Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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For a team ranked in the top five, there is no better opponent to face heading into the playoffs than another ranked team. Goodhue, No. 4 in Class A, got that chance on Friday, hosting No. 3 Hayfield in the final regular season game for both teams. The Vikings, who beat the Wildcats in early January, took advantage of several Goodhue turnovers for a 72-58 victory and a season sweep. Hayfield also clinched the Hiawatha Valley League Blue Division and a spot in Monday's conference championship game against Stewartville.
On the wall, usually facing the bed, there is a sign in the doctor's office that has 10 faces. The round, cartoonish expressions range from a smile to one wailing in pain. It's a useful tool for young children to tell a physician how much something hurts. The chart is not long enough for Teddy Lillico. The Red Wing senior defenseman returned to the ice nearly a month ago, on Jan. 3 at Rochester Century. His 11-game absence was no surprise. But it was obvious in the record, 1-10 before, and 3-3-2 since his return.
Republican Eagle sports reporter Kyle Stevens spoke with Red Wing native Brian Johnson, who is the Athletic Grounds Facilities Manager for Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. Johnson, who graduated from Red Wing High School in 1980, is back in his home state to help with field preparations at U.S.Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII. Below, Johnson reveals how he got the now-22 year job of painting grass and artificial turf for the biggest sporting event in the nation, if he's ever pulled a "CHEFS" and what it would mean to see the Vikings win their first Super Bowl.
The rivalry between Red Wing and Northfield renewed on Friday, and less than a minute into the second half, the Wingers and Raiders were set for a fantastic finish. But Nathan Carlson picked up his fourth foul moments later, and Northfield used the absence of the Red Wing center to go on a 29-5 run en route to a 72-50 victory.
MAZEPPA — Two of the top three teams in Class A squared off on Friday, a day later than scheduled thanks to ice and an overcoat of snow making travel inadvisable on Thursday. But nothing was going to thaw the tension between No. 1 Zumbrota-Mazeppa and No. 3 Goodhue. Though neither team was likely to deploy any tactics, or expose any weakness, with just a month to go before the Section 1A tournament that is likely to end with the Cougars and Wildcats squaring off for a trip to state, both teams came in with certain expectations.
Due to imminent winter weather, several area schools have announced closings Thursday, Jan. 11. Alma (Wis.), Goodhue, Lake City, Elmwood, Plum City (Wis.) and Zumbrota-Mazeppa have all canceled classes. Red Wing has declared classes two hours late, with additional assessment coming tomorrow morning. Check back for more closings as the storm rolls in. *Ellsworth (Wis.) was inadvertantly added earlier. As of 9:25 p.m., Ellsowrth is in session.
ZUMBROTA — This is a season of new for Zumbrota-Mazeppa. There's a new coach, in Andy Bromeling, and a new system that Bromeling has installed. The Cougars are now an up-tempo team that likes to shoot a lot of 3-pointers when they're not zipping to the rim off the fast break. Now, with the holidays in the past, and the halfway point of the season coming up, Z-M should be rounding into form for the stretch run.
LAKE CITY — Tuesday's game between Lake City and Rochester Lourdes looked like a good matchup on paper. The Tigers, ranked eighth in Class AA, were coming off a what-could've-been loss to third-ranked Caledonia, and the Eagles came in unbeaten over the season's first five games. But by the time the first six minutes expired, Lake City had Lourdes on its heels, and the Tigers were ready to run the Eagles out of the gym and back home. Instead, Lake City ran away with an 85-65 victory that featured some of the worst basketball the Tigers have played.
A quick glance at Red Wing's gymnastics roster does a pretty good job explaining what kind of season this will be for the Wingers. There are nine eighth-graders, three freshmen and a handful of sophomores. And there are more seventh-graders (two) than there are juniors and seniors combined (zero).
It's the end of an era in Goodhue. Next fall, head football coach Tony Poncelet will open the season with a running back likely short on varsity experience at the position. And for the first time in a half-decade, the name that gets called over and over on the PA speaker won't be "Huemann." Well, probably not.