Wednesday, January 18, 2017
UPDATE: Tonight's Waterloo East at Xavier girls basketball game has been postponed...
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Dear Barta: Just say 'no' to Friday football

There were two big stories regarding the University of Iowa football program this past week, and neither one was good.

In fact, they were both awful.

Earlier in the week, UI athletic director Gary Barta said he would follow the money-grubbers at the Big Ten Conference and consider letting the Hawkeyes play football games on a Friday night in early September, thus agreeing to cripple the lifeline of the Iowa high schools that have formed the backbone of the Hawkeye program through the years.

Imagine the Hawkeyes playing a game at Kinnick Stadium on a Friday night when Iowa City West, Iowa City High or Iowa City Regina are playing a home game as well, let alone all the other high schools in Johnson County, Linn County and around the state.

The attendance at those high school games would be devastated, depriving schools of thousands of dollars in gate receipts and concessions just so the Hawks can pad their coffers a little more.

Shame on Barta for even considering such a move.

Alan Beste, the director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, has strongly condemned the idea and hopes to persuade Barta to change his mind. Let's hope he does.


No. 2 Saints earn date with No. 1 Pella

The Xavier Saints peeked ahead a little when the Class 3A football brackets were announced two weeks ago and saw they would play top-ranked Pella in the semifinals if both clubs got that far.

They don't have to peek anymore.

The mighty clash between the No. 1 Dutch (11-0) and the No. 2 Saints (11-0) is all set for Thursday at 8:21 p.m. in the UNI-Dome.

Bryce Schulte heaved three long touchdown passes and Maliki Wilson broke another school record Friday night as Xavier ripped Waverly-Shell Rock, 38-14, in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A tournament at Saints Field to set up the meeting against Pella.

It would have been nice if the No. 1 and No. 2 teams could have faced each other in the 3A championship game, but the geographic brackets did not work out that way.

The Saints are certainly not complaining.

"I think the state did a pretty good job putting it (the bracket) together," said Schulte. "It makes sense, because they're not all the way across the state."


No. 1 Kirkwood men aiming for 2nd title

Kirkwood men's basketball coach Bryan Petersen is flattered that the Eagles are ranked No. 1 in the country in the preseason poll, but he's glad the national tournament is four months away.

The Eagles are talented, but they have a lot of work to do before they can make a serious bid at winning their second straight NJCAA Division II national title.

Kirkwood begins the new season this weekend with two games at the Indian Hills Classic in Ottumwa, meeting Carl Sandburg College Friday at 4:30 p.m. and facing Indian Hills Saturday at 7 p.m.

"I think we're talented," Petersen said this week, "but it's taken awhile with this group to kind of get things right.

"We do have some good pieces. It's just a matter of trying to get them to fit together a little bit better and just learn how to play a little better."

Kirkwood bumped off top-ranked Triton, 83-76, to win the national crown last season with a remarkable run in the postseason tournament. The Eagles finished with a 31-4 record, but they lost a lot of talent with All-American Hunter Rhodes, Nick Richards, Christen Wilson, Jacob Olson, Josh Bartlett and Josh Meier all gone.

Byron Harp, Da'Rion King, Kaliph Fagan, Elijah Henry, Al'Tavius Jackson and Shakur Triplett return this year after helping Kirkwood win the title and they've been joined by a talented group of newcomers.

With six veterans on the club, Petersen was not surprised when the Eagles were ranked No. 1 heading into the new campaign. Most coaches have questions and concerns heading into a new season and Petersen is no different.


Muhl thinks KCC women can win title

Kim Muhl has won 792 games and six national titles during his fabulous career as the women's basketball coach at Kirkwood Community College, so he knows what it takes to finish the year as the No. 1 team in the country.

There's a long, long way to go between now and the 2017 national tournament, but Muhl thinks the Eagles have the potential to hang another NJCAA banner at Johnson Hall this year.

The emphasis is on the word POTENTIAL.

"I think the prospects are high," he said this week. "As far as looking at them on the hoof and how they can play, it's a nice look right now.

"They're fun to be around, I'll tell you that."

The Eagles open the season Friday against Rend Lake College at the State Fair Tournament in Sedalia, Mo. They'll face State Fair in the second round on Saturday.

Muhl, 61, has compiled a 792-174 record at Kirkwood. He's not sure if he'll stick around long enough to make a serious run at 1,000 victories, but don't bet against it.

The Eagles have a young team with 11 freshmen and only four sophomores, but Muhl likes the club's depth, balance and athletic ability.

"We've got some kids who can play," he remarked. "There's some nice players."


Would Iowa put Schulte at tight end?

When Bryce Schulte attended the University of Iowa football camp this past summer, he was not auditioning for the Hawkeyes as one of the top high school quarterbacks in the state.

Schulte went to the camp as a tight end, even though he has never played the position in his life.

"That was the first time putting my hand on the ground. It was fun," said Schulte, who is a star quarterback for the Xavier Saints and a versatile athlete.

"The tight end coach (LeVar Woods) is really good at what he does. It was fun being physical with other kids at the camp and going up against them one-on-one. And it was fun catching balls, too, because I'm not used to that either."

From all accounts, Schulte performed very well as a tight end as a blocker and receiver at the UI camp. And if he doesn't get any offers to play quarterback at a major college, he'd gladly accept a chance to change positions if a major college would give him a chance.

"I would go for tight end," he said without hesitation. "Play as high as I can. I would play any position for my team, basically. I want to play Division I and that would be pretty cool."

Schulte has the size and athletic ability to play tight end at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. In addition to playing football at Xavier, he's an all-conference baseball player and was a key reserve on the Xavier basketball team that captured the Class 3A state title last winter.


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