Saturday, October 07, 2006

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

MY COLUMN by Mike McMurran

Lately I have been suggesting “Everything is relative.” And I truly believe it is. Well as true as that statement may be, “timing is everything,” is equally true, as well as important. Allow me to explain – have a couple of examples.

For three or so years now, I have gathered a group of buddies to play in the annual Patt Holt Singers golf tournament. The original group was Henry Kruse, Mike Lemke, Mark Francis and yours truly. Once or twice, for whatever reason Henry couldn’t make it, so we added Doug Medley to our foursome. We never won the tournament, nor did we really expect to, but boy did we have fun. So we pretty much decided we would make it an annual outing. Well, for whatever reason, and there is some speculation as to the real reason, Francis couldn’t make it this year. He said his daughter had a soccer game, and maybe she did, but this was an annual outing of guys – true male bondage type stuff. (Kruse has suggested that Francis’ frugality simply wouldn’t allow it) Anyway, we found a replacement, or Lemke found a replacement I should say, John Janschutz. John was picked for his personality more than his golf game. Everyone knows four men scrambles are about getting along more than anything else. So to answer any questions, No, John was not a ringer, he is just an average guy.

Timing, remember where I started? Timing was everything – or in Francis’ case it was not everything. The foursome of Kruse, Lemke, Janschutz and McMurran took control of Warrenton Golf Course like, well, we played far, far over our heads. So much so, we shot 11 under par and won the 1st place prize money. Oh sure, most of the shots used came from Janschutz and Kruse, but Lemke and I truly contributed at the most opportunistic times. The point is this: Francis messed up by not being there. To add insult to injury, since we are the defending champions, we have vowed to return to the scene of the crime next year. Therefore, Francis is out!

Ah yes, timing. For me it got even better. On Sunday I made arrangements to go to the Rams’ game with an old buddy of mine, Anthony “Anferney” Carimatti. Tony and I met at the Holiday Inn Select at noon or so and began our day by having a few adult beverages. For some reason or another, at around 2:00 or so, we decided to walk to Busch Stadium. You see we knew Family Almus would be sitting in Section 135, because he traded me fireworks for the tickets (how should I know, in July, that on October 1st the game would have any meaning?). Tony and I approached the usher at the gate and told her we only wanted to go in for a minute. We showed her our Rams’ tickets and explained we were going to the football game, which was to start in less than 30 minutes, so we would only be there for 5 minutes at most. She responded, “what did you just say?” I really didn’t want to repeat everything I had just explained to her, so I simply asked, “can you let us in for a minute, please?” She said sure, go right on in! I’m not kidding. If I knew it was that easy I would have been doing it all season.

Anyway, the first thing Tony did was buy two of those $8.50 beers. Our priorities were intact. We found Family Almus, sat down (timing is on our side) and for some reason the famous Atlanta Tomahawk Chop song began playing. We were there for no more than 5 minutes but they were the most exciting 5 minutes of the entire game: the Cardinals had won the Central Division while Tony and I sat there. Ask Almus.

As we were leaving another usher told us we couldn’t leave the stadium with our newly purchased $8.50 beers. We explained to him that we had just bought them and were going to the Rams’ game, and could we please take them with us. After all we had just spent $17 and were only in the stadium for 5 minutes. “Ah, go ahead fellas. You don’t look like you are going to cause any trouble.” Man oh man, was timing on our side!

So now we are walking at a rather brisk pace trying to make it to the Dome before kick-off. It became obvious we were going to be late for the kickoff…but wait. As we were walking down the street, two young ladies asked us if we knew where the Dome was. Of course they were driving in their automobile. Now you have to understand that neither Tony or I are what you would call “lookers,” so these ladies, who were in fact “lookers,” really needed directions to the Dome. Tony and I could have simply said continue straight for another 7 blocks or so, but our luck was going so good we couldn’t help but try and get a ride. We did. Did our luck run out? Not a chance – they had cold beer in the car and offered us some for our help. We really didn’t have time to wait with them as they maneuvered their way thru the parking lot, so we simply excused ourselves at the Broadway entrance.

Did we make the kickoff? Nope, but the moment we sat in our seats Detroit fumbled the ball and the Rams recovered. Ah yes my friends, timing is everything.

