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10 posts from September 2011

September 30, 2011

H.S. Football Picks | Week 5

FELDY: Phersy proved last week once again that he is totally average. Not that there's anything wrong with that. After another 6-1 week, I hold a 4-game lead over Phersy. I'm 22-6, Phersy is 18-10. That could easily flip this week. Not a ton of great matchups on the schedule, but we picked some games that should at least be close. Here we go: 

BIG 9

Albert Lea (0-4) at Winona (1-3) 

HVL

La Crescent (3-1) at K-M (3-1)

Lake City (3-1) at Stewartville (3-1)

THREE RIVERS

Southland (4-0) at Chatfield (2-2)

Fillmore Central (4-0) at Kingsland (2-2)

SEC

Houston (2-2) at Grand Meadow (3-1)

Mabel-Canton (1-3) at LeRoy-Ostrander (1-3)

•••

PHERSY: Well, if there's anything I should have learned from our previous years of doing this is that you should never press and pick against what you're really thinking just to play catch-up. And if there's another thing, it's that I play the underdog role well and I'll probably still come back and beat Feldy.

LEGGO!!

BIG 9

Albert Lea 13, Winona 6: Whoa, this one is tough Feldy. But the Winhawks have scored a total of six points combined the last three weeks. And they're giving up 50 a game in that stretch. This one could go either way, but I'll go with the Tigers to mess up seeding in Section 1AAAA

HVL

La Crescent 35, K-M 28: So, the new QB at Kasson-Mantorville can play a little bit. He was huge last week against Z-M. That said, the Lancers beat a tough Cannon Falls team handily last week. And the Bombers handed K-M their lone loss. Have a feeling Feldy will go the other way on this one.

Stewartville 35, Lake City 21: The Tigers proved a lot to me last week. They're a legit contender in this conference. And a win over the Eagles will do a great deal for their confidence. Hopefully, that doesn't spell letdown against the Tigers.

THREE RIVERS

Southland 30, Chatfield 21: This one might be a little deceiving on paper. But Chatfield's two losses are to Caledonia and PEM, so it's not a bad squad. That said, I love what Shawn Kennedy has built down at Southland.

Fillmore Central 40, Kingsland 21: This is another trap game; Feldy's trying to get me to bite. But Fillmore Central is the real deal and can hang 40 on just about anybody.

SEC

Houston 28, Grand Meadow 27: Seriously, flip a coin in the SEC this year. Grand Meadow falls to Mabel-Canton last week??? I don't get it. When in doubt, pick Houston.

Mabel-Canton 27, LeRoy-Ostrander 20: M-C has all the momentum after that huge win last week. Meanwhile, LO has lost three straight since a win over L/P. That said, nothing would surprise me in the SEC.

•••

FELDY: If I beat Phersy again this week, maybe I'll turn my picks over to Toddler Feldy next week. She'd probably do better than me, anyway.

Big 9
Winona 18, Albert Lea 13: I agree, Phersy, this one could really go either way. I think Winona may have found something with its passing game in the second half against Mayo last week. It wasn't overwhelming, but the Winhawks moved the ball a couple of times, which they have to see as a positive.

HVL
K-M 33, La Crescent 30: The Lancers can score. They can also give up points. Gimme the KoMets on their home turf.

Stewartville 31, Lake City 27: Again, I agree with you, Phersy, that Lake City has found some confidence and turned things around from recent seasons. That said, Stewartville is playing exceptionally well right now.

TRC
Chatfield 28, Southland 25 (OT): As Phersy said, Chatty's two losses are to outstanding teams. The Gophs are better than their 2-2 record shows. Southland seems to always be hovering around the 7-1/8-0 mark when they enter the playoffs. This might be their one "L" in the regular season.

Fillmore Central 35, Kingsland 23: Phersy was supposed to go with the Knights here. The Falcons are a team to watch in the TRC. If they win this one, they'll be 5-0. Time for people around the state to take notice.

SEC
Grand Meadow 36, Houston 30: As I said last week, I can't pick a Houston game correctly (even though I did finally pick their game correctly last week). For that matter, I can't pick a nine-man game correctly most of the time. Still, my gut says the Larks bounce back this week from a tough loss to Mabel-Canton last week.

Mabel-Canton 34, LeRoy-Ostrander 19: The Cougars keep their momentum going against L-O, which is averaging less than 12 points per game.

September 26, 2011

Ice Hawks: Thoughts on Saturday night

PHERSY: Well, the Ice Hawks scored a huge win Saturday night, knocking off the Minnesota Owls 4-1. I was in attendance, and I have a few thoughts and notes from the game.

