Bill Bentson: Snow already affecting Minnesota sports

Bill Bentson
Wheelin' with WEB

The good news this morning: NO SNOW.  Can’t say the same for our friends to our west.  We’re not out of the woods yet, as the temperature is supposed to drop and continue to rain.  I feel so sorry for the farmers around here. The fields are so muddy.

I went to a football game over in Ada last night, and for about two miles on a county road I drove on the wrong side of the road, ‘cause the right side of the road was covered with mud.

You read right, I went to a football game, last night, Wednesday, and it isn’t MEA weekend.  In anticipation of the inclement weather on Friday, many of the games were moved up to Wednesday.

And speaking of out of the woods,  I was listening to the news just a bit ago, and heard there was an accident near Hitterdal (a bit to the south and east of us), between a car and a black bear. 

I haven’t had a bear sighting yet, but guess the longer I’m up in this country, the more likely I will see one.

I drove up to Warren on Tuesday for the Northwest Minnesota Conference cross-country meet, and when I turned north off Highway 2, I saw a sign that read, Warren 29 (miles) and below that, Canada 91 (miles).  Weird!  I just can’t get used to that yet. 

Hard to believe that the regular season for the fall sports is just a week, or so, away.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a big fan of John’s Journal (MSHSL).  He’s had a couple stories most recently that really caught my eye, and heart: “Because A Plan Was In Place, An Official’s Life Was Saved” and “Officially Speaking: Communication is Key On The Field.” 

KIMBALL – When veteran football official Mike Canfield went down with a cardiac issue during a junior varsity game here last week, a plan to save his life was already in place. And because the plan was executed to perfection, Mike is still with us. 

Here's the end of the story: Surgeons placed two coronary artery stents near Mike's heart and he’s in recovery mode. The 71-year-old from Waite Park is eternally grateful that coaches and others followed the MSHSL emergency action plan advice and were ready when the emergency happened. 

"We did have a plan," said Kimball activities director Byron Westrich, “and one of my coaches texted me right away, saying ‘Thank goodness you had that plan.’ It worked like clockwork.” 

Emergency action plans are simple. Everyone on hand knows their role. When Canfield collapsed on the field during the third quarter of a game between Morris and Kimball, Kimball head coach Johnny Benson did his job and went right to Canfield; assistant coaches Jamie Liether and Jake Gagne did their jobs and ran to get AEDs (automated external defibrillators); assistant coach Joe Anderson called 911 and continued to do his job when an ambulance arrived, directing the crew to Mike’s location. 

Mike Schindler, a former Kimball wrestling coach who is a firefighter and trained first responder, has a son on the football team and was watching from the stands. He was chatting with a buddy when he saw the official collapse. Schindler ran to Canfield. His description of what happened is gripping.
“He was seizing, he went limp. Two AEDs were there right away, which was awesome. We got one hooked up and it told us to shock right away. We started (chest) compressions; we did four rounds of 30 compressions with breath between each 30, then we saw that he was breathing. We checked for a pulse and we got the pulse back.” 

A couple from Morris, Paige and Rich Hardy, performed CPR. Paige is a nurse at Stevens Community Medical Center in Morris and Rich is an athletic trainer at the University of Minnesota-Morris. 

Canfield was conscious but not very alert when he was loaded into the ambulance, bound for St. Cloud Hospital. He became fully alert, however, as they were about five miles out of Kimball.

GREAT JOB, Kimball!

The second story, “Officially Speaking,” has a local connection. When reporters cover high school football games, one thing is standard: You have rosters for both teams in front of you. But as I sat in the press box for Friday night's game between visiting Edina and St. Michael-Albertville, I had THREE rosters in front of me. The third one had details about the officiating crew: names, positions, years of experience, etc.  Also different: I had a small walkie-talkie in my pocket with a cord connected to an earpiece that allowed me to listen in as the five officials communicated with each other via matching devices. It was an eye-opening – and ear-opening — experiment, a game inside the game that nobody outside the officials is aware of.  When a football was handed to the St. Michael-Albertville kicker to start the game, referee – also known as the "white cap” – Tim Litfin pushed the button on a small microphone clipped to his collar and said to his crewmates, “Have a good game, gentlemen. Have fun.”

As the game went on, crew members asked and answered questions, communicated information about penalties, offered encouragement and advice.  The first points of the game came on a short pass from St. Michael-Albertville quarterback Kolby Gartner to David Collins, who zigged and zagged his way for a 36-yard touchdown while teammates threw blocks at odd angles. After Collins reached the end zone, Litfin told his crew, “Good decisions over there. Good decisions on that play.”

Great idea by the officials.  I’ve seen, and heard, the ‘communication’ going on in all of the games I’ve witnessed this season.

But here’s where the story gets local.  Look back to the part about St. Michael-Albertville quarterback Kolby Gartner.  Kolby is the son of Gary Gartner (Preston-Fountain, 1989) and Stephanie Draper (Lanesboro, 1992, I believe).  St. Michael-Albertville is ranked No. 3 in Class AAAAAA.  Go get ‘em, Knights!

