(Following post is from M.K. Welch, Sports Talk Show Host at ESPN Aberdeen)

Vikings CB Marcus Sherels opened everybody’s eyes Saturday night in the preseason game at Seattle. After losing a fumble on a punt return, Sherels picked off T-Jack and returned the interception 64 yards to the end zone. Marcus Sherels is 23 years old, he went to the University of Minnesota, was on the practice squad last year, and has now won over the fans. The Vikings have not been even a little bit exciting offensively in the first two games of the preseason (part of that is Musgrave installing a new offense) and Sherels’ interception has been the only excitement Vikings fans have gotten so far.

Sherels got his opportunity to wow the fans last night because of injuries. Injuries have increased significantly this preseason across the board. We knew that this was going to happen during the lockout. Without the OTA workouts and time with trainers that players would normally have leading up to training camp were cancelled. We all hoped for the players to go into camp in shape and that they would have kept up the workouts on their own. Fans can hope all we want to, but players doing all of that on their own is just unrealistic.

The Vikings have been hit by the injury bug hard in recent years, and this year they already have 3 players on the injury report:

WR Percy Harvin (Ribs) Questionable for Aug. 27

TE Visanthe Shiancoe (Hamstring) Questionable for Aug. 27. Probable for start of season.

LB Kenny Onatolu (Foot) Questionable for Aug. 27

The players who have been showing up on the Vikings injury report this preseason:

WR Greg Camarillo (groin)

G Anthony Herrera (knee/triceps)

LB Heath Farwell (hamstring)

Normally, 3 players on the injury report and 3 more with who just came off the report wouldn’t be of any note. Most seasons, 3 injured players on the report would be a shoulder shrugger, but because of the lockout, the Vikings are one of the teams with the least injuries to their team.

If you’ve been paying attention to the preseason, players have been dropping like flies. When the NFL lockout ended, I think everybody downplayed the injury implications because we just didn’t want to believe that it would be this much of a factor.

This just confirms to me what I already knew about the owners. They view their players as products and nothing more. They cared more about a small increase in their share of revenue than their employees. The owners are business men and the harsh reality is that people are going to watch the NFL regardless of who’s playing.

That said, because of the injuries that we’ve seen, players like Marcus Sherels are getting the opportunity to rise up and show their ability. That can also be said about the TE position. Visanthe Shiancoe did not come to camp prepared and pulled his hamstring. Rookie Kyle Rudolph came to camp prepared and not only has he proven himself to be a viable option at TE, but he and Donovan McNabb are clearly building good chemistry.

(The following blog by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D., who writes The Genz blog).

It is 916 miles from Sioux Falls to Cleveland and 854 miles to Detroit.

Not exactly the hop, skip and a jump away that makes a weekend junket feasible — well unless you own an airplane. No, I am not planning a trip to those cities, although it would be fun.

On Friday night, the Tigers and Indians open a crucial (baseball) series in the American League Central division at Comerica in Detroit. The battle for first place promises a lot of balls flying all over the park this weekend. Yet, it is a nondescript preseason football game in Cleveland that will capture my attention.

When the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns gather for an exhibition NFL game on Friday, a pair of former University of South Dakota Coyotes — Stefan Logan (Lions) and Ko Quaye (Browns) — will have a chance to reacquaint themselves.

Quaye who spent parts of last season with both Jacksonville and Buffalo practice squads was signed to the Browns active roster in December. A 6-1, 307 pound defensive lineman, Quaye of Brooklyn Park, Minn., was a four-year letter winner at USD from 2006-09.

As a Coyote he recorded 99 career tackles, 5.5 sacks and an interception. In his freshman season, he was a reserve lineman (eight tackles, one sack) on the playoff-bound Coyotes in 2006. It was during that year that he first came into contact with Logan.

At the time, Logan was in the process of becoming arguably the greatest running back in USD school history. A finalist for the 2006 NCAA Division II Player of the Year Award (finished eighth in the voting), Logan was the only player in school and North Central Conference (now defunct) history to rush for 1,000 yards for four consecutive seasons. Logan exited USD after the 2006 season as its all-time leading rusher with 5,958 yards and was just the 11th Division II player to rush for 5,000 yards and gain 6,000 all-purpose yards (7th, all-time in DII with 7,770 yards). As a senior he had 1,707 rushing yards (3rd all time at USD), totaling 13 TDs, including both a punt and kickoff return for a score.

When he left the Vermillion campus, Logan had set 15 school records. As a senior, he averaged 7.4 yards per rush and 132.6 rushing yards per game which ranked 25th all-time in Division II. A player with a quick burst and surprising power, Logan set the NCAA record for yards in a quarter with 184 (Truman State, 2005). In that 2005 game, he rushed for a career-best 295 yards, averaging a school record 22.6 yards per carry.