First off, my hat is off to the players. I'm shocked at how composed they were Saturday. I thought that game could have just been a continuous fight, with Ice Hawks taking out frustrations from Friday night's elbow that knocked out Tyler Beasley. But for the most part, the Ice Hawks avoided the mess. I know coach Fatis was still upset by a few of the penalties they took in the third ... but it was minimal. So, kudos boys for keeping your heads when I know you were all frustrated and probably a little angry.

Good news on the Beasley front ... he's doing well. He's out of the hospital, and last I heard, he was feeling little or no side effects from the concussion he suffered due to that nasty Owls elbow. Beasley's shoulder appears to be the big problem now. When he was knocked out, he landed on his shoulder (separated). It's an injury that could take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks to heal. He's a tough kid, so I'm sure he'll be back sooner rather than later. And I know how badly he was looking forward to that home opener on Saturday, so I'm guessing he'll be back on the ice in early October, assuming the shoulder continues to improve.

Now, my thoughts on the game ... some good stuff from the hometown team.

What I'll say is this ... there's plenty of talent on this team. But it's very, very young and raw talent right now. You can tell a lot of these kids are still learning how to play hockey.

I felt that almost every pass all night was just a tick late. It's like the players could see the pass they needed to make, and they eventually did make the right pass, it was just a second later than I'd like to see that pass made.

That's something you know will improve as these players learn the game and learn to play with each other.

Fatis also said he's seeing too much individual play right now. That's another thing that will improve greatly as the season progresses. Fatis' exact thoughts were ... he's seeing his players beat the initial defender, but then they're trying to beat that second defender while they're still off-balance. They need to learn to make the pass or get the puck out in space for their teammates after beating the first guy.

Goaltending was fantastic Saturday. Jordan Potosky was seeing the puck well, and he made all the stops the team needed him to make.

I'm guessing Fatis will continue to give Karel Popper and Potosky time, but Potosky seems to be inching toward earning the full-blown No. 1 spot.

Who impressed me?

Chris Williford. That said, I'd like to see his line do a lot more. They're very skilled, they're fast, they can make all the plays. But they need to give 100 percent effort on every shift, and I'm not seeing that right now.

Also, this team REALLY needs to learn what it means to finish a check. That includes some of the returning players. When a guy is in the corner and you have a chance to light him up (cleanly), do it. Don't just give him a little hip check.

A couple of the young defensemen looked good too ... I really like Tommy Bennett. Kid could end up being really good. He's not there yet, but I think by the end of the year, he's going to be a hammer!

I love TJ Sneath and Rob Turner together. The're going to score a lot of points in this league. Sneath is deceiving, one of those guys who doesn't seem like he's going that fast, and yet nobody can catch him. And he's got some serious play-making ability.

Another guy I think could end up being really good is Cody Barra. He knows how to finish a check, and he's skilled enough to play with any line the Ice Hawks put out.

Of the veterans, Brock Stahlke looked great. He's becoming a more complete player, and he looked 100 times better than he did at the end of last season. I know coach wasn't happy with a few plays Stahlke made in the third, but overall, I thought he had a great game. And that snipe was filthy.

OK, so that's it for now. I'll check in this week with any updates from the team. Go Hawks!

September 24, 2011

ICE HAWKS: Home opener

PHERSY: In case you've been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, there's a little bit of bad news in Ice Hawks Nation.

And it's really not good.

First off, the Ice Hawks lost in a shoot-out last night to the Minnesota Owls up in Isanti. The Hawks rallied from a 3-2 deficit to force overtime, but they fell in the shoot-out (3-2) for a 4-3 final.

Worse yet ... an Owls player threw a nasty, dirty, disgusting elbow at new standout forward Tyler Beasley. The elbow knocked Beasley unconscious immediately. As he hit the ice, he separated his shoulder. He was completely unconscious for about 2 minutes. Beasley spent the night in the hospital, and he's expected to be released at some point today. Coach Nick Fatis and Hawks Nest member Jesse Bos stayed with Beasley in the hospital, and they said he's in good spirits, though his shoulder is definitely hurting. He, obviously, suffered a concussion as well.

Post-Bulletin jinx? Well, I'd gladly take credit if he pulled a hammy or something ... but this was more just the Owls being dirty. OK, so I still feel terrible, but mostly just angry.

Unfortunately, no penalty was even called on the play. I would hope the league would review the play and hand out an appropriate penalty, but it's the Ice Hawks, so I won't hold my breath.

OK, so these two teams are set to meet at 7:05 p.m. tonight at the Rochester Recreation Center. Just a hunch ... it could be a little crazy in there tonight. The Rec will be rocking.

Now, the Owls better be prepared to drop the gloves. All of them. Seriously, if you're within 10 feet of that bench, be prepared.

