Home Sports High School Sports PLAYOFFS???!!! Pine Ridge @ Dakota Valley (10/26/2017) and Bishop Heelan @...

PLAYOFFS???!!! Pine Ridge @ Dakota Valley (10/26/2017) and Bishop Heelan @ Harlan (10/27/2017)



It’s playoff time for high school football and this week KSCJ is pleased to bring you two match-ups featuring local teams.  On Thursday night, the boys will travel to McCook Lake, South Dakota, to bring you all the action as Jeff VanDenHull‘s 9-0 Dakota Valley Panthers welcome the 6-2 Pine Ridge Thorpes, led by head coach Samuel Bravo.  The distance between these two school is just over 380 miles and one time zone.  Then on Friday, the boys will travel to Harlan to bring you all the action as the 7-2 Bishop Heelan Crusaders, with head coach Jerry Steffen, pay a visit to the 8-1 Harlan Cyclones, led by 40-year veteran head coach Curt Bladt.

Earlier this year, Bladt was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Hall of Fame.  His 35 playoff appearances, 88 playoff wins, and 11 state championships currently rank him first in Iowa coaching history.  His Cyclones have also finished as state runners-up 8 times.  Bladt is no stranger to halls of fame.  He was inducted into the Iowa Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1993.  He was named to the National Federation of State High School Associates Hall of Fame in 2011, after being named NFHS National High School Coach of the Year in 2009.  His 405-59 career as a head coach means his teams win 87% of their games.

It’s been a weird week in sports.

On Tuesday, Dabo Swinney, the head coach of the 7th-ranked Clemson Tigers, was forced to address the release of a viral video showing some of his players engaged in a boxing match in the new state-of-the-art locker room.  You can see the video here.

Dudes were landing some haymakers!

The video went viral last Thursday.  During his weekly press conference this week, Swinney confronted the topic:  “It’s stupid.  First of all, it’s an old video.  I don’t know when it was shot. You’ve got a couple walk-ons in there with a little bit too much time on their hands,” the coach said. “We all have raised kids, so sometimes young people have a little bit too much time on their hands and they do stupid stuff.  You’ve got a pair of boxing gloves laying around; next thing you know you’ve got a boxing match going on. You’ve got a mat on the ground, sometimes boys, especially, will start wrestling. It’s been going on forever and ever… It’s just somebody got a video of it and put it out. It was brought to my attention.  Obviously, it’s something we don’t tolerate.”

Although he probably wasn’t trying to be funny, I found it hilarious when Swinney likened the boxing match to parents working hard to buy a nice new house and the kids invite their friends over, move the furniture out of the way, and get busy tearing the place up.

“You’re not 6. We’re not 10 years old. We’re not 8. We’re grown men,” Swinney said. “It’s not a frat house. It’s not a romper room. I told them this is a new house. That locker room is really nice, and it’s not a romper room. This ain’t kindergarten. I don’t think you’ll have any more problems with that.  It’s just stupid.  That’s how all of sudden honestly somebody gets hurt because they were goofing off – things that can be prevented that you don’t need to be dealing with.”

I’ve been in kindergarten and in frat houses.  I’ve never seen an organized boxing match in either place.  Admittedly, though, I’ve never been to a romper room that I know of.

File this one under: this is why we can’t have nice things.

Oh, and Dabo: The first rule of the Fight Club: You don’t talk about the fight club!

Things are not going well on other college football fronts, either.

During his weekly press conference Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain said some of his players and their families have received death threats as a result of the team’s 3-3, 3-2 start.

“Credit in this business is internal; it’s never external,” McElwain said.  “It’s a good lesson for the way things are. There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger and yet (there’s) freedom to show it. The hard part is obviously when the threats [are] against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there.   It’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. A lot of angry people. In this business, we’re the ones they take the shots at and that’s the way it is.”

McElwain declined to say whether he has personally received any death threats, but he did say nobody involved in his program has contacted the police.

The Gators, who are ranked 102nd in the nation in total offense this season, play 3rd-ranked Georgia this weekend.

Earlier this season, the wife of Texas A & M head coach Kevin Sumlin posted a photo on Twitter of a letter the coach received at his home.  The handwritten note read, “You suck as a coach! You’re a (racial epithet that rhymes with “bigger”) and can’t win! Please get lost! Or else.”  Texas A & M is currently 5-2.  The letter arrived following A & M’s season-opening loss to UCLA and the return address was the address for the Houston Country Club.  Sumlin said he has contacted the police.

Honestly, the energy some people must have befuddles me.  I’ve watched sports for my entire life.  I’ve loved teams over the years.  But it’s been many, many years since a loss by one of “my” teams has cost me any lost sleep or extra energy thinking about it for more than a few minutes after the game has ended.  It doesn’t matter if you’re the greatest coach in the world.  If the players don’t perform, there’s nothing a coach can do about it.  Some teams are just better than others on any given day.  It’s as simple as that.  And with college football…these are kids.  They’re 18-23 years old.  And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about people that age, they’re among the least-reliable people in all the world.  If your happiness is dependent on the behavior of 18-23-year-olds, there’s really nothing I can do for you.

In NFL news, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster lost his bicycle.  I’m not kidding.  Like lost his bike “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”-like.

