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Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Linn-Mar High School - Marion, Iowa

Xavier boys fall short at Linn-Mar

The Xavier Saints have miles to go before they can dream about winning the Class 3A basketball title again this season.

The good news? It's still early.

The Saints struggled in the second half Friday night and lost to Linn-Mar, 55-47, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game in the Linn-Mar gym.

Xavier scored only 18 points in the second half and did not get a single point from any of its reserves while falling to 1-2 for the season. The Saints were a polished outfit last March when they claimed the first state title in school history, but this is a new year and a new team.

"I try to tell everybody it's a different year and a work in progress," said Coach Ryan Luehrsmann. "We've got a lot of nice pieces that are back, but it's tough.

"It's tough when the expectations are different. People look at you a little differently, right or wrong. I think we've struggled with it a little bit.

"The good thing is," said Luehrsmann, "it's only three games in."

Xavier's other loss was to Waverly-Shell Rock, the top-ranked team in 3A, by 22 points in Waverly.



Xavier girls tame No. 11 Lions

If you need any help with the girls basketball rankings, just ask Xavier Coach Tom Lilly for some advice.

Lilly and the Saints have faced a string of premier Class 5A teams in the first few weeks of the season and now have an impressive victory to show for their efforts.

Xavier knocked off Linn-Mar, 42-37, Friday night in the Linn-Mar gym in a battle of Mississippi Valley Conference teams that does not count in the league standings.

The Saints put up a good fight against No. 3 Cedar Falls, No. 5 Iowa City West and No. 6 Johnston in narrow defeats before breaking through against No. 11 Linn-Mar with a strong defensive performance.

"We've been kind of poking the bear a little bit the last few games against really fine competition," said Lilly. "We finally had an opportunity where we could continue to play aggressively and it paid off."

Freshman point guard Kaitlynn Daniels hit three driving layups through traffic in the last three minutes to help the Saints square their record at 3-3. Daniels hit shots that made it 34-31, 36-31 and 40-34 to keep the Lions (4-2) at bay.

Xavier is a Class 4A outfit that competes against 5A clubs on a regular basis in the MVC. It's made them strong in the past and it could be happening again this season.

Lilly is trying to mold a new team around a handful of veterans and some inexperienced players.

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 December 2016 08:01



L-M's Kerr commits to Kirkwood baseball

Linn-Mar senior Kirby Kerr has committed to play baseball at Kirkwood Community College.

Kerr made the news known Monday on his Twitter account declaring: "I am excited to announce that I am going to continue my academic and baseball career next year at Kirkwood Community College."

An honorable mention all-MVC selection last summer, the outfielder/pitcher, batted .344 with five doubles, three triples and 20 runs batted in. In the outfield, he commited just one error in 48 chances. On the mound, he led the Lions with a 5-0 record and a 2.24 earned run average, 22 strikeouts and nine walks in 25 innings.

Kerr was also a two-year starter for the Lion football team and is a member of the basketball team.



Forsyth steps aside as LM football coach

Linn-Mar superintendent Quintin Shepherd said in June that it was "safe to assume" there would be personnel changes in the aftermath of serious accusations that had been lodged by parents against the high school football program.

Now the biggest change has occurred.

Head coach Bob Forsyth officially stepped aside as Linn-Mar's head coach after nine seasons Friday in the wake of a tumultuous year in the program, stating he made the decision to retire.

"The decision to step away from coaching is one that I alone have made," he declared in a story posted on the Linn-Mar football website.

Dr. Shepherd will not comment on personnel matters, so there is no clear evidence that Forsyth was forced to resign, but Forsyth had never previously indicated he planned to quit coaching at 55.

Linn-Mar assistant football coach Matt Casebolt, who was viewed as the main "culprit" by unhappy families in their complaints, was not allowed to coach the team this past season even though he had a contract that will pay him more than $5,200 for work he did not perform.

Five Linn-Mar families filed formal complaints to the school district about Casebolt, Forsyth, former athletic director Scott Mahmens and Linn-Mar principal Jeff Gustason, alleging Casebolt engaged in verbal and physical abuse of their sons and that Forsyth, Mahmens and Gustason were the "enablers" who let it continue.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 November 2016 09:30



Forsyth could be finished as L-M coach

There are growing signs that these could be the final days for Bob Forsyth as the head football coach at Linn-Mar High School.

Three sources have told the Metro Sports Report that Forsyth will be vacating the position following a year of turmoil in the football program.

Forsyth has not responded to an e-mail from the Metro Sports Report regarding his status with the Lions. Neither has Dr. Quintin Shepherd, the Linn-Mar superintendent of schools.

Forsyth has compiled a 51-39 record in nine seasons at Linn-Mar, including a 3-6 mark this year, with five trips to the playoffs.

Five Linn-Mar families filed formal complaints about the football program with the school district following the 2015 season, charging that assistant coach Matt Casebolt bullied and harassed their sons and called people "show queers" if they participated in football and show choir. Two families claimed Casebolt physically abused their sons in weight-room incidents.

The families blamed Forsyth for enabling Casebolt's behavior with their sons. They also blamed Linn-Mar athletic director Scott Mahmens (now retired) and Linn-Mar Principal Jeff Gustason for not taking effective action to correct the alleged problems.

The Linn-Mar school district conducted an in-house investigation last winter and concluded there was not "sufficient evidence" to substantiate the charges. Mahmens and Gustason helped run the investigation, even though they were two of the accused.

At least 15 other families stepped forward with their own complaints, similar in nature to the original complaints from the five families who contacted the school district.



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