But I also want to encourage Ice Hawks fans to STAY OUT OF THIS!!!! We're all fired up. Heck, I'm fired up. The Owls are the same organization that removed me from the PRESS BOX prior to a game in Isanti, because the owner came up and said that area wasn't for the press (DESPITE THE GIANT 'PRESS BOX' sign). Later, her excuse was that "the Ice Hawks don't treat us well when we're in Rochester." Of course, I'm not with the Ice Hawks ... so yeah. I wasn't happy.

But we need to be smart. We need to be the better organization. Ice Hawks fans should be the loudest they've ever been ... but nobody should be removed tonight for doing something stupid. Nobody.

And I hope the players read this, too. Do what you need to do tonight. But be smart. The team doesn't need you suspended for a month because you did something TOO stupid.

So, we're going to take care of business tonight. The Ice Hawks are going to win a hockey game. They're going to beat the heck out of a few Owls players. But we're going to be smart. We're going to keep it as clean as possible.

That, said, I can't wait for 7:05. Even if I'm sicker than a dog!

DON'T FORGET - Ice Hawks tailgate party is still on. Rec Center parking lot, 5 p.m., bring an item to pass. Thanks again to Dawn Larson for setting this up.

September 23, 2011

HS Football Picks: Week 4

PHERSY: YEah, yeah, yeah Feldy kicked my butt last week. Oh well. I guess I got what I put into it. Not this week. I'm going to dominate this kid. I like to rally; I'm a good underdog. Feldy went 6-1 and I went 4-3. Yeah, I'm not good. that leaves me 14-7 for the year, and Feldy is now 16-5.

So let's not delay Feldy. #Leggo Week 4 ...

BIG NINE

Mankato East (0-3) at Austin (0-3)

HIAWATHA VALLEY LEAGUE

Stewartville (2-1) at Rochester Lourdes (3-0)

Cannon Falls (2-1) at La Crescent (2-1)

Zumbrota-Mazeppa (2-1) at Kasson-Mantorville (2-1)

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE

Lanesboro (2-1) at Glenville-Emmons (2-1)

LeRoy-Ostrander (1-2) at Houston (1-2)

MISSOTA CONFERENCE

Northfield (2-1) at Red Wing (2-1)

* * *

FELDY: 6-1 last week, eh? Guess I'll flip the same coin this week, it must be lucky. Some really tough games to pick this week, though. I could see five or six of these going either way.

Mankato East 33, Austin 23: I know you expect everybody to sleep on your Packers here, Phersy, but their offense has actually put some points up this season. East is hungry for its first 'W' of the season, too, though.

Stewartville 28, Lourdes 27: Man, Phersy, it's tough to pick against the defending state champs, who haven't lost yet, but I really like this Stewy team and the way it's playing. The Tigers have already won road games at Z-M and La Crescent, so going into Lourdes' home turf won't intimidate them.

La Crescent 33, Cannon Falls 30: Both of these teams have played at least one nail-biter already, so why should this week be any different? I'll give the home-field advantage to La Crescent.

Kasson-Mantorville 27, Zumbrota-Mazeppa 20: Yes, K-M lost its starting QB, Jake Hodge, but the KoMets have never been a one-man team. Z-M has hit its stride in the past two weeks, so I could see this game going either way, but I'll say K-M takes a lot of pride in defending their home turf.

Lanesboro 36, Glenville-Emmons 28: Burro Power! I have no idea what that means, just thought it sounded good. I like the way the Burros handled Houston last week, and I won't buy into G-E until they can beat a legit, title-contending SEC team.

Houston 48, LeRoy-Ostrander 20: Phersy, if we've learned anything by doing these picks, it's that every time I pick a game involving Houston, I get it wrong. Sorry, 'Canes fans.

Northfield 32, Red Wing 18: Wingers need to bounce back from last week's big loss at Holy Angels. They'll rebound a bit, but not enough to top the Raayyyy-duhhhs.

•••••••

PHERSY: LOL, looks like I'll be right back in the lead after this week. Feldy's way off ... I'm tellin' ya. Seriously, LEGGO ...

Mankato East 27, Austin 21: I expect East's Tevyn Schmidt to have a monster game; he'll score all four East touchdowns. The Packers took a huge step back last week, with eight turnovers against an average Faribault squad. It's homecoming, so I'd love to pick the Pack, but I'll play it safe.

Lourdes 27, Stewartville 12: Feldy, how dare you pick against the Eagles. HOW DARE YOU!!! No, this will be a good football game. I see it tied at halftime, but the Eagles will grind out a victory on the turf.

