Friday, October 24, 2014
FRIDAY'S SCOREBOARD: HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - Jefferson at Linn-Mar .... Waterloo West at Kennedy .... Marion at Xavier .... Washington at Burlington .... Ottumwa at Prairie .... Springville at Cedar Valley Christian .... COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL - Coe at Wisconsin-Whitewater Tournament .... Kirkwood at Iowa Central Tournament .... USHL - RoughRiders at Chicago ....
* Contact Metro Sports Report *
Jim Ecker, President & Editor

Metro Sports Report

VanDraska, Lions win titles in Marshalltown

MARSHALLTOWN - The Linn-Mar Lions and Prairie Hawks have battled all season to see who has the best boys cross country team in Eastern Iowa.

They'll settle things at the Class 4A state meet in Fort Dodge Nov. 1.

Linn-Mar captured top honors Thursday with an impressive performance at the district meet in Marshalltown, but Prairie placed second and also earned a trip to state.

It was the fifth time the two powers have clashed in a meet this year. Linn-Mar leads the series, 3-2, but it's not over yet.

Prairie is the defending state champion and boasts Tysen VanDraska, who won the individual title Thursday at Marshalltown Community College.

"They're a great team and they're always pushing us," said VanDraska. "I don't want to say we're rivals. We're buds with them. We like the right kind of competition."


3 Metro teams seek playoff berths

It will be interesting to see how many high school football teams with 2-and-7 records make the Class 4A playoffs this year.

The Kennedy Cougars will make the 32-team field with a 2-7 mark if they defeat Waterloo West at Kingston Stadium Friday night, but they're not the only ones who could advance with a 2-7 record.

Iowa City High, Clinton and Mason City also could "earn" spots in the Class 4A tournament with 2-7 marks. That would be an improvement for Mason City, which qualified a few years ago with a 1-8 record.

We can thank - or blame - the district format for all this. The only results that count are district games. The non-district games are simply exhibitions, as far as making the playoffs, so it's a lot easier to make the playoffs now.

You can lose all of your non-district games, finish fourth in your district with a wobbly record and march into the playoffs at 2-7 (and sometimes even 1-8).

Under the old conference format, it normally took at least four victories to make the playoffs, although occasionally a team would slip through with a 3-6 mark. The schools voted for this system, so now everyone has to live with it.

Washington, Linn-Mar and Xavier have clinched playoff berths. The top-ranked Warriors are 8-0 and rolling along. The sixth-ranked Lions are 7-1, with the only loss to Washington. The Saints are 5-3, but have struggled on offense in their losses to Dowling (24-2), Western Dubuque (7-6) and Iowa City Regina (21-7) with only one touchdown on offense.


Schmidt is 'Mr. Touchdown' in Metro

Linn-Mar senior quarterback Ryan Schmidt knows his way into the end zone.

Schmidt has scored 17 touchdowns this season and leads all Metro football players by a wide margin in scoring with 102 points. He ranks fourth in Class 4A in scoring.

Jefferson tailback Tavian Rashed and Xavier quarterback Bryce Schulte are tied for second in Metro scoring with 10 touchdowns for 60 points.


Heitland joins MSR as Vice President

Advertising with the Metro Sports Report really works.

Take it from me. I know from first-hand experience.

Some of you may remember the "help-wanted" column we posted on the MSR website on Sunday, Oct. 19. I announced we were looking for a General Manager and invited folks to apply.

Within 24 hours, I received inquiries from six very talented and qualified people, all of whom were good candidates. The talent pool was so deep that we decided to hire two of them - one as General Manager and another as Vice-President.

We introduced Kenyon Murray as the GM on Monday, filling one spot with an outstanding person.

Now it is my great pleasure to introduce Scott Heitland as the new Vice-President of the Metro Sports Report, adding another very talented and successful person to our team.


Murray named General Manager of MSR

Tom Davis always looked for the "Wow!" factor when he recruited basketball players for the University of Iowa, guys with great character, ability and personality who gave the coach a certain "tingle" when he watched them.

Kenyon Murray was one of those guys and he enjoyed a terrific career for Dr. Tom and the Hawkeyes in the 1990's, one of only two players in school history who finished their playing days with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 steals.

Now Murray will be bringing that "Wow!" factor to the Metro Sports Report in his new role as General Manager of the Cedar Rapids website company.

"I always enjoyed working with Kenyon when I covered the Hawkeyes for The Gazette," said Jim Ecker, president of the Metro Sports Report. "He was always friendly, helpful and insightful about the games, whether Iowa won or lost.

"I developed a tremendous amount of respect for Kenyon during his career and we have become friends over the years. Now it is my pleasure to welcome him to our team here at the Metro Sports Report."


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