Monday, October 28, 2013

FTA Solicits Proposals for Emergency Response and Recovery Demonstrations

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is soliciting proposals for emergency response and recovery demonstrations for transportation. There is a cost-sharing or matching requirement with the proposal. The award ceiling is $5,000,000 while the floor is $500,000. Eligible applicants include small businesses, non-profits, tribal organizations and governments, local cities, state, and county governments, and higher education institutions. Proposals will be accepted from providers of public transportation, state and local governmental entities, departments, agencies and instrumentalities of the government, institutions of higher education including technical and community colleges, and private or non-profit organizations. Substantial partnerships are encouraged with entities that can add value and expertise to the project.

Funds are available for cooperative agreements to engage in the demonstration of innovative technologies, methods, practices, and techniques in operational safety, infrastructure or equipment resiliency, and all-hazards emergency response and recovery methods.

The proposal was posted on Monday, October 24th. Deadline for application is December 1st, 2013.

Worth County Sheriff's Report

10-21 -- Officer does bailiff duty for court.
10-21 -- Received report of possible breakin at a vacant house in Grant City; officer investigates.
10-21 -- Banderas Company (TX) calls reference former Worth County resident applying for a job.
10-21 -- Officer transports prisoner to Ringgold County Jail.
10-22 -- Officer investigates domestic in Grant City.
10-22 -- Received report of items stolen from Allendale business.
10-22 -- Officer issues two traffic tickets to individuals.
10-23 -- Report of cow out one mile south of Grant City on 169.
10-23 -- Officers directing funeral traffic.
10-23 -- Report of lost or stolen tools from resident's truck.
10-23 -- Officer investigates domestic dispute in Grant City.
10-23 -- Officer investigates report of prowler in south part of Grant City.
10-24 -- Report of tools and tool boxes missing from garage in Grant City.
10-24 -- Report of controlled burn at Seat Wildlife Area.
10-24 -- MSHP and Juvenile Office in to do investigation on a juvenile.
10-24 -- Report of lost or stolen truck plate.
10-25 -- Person in with car keys found on square in Grant City.
10-25 -- Person calls about loan company making threats.
10-25 -- Reports of hay bale partly blocking 46 highway east of Sheridan; Sheridan Fire Department clears road.
10-25 -- Report of shots fired at Denver residence; people sighting in rifle.
10-25 -- Officer investigates report of car taken without permission; car located; owner does not file charges at this time.
10-25 -- Report of dog bits in Grant City; owner notified of 10 day confinement and confirmed rabies shots.
10-26 -- Report of vandalism to truck in Grant City.
10-26 -- Report of cattle out north of Grant City.
10-26 -- Report of C&I driving on Lyon Ave. in Worth County.

Richard Baker Steps Down from 'Lil Tigers

Richard Baker announced that he was stepping down as President of the 'Lil Tigers, the franchise that he had founded. He had served for the last seven years. The franchise started from scratch and is now giving Worth County and Northeast Nodaway kids the opportunity to learn football fundamentals so that they will be ready for high school and junior high. The teams have been highly competitive playing against much larger schools and despite playing 11 man football instead of 8 man.

At this year's banquet, Baker thanked the parents for their time and commitment as well as the cheerleaders. Worth County has regularly formed the largest cheer squad in the whole league under the direction of Sheila Hunt, who has been with the organization for seven years as well. There were 28 kids from Worth County and Northeast Nodaway out for cheerleading this year. Baker said that Worth County consistently had the largest following of any of the teams and thanked everyone who had helped host the football games this year.

The senior squad this year started out short of numbers, with 15 players out this year. That meant that players had to play out of position and many others had to play both sides of the ball. While their 2-5 record this year was not what had been hoped, "We came a long ways in the last three years," said assistant coach Adam McIntyre. "I'm still proud of them," said Coach Dave Brown, who laid his hands on each kids' shoulder and had something positive to say about each of them. There were some first-year players on the squad who picked up the game quickly and were able to make some contributions to this year's team. The team did set a record for the longest pass play from scrimmage, a 75-yard strike from Hunter Simmons to Chance Barbar against Lamoni.

The junior squad had 22 players out this year, which bodes well for the future. They went 3-3 for the year despite not having a lot of size and starting from square one. They developed a breakaway threat in Alex Rinehart, younger brother of Caleb Parman. Cooper Simmons established himself as a force on defense, getting into the backfield regularly.

Following the banquet, the teams and cheerleaders watched highlight pictures from the season.

Whoever takes over from Baker will have some big shoes to fill. The senior squad started their initial year winless; however, fittingly enough, their first win in franchise history was against Albany in their second year. From there, they had a good run of success and they were always a threat to challenge for the title even against the likes of Mount Ayr. The players who went through the system first are already showing fruits. The juniors on the varsity squad this year were on the first 'Lil Tigers squad that did not win a game. However, all the hard work is paying off as the varsity Tigers are now 6-3 despite battling a lot of injuries and adversity this year. This year's juniors have come a long ways from going 0-6 in their first year of playing competitive football seven years ago. And several sophomores are already making positive contributions to the varsity squad.

Paxson Bridge Nearing Completion

The Paxson Bridge is nearing completion; Road & Bridge Foreman Jim Fletchall said at Monday's regular commission meeting that the goal was to finish it by next week. Concrete for the bridge has been poured. After the job is done, commissioners and Fletchall will take a tour and prioritize future projects. The Cook Bridge needs repair while the Rinehart Bridge, a long-standing problem for the county, is undercutting again requiring culverts to stop it from washing out even more. The county is in the process of getting needed materials.

Other jobs include repairs arising from previous work. An old railroad road near Worth needs rock on it after the county had taken out a tube that was put in to control water. Another road near Worth needed a fence put back in after the county had taken it out while digging a grader ditch.

The county commission voted to solicit snow removal bids for the Courtyard as well as emergency snow removal bids for county roads in the event of a snow emergency.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tigers Honor Eight Seniors, Bury Tarkio 58-26

Worth County honored three football players, five band members, and one cheerleader before beating Tarkio 58-26 on their senior night. The first half was close with a lot of momentum changes. However, Worth County broke the game open in the third quarter following a goal line stand that kept Tarkio from tying or taking the lead. From the band, seniors Claire Andrews, Brianna Fletchall, Kayla Martell, Katie Mullock, and Clayton Ross were honored. Brianna was also honored as a cheerleader and cheered in her last regular season home game Friday. Playing in their last regular season home game were Lane Craven, Wyatt Rush, and Andrew Mullock.

Coach Chris Healy made several adjustments following the Stanberry loss, going to a lot more two-tight end sets and did a lot more running plays (only four pass attempts for the whole game). The punt formation was changed, with Wyatt Rush taking over long snapping duties and Ben Badell handling punting chores for the Tigers.

Tarkio did all they could to stop the run, but it didn't matter. They stacked seven men in the box and had only one safety, which resulted in a lot of losses and no-gains for the Tigers. They were moving and shifting around on defense a lot, causing a few false start penalties. However, when Worth County was able to get by the initial onslaught, they were able to gash Tarkio's defense for some long gains. Wyatt Rush had 31 carries for 249 yards, putting him over the 1,000 yard mark this year. Andrew Mullock followed with 17 carries for 85 yards; Brevyn Ross followed with three carries for 43 yards. Worth County rushed for nearly 400 yards for the night.

Defensively, after giving up some big plays in the first half, Worth County pitched a shutout in the second half as they played their best half of the year. Tarkio presented some matchup problems with their tall receivers, meaning that they came away with some catches even when Worth County was covering them perfectly. However, quarterback Michael McMahon misfired on a lot of his passes and was only 12 for 32 for the night.