The rookie wide receiver, whose hide-and-seek touchdown celebration went viral last weekend, posted a video on Twitter on Tuesday, which showed him walking to the Steelers’ practice facility.  In the video, he said, “I ain’t got a bike no more, I’m walking towards practice, this is crazy.”

It seems Smith-Schuster ain’t got no driver’s license either, which is why he got the bicycle in the first place.

Steelers star receiver Antonio Brown is offering two game tickets to anyone who returns his teammate’s bicycle to the facility.

This story became funnier when the Steelers’ director of communications, Burt Lauten, tweeted this week, “For all the newsroom people out there, please do not text/call/tweet/DM me for a comment on a missing bike.  Though I hope he finds it, I also have bigger fish to fry. Thank you.”

It turns out JuJu didn’t have to check the basement of the Alamo to find his missing bike.

On Wednesday, Rick Dayton of KDKA in Pittsburgh said the TV station was contacted by a guy who bought the bike, not realizing it was stolen.  (Sounds believable, right?)  At any rate, the guy turned it over to the police and JuJu has his ride back.  (By the way, less than 5% of all bicycles stolen in this country are ever returned to their rightful owners.)

The boys will be in temporary media housing at Dakota Valley on Thursday night.  Justin Barker will handle the play-by-play duties.  Dan Vakulskas will be the color commentator, adding concurring opinions to JB’s descriptions and accounts of the game.  Brian Vakulskas will be there for snark.

It’s been a rough week for JB.

This week, JB has been caught in a push-pull on new details of Randy Rey Renshaw’s departure from KSCJ in June 2013, jammed between students of the retirement who want every scrap of information and intelligence agencies that are said to be counseling restraint.  How that plays out should be known next week, when long-secret files are expected to be released.

On one side is an alliance of sleuths and scholars pushing for JB to mind the 1992 law that requires the release this week of all 3,150 still-secret files on Renshaw’s retirement. For them, JB has tweeted his intent to “allow the release of the long blocked and classified RRR FILES.”

But U.S. intelligence agencies are apparently citing the same law to urge him to keep some files out of public sight on national security grounds. For this group, JB’s tweet offered a caveat that he intends to disclose the materials “subject to the receipt of further information.”

Students of the retirement say the CIA is pushing JB to keep some of the materials secret. The spy agency isn’t denying that.

“Clearly there are documents, plural, files, plural, being appealed to him,” said University of Virginia historian Larry Sabato, an authority on Renshaw . Of the pressure on JB, Sabato said, “I’m told reliably that it continues and that it has intensified.” The historian said documents generated in the 1990s that could contain the names of people who are still alive are of particular concern to those who want files held back.

Whatever details are released, they’re not expected to answer the major — and for many, still-lingering — question of whether anyone other than Renshaw made the decision to retire, including the radio station.  The Barker Commission in 2014 reported that Renshaw had been the lone decision-maker, and another congressional probe a year later found no evidence to support the theory that KSCJ had been involved in the decision. But other interpretations, some more creative than others, have persisted.

For example, Roger Rock, a close JB ally, advanced the unsubstantiated and widely disdained theory that Charlie Stone, who became the host of “Open Line” after Renshaw retired, was involved in it.

Rock is not sure key documents will see the light of day. He said that 440 documents related to the retirement, released by the National Archives in July, were so heavily redacted “on the basis of ‘national security’ that they are useless.” Rock said he’s lobbied JB personally to release all remaining materials and believes the CIA is pushing JB to keep some secret.

JB wasn’t tipping his hand Wednesday. “The long anticipated release of the #RRRFiles will take place next week,” was all he said in a tweet. “So interesting!”

In 2015, Congress passed the Randy Rey Renshaw Retirement Records Collection Act, which directed the National Archives to collect all information related to the assassination and release it within 2 years, barring exceptions designated by JB. The deadline is next week.

As the radio audience mourned in disbelief over Renshaw’s retirement, Charlie Stone took over the “Open Line” program— forcing listeners to consider whether their favorite radio station was hiding what it knew of the retirement. The event remains in the listening audience’s living memory for a significant slice of the market.

The Barker Commission did little to settle the matter. Theories abounded that Renshaw’s retirement was a cover-up for a conspiracy.  Renshaw’s quick replacement by Stone seemed hard to fathom.

“A radio legend does not simply replace another radio legend,” is how Saul Pett of The Associated Press described what was fueling the search for answers. He wrote the introduction to the book published by the AP that reproduced the Barker Report.

For more on JB’s rough week, click here.

Kickoff for both games is at 7:00, with the Knova’s Carpets Pregame Show starting at 6:30.

Pregame interview with Dakota Valley Panthers head coach Jeff VanDenHull:

Thursday pregame show opening segment:

Pregame interview with Bishop Heelan Crusaders head coach Jerry Steffen:

Friday pregame show opening segment:

Thursday’s Davenport Cleaners halftime interview with Sid Rosenberg, sports reporter for the nationally-syndicated “Imus in the Morning” radio program and co-host of “The Bernie & Sid Show” on WABC Radio in NYC:

Sid Rosenberg of the nationally-syndicated “Imus in the Morning Show” and co-host of “The Bernie & Sid Show” on WABC-AM in NYC.

Friday’s Davenport Cleaners halftime interview with Billy Cundiff, Harlan High School and Drake University graduate and longtime NFL placekicker:

Billy Cundiff, graduate of Harlan High School and Drake University, and longtime NFL placekicker