High School Football
Eagles Are Soaring
Orchard Farm is 4-1 Overall and Undefeated in Conference

By Louis J. Launer
One team opening up some eyes among the high school football fans this season is the Orchard Farm Eagles. This is a team that has had its shares of struggle over the years. But this year, their 3-0 Eastern Missouri Conference start has been their best start in the past decade. Their only loss was in a non-conference game against Crystal City back in early September.

They have quite an offense led by junior quarterback Zach Pugh, who has scored one touchdown by himself, along with completing 73 out of 117 pass attempts for 876 yards halfway through this season. He has 7 touchdown passes to his credit and 5 interceptions. Receiving many of those passes is Zach Trudo, who caught 30 passes for 449 yards. He is also quite a rusher with 9 rushes for 25 yards. He has 6 touchdowns at the halfway mark of the season.

Zach Pugh performs his leadership every week on the field. Last week’s 41-18 win over Winfield placed Pugh in the record books by breaking the schools’ single game passing record. According to the school, “Zach has been a solid performer both on the field and off. He has developed into a team leader with his attitude during games and practices and is determined in making himself better each day.”

The Eagles’ top running back is Ricky Eiting, who has 66 rushes for 426 yards and 8 touchdowns. The Eagles have quite a well-balanced offensive line and can run and pass the ball.

Defensively, Zach Trudo also shows he’s quite the defender as well as a receiver in the offensive line. On defense, Trudo has intercepted two passes, recovered one fumble and made 32 tackles. Sam Kline is another big man on defense with 29 tackles. Richard Wunderlich can throw any offensive player for a loss. Midway through this season, he has 25 tackles, 4 of them were losses of 18 yards.

Their schedule still has some tough teams, including Lutheran-St. Charles, Bowling Green, Wright City and Hermann. The big rivalry lately with Orchard Farm has been against Lutheran-St. Charles. It is a district game and the last game of the season. But this year will be the first time that both teams will play as non-conference rivals.

Two weeks ago, this reporter was a little too hard on St. Charles West quarterback Brannon Champagne. It was written that Brannon was the reason that West lost a football game. This reporter was wrong and made a bad judgment in words. High school football is a team sport and St. Charles West does have a good team that works hard and does their best week after week. All high school football teams try their best. Sometimes the fan comes out of the reporter and either gets a little excited or becomes too quick to judge a player or find a microscopic reason why a team either wins or loses. Brannon is only a sophomore. His performance against Timberland was very good, with 15 rushes for 48 yards. He was also quite good in passing the ball being 4 of 10 for 76 yards. Brannon is adjusting to the game and a sophomore quarterback playing on the varsity level is quite a difficult task. It takes a lot of growing and coach Gary Strauss knows that. Brannon will probably be a great quarterback and each and every game, he does his best that he can do.

Sometimes reporters have to remember that high school sports is the most purest form of sport. The players who play any sport are participating in it during what should be the best time of their lives. Many fans in urban areas, suburbia and small town America, including St. Charles enjoy a good high school game. It becomes to easy and tempting to make comparisons of high school sports to that of their college or professional counterparts. High school sports expresses unity, where student-athletes, student fans, alumni can root for their favorite teams and when the game is over, win or lose, everyone on the team gave it their best.

Tickets on Sale for 19th Annual Budweiser “Guns ‘N Hoses,” Proceeds to Benefit St. Louis Backstoppers; Features Police, Firefighters from Illinois and Missouri

Tickets are on sale for the 19th annual Budweiser “Guns ‘N Hoses” boxing matches between police officers and firefighters on Thanksgiving Eve, November 22, at 7:30 p.m. at Scottrade Center (formerly Savvis Center). Proceeds will go to the St. Louis Backstoppers who assist families of firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty.

Budweiser “Guns ‘N Hoses” features three-round matches between teams of Missouri and Illinois police officers and firefighters. Boxers are paired by age, weight and ability. Firefighters won last year bouts, 10 matches to 7.

Last year’s event raised more than $198,000 bringing the total since 1987 to $1.6 million for the families of firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty.

The 2,000-member Backstoppers cover St. Louis City, the Missouri counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin, St. Francois and Warren and the Illinois counties of Madison, Monroe and St. Clair. In addition, Backstoppers cover members of Troop C of the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Budweiser “Guns ‘N Hoses” tickets are $30, $25 and $20 and are available by calling (314) 444-5832 in St. Louis City, (314) 713-6031 in St. Louis County or (618) 622-1507 in Illinois.