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At the Mike: Homecoming season is ready to hit
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At the Mike

Week four of the fall sports season is here. That means schools will begin rolling through homecoming events in the upcoming weeks.

Ahh the fun of homecoming. I remember my senior year of football homecoming was the only game we won. While that one win didn’t make our season, it did make homecoming fun.

Sometimes we who work games each week as officials or administrators, media or other aspects week after week, year after year take homecoming for granted - evendors look at it as a distraction. We shouldn’t. It is a special time for the students and we should remember that.

Prep thoughts

The Ellinwood Eagles are pretty much just where they want to be. Sure it would be nice to be 3-0, but a 38-12 loss to Victoria – the No. 1 team in D-II – is no ugly mark. After all, the Knights have also beaten a powerful Central Plains team this year.

So the Eagles, in their second year of 8-man football, find themselves at 2-1 looking at a good chance to go 3-1 against a winless Macksville team.

Then it really gets fun. Macksville is the first of six district games to close out the season. For Ellinwood to earn a post-season berth, they would need at least four and most likely five wins in those six games.

It’s not going to be easy. For the Eagles to get to the post season the road will most likely go through Solomon and Claflin in pair of games against No. 3 Solomon and No. 2 Central Plains. Ellinwood will play Solomon Oct. 2 then Central Plains Oct. 16.

Former athlete/coach update

It is safe to say Barton track and field has a hefty reputation. World class athletes and several top coaches have rolled through the college. But the beginning can pretty much be traced to Dennis Shaver.

Shaver coached the Cougars from 1985-91. During that time Barton accumulated eight NJCAA Championships and achieved the first NJCAA ‘triple crown’ with a sweep of cross country, indoor and outdoor track during the 90-91 season.

From there he moved to Auburn University to be an assistant for three seasons. Shaver started his career at Louisiana State University in 1995 and took over as head coach at LSU in 2004.

During his time at LSU, Shaver has coached 22 Olympians and six medalist - a few via Barton.

As the head man for the Tigers, his teams – both men and women – have consistently been a Top 5 program both indoors and outdoors. The lowest his men have placed outdoors is seventh with top four efforts in 8 of 11 years. The women won the NJCAA outdoor title in 2008 and 2012.

Shaver has twice been named the NJCAA Coach of the Year.

Around campus

If you haven’t been to the Planetarium on campus recently you have to give it try. It received a nice make-over in April of 2014. The centerpiece of the renovations was a new high-definition digital projection system for the 360-degree dome.

Director Tim Folkerts has a series of presentations throughout each semester. The series runs every other Monday 7-8 p.m. There are five more series set for the fall schedule, starting Oct. 5 with ‘Telescopes’. That will follow two weeks later with ‘Our Solar System’. The series will run through Nov. 30.

And finally

Sometimes a needed smile can come from the most unlikely sources.

My daughter found out Sunday she had lost someone very close to her. It has made for a rough few days at home.

But a needed smile and laugh came thanks to our newest pet. While vacuuming the living room that said newest pet – an 8-month old border terrier-mix named Waffle – leapt from the chair he was sitting in and decided the vacuum was his enemy.

He took off after the vacuum lIke Muhammad Ali in his prime.  Attack and retreat. Regroup. Attack, retreat, regroup. He did this process over and over. By this time I had stopped the actual cleaning of the carpet and was simply moving it back and forth to tease him.

The event brought laughter throughout the house. So for the time being, Waffle, you have a hall pass for eating Daisy’s food, taking stuffed animals from the bed, bringing the rug from the kitchen floor into the living room and all the other puppy moments you have.

The laugh was priceless.