LARNED — Dandy Don Meredith used to break out in song, late in a football game, when one team had the upper hand on Monday Night Football with “Turn Out The Lights, The Party’s Over”.
I thought about that this past Monday evening while tuning in to the current version of Monday Night Football. It just doesn’t have the same feeling it used to have.
From 1970 through 2005, ABC televised Monday Night Football. In the early days Don Meredith, Frank Gifford and Howard “Tell It Like It Is” Cosell made it an event to not be missed by all football fans. It was THE game of the week. It was a happening!
Now ESPN televises the game and though they use the same music, and even more hoopla, it has become like whipping an old horse trying to make it trot when it just doesn’t have it anymore. Monday they served us not just a football game but TWO of them, beaming out football late into the night. That was preceded by a game on Thursday evening, non-stop NFL games on Sunday from morning til night and, later, we’ll get pro games on Saturday afternoons and even an occasional Friday night to conflict with high school games.
Hey, I am as big a football fan as there is but too much of a good thing is … a good thing. Too much steak, too much lobster, too much vacation. Too much of anything is not good and we’ve reached that point with televised professional football games. We’ve overdosed on a good thing.
Monday Night Football was once special. Not anymore. Turn out the lights, the party’s over.
• Great Bend vs. Ulysses
Great Bend’s football opponent Friday evening moves up from 3A (Hoisington) to 4A (Ulysses). The change is bigger than just that.
The Tigers are a football team to be reckoned with, regardless of classification. That Ulysses lost to Liberal 56-41 should not be taken lightly. Liberal is a vastly improved ball club this year and the Tigers gave them all they could handle. Ulysses annually plays a “Big Boy” schedule, so they won’t be intimidated by playing in Great Bend.
The Panthers had 204 yards rushing from senior running back Johnny Allende against Hoisington, but the Tigers will put up a much stiffer defense.
Still, the Panthers will need more than 100 yards from the running back position to win. It should be quite a battle of running backs between Allende and Ulysses’ sophomore phenom Ian Rudzik who rushed for nearly 1,200 yards last year as just a freshman. ... Great Bend 27, Ulysses 21
• Larned vs. Ellinwood
The Larned Indians take the field Friday night against Ellinwood in unfamiliar territory: They are the favorite! That hasn’t happened too many times over the past 10 years. Coming off of a fine offensive performance in a 37-29 defeat of a solid Ellsworth team, the Indians need to polish their game, cut down on mistakes and silly penalties and take advantage of some obvious mismatches against the Eagles.
Senior quarterback Easton Palmer gave an all-conference performance against Ellsworth with 182 yards passing and 160 yards rushing. That will need to continue for the Indians to have a winning season. The Indians’ defense showed promise of making fans forget the defensive nightmares of the past two or three seasons. Ellinwood is coming off of a loss to Thomas More Prep-Marian in a league game, 24-8, continuing a winless season from 2012. That won’t change this week as Larned has too much offensive firepower. ... Larned 39, Ellinwood 13
• K-State, KU win?
Kansas State hosts the Massachusetts Minutemen and Kansas travels to Rice. Somehow we ought to make Minute Rice out of all of this!
Instead, for a huge change of pace, how about victories for BOTH teams this week? Kansas State 45, UMass 13, Kansas with their best outing in a couple of years. ... Kansas 33, Rice 20
Charles Tabler is a contributing writer from Larned