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Tag: st. thomas

What’s in a rivalry game?

by on Oct.01, 2010, under football, Rivalry Week

The Dutchmen's Shoes - the price of the RPI / Union matchup every year.

What school makes your blood boil? When I was in high school (DeLaSalle in Minneapolis) we played a certain private school (Minnehaha Academy) in everything. And beating them was the most important thing in the world. We could be 0-6 on the season in football, soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, whatever sport and we’d have a 50-50 shot to beat them.

This weekend Saint John’s University faces the University of Saint Thomas in Collegeville, Minnesota. Big game. But just how big is it, exactly?

  • For the first time (that I know of) St. Thomas has a higher ranking than St. John’s.
  • The MIAC attendance record for a football game is 13,107 – set on the day of SJU’s head coach John Gagliardi’s 409th career victory – passing Eddie Robinson on the all-time list – November 8, 2003. Last year’s attendance was announced at 12,903. In an email from SJU the crowd is expected to be approximately 15,000.

A prime example of one of those shirts.

Rivalries bring out the best and the worst in fans. Gene McGivern, the UST SID, wrote about the stats this year, and the shirts in a bit of humor in 2006 and again in 2009:

5) Speaking of T-shirts, do you remember that one for the Tommie-Johnnie football game in 1987 that said… (CENSORED)… or the one from the 2000 game that said (CENSORED)… Last fall’s one was pretty good, too, the one with the picture of (CENSORED) that read (CENSORED).

Gene’s a funny guy.

But I don’t want this to be all about the Johnnie/Tommie game this weekend. I’ve been doing some research and there are some fairly important, big rivalries around Division III (on Wikipedia there are 45 listed):

  • The Dutchmen’s Shoes (RPI / Union) – October 30
  • Monon Bell (DePauw / Wabash) – November 13
  • Biggest Little Game in America (Amherst / Williams) – November 13
  • Cortaca Jug (Ithaca / Cortland) – November 13
  • Cereal Bowl (Carleton / St. Olaf) – October 16
  • And many others.

The amazing piece is if you sort the list on Wikipedia, 11 of the 45 rivalries have been going on since the 19th century: The Amherst/Williams rivalry being the oldest in Div III, starting in 1884 (bested by Harvard/Yale and Lafayette/Lehigh in Division I).

The Battle for the Shoes – Occidental / Whittier – October 2

From Occidental College’s website:
Since 1946 the Poets and Tigers have played for a pair of bronzed cleats, worn by 1940 Whittier graduate Myron Claxton, in a rivalry game that has grown to be called the “Battle for the Shoes”.

On the Thursday evening prior to the scheduled meeting of the teams in 1939, members of the Occidental football team stole the All-American running backs shoes from the locker room, forcing Claxton to play in his work boots. Even so, Claxton led the Poets to a 36-0 victory as they went on to win the SCIAC title that year.

Following the game Claxton, who was the final draft pick of the Giants in the 1940 NFL draft, went over to the Oxy sideline and retrieved his shoes, “bringing them home”. Seven years later members of the Franklin Society, which Claxton was a member, had the shoes bronzed and the teams have played for the coveted “Shoes” trophy ever since.

Occidental and Whittier have faced each other an impressive 102 times, and since the introduction of the trophy they are knotted up at 33-33. Oxy holds the advantage historically 52-48-2.

The Drum – Occidental / Pomona-Pitzer – October 30
The third-oldest rivalry on the west coast, this dates back to 1895. They have played for The Drum since 1941, after the alumni associations of each school came up with the idea. Oxy holds this advantage 60-48-3.

Monon Bell – DePauw / Wabash – November 13
The third-oldest rivalry in the Midwest, this one dates back to 1890. I cannot do this game justice. Because it is held on the final day of the season it hasn’t been one I’ve been able to get to in years past. It’s only 10 hours from Minneapolis, maybe this is the year I go. Who wants to come with? Wabash leads 54-53-9

Carleton walks with the Goat after defeating St. Olaf in 2008. Photo by Pat Coleman, D3football.com

Cereal Bowl – the Battle for the goat – Carleton / St. Olaf – October 16
I won’t try to rephrase anything that Pat Coleman wrote in 2008 about this cross-town battle between liberal arts colleges in Northfield, Minn. This year the game is scheduled to be held in Laird Stadium, which only in the last few days has begun to be relieved of water from the flooding Cannon River. Will it be moved to St. Olaf or played at Northfield H.S. (as Carleton’s homecoming will be played this weekend)? Time will tell.
This match-up is stranger than it looks, too, as they played the only NCAA-sanctioned football game in metric in 1977 (the Oles won that game 43-0). St. Olaf leads the series 46-42-1.

