Saturday, September 16, 2006

SPORTS - First Capitol News Sports Section - MIKE MCMURRAN Sports Editor

In the back of my mind I keep hearing the lyrics to that famous Country and Western ballad, “Back in the saddle, again.” Personally, I like to think of my self as a highly structured individual. Nothing is better in life than a carefully thought out strategic plan to get oneself through the day – that is how I look at life. While sitting at my desk I can close my eyes and tell you precisely where everything from my favorite pencil to my coffee cup is located. I enjoy waking up at the same time every day and commencing my morning routine. The downside to my highly structured life is when my carefully thought out strategic plan to get through the day doesn’t go quite the way I have planned, I sometimes know not what to do next. For example, my morning routine mandates one of my first tasks is to walk down my driveway to fetch the morning paper. Simple enough, right? Well, maybe not. You see, in my world of highly structured, carefully thought out strategic plan for getting though the day, if thing don’t go as planned I sometimes, maybe even often, freeze up – just like a computer. On more than one occasion I have walked to the end of my driveway to fetch the morning paper only to find it has yet to be delivered. Now I assure you I walk down the driveway at the same time each and every day – never more than a two-minute variance. On those days when my morning paper is not in my driveway, I stand there like a deer caught in someone’s headlights. I don’t know what to do next! But I digress.

“Back in the saddle, again,” because this fine weekly is back to weekly publication. Now I can get back into my weekly writing routine of almost making the deadline for submitting my work. On a related note, Louis, who has been formally schooled in journalism, tells me that it is an unwritten rule of writers and journalists to dodge editor’s deadlines. Don’t get me wrong here, Tony amd Phyllis are great guys to work for, usually they make you feel as though you are working WITH them more than FOR them. But sometimes their deadlines are just unrealistic. That being said, I met it this week.

This past week I experienced one of those special moments that only a father/football coach can experience. Joe and I were driving home from one of his bi-weekly football practices when he said to me, “Dad, you know that sound on the field when two guys hit each other really, really hard?” Now every football fan in the world knows exactly what “sound” Joe was referencing. “Sure, son, I know the sound you are talking about,” I replied. “Well Dad, I think that is my favorite sound in the world.” If I wasn’t such a tough guy I most likely would have teared-up. But ladies and gentlemen, it gets better. Joe, my first-born son, after contemplating what he had said, then added: “Well Dad, maybe my second favorite sound. My favorite sound is hearing you tell me how much you love me.” I swear to God that is exactly how it happened; as Bob Barton says, “Why would I make it up when the truth is better than anything I can make up?”

Corey Nesslage’s Saint Charles Pirates took it on the chin Friday night as Jennings topped the Bucs 29-19. That being said I expect a winning season will present itself this gridiron season from the hallowed halls on Kingshighway. Next to the Titans of Trinity Catholic High School, I am probably most familiar with the Jennings Warriors and their head coach, Ryan Wallace. Wallace inherited a diamond in the rough from former Jennings coach Rob Harper. Don’t get me wrong, the Warriors have Wallace’s fingerprints all over them. But even Wallace will admit he inherited a team with a full cupboard. That being said, the Pirates were beaten by one of the better teams in the region – the only thing is, nobody knows it yet. Remember, you read it here first – Nesslage will have his Pirates firing on all cylinders when district play starts, and his Pirates will reward him with his first district title.

Condolences to two of my favorite, regular readers, Bradley and Brennen Almus on the passing of their grandpa, John Almus. Boys, the same way your dad coaches your basketball teams, your grandpa used to coach your dad’s teams. And some day you will coach your children in youth sports; that’s just part of what being an Almus is all about.

And finally, Friday, September 15th is my daughter Maggie Kurtz McMurran’s 11th birthday. Most everyone told me I received the most special of all birthday presents when she was born on my 41st birthday. BULL! From 9/15/95 on, September 15th has been, and always will be known as “Maggie’s birthday.” She stole my birthday! Any way, Maggie and I have started a tradition. On Friday morning, both she and I will rise extra early, say 5 a.m. or so, and treat ourselves to a birthday breakfast at Al’s Diner on Kingshighway. Happy birthday Margo – have I ever told you that you are my favorite daughter?

