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Friday, December 15, 2017
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Jim Ecker, President & Editor
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Metro Sports Report

How high school sports have changed

First of all, I would like to congratulate all of the people who have put the Metro Sports Report together. I fully support this effort and wish it well and think it will serve the Cedar Rapids and Marion high schools with excellent coverage.

High school athletics in my mind have always been in the forefront of what I have covered over a period of years, from my days at Franklin High School as an athlete who wasn't any good, but I did get coached by a gentleman named Orville Rust. And this column will give you an overview of how high school athletics have changed from my time in the late 1930s and early 1940s to today.

Some of the things that Orville taught and coached are still on my mind, things I refer to from time to time. That shows you how much a football coach, basketball coach and track coach could influence a high school athlete, even into his latter years.

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Uthoff is 'Mr. Clutch' in Jefferson's OT win

You'll have to forgive Iowa City West Coach Steve Bergman if he doesn't let the team bus stop in Cedar Rapids anymore.

One of the Metro's top teams and elite players killed him again Friday night with a miracle shot.

Jarrod Uthoff poured in 34 points and turned into "Mr. Clutch" as fifth-ranked Jefferson squeezed past the Trojans in overtime, 67-63, in a Mississippi Valley Conference thriller at the Jefferson gym.

Uthoff hit two 3-pointers in the final 20 seconds of regulation, including an off-balance triple with eight seconds left that tied the game and forced overtime. The 6-foot-8 superstar then scored the first five points of overtime to put the J-Hawks (7-1, 4-1) ahead to stay.

"I thought Jarrod's performance was one of the most competitive performances I've seen in 32 years of coaching," Jefferson Coach Stu Ordman remarked. "I thought he was absolutely sensational. He kind of put us on his back and carried us. I'm very proud of him."

Iowa City West (4-4, 2-4) lost Tuesday night at Washington, 54-52, when Wes Washpun banked in a 3-pointer from about 28 feet at the buzzer. Three nights later, Uthoff sent them home unhappy again.

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Garman commits to North Dakota

Linn-Mar tailback Jer Garman said Wednesday he has committed to play football at the University of North Dakota next season.

Garman was honored as the 2010 Metro Player of the Year after rushing for 1,601 yards and scoring 29 touchdowns for the Lions.

North Dakota assistant coach Josh Kotelnicki visited Garman Tuesday night. They played ping-pong and Garman offered Kotelnicki a deal, based on the outcome of their match.

"I played a little trick on him," Garman said. "I told him if you win, I'll commit to North Dakota. And if I win, I'll commit to North Dakota.

"I won," he reported.

Garman, 5-foot-9, 170 pounds, said he picked North Dakota over the University of Northern Iowa. He also had offers from Eastern Illinois and South Dakota.

"It felt right," he said. "The coaches love me, and I love the coaches."

Garman visited the university in Grand Forks, N.D., in December, and North Dakota head coach Chris Mussman visited Garman here a few weeks ago. Mussman told Garman he'll have a chance to play as a true freshman in 2011 as a tailback and kick returner.

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Rathje pins key sweep, Hawks stay in 1st

Sophomore Cam Rathje collected a pair of second-period pins Thursday night as Prairie beat Dubuque Senior and Cedar Falls in Mississippi Valley Conference wrestling at Prairie.

Rathje flattened Ryan Gieseman in 2:30 at 152 pounds to help the Hawks beat Dubuque Senior, 52-18, and he stuck Clark Doyle in 2:45 as Prairie topped Cedar Falls, 41-21.

Prairie remained unbeaten in the MVC Valley Division at 8-0, one-half game ahead of Iowa City West. The Hawks are 13-2 overall. They wrestle at Iowa City West on Jan. 13.

Zach Becicka (125), Andrew Netolicky (189) and Dillon Brunscheen (285) also were double-winners for the Hawks.

Cedar Falls beat Dubuque Senior, 58-15, in the other match.

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The web is world wide

The Metro Sports Report has gone international!

According to Google Analytics, a reader in Shinjuku, Japan spent 13 minutes and 41 seconds on the Metro Sports Report website this week and visited 18 different pages. Somebody in Agana, Guam toured six pages on his or her visit.

We launched the new MSR on Monday, so it didn't take long for the word to spread a long, long way (or a short way in cyberspace).

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