roosen hauled in a 21-yard Jake Beulke pass to tie the game at 10:26.
John Ott makes it very clear what he wants from a football team. The new Red Wing head coach wants to run the ball, chew up the clock and, as he puts it, get fans home early from their games. “If you’re coming to one of our games, we’re not going to score a lot of points because that’s not the style we have,” Ott said. “But you should be home by 9:30 p.m. if things go well. That means we ran the clock, we ran the ball well and we kept the defense off the field.”
During the first week of fall practices, John Miller is getting a handle of things. The new activities director at Red Wing High School was fumbling with his keys while trying to gain access into the conference room. But hardware troubles aside, Miller has made it a point to get out as much as he can with coaches, players and parents to get a sense of the sports culture and community he has walked into after being hired on July 28.
This past week was but a sample of the fall prep scene. Starting on Monday, the full slate of sports will really begin when cross-country gets underway, followed by girls' swimming and football on Thursday. For football season previews and looks at Week 1, be sure to check out Wednesday's Republican Eagle. As for the rest of the fall sports, here's what to look forward to this week:
After a pair of Big Nine Conference road triangulars, the Red Wing girls’ tennis team was happy to return home. With Lake City making the trip up Highway 61, the Wingers improved their record to 2-3 after beating the visiting Tigers 5-2. Early in the season, the outcome has been promising to Red Wing head coach Patty Otteson. “I’ve been very impressed with the singles play. Our singles play has been very tenacious and it’s been very patient,” Otteson said. “It’s been improving match to match. … They’ve all been trying hard and working toward improvement.”
RANDOLPH – One of just three seniors on the Randolph volleyball roster, setter Grace Taylor knows it'll take some time for trust to build between the Rockets' veterans and the players that were bumped up from last year's junior varsity. “A lot of us have played on a lot of different teams and not necessarily with each other, so it's kind of hard to get used to the person standing next to you,” Taylor said.
The goal for the Red Wing boys’ soccer team: Stay home. They don’t want a short season. Far from it. After going 2-11-3 in 2015 and missing out on a home playoff game, the Wingers’ aim is set on starting the Section 1A playoffs on their home turn. “We were one seed away last year as the ninth seed,” said Red Wing second-year head coach Tony Casci. “I hope to be at that same point again and can go up a couple spots.”
Last year was a stepping stone for the Red Wing girls’ soccer team with an 8-9-1 record and a second-round playoff game. Now in 2016, with seven returning letterwinners out of nine seniors, the Wingers are hoping to make another step up the Big Nine Conference and Section 1A ladders. To them, it’s more evolution than progression.