Cannon Falls 49, La Crescent 37: Two good HVL offenses. Two teams that are close to breaking through in that conference. The winner will take a big step forward, and I wouldn't want to play either squad at the end of the year.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa 28, Kasson-Mantorville 7: I hate picking against the KoMets (you know how I love to pick the better wrestling school ... but ZM is pretty darn good). I always see coach Rauen's teams improve throughout the year. K-M will miss Hodge. He was Mr. Everything.

Lanesboro 36, Glenville-Emmons 8: We agree on this one Feldy. If G-E wins, call me a believer. It's a huge test for that squad.

Houston 28, LeRoy-Ostrander 20: Nine-man is tough ... but Houston is the better team. They just need to be more consistent.

Red Wing 14, Northfield 13: Nobody comes onto our field and pushes us around ... WINGER DINGER!!!! The Red Wing defense is pretty darn good. The offense needs some help, though.

Ice Hawks news, notes, tailgate

PHERSY: Can you guys smell that? Yep, it's hockey in the air.

The Rochester Ice Hawks are all set for their home opener (7 p.m. Saturday) against the Minnesota Owls at the Rochester Recreation Center. Everybody ready for some puck? I know I am!!!

The Ice Hawks also are in action tonight (7:30) up in Isanti (a building I'll never set foot in again ... thanks Owls owner "the press box isn't for the press") against the Owls. Hopefully the Ice Hawks can put 10 on the board and come back to Roch with a 3-1 record heading into Saturday night's tilt.

A couple of notes ... make sure to grab a copy of today's Post-Bulletin. There's a feature on the front of sports about new forward Tyler Beasley, who I'm very excited to see in an Ice Hawks sweater this weekend. Kid is one of the best playing at this level of juniors, and we get to watch him for the next few months!

There also was an Ice Hawks notebook in yesterday's PB ... so grab that too.

I'll be there covering the game Saturday, so watch Monday's paper for that. After I break down game film this weekend, I'll post my thoughts on here, too ;-)

FINALLY: The great Ice Hawks housing director, Dawn Larson, has put together a tailgate party for Saturday night!!!! Ice Hawks coaches, players, housing families and fans will all be getting together at 5 p.m. Saturday in the Rec Center parking lot. Everyone is asked to bring a snack to share. And whatever beverage you'd like to consume! Thanks to Dawn for setting up this great event!

As always, join Ice Hawks Nation on Facebook for all the latest updates.

Just a heads up: I'll probably stay away from Twitter on Saturday night, because I'm going to be watching the UFC replay when I get home, and I don't want the results spoiled. Sorry. Yeah, I'll be shutting off my celly completely, so none of you jokers give me results!

September 16, 2011

High school football picks, Week 3

FELDY: After a strong start in Week 1, Phersy and I both reverted to our normal form -- completely average -- in Week 2, as we both went 4-3, even though Phersy tried to spread the gap by picking drastically different than I did. Anyhow, we're both 10-4 heading into Week 3. Some nice games on the schedule this week. Here are the games we're picking. Phersy gets to choose first this week, and I'm sure he'll be wrong on most of these games.

BIG NINE
Rochester John Marshall at Owatonna

HVL
Lake City at Triton
Byron at Stewartville
Kenyon-Wanamingo at Zumbrota-Mazeppa

THREE RIVERS
Fillmore Central at Lewiston-Altura
Rushford-Peterson at Wabasha-Kellogg

SOUTHEAST
Lanesboro at Houston

•••••

PHERSY: Yeah Feldy, turns out we're not good. And of course you go and choose a bunch of tough games this week. Jerk!

We're running behind, so just scores for me this week Feldy ...

Leggo ...

BIG NINE

Owatonna 35, John Marshall 28: After seeing West last week, I feel the Huskies are the best team in the Big Nine. They'll grind it at JM. Kirsch is a beast, but I'm going with O-Town.

HVL

Triton 27, Lake City 26

Byron 41, Stewartville 37

Zumbrota-Mazeppa 27, Kenyon-Wanamingo 7

THREE RIVERS

Lewiston-Altura 17, Fillmore Central 16.

Rushford-Peterson 20, Wabasha-Kellogg 13

SOUTHEAST

Houston 41, Lanesboro 29

* * *

FELDY: All right, Phersy must be in a hurry this week. No analysis of his picks.

BIG NINE
Owatonna 30, JM 27
: JM has only allowed 76 yards on the ground through two games. They face a much tougher opponent this week. Like the rest of the coaches and players in the Big Nine, I'm anxious to see what this JM team is all about against a quality opponent. If the Rockets go on the road and win this one, they have to be looked as the second- or third-best team in the Big Nine.