During his stellar career as a Coyote, Logan had a school-record 34 100-yard rush games, which also tied the Division II record. He had 14 career games with 160 yards or more, four, 200-yard rushing games and two others in which he totaled 199 yards in his career.

A 5-6, 180 pound wide receiver and kick returner, Logan has electrified the NFL for the past two seasons as a returner. In 2009, he set the Pittsburgh Steelers single season kick return record with 1,466 yards, finishing second in the league with his 26.7 per return average. Logan, who was signed by Pittsburgh after a standout year with the British Columbia Lions, was surprisingly cut at the end of training camp in 2010. He was almost immediately grabbed by Detroit. For the 2010 Lions, Logan, named a Pro Bowl alternate, had 55 kickoff returns for 1,448 yards for 26.3 yards and had an electrifying 105 yard kickoff return TD. He also had 15 rushes for 95 yards. He will be back again this year read to keep Ford Field hopping.

While Logan and Quaye will rekindle their friendship, the Detroit-Cleveland games, USD, as well as SDSU, have past connections with both NFL franchises.

For example, did you know that SD Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Rasmussen was in the same starting Lions defensive backfield as current Pittsburgh defensive coordinator and NFL Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau? Or, that SDSU great Pete Retzlaff was drafted by the Detroit Lions but never played a down for them?

Retzlaff, who set 16 SDSU records in football and track, is originally of Ellendale (N.D.) High School. A 1953 graduate of SDSU, Retzlaff tried his NFL fortunes after leaving the military service but his contract was sold by Detroit to the Philadelphia Eagles (1956-66). He played in five Pro Bowls and set an Eagles record for the most receiving yards in a career 7,412 with 47 TDs. He received the Bert Bell Award as NFL MVP by the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia in 1965. His uniform number 44 was retired. While a great receiver for the Eagles, he was a fullback for the Jacks where set a then SDSU single-season rushing record with 1,016 yards in 1951.

Rasmussen ranks as one of the greatest athletes ever at South Dakota State University. A Howard, S.D., native, Rasmussen was a three-star athlete at SDSU before being drafted in the ninth round of the 1964 draft by the Lions.

A retired Citibank executive, Rasmussen played three sports for the Jacks (football, basketball and baseball), earning All-NCC honors in each of the sports. As a starting point guard, he led the Jackrabbits to the 1963 DII championship team and was named the national tourney’s outstanding player.

A South Dakota Hall of Fame honoree, he played nine seasons in Detroit (1964-72), accumulating 16 career interceptions and had a pair of TD returns in 1965. While in Detroit, he played for George Wilson, Harry Gilmer and Joe Schmidt. His teams had a 60-55-11 record, including a 10-4 mark in 1970.

Then there is the case of USD’s Jamel White and SDSU’s Steve Heiden, who were teammates in Cleveland from 2002-03.

White, who starred for head coach John Austin’s Coyotes during the 1999 season, played in eight NFL seasons, including four with the Cleveland Browns (2000-03) where he served as a team captain. White had 1,423 yards rushing and nine nine TDs in his NFL career. In addition, he caught 172 passes for 1,294 yards and two TDs.

His best season in Cleveland was 2003 when he had 470 yards rushing and 452 receiving (63 receptions) with three TDs.

At South Dakota, White set a record with 1,796 rushing yards (now second all-time) and also had 607 yards rushing in 1999 with 19 rush TDs (second most ever at USD) during the 4-7 campaign. One memorable game was a 43-30 loss to SDSU in which White and Josh Ranek traded yards and TDs in a classic match up.

Heiden was the 69th selection of the third round of the 1999 season by the San Diego Chargers. At SDSU he had 112 receptions for 1,499 yards and 8 TDs. In NFL, he played three years (1999-2001) with the Chargers and played for Cleveland from 2002-09. Heiden finished with 201 receptions for 1,689 yards and 14 TDs. Released in March of 2010 by Cleveland, his best season was 2005 with 43 receptions for 401 yards with three TDs.

Former Coyotes Josh Stamer (2003-07) and running back Carl Johnson (1957) also spent time with the Detroit NFL franchise. Stamer played with the Lions in the 2009 season and Johnson was with Detroit in 1958.

Notes

Meierkort closes in on third all-time…USD head football coach Ed Meierkort needs four wins to pass Joe Salem and move into third on the school’s all-time coaching wins list…Meierkort is 48-30, .615, at USD while Salem was 51-39-2, .565, from 1966-74. Meierkort has had only one losing season in 7 years at the school. His .615 win percentage. ranks 7th all-time at USD….