With the win, Worth County clinched their 20th straight winning season. They have not had a losing season since 1993, when then-coach Mark Fletcher was just getting started. The Tigers had a formidable passing attack, but they were able to use an improved defense and an improved running game to jump to an 8-2 record in 1994 and a state title in 1995.

The game was a district game for both teams. A win by Tarkio would have vaulted them ahead of Worth County in the standings; since the teams were 2-3, Worth County would have had to make a trip to Tarkio. As it stands, the Tigers will host Tarkio again in two weeks as they both get byes. The winner will likely travel to Rock Port, who faces either North Nodaway or West Nodaway in the second round of districts.

Neither side could do anything with their first possession, but Tarkio used a 59 yard screen pass from Michael McMahon to Jordan Riley to set up their first score with 9:34 left, a 5 yard keeper. Brevyn Ross made a good one on one tackle to stop the extra points.

Worth County went three and out on their next series, but after a 12-yard power sweep by McMahon to midfield, the Indians stalled there as McMahon was misfiring on his passes and missing some open receivers as Tarkio gave up the ball on downs. Worth County took advantage as Wyatt Rush got carries of 12 and 11 yards to the Indian 19. Six plays later, Wyatt Rush was in the end zone with 3:41 left in the first quarter. Wyatt then ran in a counter play to put the Tigers up 8-6. But Tarkio went right back in front before the end of the first quarter. Worth County seemingly had Tarkio stopped on fourth and long when the always-dangerous Blaine Lambert caught a pass over the middle, broke a tackle, and was off to the races for a 38-yard score. Connor Shaw caught the extra point pass to make it 14-8 shortly before the end of the first quarter.

Neither side could score on their next possession as Gavin Hawk blew up a screen pass to keep the Indians from doing any damage, but then Worth County blocked a punt and that gave then the break they needed to take the lead as they got the ball in good field position at the Tarkio 39. Wyatt Rush ripped off three carries of 11, 24, and 4 to get into the end zone with 5:00 left to tie it up with five minutes left. Lane Craven atoned for a drop earlier in the game by catching a tough extra point pass to put Worth County in front for good at 16-14.

Worth County got a momentum changing play two plays later when Tarkio had a shotgun snap whistle past McMahon. It caromed off one of the Tarkio players scrambling for it into the end zone, where Wyatt Rush pounced on it for a score for Worth County. Wyatt then pushed one of his own linemen out of the way to get the extra points to make it two scores at 24-14.

Once again, Worth County seemingly had Tarkio stopped on fourth down and once again, Tarkio beat them with a big play as Deaven Tunnell caught one over the middle and there was no help available as he ran untouched into the end zone from 37 yards out to make it 24-20. Andrew Mullock broke up the extra point pass.

The Tigers got the ball back with 2:03 left in the half at their own 31 and Wyatt Rush had a quick hitter go for 23 yards to set up Worth County's final score of the half. From there, Worth County ran time off the clock to leave Tarkio with as little time as possible while getting chunks of yards. Wyatt was stopped inches short of the goal line with 9.4 seconds left in the half, but Worth County still had a time out to use and they took it. Finally, Ben Badell broke the plane with 6.9 seconds left to make it 32-20. That was seeming enough, but then Worth County overran Jacob Masonbrink on the kickoff and he took it 75 yards to the house with no time remaining to swing the momentum back to Tarkio, bringing them to within 32-26.

Worth County got the ball to start the second half, but they were stopped inches short of the first down at the Tarkio three and gave up the ball on downs. Tarkio moved down the field, using a 37-yard pass to Tunnell to get out of the hole and caught a 26-yard pass to move it to the Tiger 11. Jordan Riley optioned it all the way to the 2 following a Tarkio timeout; that set up third and one. But then Wade Rush responded with a tackle for a loss as McMahon unsuccessfully tried to sneak for a first down or a score and he was dropped back to the 5. On fourth down, Brevyn Ross, who was burned earlier in the drive, broke up what would have been a sure touchdown pass to Tunnell to give Worth County the ball back on downs.

Wyatt Rush took a simple dive play and took it 55 yards to the Indian 24. He made a rare miscue at the end of the run, getting called for a 15-yard facemask that brought it back to the 39. Worth County was seemingly stalled there, but then on fourth down, Coach Chris Healy put Brevyn Ross in the Wildkat formation. Tarkio apparently thought he was going to punt it, but thought wrong as Brevyn took the snap and ran it in from 38 yards out to make it 38-26.

Brevyn Ross broke up a pass on the next series and then McMahon threw behind an open receiver on the next play. He tried a draw on third and long, but Wyatt Rush and Gavin Hawk contained perfectly and stopped him for a one yard gain and they were forced to punt.

Worth County was stuck with third and long at the 37, but then Ben Badell optioned the Tigers out of trouble, picking up 17 yards to the 28 for a first down. Andrew Mullock's first down run put the Tigers on the 17. They then overcame a pair of false starts as Wyatt Rush was seemingly stood up after a short gain from the 18 with five red shirts trying to bring him down. But all of a sudden, Wyatt broke free for an 18 yard score to make it 44-26 with 9:25 left.

The real backbreaker came on the next play. It was not planned out that way, but kicker Josh Warner shanked the ensuing kick, which rolled free at the Indian 36. Gavin Hawk pounced on it for the Tigers and they had a free possession to use. Tarkio called a timeout to regroup, but it didn't matter as Wyatt Rush ripped off a 33-yard run to set up a 1 yard score with 8:24 left. Wade Rush ran in the extra points to make it 52-26.

Warner shanked another kick and Worth County nearly recovered it again, but it caromed off Brevyn Ross and out of bounds at the Indian 25. But Brevyn atoned for butterfingering the squib kick by picking off a tipped ball and returning it to the Tiger 16. Worth County was seemingly stalled at the 9, but following a timeout, Coach Chris Healy put Brevyn in the Wildkat formation again and he converted for a 9 yard score with 5:07 left to make it 58-26.

Dean Trune Gives Talk at Sheridan Christian Church

Dean Trune, life coach, teacher, and author, gave a talk at Sheridan Christian Church over the weekend. He had a simple message for members -- prayer drives everything else, including church growth. He told the Express that God had called him to his vocation. He is coaching 10 people and is working on his fourth book. He travels a lot speaking to interesting churches and organizations. He is from Okemos, Michigan, near East Lansing. That town is named after an Indian chief from that area.

Trune graduated from the University of Michigan, after which he worked for General Motors for 12 years. After that, he received a calling to go into ministry; he was a campus minister at Michigan State for many years.

He encouraged people to pursue God passionately and to be obedient to God and to let God take care of the consequences. He met current minister Jeff Blaine at a workshop at Ozark Christian College. Among topics of discussion were spiritual warfare as well as the church's greatest need. There was also a concert of prayer. Trune said that the difference between a praying church and a church that doesn't pray is simple -- in one, God is honored; in the other, people are trying to get themselves honored. "It all has to be about God," he said.

He is married to wife Bonnie. They have two children and two grandchildren. He said that he was planning to retire and move to Phoenix, where he can be closer to his children and grandchildren.

Around 600 Attend Caleb Adwell Fundraiser

Around 600 people attended the Caleb Adwell fundraiser Saturday night. Caleb, son of Shane and Jennifer Adwell of Ravenwood, was diagnosed with a rare form of a cancerous brain tumor. The benefit consisted of a free will donation supper along with a silent auction. There were long lines for both the food table as well as the auction table. Numerous area businesses donated goods and services to the cause.

Shane, Caleb's father, told the Express that he was grateful for the community support and that it meant a lot. Proceeds will go to pay for Caleb's medical expenses as well as other bills that are coming in. Shane Adwell said that Caleb was getting a little better and was hoping that he would be home this week.