HVL
Lake City 28, Triton 22: Lake City nearly knocked off a very good Kasson-Mantorville team in Week 1. The Tigers then snapped a 21-game losing streak in Week 2. This would've been considered an upset in recent years, but not anymore.

Stewartville 25, Byron 23: This is the toughest one of the week for me. Byron outperformed Lourdes last week, but a couple of big plays cost the Bears. Stewartville has put up two very good wins so far, winning at Z-M and at La Crescent. Now the Tigers come home and face another difficult test. They're a confident bunch, though, so give me Stewy at home.

Zumbrota-Mazeppa 27, Kenyon-Wanamingo 21: K-W has to be a confident group after beating Triton last week, but so is Z-M after a 32-point win against Cotter. I'll take the Cougs with their home-field advantage.

TRC
Fillmore Central 37, Lewiston-Altura 27
: Fillmore's offense has been very good; it's defense spectacular so far. L-A will give the Falcons their toughest test yet.

Rushford-Peterson 18, Wabasha-Kellogg 12: R-P's offense has put up just 6 points through two games. Time for R-P to do a little more scoring.

SEC

Lanesboro 33, Houston 30: I'm told Lanesboro is getting at least one key player back from a suspension this week. That will be the difference in this one.

September 14, 2011

Hockey | The Lourdes boys are back in town (well, close to town)

Posted by: Feldman

Rochester Lourdes grads are plenty in the North American Hockey League this season, and they'll all be in their home state for this week's NAHL Showcase Tournament. The tournament, featuring every team in the NAHL (Junior A, Tier II), is a way for scouts to see all of the NAHL players in one place and a way for teams from different divisions to face each other.

It's held at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, beginning today.

The full Showcase schedule can be found here.

Now, as for the players from Rochester:

Rory Vesel, a Second Team All-State player last season as a senior at Lourdes, is one eight defensemen on the Bismarck Bobcats roster.

Bismarck faces New Mexico at 7:45 p.m. tonight in its opener. The Bobcats also play at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, 5 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, three former Lourdes standouts have made the roster of the defending Robertson Cup champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Defenseman Pete Spratte was a member of that championship team last season, along with another Lourdes grad, Tyler Voigt, and a Mayo grad, Charlie Thauwald. Voigt will play this season at D-3 Tufts College (who, by the way, have an awesome nickname, the "Jumbos."), while Thauwald will play close to home in the WCHA, at MSU, Mankato.

Spratte, though, is back with the Ice Dogs, and he's the greybeard of the team, the oldest player listed on the active roster. Joining Spratte in Fairbanks this year are a pair of guys from last season's Section 1A champion Lourdes team, goalie Nick Heimer and defenseman Alec Brandrup.

Fairbanks opens Showcase play at 2:30 p.m. today against the league's newest team, from Minot, N.D. The Ice Dogs then play at 8 p.m. Thursday, 1:45 p.m. Friday and 5:45 p.m. Saturday.

Other players from the Section 1 area who are in the NAHL this year: Brandon Parker, Faribault (Alexandria); John Kirby, Austin (Austin); Zach Adams, New Prague (Janesville); Bryan Mitchell, Red Wing (Odessa); and Darren Lapic, New Prague (Odessa).

From watching some conversations on Twitter, it sounds like a few of Lourdes' current players are going up to Blaine at some point this weekend to watch their former teammates play. I'm sure it'll be nice for the Fairbanks boys to have some familiar faces in the stands.

It's a busy next few days for me with events going on in Roch, but I'll do my best to follow how the Rochester/Section 1 guys do at the Showcase. Of course, you can monitor it yourself by going to nahlshowcase.com.

September 09, 2011

HS Football Picks: Week 2

PHERSY: Hey yo Feldy, guess what ... turns out we're not that bad at this. OK, so just by typing that, I'm assuming both of us will now have a losing record this week. Oh well. So we both went 6-1 in Week 1. Not bad for all the guess work you did Feldy.

Week 2 is upon us, and Feldy is lazy, so I'm putting the picks up again ... leggo ...

BIG NINE

Mayo (1-0) at Century (1-0)

HIAWATHA VALLEY LEAGUE

Rochester Lourdes (1-0) at Byron (1-0)

Stewartville (1-0) at La Crescent (1-0)

Goodhue (1-0) at Cannon Falls (1-0)

THREE RIVERS CONFERENCE

Melrose (1-0) at Plainview-Elgin-Millville (1-0)

Chatfield (1-0) at Caledonia (1-0)

SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE

LeRoy-Ostrander (1-0) at Grand Meadow (1-0)

* * * *

FELDY: We both went 6-1 last week, Phersy? We should keep letting my 5-year-old make our picks.