Flashy Blount…At USD’s media day this week, head coach Ed Meierkort said that USD will try and get the ball frequently into the hands of Coyote WR/KOR Jeremy Blount, who has run a 4.38 40-yard dash (for NFL scouts last spring). The electrifying senior, who is the distant cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount, sits on the verge of setting USD’s Kickoff Return record. With 48 yards, he will break the mark of Jimmy Vann (1985-89), who had 1,353 yards on 58 returns. Blount has 57 KOR for 1,306 yards.

Schable trying hand as Seahawk…A.J. Schable, an All-American at South Dakota in 2005, is trying to hook on with the Seattle Seahawks. He previously played with Arizona, playing tight end. Now at 290 pounds, he is trying to make it on the defensive line. At USD, he set career records in sacks with 27.5 while ranking third all-time in tackles for loss with 44.5.

Stiegelmeier Ranks 2nd at SDSU… With his 88-66 (.571) career record, Coach John Stiegelmeier, originally of Selby, S.D., is second on the Jackrabbits’ career wins list. Ralph Ginn is the career leader with 113-89-9 record and nine NCC titles. Stiegelmeier’s string of eight consecutive winning seasons was snapped with the 5-6 campaign in 2010.

(The following blog was written by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D., who writes “The Genz” blog at www.genzmania.blogspot.com).

In a basement office with no windows, newspapers and media guides are stacked in piles atop the desk, nearly hiding the outdated laptop and even the SID as he focuses on a project until a noise breaks his concentration. Flipping his chair around, he doesn’t move but a few short feet as the SID turns to greet a guest to his abode. As he speaks, his feet smack into the boxes of game programs that eat up the office’s limited space. Three of the five drawers in the file cabinet are open with old scorebooks opened on top. “Sorry about the mess, I am glad you stop by, we need to talk about…”

For sports information directors, space is rarely a concern. Except, maybe for the space between periods in a sentence, or the white space that is utilized in designing the “perfect” notes package (eye of the beholder) for the media and others who eat up the useless facts that fill up the PR documents.

Rather, SIDs value the space needed to do their sports PR job.

Many in the sports information business are defined by space and piles — of helping athletes get the proper media attention in the right newspaper or website space and for garnering piles and piles of recognition on TV and radio and across the entire media spectrum. The athletes, coach and institutions are appreciative and often give a follow-up thank you or pat on the shoulder. Still, many don’t understand the long hours and unyielding dedication these SIDs make to push and ensure coverage for those organizations and its players.

Today a former SID is using his “little” blog space to encourage media friends and colleagues to do likewise and find space in recognizing a former University of South Dakota and Drake SID, who will be taking on a major role at the World Track and Field Championships later this month. Yesterday, I found out the Mike Mahon has been appointed as a press officer by USA Track and Field for Team USA at the World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Aug. 27-Sept. 4.

It is great news that that Mike is taking on the role but not unexpected. He commands great respect among among track and field media, coaches and athletes. His reputation defines a person who goes the extra mile or so to ensure that the media coordination goes off without a hitch.

Mahon’s selection for this role is right and not hard to figure.

As he takes his place at the Worlds, he will find some “friendly” company in South Korea. USD grad and coach Derek Miles will be in the men’s pole vault competition. Over the years Mike and Derek’s path has crossed many times including at the Drake Relays, where Mike was the media coordinator. They also crossed at Olympics Games. And now, they will be in the same space again – this time a “world away” in South Korea.

While we will be cheering for Derek Miles to win the men’s pole vault. He is highly ranked and won the U.S. Championships early this summer, there won’t be a lot of cheers directed Mahon’s way. That is the way it is with sports information professionals like him. Mike’s passion for sports led him into the sports information field. The only attention he seeks is for the athletes and coaches, which in turn, put increasing positive glare on institutions and countries.

The West Des Moines native, who got his knuckles cut in the sports business under another SID legend Ron Lenz (USD, SDSU) in sports information as a student at USD during the 1970s, will be helping American athletes and coaches work through the throng of media attention. He will find the right space to take care of that pile of business. The athletes and coaches will appreciate that space Mike provides them as they strive for championships.

The World Championships is just another of a long line of big time events that Mahon has worked. In a long career, he has been involved with the U.S. Olympic Committee, serving as a press officer for the U.S. track and field teams at the 1992, 1996 and 2004 Summer Olympics. He also served as a press officer for the U.S. at the 1991, 1999 and 2003 Pan American Games.