Another fundraiser is being planned to help the Adwells. Mike's Ramblin' Country is planning a fundraiser concert on November 10th (Sunday) from 2-5 that afternoon. It will be held at the Gentry Lions Hall. There will be a $5 cover charge for the band, a 50/50 drawing, and a free will dinner.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

US House Passes Bill to Require Background Checks for School Employees

A bill which passed the US House by voice vote Tuesday would require background checks for prospective school employees. There are already background check requirements in Missouri and most states. However, the stated purpose is to create uniform standards. The title of the bill is the "Protecting Students from Sexual and Violent Predators Act."
All schools that receive federal funding, including Worth County and Northeast Nodaway, would be required to conduct checks that consist of a search of the state criminal registry in the state where the prospective employee resides and has previously resided, a search of state-based child abuse and neglect registries, an FBI fingerprint check, and a search of the National Sex Offender Registry.
The law, if passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama, would prohibit the employment of an individual as a school employee if such individual refuses to consent to a criminal background check, makes a false statement in connection with such criminal background check, or has been convicted of homicide, child abuse or neglect, crimes against children including child pornography, spousal abuse, crimes involving rape or sexual assault, kidnapping, arson, physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense committed within five years of such individual's criminal background check. Prospective employees would be disqualified if they have been convicted of any other crime that is a violent or sexual crime against a minor.
Should schools find out that an individual who is disqualified under this law is attempting to apply as a school employee, they would be required to contact law enforcement that such individual has so applied. Criminal background checks would be required to be done again at least once every five years. This is to prevent employees from concealing conviction for a crime in order to avoid being terminated. Each employee who has had a check is required to be provided with a copy of the check. Schools would be required to provide for a timely process for appeal so prospective employees can challenge the accuracy of findings under this law.
This law applies not only to school employees, but employees of other organizations that have a contract to provide services to a school and whose job duty results in access to students.
Rep. George Miller (D-CA), one of the main sponsors of the bill, said on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce website that the General Accounting Office (GAO) found numerous instances in which convicted sex offenders working in schools had targeted children. The GAO found that inconsistent state laws meant that there were major gaps in protection for children. This resulted in schools unknowingly hiring sexual predators. In other cases, the GAO found cases where the school would knowingly allow such an individual to resign instead of reporting them to law enforcement.
"We owe it to our children and their families and to the honorable school officials who follow the rules to ensure that violent adults do not have access to students in our public schools," said Miller on the website.  "Parents have a right to expect that their children are safe in schools and schools have an obligation to fulfill that promise."
During the debate, the one Congressman to express reservations about the bill was Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN), who expressed reservations about the lifetime ban provision. He said in the Congressional Record, “I think it is important that we recognize that when we put barriers to employment that are lifetime bans, that are not sensitive to certain realities as relates to people overcoming criminal backgrounds, and when we put prophylactic rules that don’t account for particular offenses in a nuanced way, we do run the risk of doing a good thing, but doing too much of a thing, and thereby leading to some unexpected and unwanted results.”
The West Memphis Three were three men who were wrongfully convicted of child murders that prosecutors said was part of a satanic ritual in 1993. However, after new forensic evidence surfaced that exonerated them in 2007, the Three struck a plea bargain with prosecutors in 2011 that allowed them to be sentenced for time served as well as 10-year suspended sentences. They entered what is known as an Alford Plea, meaning that they maintained their innocence while acknowledging that the prosecutors had enough evidence to convict them. One of the Memphis Three, Damien Echols, spoke at Northwest Missouri State about his experiences recently. Echols was in death row at one point. Three movies and numerous books were made and written about their case, mostly critical of the prosecution. The popular music group Metallica allowed their music to be used in the movies, one of the few times they have done so.

Justice for Daisy Coleman Protest One of Largest in Nodaway County History

Hundreds of people attended a protest seeking justice for Daily Coleman, who her supporters say was raped by Matthew Barnett and left out in 22 degree weather in front of her house in January of 2012. Nodaway County Prosecutor Robert Rice declined to prosecute the case, which triggered allegations of impropriety. Barnett is the grandson of former State Representative and Highway Patrolman Rex Barnett. Barnett was 17 and Coleman 14 at the time. The case triggered a national uproar following a recent piece by the Kansas City Star, the cumulation of a long investigation by that paper. It resulted in attacks from the hacktivist group Anonymous, including a twitterstorm, massive negative reviews and harassing phone calls directed at Maryville businesses, and Rex Barnett's personal information being posted on Twitter.

The case received attention from national media and there were many media trucks camped out on the Nodaway County Square last week. CNN was there, along with several Kansas City TV trucks and camera crews. At Tuesday night's protest, ABC and FOX News were there and a news helicopter from KMBC Channel 9 flew overhead to film the protest. Many other TV crews were there as well.

As a result of the uproar, Prosecutor Rice requested Judge Glenn Dietrich to appoint another prosecutor to look at the case, which Judge Dietrich has done. However, the protest went on as scheduled, with organizers wanting to raise awareness of rape and attacking what they called the "rape culture" they say is much too common in the country.

The protest was one of the biggest protests in Nodaway County history, with people numbering in the hundreds. It was, however, peaceful and very short-lived in duration. Organizers were handing out daisies for people to hold and some people came dressed in Anonymous masks. Many came out of curiousity and some were opposed to the protest. But everyone was respectful towards the speakers. There were a lot of people who came from out of the area; however, there were a lot of local people as well. The event attracted a lot of young people.

Protests have been relatively rare in the history of the area. A small protest was held on the Grant City Square in 2005 protesting the Iraq War, which was at its height. In the 1990's, near Maloy, protestors locked the gate of a CAFO in protest and drew national attention.

Richard Boyden is a journalist and radio talk show host out of Independence. He said he was a friend of Melinda Coleman and a Marine and Vietnam Vet. He said that there had been threats made against the Colemans to the extent that some of his Marine friends were protecting them. He said that the protests were a "visible expression" in peoples' belief in Barnett's guilt. He told the Express he was there because he "didn't like the idea of a girl being brutally raped and the perpetrator being protected by the Sheriff and Prosecutor."

Teresa (Farrell) Hughes, a Worth County grad, is a student at Northwest who is studying child and family studies and learning about how to care for the elderly. For her, the learning process never stops. She said that she was there because Daisy Coleman deserved her day in court. "A 14 year old child does not always make the best decisions, but she didn't deserve to be raped," she said. "I hear talk that this ruined a whole lot of peoples' lives, but crimes were committed and justice needs to be served."

Dave McGlaughlin, a retired professor at Northwest, said that he was there because it was the "right thing to do." "I don't know why things weren't done," he said to the Express. "Something horrible happened and we didn't address it. I hope that we can address these issues in the future."

Herb Petty of Atlanthus Grove said that he was there because it was a clear-cut case of miscarrage of justice. "There was law, a confession, and medical evidence on Daisy's side, but it was a real letdown that justice was not done," he said. "It's great that people came to demand justice and it's sad that it took a vigil to get something done." Petty said that he hoped that the protest would serve as a blueprint for future actions given its peaceful nature. "I don't know what the outcome of this case will be, but I want to know why this happened. I want to know what evidence Rice thought he needed before he decided to prosecute." Petty said that there was a double standard given his personal experience. He said that the City of Maryville attemped to prosecute him for littering when he slipped a proof of insurance under the prosecutor's door after he was ticketed for that. The charges were subsequently dropped. The City of Maryville was not involved with the prosecution of Barnett.

The protest itself consisted of speeches and a brief candlelight vigil afterwards. Courtney Cole, the organizer of the protest, said that no victim of rape should be told that it was their fault. She decried what she called the "sheer outrageousness" of the situation and said that it was a matter of treating all people with respect. She said that Daisy Coleman's case was not unique and that thousands of Missourians were sexually assaulted every year. She said that the job was not done with organizing the protest and said that the next step was to support victim services groups and stop blaming the victim in the event of rape or sexual assault.

