Saturday, August 24, 2019
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Forsyth excited about his fast Lions

Put a fast team on a fast new field and you could have a dangerous football team.

Say hello to the speedy Linn-Mar Lions, who hope to christen their new field and new $10 million stadium this year with a successful campaign.

"We really have kids who can run and we're excited about getting them the ball and the things we think we can do on defense," Coach Bob Forsyth said. "I think this is by far the fastest team we've ever had since I've been here."

This is Forsyth's fourth year with the Lions. He inherited a winless team in 2007, but quickly revived the program and led them to the playoffs in 2009 and 2010.

He's looking for another trip to the playoffs and likes what he sees heading into Thursday night's opener against Cedar Rapids Jefferson at Kingston Stadium.

"Things are moving along good," he said. "We're into game-week mode now."

Linn-Mar lost star tailback Jer Garman to graduation, but quarterback Mark Atwater returns after accounting for 2,349 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. Mitch Wantock and Brandon Ophoff have been battling to replace Garman and could share the load.


Linn-Mar swimmers go the extra miles

The dedicated members of the Linn-Mar High School girls swimming team put in long, long days.

The morning workouts at the Coe College pool near downtown Cedar Rapids begin at 5:30 a.m. and last until 7, and then the girls return to Linn-Mar by 7:45 for their regular schedule of classes.

The afternoon workouts, also at Coe, last from 4:15 p.m. until 6:15, and they get back to Linn-Mar about 6:45. Then they go home, eat dinner, do their homework, fall asleep and do it all over again the next day (except when there are meets).

Somehow, the Lions managed to have the highest GPA of all the teams at Linn-Mar High School last year.

Coach Chad Derlein credits the swimmers, especially the seniors, for overcoming the obstacle of not having an on-campus pool of their own.

"The leadership of our senior class as a collective whole is a rarity and proves to be a great asset for our program," he said. "They are very well respected and looked up to by all.

That is something a coach looks for every year."

The girls swimming season in the Metro area begins Tuesday with Kennedy, Jefferson and Washington all having dual meets. Linn-Mar starts on Tuesday, Aug. 30.


Linn-Mar celebrates its new stadium

Linn-Mar High School has been holding events at its new $10 million stadium since April 7, so Saturday's ceremony was more of a giant party than a grand opening.

They invited the Linn-Mar marching band, cheerleaders, poms, members of the spirit squad, and a choral group. There were booths and lots of young kids romping around on the new turf, tossing footballs and kicking soccer balls and having a grand time.

They used a giant scissors to cut a giant red ribbon, with Linn-Mar Superintendent Katie Mulholland, Board of Education President Ann Stark, Marion Mayor Paul Rehn and many others all celebrating the impressive new facility.

Bob Forsyth, the head coach of the Linn-Mar football team, was one of the happiest guys in the stadium. The Lions have moved from flood-prone Armstrong Field to one of the swankiest homes for a high school team in the state.


MVC football teams get in the HUDL

Scouting has come a long way from the days football coaches would load reel-to-reel film and project it on to a screen. The days of coaches traveling to scout a team on an off-night also are nearly gone.

A company called HUDL is in use by dozens of high school, college and professional teams – including the Mississippi Valley Conference. The league mandated that its members use HUDL a few years ago.

"It all depends on the age of the coach," said Craig Jelinek, who retired after last season at Cedar Rapids Prairie. "We all still liked to actually go out to the games to get a feel for a team, but I suppose younger coaches now are using (HUDL) more. We probably spent 15-20 hours a week with it."

HUDL ( is a software company based in Lincoln, Neb. It can break down game film in a multitude of ways. Users can search for tendencies of a team on, say, 3rd-and-7. They can look at footage of specific players and various situations.

"It really helps you prepare quicker and more thoroughly," Jelinek said. "And there’s no shenanigans, either."


Huskies show spirit in defeat

MAYNARD -- The outcome was as expected.

The moment was better than anticipated.

Junior Nick Henderson scored Cedar Valley Christian's first touchdown in school history on a 43-yard pass play midway through the fourth quarter Friday night at West Central High School. It was the highlight of the Huskies' first football game, a 62-8 rout at the hands of highly-regarded West Central.

"That's a morale booster all the way around," Cedar Valley Christian Coach Ed Betsworth said of the scoring play. "It shows that if we don't quit -- and that's what I emphasized on the bus on the way up -- that good things will happen. I think we're going to take to heart that we scored against a good team. It's going to make us feel that we can compete."



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