Volleyball news


2019 Three Rivers Conference volleyball standings

…through Tuesday, Oct. 8

                       TRC          reg. season

Caledonia             9-0               20-2

? L-A                     7-2               15-7

Fillmore Cen.      7-2               12-8

PEM                     7-2               10-12

Cotter                   5-4               15-8

? St. C.                 5-4               7-10

W-K                      4-5               11-15

Chatfield               4-5               9-11

Rushford-P.         3-6               10-14

Dover-Eyota        1-8               5-15

Southland             1-8               3-17

La C-Hokah         1-8               1-13


2019 Southeast Conference volleyball standings

…through Tuesday, Oct. 8

East division

                              SEC      reg. season

Mabel-Canton*      12-0             28-2

Spring Grove         9-3               17-8

Lanesboro              9-4               15-13

Kingsland               5-7               6-17

Houston                  4-8               6-18


West division

                                SEC      reg. season

Grand Meadow*    10-2           20-10

Randolph                7-5             12-7

LeRoy-Ost.            4-8             5-12

Schaeffer Acad.     4-8             5-13

Lyle/Pacelli            3-9             3-15

Glenville-Emm.     0-13           3-17

*defending champion


My SEC correspondent, Lee Epps, said; “GM has now clinched a fourth straight SEC West championship. There is no overall SEC champ when there are two divisions. There is a match played between the two winners in volleyball only, but it is considered an exhibition match (SEC Showcase Match) with no “official” championship at stake.”  Thanks, bud.

In the state volleyball rankings, the Class A top 10 still has the same teams: 1) Mayer Lutheran, 2) Waterville-Elysian-Morristown, 3) Minneota, 4) Carlton, 5) Mabel-Canton, 6) Kittson County Central, 7) Kenyon-Wanamingo, 8) Caledonia, 9) Medford, 10) Canby, and BOLD, Pine River-Backus, Lakeview and MACCRAY.  QRF rankings, on Minnesota Scores, for Section 1A: K-W, Medford, Caledonia and Mabel-Canton. 

Stewartville is still on top in Class AA, Kasson-Mantorville is at No. 3.  Nobody else from SE Minnesota is ranked.  “Stewie” just beat K-M, 3-0.  Eagan is undefeated, and ranked No. 1 in AAA.  Northfield is at No. 2.  The AAA Section tournament down this way is really going to be interesting, with Northfield, Lakeville North, and Lakeville South all in the top 10.  Mayo and JM could also have a say in the 1AAA championship.


2019 Section football standings

Section 1A

                                       Section      All

Blooming Prairie          5-0             6-0

Randolph                       2-1             5-1

Rushford-Peterson       2-1             4-2

Fillmore Central           2-1             2-4

Goodhue                        2-2             4-2

Hayfield                         1-3             3-3

Wabasha-Kellogg         0-6             0-6


Section 1, 9-man

LeRoy-Ostrander       4-0             6-0

Grand Meadow          3-1             5-1

Southland                    3-1             5-1

Houston                      3-2             4-2

Spring Grove              3-2             4-2

Lanesboro                   2-3             2-4

Kingsland                    0-4             1-5

Mabel-Canton            0-5             0-6


Section 1, Class AA

Caledonia                        3-0           6-0

Lewiston-Altura              2-0           6-0

Triton                               2-1           3-3

St. Charles                      1-1           4-2

Kenyon-Wanamingo      1-1           2-4

Chatfield                          1-2           4-2

Cotter                              0-2           0-6

Dover-Eyota                   0-3           0-6


Undefeated teams, statewide, in nine-man: LeRoy-Ostrander, Renville County West, Ogilvie, Mt. Lake Area, Hancock, Brandon/Evansville, Win-E-Mac and North Central.  Know where all of these teams are located?  L-O (No. 2) and Southland (No. 8) are still ranked.

Undefeated in Class A: Blooming Prairie, United South Central, Springfield, BOLD, Minneota and Carlton/Wrenshall.  Lots of teams at 5-1.  The Awesome Blossoms are ranked No. 2.  Nobody else in the top 10.  AA undefeated: Caledonia, Lewiston-Altura, Minneapolis North, Concordia Academy and Barnesville.  Caledonia is still at No. 1, L-A is at No. 5.  St. Charles and Chatfield received some votes. 

Undefeated in Class AAA: Stewartville, Jackson County Central, Cannon Falls, Annandale, Albany and Pierz.  Pierz is No. 1, Stewartville and Cannon Falls is at No. 8.  Undefeated in AAAA: Winona, Hutchinson, Marshall, Simley, Fridley, Benilde-St. Margaret’s, SMB, and Detroit Lakes.  AAAAA: Owatonna, St. Thomas, Tartan, Robbinsdale Armstrong, Elk River and Bemidji.  The only team in AAAAAA that is undefeated is Wayzata.

That’s it for me.  Hope you have a great week, one day at a time.  Hey to the Great 8, my Fab 4, my lovely wife, who can really cook, Carol, and my new editor, Dave.  You are the GREATEST!  Thanks to all of you for all of your support.  Hasta luego, my friends.  See you next week.  WEB