Claire Major of the National Organization of Women noted that 100 years ago, a band led by Nodaway County's own Elaina Nash went to a national suffrage parade as women were fighting for the right to vote. She decried the "rape culture" and said that things like that don't "just happen." She encouraged people to stop "rape jokes" and to "stand up for victims and stop blaming them."

Boyden also spoke; he said that in his own experience, his mother had once been brutally raped. "It's like a spiritual bullet to a woman and one of the most insidious, evil crimes a man can commit." "And then to be targeted with hate, it moved her to twice attempt suicide." He said that even if the perpetrators got away with it in this lifetime, they would not get away with it in the eternal realm.

Many people came simply because they were curious. Rep. Jim Neely of Cameron ran for State Senate as a Democrat but then successfully ran for House as a Republican. He put it as simply as possible -- "I'm here to find out the truth." He said that one's party didn't matter and that "right is right and wrong is wrong." He said that it was important for every courthouse to evaluate what they were doing and figure out how they can do things better.

But not everyone agreed with the aims of the protesters. Josh Wagner, a graduate of Worth County, asked why this was being brought up again after almost two years. "The media is blowing this out of proportion," he said. "This should have been left in the past. This should have been over and done with."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Merril Hoge Encourages Students to "Find a Way"

Former Steelers runningback and current ESPN analyst Merril Hoge encouraged Northwest students to "find a way" at a talk that he gave last Tuesday evening in Maryville. He said that he became successful by living up to his motto to "find a way" when one is struggling. He is a cancer survivor as well as a native of small-town Idaho who excelled at Idaho State and made it into the NFL. He played several productive years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and later the Chicago Bears.

When he was 8 years old, Hoge said that it became his dream to play in the NFL. He stuck with his plan despite what he called the Four Extinguishers -- people telling him to grow up, that it was impossible, that it was long odds, and that it was impossible. At the age of 12, he said he had what he called his "moment of truth" -- follow his wants or his fears.

In his room growing up, Hoge had a cork bulletin board filled with pictures of his idol, Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears as well as goals that he had pinned up. The odds were indeed long -- only .02% of all kids ever make it in the NFL, let alone star in it. The odds are even longer for someone playing football in Pocatello, Idaho, where Hoge grew up. He said that at one point, he got too consumed with negativity; then, he learned the motto "find a way."

To find a way, for Hoge, meant action -- figuring out what it would take to become a player in the NFL. So he went to his local library and looked for microfilms about Payton. While looking, he found a quote by Aristotle -- "We are what we repeatedly do." In other words, being successful was not about luck or connections; it was about mindset. Excellence was not an act but a habit and we work at being excellent. Then, he found a video by Payton entitled, "Winning in Life." In it, Payton talked about his mindset -- his goal was to want to win more than the competition every day of the week, not just Sunday afternoon. "There is not a person in this room that can't do this," Hoge said to his audience.

Later, when he was playing for the Bears, Hoge was constantly asking other players and Bears employees for stories about Walter Payton, leading to him being roasted by his teammates for it. But one story that stuck with him was told by a teammate who was a rookie and who decided that the best way to succeed in the NFL was to emulate Payton. So he asked Payton if he could train with him and Payton graciously agreed. So they stretched, warmed up, and then the young rookie found out to his horror that Payton's training involved running up and down this huge dirt hill. By the time they did one and a half laps, the rookie was puking and he walked to his car and left while Payton was barely breathing. "That dude wanted it more than I did," he related to Hoge. Hoge said that the one difference between the ordinary-sized Payton and others was his mindset.

Hoge said that he was fortunate to be drafted by the Steelers, who were still coached by the legendary Chuck Noll. Fridays were "polish days," in which the goal was to run the plays without any mental errors on either side of the ball. One time, Hoge was blocking an outside linebacker on one side of the field while the play was being run to the other side. Hoge said that Noll never stopped practice on those days unless someone made an error. This time, he turned to Hoge, who was a rookie, and asked him, "Hoge, what are you doing?" "Nothing," replied Hoge. "That's the whole point," replied Noll. "You did nothing. I didn't keep you on this team to do nothing. I need you to be an uncommon athlete."

Hoge said that he took that lesson to heart and that it came through for him as he played for the Chicago Bears several years later. The Bears coach was doing 40 yard sprints and suddenly stopped the drill and asked a rookie what his 40 yard time was. "4.2," said the rookie. Then, he turned to Hoge and asked him what his 40 was; it was normally 4.7 although the fastest he ever ran was 4.57 once. Hoge was wondering where the coach was going with this and thought that he was being disrespected, especially since he had played 121 straight games without having to come out with an injury. "That means you played hurt and everyone respected that in the NFL," Hoge recounted.

Once Hoge stated his time, the coach switched back to the rookie and asked his time again. "4.2," replied the rookie. "Well, how come he beat you?" was the coach's reply. "When we cut you next week, I want you to know exactly why we cut you."

On February 14th, 2003, Hoge was diagnosed with a three pound cancerous tumor which the doctor couldn't guarantee chemotherapy would treat. He said that chemo and dying consumed him during that stretch. For Hoge, it was a difficult pill to swallow seeing that he had kept himself in shape all his life and there was still much to do after football; he was a father and an ESPN analyst. He talked about coaching his son's football team and learning to remember to coach from their perspective, not from his. He was in a funk until an epiphany moment when his daughter crawled into his lap and encouraged him to "find a way."

Hoge would be fighting a battle much more difficult than any battle he fought on the football field and he would need to use an uncommon approach. But when his daughter gave him encouragement, he said that he had a moment of truth like he did when he was 12 years old. He found five other cancer survivors and learned from them what he would be going through; at 7 a.m., he went to his chemo for the first time. He saw all these chairs and treatments. The actual chemo chemical was nicknamed the "red death" because it would cause third degree burns if it comes in contact with skin. He said that it ripped through his body from head to toe. When going to the bathroom at the facility after his treatments, he had to flush twice so that the fluid would not corrode the toilets.

Most people simply try to recuperate after a chemo treatment; in his case, he had to go to treatments every 21 days. But Hoge figured out that if he kept up his physical training, his body would flush out the chemo fluids out faster, he would give the tumors that much less time to grow back, and he could have more frequent treatments. The approach worked and he has been cancer-free for the last 10 years.

Hoge concluded that everyone in the room has goals and then run across difficulties. "Do thoughts and challenges control your mind, or does your mind control your thoughts and challenges," asked Hoge.

He took questions from students following the talk. Asked about the Chiefs, he said that they were the real deal and that they would meet the Broncos in the AFC Championship this year. He told a story about playing against Joe Montana's Chiefs when his team was set back third and 20 and they called a play that he thought had no chance to work, a middle screen to him. However, he took it for 48 yards to set up a score. "We lost to Montana, but it was a great experience."

Hoge said that he had met Walter Payton once. In a pre-season game at Soldier Field as a rookie, the Bears were beating the Steelers 50-0 when he looked up Payton after the game and was surprised at how small he was. He told Payton a story for five minutes and Payton was gracious and listened the whole time and gave him his sweatbands and elbow pads and Hoge celebrated all the way back to the Steeler's lockerroom. Coach Chuck Noll's comment was, "I hope nobody walked across the field and thanked them for kicking our a----."

While he was a Steeler, Hoge talked about meeting Mike Webster and John Stallworth, the last two living links to the Super Bowl teams of the 1970's. Webster, Hoge said, was like a grizzly bear who played with an old beat-up helmet that he would never let the Steelers replace. He taught a lot of life lessons to Hoge and the rest of the younger Steelers. Joe Greene was a coach on the Steelers and one time, he picked up Hoge like a rag doll after he made one good run that got them a critical first down in one game.