Century 28, Mayo 24: Century embraced the underdog role in the preseason, a label that was applied unfairly because of the Panthers' small roster size. Doesn't matter to me if they have 35 players or 95. They put 11 on the field just like everyone else, and those 11 are pretty good. I pick against Mayo here only because I'm not sure which Spartans team will show up. If it's the team that showed up for the first quarter last week, Century could run away from them. If it's the team that rallied from 21 down to beat Farmington, Mayo could pull away in this one.

Byron 23, Lourdes 20: It's very tough to pick against the defending state champs, but Byron put an absolute whupping on Triton last week, at Triton. The Bears obviously have some talent. Putting 23 up against Lourdes' defense might be easier said by me than done by Byron, but that's what I'm going with.

La Crescent 38, Stewartville 30: The Lancers can score in bunches, but they'll also give up some points. This one could be a track meet.

Goodhue 40, Cannon Falls 24: The roar has been restored in Goodhue. But, it never left, did it? Clair Austin may be gone, but the Cats are still strong. I'll take them by a couple TDs over the improving Bombers, who have to be confident after thumping Cotter last week.

P-E-M 28, Melrose 8: P-E-M did something that teams just don't do, no matter how good they might be -- the Bulldogs went to Caledonia last week and beat the defending state champs. P-E-M gave up just three points. That's an impressive defensive effort, even if Caledonia isn't as strong this season as it was a year ago.

Caledonia 26, Chatfield 18: Caledonia bounces back from last week's loss to PEM with a big win conference win at home. Wouldnt shock me if this one comes down to the last drive of the game.

Grand Meadow 34, LeRoy-Ostrander 20: I've proved in recent years I have no idea how to pick 9-man games, so fans in LeRoy and Ostrander should be pleased with this pick.

•••••••••••

PHERSY: Well Feldy, they say go big or go home, so this week I'm going against you a great deal (generally a good idea). But, let's get 'er done ...

Mayo 28, Century 14: How dare you pick against your Spartans Feldy?!!! You know they have the best QB in the city, right? Penz to the rescue tonight. Leggo!

Lourdes 14, Byron 13: How fun is this rivalry, in pretty much every sport? Man Feldy, I was really hoping you'd go with the Eagles, so I could get on the Bears bandwagon. That's a good offense. But the Eagles are too balanced. They'll grab a tight HVL W.

La Crescent 44, Stewartville 20: I'm hestitant to pick against a veteran Stewartville squad, but I think this is the week the HVL finds out the Lancers are legit in 2011.

Cannon Falls 27, Goodhue 18: How dare you pick Goodhue, Feldy? You know that's my squad. G-Force, hello?! That said, the Bombers have the program headed in the right direction. The Wildcats are relaoding, and they'll be the better team at the end of the season. But tonight it's CF's night.

P-E-M 28, Melrose 27: We played Melrose at state when I was in high school ... back before electricity. They're good, and they're ALWAYS fast (tracksters generally dominate the squad). I'm tempted to pick Melrose, but I have to stick with the Bulldogs since I predicted a Prep Bowl for them in 2011.

Caledonia 30, Chatfield 7: Caledonia is just too balanced on both side of the ball.

LeRoy-Ostrander 29, Grand Meadow 24: Hardest game of the week for me to pick. But when in doubt, I go against Feldy.

September 02, 2011

NFL | Taking a stab at the #Vikings 53-man roster

FELDY: ESPN 1500's Tom Pelissero gave his best guess earlier today at how the Minnesota Vikings final roster will shake out. Tom, a former co-worker of Phersy's, by the way (insert your favorite Sid Hartman "close personal friend" reference here) is with the team on a daily basis and clearly has a better understanding of who should make the team and who shouldn't.

But, there are so many "bubble" players this year, that there are toss-ups at almost every position, so I'll give this a whack, too, to see if we at Faceoff can guess who won't be a Viking by late Saturday afternoon.

Pelissero has Rochester's Marcus Sherels making the team, which would make sense considering he has outplayed several of the team's CBs who are also on the bubble. That said, NFL teams place a high value on players they drafted. Sherels was not drafted and, despite his strong play in the preseason, has been stuck behind some of these other guys (Asher Allen comes to mind) on the depth chart. With all of the teams in need of CB help due to injury, or just lack of consistent players, I have to believe Sherels will have a job in the NFL somewhere this season.

Elsewhere on the roster, with DT Kevin Williams being suspended for the first two games of the season, the Vikings will actually have to make one less cut than other teams. Suspended players do not count toward a team's roster total.

Anyway, here we go:

Quarterbacks: Donovan McNabb, Joe Webb, Christian Ponder. Comments: I'm going out on a limb here.