“I’ve been very fortunate to work with both USA Track and Field as well as the U.S Olympic Committee over the years and I’m excited about working my first World Track and Field Championships. This is a great opportunity to renew some friendships with media from around the world as well as working up close up with those athletes who will be competing in the 2012 Olympics,” Mahon told me today.

At the World Championships, he will coordinate media interview requests with both athletes and the coaching staff from Team USA along with reporting results back to the media in the U.S.

Mike’s sees this as an opportunity – indeed. But like so much of his work in his sports information life, he will do it with optimum professionalism and a hard focus. He will shine.

At Drake, he was deeply involved in making the Drake Relays one of the truly outstanding international meets. As a result of all of Mike’s hard work he was named the recipient of the Sam Skinner Award in 2006 by the Track and Field Writers of America. He was honored for showing “exemplary cooperation with the media in track and field.” How prestigious is that honor? He was the first SID to receive that honor.

Inducted into the Coyote Sports Hall of Fame, the 1976 USD graduate has served as the local media coordinator for the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. He also served as the media coordinator for the Drake Relays from 1989 to 2010 and was inducted into the Drake Relays Wall of Honor this past April.

Mahon was also inducted into the College Sports Information Directors Hall of Fame in 1995 and was cited for a quarter century of service in CoSIDA in 2002. He served as chairman of the CoSIDA Membership Services Committee from 1990-93 and also was chairman of the CoSIDA Olympic Liaison Committee in June of 2002.

I want to congratulate my good friend Mike Mahon for being selected for this opportunity. I am envious but proud of a good friend.

Mike was my mentor while I attended USD in the 1980s and he helped encourage my interest to go in college relations and later sports information. As a student, he showed me the importance of responding accurately, honestly and immediately to media requests. I learned from Mike how to work with athletes and coaches. When I received my chance at USD, his guidance served me well in nine years on the SID beat.

So Mike, it is easy for me to find a little space in The Genz blog to recognize you. Believe me you have a lot of friends and colleagues cheering for you. I know the track and field media, athletes and coaches will value your significant experience in dealing with media from all over the world.

Kudos and keep us informed, per your job. Yes, I will yell a cheer for Derek as he competes. But I think I will also feel a little tickle that a friend of mine is helping those competing have a “pro” taking care of their media business and ensuring a pile of coverage. As I watch the Worlds on TV, I know I will look for Mike in the background – even if it is just a glimpse of him at work. Yep, Mike Mahon will be background — where SID types like him thrive and relish the chance to do it.

By Cody Oliver- KDSJ Radio

After almost a two-month coaching search Black Hills State University has announced the hiring of Seth Mischke as the new Yellow Jacket head track and field coach.

Mischke, a native of Worland, Wyoming, previously served as both the head track and field and head cross country coach for the past 12 seasons at St. Cloud State. He was twice named the conference coach of the year. A graduate from the University of Minnesota in 1997, Mischke was a consistent performer on the Golden Gophers track and field squad.

Seth brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position. He will help lead the Yellow Jacket track and field program through the NCAA Division II transition.

Legion Baseball in the Northern Hills is complete for another summer. Lead-Deadwood Post 31 completed its season at the State B Legion Tournament in Winner. Lead-Deadwood finished the summer with a 29-15 record and Region champs. Spearfish Post 164 was the first team eliminated at the Region 3A Tournament and finished the year 28-28. Sturgis Post 33 was also eliminated early at the Region 3A Tournament in Rapid City and finished the year 22-20.

Now, the fall sports season is rapidly drawing near. KDSJ has released its 2011 High School and College Football broadcast schedule. You can go to www.kdsj980.com and check what we will be up to on Friday and Saturday nights this fall. We kick off the year with Douglas at Lead-Deadwood on Friday, August 26 in an early Black Hills Conference match-up.

Until then, time for a little r and r and listen to the roar of the bikes.

(The following blog was written by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D. Genzler writes the blog, “The Genz”).

For some reason, I was thinking the other day about what 18th Century English novelist Jane Austen might say about the rabid behavior of sports fans.

Austen, author of Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and other books, wrote of realism and often offered biting social commentary in her work. If she observed some of the conduct in stadiums and in bars or home surrounding sporting events, her thoughts most likely would not be positive, nor viewed favorably by the sporting community, especially fans that lose themselves in game and exhibit less than socially acceptable behavior.

A female philosopher of her time, she wrote with a comical slant at times. So maybe, her commentary might poke sarcastic (and deserved) fun at some of the fan behavior of today. More likely Austen, who writings were controversial during her life, would just shake her head and ask all of us quirky sorts to chill and relax, perhaps read more and act less. Tend more to your families, she’d say (I think.).