After a bad loss or the end of the season, Noll would always tell his players to prepare for their life's work after they were done with football. Hoge took that lesson to heart, getting a five-minute radio show while still in Pittsburgh. It blossomed into a broadcasting career after he left football. "The more you can do, the more valuable you are," Coach Noll would say.

Talking about teammates, Hoge said that Charles Woodson was a "freak athlete," while Dwight Stone was "quick and fast."

Comparing playing in the NFL to what he did today, he said that "nothing replaces playing inside the white lines." The period after his playing days were over was a difficult adjustment period for him. He was forced to retire prematurely when two concussions knocked him out of the game for good; the first was from a hit by the Chief's Derrick Thomas. After the second one, sustained against Buffalo, he went into cardiac arrest and it took him two years to fully recover. He said that he had to learn to read and relearn basic life skills all over again. "That's why I'm passionate about protecting our kids. Do the right thing and get them evaluated before they play again," he said.

Hoge still goes back to Idaho regularly, where he loves elk hunting, water skiing, and the outdoors. After surviving his cancer, he was encouraged by his friends to share his story, which he is actively doing when he is not breaking down the NFL teams on ESPN or being a father to his kids.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Max Garrett Resigns as Bus Driver

Max Garrett resigned as school bus driver. He will resign effective October 28th. The board voted to accept his resignation with regret. He had been a bus driver for the last five years. The employees with the longest service to the district include secretary Pam Parman (40 years) and bus driver Bill Staton (35 years). The board also voted to name Alex Mullock as a substitute teacher pending background checks.

Worth County School Shows $345,000 Surplus

The Worth County School generated a $345,000 surplus last year, much higher than expected. The surplus had been expected to be around $150,000. Instructional expenses were down $135,000 while expenses were down $65,000 overall. The school benefited from the Smaller Schools Act; the school now qualifies for those funds, which are designed to help smaller schools compete with larger schools and offer equal opportunities. That led to a sharp increase in state revenue. There has been a sharp downturn in federal revenue since funds from the stimulus have dried out. However, the school has cut expenses by $500,000 over the last five years.

The figures were provided by Diane Klostermann, whose firm audits the school every year. The school now has $1,078,917 in reserves, which means that the school has three months of reserves to cover expenses should no money come in. Assessed valuations have held up well over the last few years, which has resulted in local funds holding up.

There were several recommendations made to improve school finances. There were some errors in the state transportation application. Safeguarding procedures were recommended to protect the school finances. The audit recommended updating policies and procedures related to receipts. It also recommended updating expense reimbursement procedure as well as the policy regarding the use of the school credit card. It recommended deducting funds from paychecks in the event of unauthorized charges. It found that the school was being charged taxes for long distance and cell phone use even though schools are exempt from having to pay sales taxes. It recommended improved methods of tracking and reporting food costs.

Kolstermann said that the school had a lot more reserves than a lot of schools their size.

Kindergarten teacher Mary Chapman reported that there were nine boys and two girls in her kindergarten class. There are 17 boys and five girls in both classes. She said that they were reading in groups, and that there was a high range of abilities among class members. She said that the challenge was to avoid holding back advanced students while still helping out the students who needed it. She said that the recent professional development day regarding the Common Core standards went well and that it challenged her to a better understanding of them.

Band teacher Emily Cloughly reported on the band's performance this year. They finished third at Clarinda in one of the competitions, barely missing out on second. They were working on improving their halftime show and starting to get ready for the Christmas Program. She said that in enhancement, she was pushing her students to do a lot of writing. She reported that she and April Healy had 35 students for Junior High PE this year. .

6th Grade teacher Amy Jackson reported that they were studying Egypt as well as getting ready for Halloween.

Principal Jon Adwell reported that 25% of the student body had a D or an F, down from 29% at this point last year and 34% two years ago. Parent-teacher conferences will be October 24th from 1-7, with athletic practices ending at 2:30 that day so that coaches can meet with parents. He reported that they sent kids on a field trip to Duckworth Farm despite the recent government shutdown. He also reported that the school was getting ready for programs on seat belt usage as well as reading.

Superintendent Dr. Matt Martz reported that the school would be competing for the Malcom Baldridge Award, a national award for schools. As part of the process, they will run their test scores through and get feedback at no charge to the school district. He said that he and other staff will be going to a meeting in December. The winner will receive $1 million for the school. Even if the school doesn't win, Martz said that it would help the school develop a cohesive vision for the future.

Martz reported that he had an asset service come in and tag and inventory school property at both the softball field and at the main school building.

Martz reported that everything went well for the Homecoming celebration. He said that he had people come up to him who had reservations about the changes and gave some positive comments and feedback.

The board approved policies related to financial management of the school which incorporates recommendations made by the recent audit.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tiger Junior High Clinches Second Straight Undefeated Season

Worth County's Junior High clinched their second straight undefeated season last Monday night, beating Stanberry 28-22 in Stanberry to complete the clean sweep. Worth County had to go through a gauntlet of tough teams to round out the season, playing North Andrew, unbeaten East Union, and Stanberry in three consecutive weeks. Two of those games were on the road. However, the Tigers passed with flying colors, getting their sixth win of the year despite the mud and rain that created slick conditions for the players.

Jayden Mancuso once again led the Tigers against Stanberry as he has proved to be a Bulldog killer. Last year, he scored the only touchdown of the game in Worth County's 8-0 win over Stanberry. This year, he had 169 yards of rushing, a career high. The conditions were difficult for both teams as there were a lot of fumbles and missed tackles in the slippery conditions.

Worth County marched right down the field to open the scoring in five plays, capped by a 23-yard run by Mancuso with 6:05 left in the first quarter. He also ran in the extra points to make it 8-0. But Stanberry struck right back as Trey Schieber got a breakaway score from 52 yards out; Levi Murphy caught a pass to tie it at 8 with 5:17 left in the first. Schieber, only a 7th grader, had a low center of gravity, which made it even more difficult for players to tackle him.

Jayden ripped off gains of 18 and 15 and caught a long pass for 25 yards down to the Bulldog 10, but a fumble killed the drive and Stanberry had the ball back and made it back to midfield by the end of the first quarter. They took a 14-8 lead with 7:27 left in the second as Schieber got loose again from 25 yards out.

Worth County appeared to stall as a sack set them back third and long after a promising drive had gotten them as far as the Stanberry 23. But then Cade Allee threw a strike to Ryan McClellan for a score and he dragged his defender into the end zone despite his small size as Worth County tied it back up with 4:25 left in the first half. Dakota Gross had a pass breakup and a sack in the closing seconds to preserve the 14-14 tie.

Stanberry had the ball to start the second half and were seemingly bottled up third and long when they checked in Tristan Lager and he ran a sweep that netted them 20 yards into Tiger territory at the 35. But they stalled there as Tevin Cameron had a perfect one on one tackle despite the tough conditions five yards short of the first down and Worth County got the ball back on downs at their own 28. A bad pitch set them back second and 17 at the 21, but then Cade Allee ran a quarterback keeper that fooled everyone as everyone was sucked inside and Cade ran around the left end untouched to put Worth County back in front. Jayden Mancuso dove into the end zone for the extra points to make it 22-14 with 3:29 left.

Worth County seemingly got a gift when Stanberry fumbled it to Worth County at the Bulldog 30, but they fumbled it right back to Stanberry, which rode the running of Schieber all the way down to the Tiger 7 on four straight carries. But Stanberry finally fumbled the ball and Dylan Mildfeldt pounced on it at the 5 to kill Stanberry's chance to tie the game.