Running backs: A.P., Toby Gerhart, Lorenzo Booker, Ryan D'Imperio (FB). Comments: D'Imperio could be a cut, depending on how many tight ends the Vikings want to keep. I'd keep D'Imperio over Jeff Dugan. D'Imperio gives you a younger body who can block and play special teams. Dugan's special-teams upside isn't enough, to me, to keep him over a young guy like D'Imperio. And, there's no chance Dugan is a part of the passing game. Rookie Caleb King will certainly land on the practice squad, if another team doesn't snap him up first.

Tight ends: Visanthe Shiancoe, Jim Kleinsasser, Kyle Rudolph. Comments: This leaves Dugan and rookie Allen Reisner (undrafted, from Iowa) on the outside. Reisner, like King at running back, is an ideal practice squad guy, unless another team signs him to their 53-man, which is possible. He had a very good preseason, but is stuck behind three really good players. As for Dugan, see my comments in the RB's section. If he makes the team, it's because the coaches like his special teams value more than D'Imperio's. In that case, Dugan could be used at times as a blocking fullback.

Receivers: Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu, Jaymar Johnson. Comments: Johnson didn't do anything to single himself out as the No. 1 choice to be the punt returner ahead of Sherels, but Sherels probably didn't do enough, either. Johnson had a decent game at receiver on Thursday and will come much cheaper than Greg Camarillo, who has nearly a $1.8 million cap hit. On a team that is pushed up against the salary cap, that could be a deciding factor. Aromashodu was good on special teams in the preseason and made a few nice catches, so he likely sticks. Emmanuel Arceneaux and Juaquin Iglesias performed well in camp, but not well enough to say definitively that they belong on the roster.

Offensive line: Steve Hutchinson, John Sullivan, Anthony Herrera, Charlie Johnson, Phil Loadholt, Jon Cooper, DeMarcus Love, Ryan Cook, Chris DeGeare. Comments: This group could change if the Vikings find a player they like better on the waiver wire. Cook, from many reports, appears to be only an option at the three interior positions now, after playing as a tackle most often during his first few seasons in MInnesota. Love is raw, but likely wouldn't make it through waivers and onto the practice squad. Waiving draft pick Brandon Fusco (a center from Slippery Rock) is a risk, too, but he's not ready to occupy a place on the 53-man roster yet.

Defensive backs: Husain Abdullah, Jamarca Sanford, Tyrell Johnson, Eric Frampton, Mistral Raymond, Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Chris Cook, Brandon Burton, Asher Allen, Marcus Sherels. Comments: This could group, too, could be shaken up, based on who might become available in free agency. If Sherels is going to be the punt returner, he moves ahead of Burton, and possibly even Allen, on the list of CBs. I'd put him ahead of Allen now, but coaches and personnel men in the NFL put a ton of stock in players they drafted, especially in the early rounds. Allen was drafted in the third round in 2009. Sherels is an undrafted free agent. Hopefully, for Sherels' sake, the whole draft pick thing doesn't matter as much as I think it does. He deserves to be on the team. ... Now, I have 11 DBs making the team, including five safeties. That's a lot, but I don't know how the Vikes cut draft pick Mistral Raymond, and Eric Frampton is a tremendous special teams player.

Linebackers: E.J. Henderson, Chad Greenway, Erin Henderson, Heath Farwell, Kenny Onatolu, Ross Homan, Larry Dean. Comments: Dean may have played his way off the roster on Thursday, but the suspension to Williams gives the Vikings one more roster spot, for at least two weeks, and Dean may be the beneficiary. He did enough in the first three weeks to warrant serious consideration for a spot on the 53. The Vikings like Homan's potential too much to let him go, and Onatolu and Farwell are special teams aces. This list assumes Jasper Brinkley lands on I.R. and it leaves out David Herron, a veteran who was only with the team for a couple of weeks this preseason. Herron could well make the team in place of Dean, or they both could be cut.

Defensive linemen: Jared Allen, Kevin Wlliams, Remi Ayodele, Brian Robison, Everson Griffen, Adrian Awasom, LeTroy Guion, Fred Evans, Christian Ballard. Comments: Some of the team's toughest cuts may come here, with Stylez White and rookie D'Aundre Reed left on the outside. Griffen could be considered a linebacker, too, after getting some work there on Thursday, but after just one week of practicing (part-time) at LB, is he ready to play that spot against No. 1 offenses? And, can he cover slot receivers or tight ends? It's one thing to do it against the Texans backups, but what if he got matched up against Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates or Malcom Floyd in week 1? That's why I'll leave him at DE for now. And I'm betting they'll need him to sub for Robison far more than they're letting on. Guion will probably start alongside Ayodele in Williams' absence. Awasom was too good in the preseason to not have earned a spot on the 53, and Ballard could eventually out-perform his draft position. Evans could be a question mark here, though he'll likely stick around to add depth with Williams out.

