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Basketball season nears, football winds down and reminiscing about a Hall of Famer
At the Mike
Mike - At the Mike
Mike Marzolf

The balls are aired up. The volleyball net is down. Basketball season is dadgum near here.


Practice starts Monday. 3:45. Running will take place. Dribbling will take place. Shooting will take place. There will be sweating.


I begin the fourth season as the coach of the Chase Lady Kats. We lost some good seniors but we have a good core back this season. 


We also have a new league. Gone are the trips to Mankato, Kensington and Courtland. Now it’s Ellinwood, La Crosse and Ness City. Much shorter trips. That’s good.


The last two seasons the Lady Kats have won 10 combined games - including a playoff game each season. It’s been a while since that has happened in this neck of the woods. It’s my hope to build on that this year.


I can’t wait. Basketball season is dadgum near here.


Prep football predictions


It was a 3-0 week for predictions last week. It was almost 2-1 and I’d been okay with that. For the year, the mark is now 69-9 for 88 percent.


Great Bend nearly pulled off the upset. I think Kapaun is headed to the state title game from the West side of 5A. The Panthers nearly pulled it out, losing 36-34. It was the best game Great Bend played all season and perhaps the best game GBHS played in a number of years. Man oh man. Kudos to this group. Oh, and look out for the next few years. Even though a great group of seniors will be gone, the cupboard is far from bare. Far from it.


Central Plains also saw their season come to an end. I knew South Central was playing some pretty good football and I thought they would win this one but I didn’t think it would be 58-12. 


Finally, Hoisington got more of a challenge than the final score shows. Beloit used 7 minutes on the opening drive to go up 6-0. The game was still 14-6 into the 4th quarter. The Cardinals got a touchdown on an interception return and blocked punt return for a TD in the final quarter. The better team clearly won, but it wasn’t as bad as the score shows.


Now for the test of Southeast of Saline. I saw this team earlier against Ellsworth. They are good. Very good. It will be by far the biggest challenge of the season for the Cardinals. Beloit was probably the best team they have played to date.


Kingman did score 28 on Southeast last week. That is by far the most the Trojans have given up. The game is at Hoisington. Last year in Gypsum, Southeast won 44-21. I’d like to pick the Cardinals. I hope they win. But my gut tells me Southeast is on the way to the state championship game this year.


And Finally


Congratulations to Great Bend High product and now Fort Hays State Hall of Famer Shawn Behr. Shawn was inducted into the Fort Hays Hall a couple of Saturday’s ago.


A well deserved honor. For anyone around that 1995 team, it was a memorable season.


I was writing for the Hays Daily News when Shawn took the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference by storm. Well, him and perhaps the best group of receivers the school has seen. Shoot, might just be the best group of receivers NCAA DII has even seen.


In his only season as quarterback of the Tigers, Behr threw for 3497 yards and 34 touchdowns. He completed 211-of-365 passes. All but rewrote the Fort Hays record books at the time.


The receiving corps of Lance Schwindt (who could run like a deer), Xavier Brown, Khan Powell and Frankie Martin were unmatched. Schwindt was also a track star who went deep in the Denver Broncos training camp. Powell and Brown played Arena League football. 


Behr actually walked on the previous year (a long story) and played like one down to lose his eligibility for that season. His senior season was a gem to watch.


I remember in the first game this big fella wearing number 34 trotted out to play quarterback. Yes, 34. It was like, what in the world? But the QB numbers didn’t fit. The rest, as they say, is history.


My buddy Steve Webster, also in the Fort Hays Hall of Fame, did the games on the radio. I helped with some color commentary and wrote for the Hays Daily. I witnessed every game, home and away, that season.


I remember at New Mexico Highlands, he torched them for nearly 400 yards. One of the things I remember most was going to Adams State in Alamosa, Colo. and walking on the field. I swear the grass was almost halfway up my shin. Anything teams could do to slow down the Tigers’ speed and vaunted passing attack. Fort Hays scored 50 in that game.


I’m usually not a fan of 1-year players making the Hall of Fame. But in this case, what Behr did that season can not go unrecognized. He was a 1st team All-American for the Tigers that season. Schwindt was also a 1st team All-American that year (15 receiving TDs). They finished 8-2-2, tying Western State for the RMAC title. 


Fort Hays tied Pittsburg State early in the year. Pitt State finished as the national runner-up that season. During a 5-game stretch late, the Tigers scored 51, 62, 50, 56, and 47. To this day that is my favorite Fort Hays team. And it’s not close. Well, the ‘93 team is kind of close but doesn’t measure up.


I still remember several names from that team and even run into some during Friday night football. Many of the studs were Kansas kids. Clint Bedore (Stockton), Jeremy Hawk (Norton), and Keith Eck (Andale) were absolute studs. Mike Lankas (Atwood), Scott Karl (Hays) were also defensive stalwarts. 


I still run across both Bedore and Hawks. Bedore is the AD at Stockton and Hawks on the coaching staff at Norton. The head coach at Norton, Lucas Melvin, also played on that team.


What a fun football season 1995 was at Fort Hays State. Congratulations Shawn. Well deserved honor.