The Tigers then got a badly needed insurance touchdown as they drove up to the 31 and then Cade Allee took another quarterback keeper around the left end. He got a block from Ryan McClellan and sprung loose for 49 yards, putting Worth County up 28-14 with 6:24 left in the game. But Stanberry was not finished as they drove right back down the field and scored on Schieber's third run from scrimmage from 26 yards out. Murphy caught a carom to make it 28-22.

Worth County had to run the last 3:56 off the clock and they did as they recovered the onsides kick at their own 27 and then handed it to Mancuso six times during their next drive. Cade Allee added a sweep for 15 yards as the Tigers were able to drive down to the 8 with 33 seconds before running out the clock for the win.

The JV lost 36-28 to Stanberry in the closing seconds to finish their year at 4-2.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Girls Softball Gets Wild District Win over NEN

Worth County got a wild 13-11 win over Northeast Nodaway to deny the Bluejays their first district win since 2006. There were eerie similarities to the last time Northeast won a district game in softball. They were playing Worth County; the game was played on the same softball field, it was a similar wild high-scoring game, and Worth County had won the regular season matchup. In 2006, Worth County could not hold an early 5-1 lead and fell behind 9-5. They recovered and came to within 9-8, only to see Northeast plate three more runs to win 12-8. In 2013, the Tigers scored 11 runs in the bottom of the first. Just as people started turning off KAAN, Northeast started to come back and tied it up at 11. But unlike the last time, Worth County kept their composure and pushed across two runs in the bottom of the sixth to win the game.

For Worth County, it was the second straight year of improvement following a one-win season in 2011. They have now won eight games this year, one over last year. They have also won four of their last five opening round district games. Now, the challenge will be to see if they can do better against Stanberry, which beat Worth County by the 10 run rule earlier this year.

Northeast put two on with nobody out in the top of the first, but Rikky Hunt snared a line drive from Talina Nelson and doubled off Kerrigan Adwell from first to give Worth County the first momentum swing. They took full advantage as Dallis Coffelt struggled in the bottom of the first for Northeast. She walked seven, hit two more batters, threw eight wild pitches, and Northeast committed three errors in the field as Worth County batted around and sent 15 batters to the plate and took an 11-0 lead. It didn't help that the plate umpire was squeezing both pitchers and not calling anything a strike unless it was right over the plate.

But Dallis settled down and retired 12 of the next 13 batters over the next four innings as Worth County was putting the ball in play, but hitting it right at people. She did it by throwing strikes, getting ahead in the count, and trusting the fielders behind her to make plays on defense. There were some outstanding defensive plays to keep Worth County off the basepaths as Northeast kept chipping away.

After a big inning, it is necessary to have a shutdown inning to take control of the game, but Jenny Seipel led off with a walk and Bailey had one of the biggest hits of her life, a screamer to the right field wall pushed along by a stiff wind that went for a double. Allie Runde grounded out, but Dallis Coffelt hit a single up the middle and Worth County made a series of wild throws on a double steal situation to move Dallis to third and score a run. Claudia Wiederholt's two run triple to the wall in right scored two more and then she came home on a wild pitch to make it 11-5. It would have been worse, but Rikky Hunt snagged a hard-hit grounder and successfully turned a 1-5-4 double play at third and second to get out of the inning. It was her second double play in two innings.

After her monster hit in the second, Bailey Judd helped Northeast with her glove, making a running basket catch to keep Katie Mullock off the basepaths in the second.

With two outs, another crazy play helped Northeast along. Mikeala McCoy hit a grounder to Rachael Gardner at first; however, instead of simply stepping on the base, she tried to tag her out. McCoy eluded the tag and was safe. That set up a two run single by Claudia Wiederholt that made it 11-7.

Jenny Seipel grounded out in the fourth to score Talina Nelson to make it 11-8. That could have been it for Northeast, but then Rikky Hunt walked the bases loaded with two outs and then McCoy showed why she had earned a spot in the lineup with a sharp single to right that scored Bailey Judd to make it 11-9. But Worth County threw behind Dallis Coffelt at second and picked her off for the third out to prevent any more damage.

Once again, Worth County got Northeast to two outs and once again, they could not get the third out as Bailey Judd walked with the bases loaded to force in a run. Allie Runde then hit a squib down the third base line and Jill Spire beat the force play home to tie it at 11. Two outstanding defensive plays by Northeast kept it tied. Second baseman Kerrigan Adwell made a running catch behind second base to take a hit away from Brianna Fletchall while Payton Adwell hit a squib in front of the plate and catcher Jill Spire's throw was off line. But first baseman Jenny Seipel somehow kept her foot on the bag and snagged the errant throw for the third out. Northeast had a chance to take the lead in the sixth, but Sidney Troutwine made a running catch to take a possible hit away from Kerrigan Adwell for the final out.

Worth County finally broke their scoring drought in the sixth as their first four batters reached safely. Kristen Andrews hit a line drive to center that dropped in safely and Adrian Fletchall hit a shot off Claudia Wiederholt's glove at short for another single. Dallis Coffelt hit Claire Andrews to load the bases. Claire was shaken up, but Kenna LaFollette ran for her and she was able to reenter the game defensively. Katie Mullock singled to center to score Kristen. Rikky Hunt grounded into a force at home, but then Sidney Troutwine hit a grounder in the hole between first and second. Kerrigan Adwell's only play was at first and Worth County was up 13-11.

Northeast was able to make things interesting in the 7th as Talina Nelson reached on an error as Troutwine was played by a hop at short. Troutwine atoned for her miscue by dropping a pop but then alertly throwing to second for a force play. She then stopped Jenny Seipel's grounder in the hole at short from going through and forced Jill Spire at second. Bailey Judd walked on four pitches and Bailey and Jenny both advanced on a wild pitch. A single could have tied it, but Allie Runde grounded out to Payton Adwell at third to end the game.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Clara Harding Wins Miss Goose Prize

Clara Harding of Allendale has won the Miss Goose Prize from Civili-Tea of Allendale. She and three friends will have a free tea party with Miss Goose, the mascot of one of Allendale’s newest businesses, at the head of the table. Following the tea party, Miss Goose will be outside, where she will be holding a sign whenever Civili-Tea is open for business. Michelle Hertl, owner of the business in the old feed store, said that she was planning to start decorating and doing specials for Christmas next month.

The name of Miss Goose is Sereni-tea. Mrs. Harding wrote in her note that it fit with Hertl’s vision of her business as a calm and peaceful place where people can get together during the afternoons.

Shopping at Civili-Tea is for a good cause. All profits from Civili-Tea will go to charity every year.

Connie Maudlin to Retire from Hy-Vee

Connie Maudlin, who has been a fixture at Hy-Vee for a long time, will retire. Her last day will be Friday, October 11th. Hy-Vee will have an open house from 8 am to 1 pm with donuts and other snacks for friends and customers.

She will be replaced by Jim Larson. He worked for Hy-Vee previously, before working at the hog farm and then Eveready. He returned to Grant City Hy-Vee in June.

Larson is a familiar face as well. He is the Voice of the Tigers at Friday night home football games and has been since Worth County became an Eight Man School in 1990.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Tigers Rout Trojans in Homecoming Win

Worth County played their best game of the year, downing Nodaway-Holt 64-36 in a game that was called late in the fourth quarter due to lightning. The Tigers played their best game of the year in getting the win over the Trojans and their potent passing attack. Nodaway-Holt came into the game with Nick Patterson having thrown for 500 yards in a game earlier this year. However, Worth County was able to constantly harry him with pressure up front and he was less and less effective as the game progressed. On the other side of the ball, Worth County was able to get a balanced attack. Andrew Mullock ran for 105 yards to lead the Tigers and Ben Badell got his best game of the year in throwing for 138 yards. Brevyn Ross, back from an injury, caught 56 yards worth of passes. Nate Pointer played well on both sides of the ball, ripping off a long score on offense and getting two picks on defense. With Worth County finally getting healthy as a football team, opposing defenses can no longer key on Wyatt Rush. For Nodaway-Holt, Patterson threw for 367 yards, but it was not enough.