Specialists: Ryan Longwell (K), Chris Kluwe (P), Cullen Loeffler (LS). Comments: duh.

HS Football Picks: Week 1

PHERSY: Hey Feldy, we almost forgot! Time for HS football picks again. Remember what happened last year ... how you blew that lead? Yeah, you're not good.

The first week is always tough. You're up first with the picks. Ready, break!!!!!!!

Red Wing at Austin

Farmington at Rochester Mayo

Plainview-Elgin-Millville at Caledonia

Cannon Falls at Winona Cotter

Stewartville at Zumbrota-Mazeppa

St. Charles at Chatfield

Spring Grove at Houston

* * * * * * * *

FELDY: Hmmmmm ... you remember last year how you want to, and I'll remember it how I want to. Time to put you down by 3 or 4 games already. Here we go. Who's ready for some football?

Red Wing 30, Austin 12: Sorry, Phersy, I know you're hyped about your Packers' new Sling T offense, but I can't go that way after the tough season they had offensively a year ago. Wingers QB Joel Newman accounts for at least 3 TDs and RW opens with a W.

Mayo 27, Farmington 13: Farmington has a big, strong-armed QB, who could take advantage of the one part of Mayo's defense that is inexperienced, the secondary. Still, the Tigers were just 1-8 last season and Mayo loves how its front seven defensively has performed in the preseason. Oh, yeah, the Spartans have a pretty nice QB, too, Nate Penz.

P-E-M 18, Caledonia 16: It's hard to bet against the defending state champs on their home field, but these teams played an OT thriller last season at PEM, and I just like the guys who PEM has returning. Caledonia has a new QB and its top rusher graduated, but the Warriors always find a way to be successful. Gut feeling says PEM, though, in a close one.

Cannon Falls 23, Cotter 14: The Bombers lost some talented players off last season's team, but the guys who will step in were around for a strong late-season run.

Z-M 31, Stewartville 21: Z-M lost a good number of starters from a team that went to the Section 1AA title game, but the Cougars still have plenty of guys who contributed during that run and they know how to win. Take the Cougs at home.

Chatfield 28, St. Charles 20: Chatfield has a load of starters returning and is pretty good along the line. Plus, if I go against coach Jeff Johnson, he'll shut me out during softball season. I kid, I kid. But I'll take the Gophers.

Spring Grove 33, Houston 17: S.G. has some serious firepower back on both sides of the ball from last year's 8-2 team that allowed just more than 10 points per game. 10 PPG, Phersy! That is incredible for a 9-man team. I don't like to ever go against the Hurricanes on their home turf, but The Grove could be the top team in the Southeast Conference this season.

* * * * * * * *

PHERSY: Hmmmmm ... might be tough to pick against you this week Feldy. For once, you might have something right. But LEGGO!!!!!!!!!

Red Wing 27, Austin 20: Joel Newman is good and the Wingers might have a stud in Andre Page. But the Pack will counter with Anthony "The Natural Born Killer" Condit (yeah, that's mine). The Packers will be better this season, but they'll lose on a fourth-quarter TD.

Mayo 29, Farmington 26: Your boy Penz is legit. But Farmington has four new starters on its offensive line, as you said, off a team that struggled mightily last year. The Tigers got beat up a bit in their scrimmage against Lakeville North. I still think they will stick with your squad Feldy.

P-E-M 38, Caledonia 18: I'm predicting a very special season for the Bulldogs. Aaron Grobe is darn good, and Jack Ihrke is a beast (I stick with wrestlers Feldy). It will be very tough for anyone in the state to slow down PEM's running game, even the defending champs.

Cannon Falls 28, Cotter 14: The Bombers lost lost a ton of talent, but I like Braxton lindow at QB. For Cotter, a healthy Joe Koll is a scary thing for HVL defenses. That said, the Bombers will focus on him. They won't stop him, but they'll do enough to get the win.

Stewartville 13, Zumbrota-Mazeppa 6: I'll take the Tigers in a mild upset. They have a big senior class, and hopefully those guys will step up in Game 1. Plus, the Cougars lost a lot. I expect them to be very good by the end of the season.

St. Charles 20, Chatfield 12: Don't sleep on the Saints this year. They will be much improved, and I think Cole Small has the potential to do big things in 2011. Both teams have loads of players returning, but I love that St. Charles has 24 seniors on the roster, and many of them have seen the football field for a year or two already.

Spring Grove 35, Houston 21: Feldy, I'm with you on this one. Ten points a game in nine-man is unreal. And with all that talent returning, they'll again contend for conference and section titles.