First Capitol News
High School Athlete of the Week
Pat Ampleman, senior
Duchesne High School

Editor’s note: I’ve often times said there is nothing wrong with making mistakes. The secret is to avoid making the same mistake twice. That being said, I suspect I should take some pride in the fact that my 6 year-old son was simply imitating his father as he “interviewed” his older brother. The problem lies in he taped over about 15 seconds or so of my interview with Pat Ampleman – this week’s FCN High School Athlete of the Week. That being said, I know not what Pat’s parents’ names are, nor do I know his older sister’s name. I do know he lives with both his mom and dad, and that his sister is studying Early Childhood Education at Lindenwood University.

The lesson I’ve learned is to not leave my tape recorder where my son can get his hands on it.

Vitals: 5’ 10”, 180 lb., senior, goalkeeper

How long have you been playing soccer: I’ve been playing soccer for as long as I can remember. To the best of my knowledge, I started playing when I was 5 years old at Sacred Heart in Florissant.

What is you most memorable soccer moment: When you’ve been playing soccer as long as I have, it all starts to blend together. I guess winning the team’s Most Valuable Player award last season. I pretty much don’t focus on the past as much as I do the future. We won a State title once playing for Lou Fusz on my select team. All I think about is what this team can accomplish this year!

Favorite subject in school: Anatomy

Favorite teacher: My gym teacher, Mr. Bouslob. He is the kind of person you can talk to on just about any subject. He’s really kind of cool for being a teacher – down to earth I guess you would say.

Your role model in life: That would be my dad. He is a very religious man who has taught me right from wrong. What I really admire in him is how he doesn’t care about what other people think.

Words of wisdom for underclassmen: Don’t make the same mistake I made. Your grades as a freshman and sophomore mean as much as when you are a junior and senior. I didn’t try my hardest when I first entered high school, my g.p.a. was something like a 2.0 at the end of my sophomore year, maybe even lower. Since then I’ve learned just how important it is and I’ve raised my gpa up to almost a 3.5.

Restaurant question: Applebee’s is the restaurant I would go to, and I would order the “Steak too,” which is steak and salmon.

High school football teams’ wins are few and far between
Tough schedules to blame?
By: Mike McMurran

Two weeks into the 2006 high school football season, the combined record of Duchesne, High and West is 1-5. The bad news is looking at the difficulty level of all three schedules, things likely to get worse before they get better.
Pirates even ledger with win over Paseo Academy
After opening the season with a 29-19 loss at the hands of Suburban East opponent Jennings, Corey Nesslage’s Pirates rebounded with a 40-0 win over Paseo Academy. The Pirates running game, led by junior Clifton Brown, was more than Paseo, from the Kansas City area, could handle. Brown (6’ 196 lbs) carried the ball 16 times for 133 yards, his second hundred-yard game in as many outings (25 carries/145 yards vs. Jennings).

The Pirates will host Washington, who until this year played in the larger Gateway Athletic Conference – South division, Friday, September 15. Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.

West drops first two
The Warriors were not playing their best game, but still managed to hold on to a 2-0 lead in the season opener against University City – for a while. With 3:23 remaining in the third quarter, head coach Gary Strauss’ offense looked like they were going to punch the ball in from the 4-yard line. Ah but looks can be deceiving. Just like that U. City’s Mark Burnett recovered a Warrior’s fumble and raced 96 yards to the end zone giving the host Lions a 6-2 win.

Week two the Warriors gave up over 300 yards total offense to Zumwalt South as they fell to the Bulldogs 42-15.

West will get a break in their schedule this week as they host Warrenton on Friday night. Whatever break they get they should enjoy as down the road they must face Timberland, Cape Central, Washington and powerhouse Webb City before entering districts.

Duchesne: enigma!
Year in and year out it is a pretty safe bet that a Charlie Elmendorf coached team, no matter what the sport, is going to be very competitive. That being said, when your high school football schedule includes Suburban East powerhouse Ladue, ABC defending conference champions Mary Institute Country Day, Class 6 contender Marquette, and Jefferson City Helias, you might just be playing over your head.

After falling to Marquette 26-13 in the opener, the Pioneers dropped a 31-24 decision to the Rams. The Pioneers opened up a 24-10 half-time lead over Ladue, only to roll over and play dead and allow the Rams to score 21 unanswered points in the 2nd half.

Its not going to get any easier for the Pioneers as they host Mary Institute Country Day on Friday night. MICDS, who finished 2nd in the state last season in Class 3 play, defeated Ladue 21-17 in week one of the season.