Nodaway-Holt got the ball to start the game and got a first down. They tried to start the game with short passes; however, Worth County was jumping the routes and hitting their receivers and knocking the ball loose. On fourth down at the Tiger 37, Gavin Hawk picked up a sack and rung Patterson's bell, giving the Tigers the ball back on downs. Wyatt Rush got the bulk of the carries on Worth County's first drive while Andrew Mullock picked up a 10 yarder as he slipped two tackles and Nate Pointer broke a host of tackles on his way to a 9 yard gain. Finally, Wyatt got a surge from the offensive line led by Austin Carlson and got in with 7:34 left and ran in the extra points to make it 8-0.

Nodaway-Holt went to the wildkat formation with Brice Shamberger and got some good yardage and isolated Brian Lance for a long pass down to the Tiger 6. That set up a pass to Jackson Beattie that made it 8-6 with 5:04 left. Gavin Hawk stopped Shamberger short of the end zone and Worth County preserved an 8-6 lead.

Brevyn Ross showed no ill effects from his collarbone injury as he ripped off 19 yards to rescue the Tigers from a fourth and seven situation at the Trojan 39. Nate Pointer got a big hole down the right side and scored with 3:51 left to make it 14-6.

Nodaway-Holt used the screen pass effectively on the next series, getting 13 yards from Jackson Beattie, a 270 pound back who was really hard to tackle. Nick Patterson's 26 yard spread draw set up his long pass to Lance as he beat Wyatt Rush from 19 yards out to make it 14-12. Andrew Mullock broke up the extra point pass as Truman Moore and Gavin Hawk got pressure on Patterson and made him throw it prematurely. Worth County's pass rush became more and more of a factor as the game progressed.

Andrew Mullock caught a long pass for 25 yards to put Worth County deep in Trojan territory. Ben Badell, who had been missing long much of the year, finally started putting some on the money Friday night. But a holding call and three straight incompletions gave the ball  back to the Trojans on downs. But Nodaway-Holt could not take the lead as Josh Warner came through unblocked to blow up a draw play and Andrew Mullock had a pass breakup on the play.

A holding penalty buried Worth County on their own 12, but Andrew Mullock picked up a sweep on a Wyatt Rush block and got 25 yards to the 37. Wyatt picked up 7 on the next play and that set up a 36 yard touchdown scamper from Mullock down the right side as he hit the hole hard and was off to the races. That put Worth County up 20-12 with 7:57 left in the first half.

Nodaway-Holt threatened to tie on the next play as Lance caught yet another long pass against Wyatt Rush; however, Wyatt made a touchdown-saving tackle at the 30 and Worth County was able to make a successful stand. Gavin Hawk's second sack of the night set up third and 16 and a 13 yard screen pass to Beattie was three yards short of the first down. A Delay of Game penalty moved Nodaway-Holt back eight yards and Shamberger's pass was inches short of the first down following a measurement and Worth County took over on downs at the 20.

Andrew Mullock picked up a 17-yard sweep following a Wyatt Rush block, but was shaken up and came out temporarily. In the meantime, Worth County lost three yards on their next two plays before Wyatt Rush caught a short pass and took it to the Trojan 35, where the Tigers were faced with fourth and three. An offsides penalty following a long count got the Tigers a first down at the 30. Nodaway-Holt began crowding the line of scrimmage to make Worth County beat them some other way besides with Wyatt Rush, but they overextended themselves on the next play and Andrew Mullock broke another long score to put the Tigers up two possessions with 3:44 left in the half. Ben Badell ran in the extra points to make it 28-12.

Chris Alarcon got a big hit on the ensuing kickoff as Nodaway-Holt was buried on their own 14. Brevyn Ross rung the bell of a Trojan receiver and broke up a pass and Ben Badell, who has been getting better and better at defending the pass, broke up a long one. Lane Craven blocked a punt and Worth County got the ball in good field position at the Nodaway-Holt 27. They only needed two plays to take advantage as Ben Badell threw a 26-yard strike to Brevyn Ross for a score. Wade Rush ran in the extra points behind an Austin Carlson block with 3:34 left to make it 36-12. Nodaway-Holt got some points back right before half as they executed a perfect pick play and Lance caught a 40-yard pass to make it 36-18 at the break.

Worth County broke the game open on their first possession of the second half. They buried themselves on the 7 thanks to a holding penalty during the kickoff, but Nodaway-Holt once again overextended themselves trying to stop the run and Nate Pointer broke loose for 30 yards to get the Tigers out of the hole. Two plays later, Worth County set up a perfect play action pass as everyone was fooled on the fake and nobody was covering Lane Craven, who caught a pass from Ben Badell from 45 yards out to make it 42-18 with 10:46 left.

Nodaway-Holt answered back as Worth County went back to their bad habits earlier in the year, getting a late hit out of bounds and a defensive holding penalty that set up a touchdown pass from Nick Patterson to Brice Shamberger with 8:17 left that cut it to 42-24. Worth County continued to stymie themselves, this time with a bad snap and a false start and had to punt. But after a short kick gave the Trojans the ball in Worth County territory with a chance to cut it to two possessions, Truman Moore got two sacks and Brevyn Ross rung Shamberger's bell on a bubble screen and a dropped pass on fourth down gave Worth County the ball back on their own 23.

Ben Badell kept it himself on the next series and picked up a block from Wyatt to the 34; two plays later, Worth County faked it left and fooled everyone as Ben kept it around the right end, broke a tackle, and was in the clear for a 43-yard touchdown run. Andrew Mullock made a diving catch in the end zone to make it 50-24.

On the next series, Nodaway-Holt tried to double Truman, only to have Lane Craven break free for a sack. This time, the screen pass did not work as Nodaway-Holt went for it in their own territory and Andrew Mullock had a shoestring tackle on Brian Lance short of the first down. Worth County overcame a false start as Wyatt Rush beat the Trojan players crowding the line with a quick hitter for 13 and Ben Badell followed with his second strike to Brevyn Ross from 29 yards out. Worth County overcame an illegal shift on the extra point as Ben Badell ran in the extra points to make it 58-24 with 35.3 seconds left.

Nate Pointer broke up two passes and then picked one off to set up Worth County's final score. Two plays later, Wyatt outran a defender and bulldozed two more into the end zone from 21 yards out with 10:37 left to make it 64-24. Nodaway-Holt scored twice against Worth County's JV before the game was called late in the fourth due to lightning.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Brianna Fletchall's Hit Pushes Worth County Past NEN

Brianna Fletchall's tiebreaking single in the bottom of the eighth gave the Worth County Tigers an 8-7 win over Northeast Nodaway. After they beat Braymer 26-21 in the nightcap, they could look back on some of their accomplishments for this year. They won three straight games for the first time in five years. They also won four conference games for the first time since the 2006-2007 season. They also matched their win total from last year with seven wins. They have at least two chances to improve on their win total from last year with games against North Andrew to finish out the regular season and Northeast Nodaway Wednesday to open districts at Jefferson. It was also Worth County's second consecutive extra innings win after going on the road to beat Princeton 4-3 in eight innings the night before.

For Northeast, it was a long ways from the last two meetings between the two teams, when Worth County won by nearly identical blowout scores, 20-6 last year and 20-5 the year before that. They have now won five games this year after winning only one the year before that.

Worth County scored first when Payton Adwell scored on a wild pitch. But Northeast took advantage of three Worth County errors in the second to take a 3-1 lead. Alicia Smith, who had been hitting the ball well for Northeast, hit a screamer that would have made it bigger, but it was just foul down the right field line before she struck out.