Coe vs Cornell – November 13
While they don’t play for a trophy, or a big-title game, this match-up is the oldest west of the Mississippi River, dating back to 1891. There’s some debate over who won their 1902 game, so it’s either Coe’s lead at 65-59-4 or 64-60-4 65-50-4 or 64-51-4. Read more in a 1999 D3football.com Around the Nation column.

What are your rivalries all about? We know there are more, I can only write so much before I cannot keep my notes straight so I ask that you include your own rivalries, or simply expand on mine.

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Way to use your head!

by on Sep.27, 2010, under football, How it's done, IIAC, Insights, MIAC, soccer, sports, UMAC

Around the gridiron the phrase using your head is often associated with a direct helmet-to-helmet hit. Something that is neither a good thing to do or witness, and may send chills down the backs of the spectators, coaches, officials and sports medicine staff.

I was witness to a Monmouth (Ill.) player who took such a hard hit against St. John’s (Minn.) in the opening round of the 2005 playoffs that play was stopped for at least a half hour after being knocked unconscious and he had a seizure on the field. He was taken by stretcher to an ambulance off the side of the stadium where he was kept until after the game, when he had regained feeling in his toes, and spent a few days in a St. Cloud hospital.

Click thumbnail to see full shot

This past weekend I witnessed a potentially similar scenario play out as a Central Dutch linebacker made a delayed hit on the just out-of-bounds on Coe receiver Andrew Squires. While it appeared that Squires was not injured on the apparent helmet-on-helmet hit, the linebacker was spoken to by an official and Coe head coach Steve Stalker shared his dislike for the contact with the official. Nothing came of the play in the rulings on the field, however.

So that’s the harrowing side of the use of one’s head in a game. We’d like to highlight to fun, exciting and remarkable side of the subject: Having the wherewithal in the game to make an outstanding decision at a key moment that seals the victory or turns the tables, or is just simply remarkable.

Their head is in the game and the pivotal play comes to, well, “mind”.

A sequence set of Mellick's forced fumble-turned-touchback on Saturday.

Coe’s Dillon Mellick did just that a few minutes earlier in the game. Central’s Mike Furlong had caught a pass inside the Coe red zone and he had Mellick beat by a step. But he stepped up, forcing the ball out of Furlong’s hands which bounced out on the five yard line and bounced into the back of the endzone for a Cohawk touchback.

As Mellick told the Cedar Rapids Gazette:

“I got burned on it,” the senior from Waukon said. “But I could see he was holding the ball wide, so I just went for it all and got it.”

That heads-up decision, with the score 30-28 in Coe’s favor, helped seal the victory. They padded it later with a touchdown and timely interception with less than two minutes remaining. No. 9 Coe held on to defeat No. 7 Central 37-28.

There is more to it than just making a great play

St Scholastica's Greg Doornink (4) heads the ball over St Thomas' Mike Hutton (22) on Sept. 21.

St Scholastica's Greg Doornink (4) heads the ball over St Thomas' Mike Hutton (22) on Sept. 21.

In soccer, using your head has a different connotation: using your head to make a header. That’s where this blog came to on Thursday afternoon while covering the St. Thomas vs. St. Scholastica men’s soccer match. As Matt Milless wrote last week in “Did you get that?” finding that stop-action photo that makes you look at it in wonder and amazement, such as the header, is very difficult to capture consistently, if at all, for periods of time.

We, as photographers, may make it look easy, that we get those photos a lot if you look at our best works; but at d3photography.com we strive on the quality of the work we publish, not the quantity of the photos we take at an event. I don’t mean to generalize wire photographers here, but there are many who will fire off many thousands of photos in a quarter of football, half of soccer or basketball or a period of a hockey game just to have that “perfect” shot for the game. They may take 1,000-2,500 photos in a given window of a game and run one, two, 10 or 20 photos in a gallery online, a couple of pictures in the next publication – if space allows.

Our photographers work to include all the relevant photos from a game for news purposes, but also for the purposes of the fans to see, and have a memory of the game.

In the St. Thomas vs. St. Scholastica match from last week, out of the 193 photos published in our photo gallery I had 19 photos of attempted headers. Most of them were spot on (by the players) and the looks on their faces and the displacement of the air in the ball is apparent.

As you will see on the right, a “perfect header photo” (just like a perfect slapshot, baseball liner, basketball jumpshot) is right when the ball shows no displacement of air.

But who really wants to see a perfectly shaped ball, anyway?

Go inside to more photos from our photographers

(continue reading…)

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