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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

Linn-Mar ready for its seniors' moment

Bob Forsyth has 34 good reasons to think Linn-Mar High School will have another strong football team this year.

That's how many seniors he has on the roster.

"This class of seniors is a special class for all of us as coaches," Forsyth said after practice Tuesday morning. "They were the ninth graders when we came in.

"I remember coming down here and seeing those kids and wondering what life would be like here in a couple of years, because I was new and they were, too."

Life has been good for this senior class, especially compared to a few years ago.

Linn-Mar finished 0-9 in 2007 under Bob Read in his final year as head coach, back when these 2011 seniors were eighth graders. Forsyth took over in 2008 and led the Lions to a 3-6 campaign, then went 9-2 in 2009 and 8-3 in 2010 with a pair of playoff teams.

The freshmen Forsyth met in 2008 are seniors now, hoping to put an exclamation point on their prep careers.


Rogers getting award for heroics

Even the best high school athletes are apt to feel like small fish when they first hit the water at the collegiate level.

Then there’s Courtney Rogers. The former Marion High School soccer standout quickly made a dramatic impact both on and off the field during her freshman year at Coe College this past year.

As if there’s any doubt, Rogers will receive a Meritorious Service Award from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 17. She was one of four Coe students who sprang to the aid of a tennis player who collapsed after a workout on a warm day last August.

It was the first day of classes, Rogers says of that unforgettable afternoon. She and a few teammates were doing a kick-around before practice at Coe’s Clark Field, where they noticed a big kid jogging around the track. His name was Sam Gordon, and he was a freshman from Colorado who had decided to run a few laps after his tennis workout.

Overwhelmed by the Iowa heat and humidity, Gordon sat down on the bleachers to rest and promptly passed out, falling awkwardly under the structure.


The stories of 2011 - No. 1

As we come to the end of the 2010-11 high school sports year here in the Metro area, it seems like a good time to look back at the top sports stories, at least to this broadcaster.

This list is not right or wrong, and it certainly is open to interpretation. But looking back, I really believe these were the most interesting and intriguing stories of the past year.

No. 1 -Talent, talent and more talent!

Back when I was roaming the halls of the Channel 9 Newsroom, I would frequently stop by the Sports Office and visit my friend, and one of my mentors, John Campbell.

Frequently the discussion would turn to the top athletes that we have both covered in the Metro over the years on both the radio and television side. It seemed that the conversation would nearly always end up talking about the Class of 1984. There have been some terrific years for Metro athletes, but 1984 may have topped the list with such names as Lorenzen, Hrubes, Batterson, Driscoll, the Anderson's from Linn-Mar and many, many more.

That is until this past Metro sports year.

While there have been some great classes go through town, this past year's may be the best ever. Just sit back and think of some of the great performances we have seen over the previous 10 months ... and these are just a few of the names:


Cannoy appears on target for Marion

Cale Cannoy tossed a series of tight spirals for the Marion Indians at practice Monday night and is confident he'll be fully cleared to play quarterback this season.

Cannoy suffered a partially torn ligament in his throwing elbow on June 3 during the baseball season and wasn't allowed to throw a ball for two months, but the lefthander appeared to be throwing free and easy Monday as the Indians opened preseason camp.

"It feels fine," he said. "It doesn't hurt or anything."

Cannoy will see his doctor on Monday, Aug. 15 to get a final medical opinion. If the doctor turns him loose, he'll be able to fully participate in drills with the Indians. Until then, he'll throw lightly and not rush his recovery.

"I'm a little nervous, but chances are I'm fine," he said. "I'm ready to go. I'm getting happier by the day, because I can throw more and more and help my team out."

Marion Coach Tony Perkins is happier, too.

"We'll find out for sure on Monday," he said. "At this point, we're counting on him throwing on Monday. It's pretty promising. He says it feels strong, but we won't overdo it."


New Prairie coach is a bundle of energy

Mike Morrissey bounced around from drill to drill Monday morning, high-fiving his players and yelling words of encouragement as preseason practice began at Cedar Rapids Prairie.

"Is that young guy the head coach?," a startled visitor to practice wanted to know.

Morrissey, 28, gets that a lot. He's the youngest head coach in the Metro area, but he's packed a lot of experience into a short period of time and is thrilled to be Prairie's new man.

"I love it," he said. "These people are smart, they have a great work ethic.

"I think they feed off of us as coaches. I really do," he said, explaining his high-energy approach. "We try to get them upbeat. If you're not running around trying to get kids better every day, it's not worth coming out here."

Morrissey succeeded Craig Jelinek, who retired after the 2010 campaign with a 106-96 record in 20 years. The Hawks appear to have quickly embraced their new coach.


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