Worth County did not score in the bottom of the second as Adrian Fletchall, who once played 'Lil Tigers Football, took off from third on contact on a bunt situation. But catcher Jill Spire held her ground despite a major collision at the plate and tagged Fletchall out. She was shaken up, but stayed in the game. In the very next inning, she reached safely and beat out a slow roller to third and later came around to score on a double steal situation. Bailey Judd stole second and Worth County threw her out on the play, but Spire came home to score on the play to make it 4-1.

The Tigers got two runs back in the bottom of the third as Sidney Troutwine doubled into the right field corner. It was just fair down the line and then sliced away as two runs came around to score to make it 4-3. Northeast made it 6-3 in the top of the fourth as Talina Nelson hit a shot off Rikky Hunt's glove that caromed into left field for a double to score Dallis Coffelt and Claudia Wiederholt.

Worth County fought back to tie in the bottom of the fourth. Adrian Fletchall hit a pop fly over the third baseman's head that dropped in fair and scored Payton Adwell and Kristen Andrews. Later, Brianna Fletchall got hit by a pitch with bases loaded to score Claire Andrews. It would have been worse, but centerfielder Allie Runde made a running catch to take extra bases away from Jacklyn Brooks and preserve the 6-6 tie.

Both sides traded runs, but neither side could take over. Worth County used a two out rally to score in the 5th. Payton Adwell led off with a walk, but pitcher Dallis Coffelt snared a shot from Kristen Andrews and doubled off Payton. But then Katie Mullock was hit by a pitch and Claire Andrews hit a shot just fair past third to put them at second and third. Katie then scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-6. But Northeast tied it right back up at 7 when Jill Spire flied out to center and scored Claudia Wiederholt.

Dallis Coffelt walked in the 7th, but Northeast could not bring her around to score. Payton Adwell reached second on a throwing error by shortstop Claudia Wiederholt to lead off the bottom of the 7th, but three straight pop flies followed and she was stranded at second.

Claudia Wiederholt led off the top of the 8th with a pop fly that just dropped in for a single. But Northeast could not get her home and Worth County had another chance to win. It looked like they would not get anywhere as Adrian Fletchall grounded out and Sidney Troutwine flied out. But Rikky Hunt walked after a long battle at the plate and Kenna LaFollette ran for her. Kenna stole second and made it to third on a throwing error by Spire. Brianna Fletchall hit a hard shot that was knocked down by Wiederholt at short, but Brianna beat it out as Kenna crossed the plate for the win.

Kristen Andrews, Wyatt Rush are Homecoming Royalty

Kristen Andrews and Wyatt Rush were named Homecoming Queen and King at ceremonies conducted at the football field Thursday night. Claire Andrews and Brianna Fletchall were Princesses while Dalton Miller and Andrew Mullock were Princes. Junior Attendants were Sydney Thummel and Josh Warner. Sophomore Attendants were Tess Andrews and Jacob Hardy. Freshman Attendants were Quinci Schottel and Wade Rush.

The Worth County Band opened the ceremonies by performing some numbers. All of the fall sports teams were recognized along with the band, color guard, and the dance team. The cheerleaders led the crowd in some cheers and were also recognized.

A fun contest was held between the football team, the Northeast Nodaway players, the golf and softball girls, and the band members. It was an obstacle course that contestants had to go through; then, they had to answer a question at the end. It was won by the softball/golf team as Kenna LaFollette remembered the score of the Worth County-West Nodaway game.

Winners for the dressup days were announced. The Seniors won the Celebrity, Class Color, and the Gender Bender days. The Juniors won the Teacher-Student Switch. Best dressed for Monday were Claire Andrews, Brianna Fletchall, and Kristen Andrews, who dressed up as the Kardashian Sisters, complete with wigs. Winners for other dress-up days were Brianna Fletchall (class color), Will Engel (teacher/student switch), and Ashlyn Barnett (gender bender) with Will Engel as honorable mention.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Payton Adwell Gets 1st High School Win on Senior Night

Payton Adwell picked up her first high school win as a pitcher, 26-21 over Braymer in a walk and error-filled donnybrook similar to Worth County's 41-29 win over North Nodaway a few years ago. It was the nightcap of a tripleheader that featured one junior high game and two back to back high school games Thursday night. Following the game, seniors Claire Andrews, Kristen Andrews, Katie Mullock, and Brianna Fletchall were recognized for their accomplishments over the last four years. They played their last games on the home softball field. While the night belonged to the seniors, it was a freshman pitcher who bailed the Tigers out of the track meet.

Regular pitcher Rikky Hunt, who had just pitched the whole game against Northeast Nodaway, started the Braymer game but loaded the bases with nobody out and threw two wild pitches to score two Braymer runs. Kristen Andrews came in to pitch, but hit two consecutive batters and gave up a single to let in another run. Rikky came back in and settled down enough to get out of the inning thanks to a play at the plate, a caught popup from Payton, and a screamer headed into center that was snared by Hunt in a reflex action. But Worth County was faced with a 5-0 deficit before they could even come up to bat.

The Tigers got the runs back thanks to four straight walks by Braymer with the bases loaded along with a wild pitch that scored Kristen and an infield single from Katie Mullock. That left Worth County up 6-5. But the carousel of walks and errors continued in the second and third innings. Rikky ran out of gas in the third with the bases loaded and nobody out, forcing Coach Dave Gilland to use Payton Adwell. It would have been worse had it not been for Sidney Troutwine doubling a runner off first after making a running catch of a pop fly in the second to end that frame or Payton knowing exactly what to do in a passed ball situation and rushing home to tag a runner out at the plate despite not having pitched much varsity ball before. She tagged out two runners at the plate on that situation.

The game threatened to get ugly despite the plays as Worth County was down 16-9 after the top of the third, but they got several runs back as Kristen Andrews scored on a wild pitch, Claire Andrews singled to right to score Katie Mullock, and Madison Cassavaugh pulled off a perfect bunt single. The runner on second got into a pickle, coming to third and getting into a rundown between second and third with a runner ahead of her; however, Braymer threw the ball away and that allowed a run to score. Brianna Fletchall singled in another run and another scored on a wild pitch as Worth County cut it to 16-14 after three.

Payton Adwell, after a rocky start, finally settled down and started throwing strikes as Claire made a catch into the lights in left field to give her more confidence to throw strikes. Worth County held Braymer to one run in the frame and caught them in the bottom of the fourth. Madison Cassavaugh's pop fly single to center scored a run. Brianna reached on a fielder's choice as Adrian Fletchall scored, and Payton reached on a dropped fly ball in right that scored two more. That put Worth County in the lead at 18-17.

Braymer fought back to tie it in the fifth at 18, but Payton Adwell tagged the lead run out at the plate after a wild pitch had gotten away. Worth County nearly put it away on the 10-run rule as they batted around and scored eight to take control. The inning was highlighted by Kristen Andrews' three-run double. Payton Adwell added an RBI single, Katie Mullock scored on a wild pitch, Madison Cassavaugh grounded out to score a run, Katie Mullock grounded out to score another, and Quinci Schottel, back from a broken finger much faster than expected, grounded into a fielder's choice that scored a run.

Rikky Hunt was rested enough that she could pitch again. Braymer tried to get back in the game, scoring three runs. But after a dropped fly ball in right, Worth County threw a runner out at the plate to kill the rally and stay ahead 26-21. The Tigers failed to score in the bottom of the sixth, but Rikky got stronger and got some help in the field. Second baseman Kristen Andrews made a diving stop of a grounder headed up the middle, Adrian Fletchall, who had lost one in the lights earlier, caught a fly ball, and Rikky helped herself out by snaring a line drive for the final out.