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At the Mike
Football season is here time for another surgery
At the Mike - photo by Tribune file photo

A little different look. At the Mike has undergone some minor changes. A little more structure if you will.

Each week I will give a few thoughts and updates on a regular basis. There will be some prep thoughts, a former athlete and/or coach update from Barton as well as something happening on the campus that does not relate to sports.

In addition to those things I will just ramble about other things as well.

As far as sports on the Hill right now, volleyball is the only sport that has started its season. The women’s soccer team will start Friday when No. 17 Iowa Central comes to Barton for a 4 p.m. kick off. The men get things going a couple days later in Salina against the Kansas Wesleyan JV.

Cross country and golf will both start competitive schedules in September. Baseball and softball both have fall seasons but they are not competitive seasons.

Prep thoughts

Football season in this area should be pretty darn exciting this year. Great Bend High School will be under the direction of second year coach Tony Crough. While there will be some good seniors and some solid sophomores it is the junior class that will make-or-break the Panthers this year.

This class has been winning regularly as they have progressed up the ladder from fourth grade youth football to now big-time varsity roles. While the team’s best season may still be a year away, look for some big strides this year for the Panthers.

As far as a class winning at every step, it is this year’s senior class at Larned that has done that. Now it is time to see if they can do it on Friday night.

Larned doesn’t get an easy start to the year with a trip to Hoisington. Hoisington really improved as the season went along last year and should be a tough foe for teams this year. The two will battle during the Labor Day Weekend festivities in Hoisington so look for a large and loud crowd at Elton Brown Field.

For a pair of 8-man teams in the area look for some great things. Central Plains, well, they are Central Plains and you can bet they will be in contention for another title.

Just to the east a few miles look out for Ellinwood. The Eagles spent a year getting the hang of 8-man football and with some superb athletes coming back, look for some big things out of the Eagles this season.

Former Athlete/Coach update

The Legends Football League season came to an over the weekend with the Chicago Bliss and ChrisDell Harris losing in the title game. The Seattle Mist defeated Chicago, 27-21, to win the title over the defending champion Bliss in the Legends Cup 2015.

Harris once again had a huge year. She ran for 320 yard in her five games and scored an FFL high nine rushing touchdowns. Her 320 yards were fourth in the league but three of the four players in front of her played in six games. Harris missed one game this year. She averaged 6.5 yards per carry, second best in the league.

Chicago was a perfect 5-0 in the regular season then won its opening playoff game before losing for the first time all year in the title game.

Around campus

The Shafer Gallery is a good place to make a regular visit every month or two to see what show is going on. The gallery has several good shows throughout the year and right now has one with some local flavor.

Currently a faculty and staff exhibit is taking place along with a few other local artists. The featured artists are Barton ceramics instructor Bill Forst and former USD educator and long-time private class teacher Louise Fenn.

Forst has a feature of recent ceramic works on display. Fenn, an art teacher in Great Bend many moons ago as well as a recent teacher assistant recently in the district, has several different types of works on display.

The gallery is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Come take a peek.

And finally

Next week my wife goes under the knife for the third time in a year for a knee injury. Who would have thought riding a jet ski would have turned into such an ordeal. But, lo and behold, she tore her ACL a year ago on the Fourth of July at Waconda Lake.

From there it wasn’t until October when surgery was recommended – during football season none the less. But, it was set for a Thursday, which should not get in the way of Friday football officiating for me.

But no. It was moved back a day and I was forced to miss a Friday game – my first miss in 14 years. I forgave her for that after a while.

While that took care of the ACL, there were still some issues with the knee that required a scope in late June. Evidently the first scope wasn’t good enough since another scope on her right knee is set for Wednesday – again during football season. What are these doctors thinking?

Let’s hope it’s not pushed back a day again. It would move it to the opening cross country meet of the season for my daughter as Great Bend hosts its annual event at the Lake Barton Course.

Everyone pray this one takes care of it. For mine and our daughter’s sake as well as hers.