Archive for Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Impending consolidation would end Kansas rivalry

November 13, 2002

Bygones probably will have to be bygones for two northeast Kansas schools next year. St. Mary's and Rossville, two communities less than an hour west on U.S. Highway 24-40, likely will consolidate next fall. Although, residents are balking at the move, the district is expected to form one school next year.

Much hoopla surrounded the schools when the two met for what was to be the last football meeting earlier this fall. Rossville won that game, but the two rivals met again Nov. 5. Rossville entered the game at 7-2, while St. Mary's, which will be losing its high school, was 5-4. St. Mary's opened with a 20-6 lead, but the Dawgs came back for the 34-20 win.

Now 9-2, RHS will take on Cherryvale (9-2) on Saturday in Rossville. For the St. Mary's Bears, a quick jaunt along U.S. 24 on Saturday can allow them one more glimpse at who they probably will be calling teammates next year.

The schools aren't wasting away by any means. With 148 students in grades freshman through junior, Rossville is a 3A school, as is St. Mary's with 136. Together, they would build a decent Class 4A program with 284 students. This year's cutoff for 4A was 219, while Tonganoxie had 380.

Consolidation seems strange for these towns, but with the tight budget problems all schools are tackling, the district might be better off with the larger school.

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Every once in a while, sports quenches our thirst for a truly humanitarian moment.

Coaches from two southern Ohio schools certainly were the Gatorade for our dry mouths recently.

Northwest coach Dave Frantz spoke with Waverly coach Derek DeWitt about their teams' upcoming clash. Frantz asked DeWitt about letting one of his players take a knee uncontested on one play if the game was out of reach.

Northwest senior Jake Porter, who suffers from Chromosomonal Fragile-X, a common cause of inherited mental retardation, had never taken an official snap. The player was always at practice and always suited up in full gear on Fridays, but never took a snap.

But that changed when Northwest and Waverly met for what could become a Rudy sequel of sorts. After calling a timeout with five seconds left in the game and his team down 42-0, Frantz spoke with DeWitt about what they had discussed earlier in the week. Porter would go in, take a knee and he'd have his moment in the spotlight.

That spotlight would become much brighter after DeWitt told Frantz they would let Porter run for a touchdown. After clearing the plan with the officials, an amazing play was about to unfold.

Players from both schools parted at midfield, allowing a gap Moses could have made his way through. Porter was confused at first, prepared to take a knee just as he'd practice all week.

After heading to the line of scrimmage once, then turning back, he then charged 49 yards all alone for his first score ever.

The play would be his last in football pads, but as anyone who caught the footage on ESPN could see, the run truly was an historical moment.

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Not all athletes are finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Cross country runners from Southwestern College in Winfield recently ran down a shoplifter escaping from a retail store near one of their venues this fall.

After the fast-footed athletes tracked down the thief, they let him go after he agreed to give up the box of shoes he had taken. Unfortunately, the shoes in the box were actually his former kicks.

But, the suspect did leave behind his billfold, which was pretty helpful in finding him.

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