Austen might suggest to those unordinary fans to settle down and think of the women and children. And, I might say, there are some women and children that act a bit over the top during sports events. She would undoubtedly have some controversial flare in her words, whatever that would be.

A home body, her social behavior entailed reading works to friends or just visiting and talking. I don’t believe that she would have put paint on her face, dress in old worn jersey and badly coordinated colors and make loud and ludicrous statements during those social gatherings.

Now, let’s be straight up about this, a lot of sports fans head to the ballparks for the experience and to offer occasional blasts of enthusiasm. They are normal in their thoughts and actions. Rabid, highly emotional and over the top actions are not part of their behavior.

For many others, me included, the quirks of our sporting rabidness probably has mental health professionals shaking their heads. It obviously has some of our own families, especially the dogs, wondering what kind of beverages we consumed prior to game time.

Paranoia and superstition are part of the makeup for some fans.

After a bad baseball play by my Detroit Tigers, which isn’t uncommon, my sudden and vocal reaction has my English springer spaniel starring at me in bewilderment – who are you mad at? Nobody is here but me? What did I do wrong?

I have been known to talk to the TV or radio or even my computer after one a “bad” mistake by the Tigers, Steelers, Coyotes or whatever team I want to win. Don’t they know it is disappointing me? Don’t they know that there are thousands of me out there, not understanding that mistakes and misplays are part of the game just like home runs and touchdowns?

When I am sitting around watching some baseball, it is often better if I turn the game to Atlanta or Philadelphia rather than watch my Detroit Tigers. It seems that every time I watch the Tigers on TV, they get the crap beaten out of them. Or, they make a rash of errors. A little paranoid, right?

So to help my blood pressure and deal with sporting events highs and lows, the advent of the Internet many years ago has allowed me (and others) to sneak looks at games through the gamecasts app or just by refreshing the box score. Some fans, like me, also wear the same clothes every Sunday for NFL games or always don the hat on game day we were wearing when the team struck gold with a World Series title or Super Bowl win. Or, we even go to lengths of eating breakfast at the same time or ordering take out at exactly the same time as that special day. Of course, we always sit on the couch in the same spot or pace like one does waiting for an appointment.

Sound a little quirky? Yeah it does.

I often sit back and work on a project or look at Facebook or even read a book, then every few minutes I click the box to see the update. If I am on the road, the Blackberry serves the purpose. Even if I know the game is on radio, the Blackberry updates better serve my interest and my psyche.

Otherwise, I will sit there watching the game and end up talking to the TV (sometimes even my computer), like those I am observing can actually hear me. What follows a Tigers’ or Steelers’ loss is irrational carping or complaining through cyber devices. Clearly, I know they can’t hear my voice yelling in my townhouse.

I let those in control or playing for those teams know through online posts what I am feeling — like they actually are reading what I post. I go to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Detroit Free Press websites, Twitter or Facebook, and offer up my less than positive thoughts about the game just played. Sometimes, though, I am upbeat. Always, a little like Austin, I am controversial or at least aggressive in my writings (so I say).

It might be interesting what Austen would say about my quirkiness and sad sack behavior as a fan. She might offer more biting commentary than I offer in my ramblings about managerial mistakes or less than intelligent decisions by those playing the game.

And, she might say, think about your poor Sierra, who has to listen and observe less than proper social behavior. Think about your family, friends and neighbors, OK, Dan? When you do, the games may become more enjoyable, Austen might say.

Remember Adam Sandler punishment in Anger Management? Maybe Austen saw that in the movie theatre of the heavens and now might suggest some similar therapy for quirky or restless sports nuts (like me). I wonder if an angelic Austin has contacted Jack Nicholson about the lead role as fan therapist?

It might be a good movie. It will at least have some laughing – Sandler can play me.

(The following blog was written by Dan Genzler of The Genz — www.genzmania.blogspot.com)

Life is fleeting.

We were reminded of how short life can be on Monday night when former University of South Dakota and Kentucky star Desmond Allison, 31, was shot and killed outside an apartment complex in Columbus, Ohio.

I did not really know Desmond Allison, except for the relationship that a (former) Sports Information Director has with athletes competing at The University of South Dakota. In my association with him in 2005-07, I liked the soft-spoken Allison as I worked with the coaches (and Dez) to set up interviews with the media. What I remember about him – other than being a remarkable athlete – was how considerate he was and how glowingly teammates talked about him as a teammate.

As I looked over Google for stories about Allison, I began recalling from my time at USD how some Coyote athletes died too young (more on a future blog); often of what seemed unfair and cruel circumstances (illness, car accidents, etc.). Allison’s death was cruel and unfair in my view. With his athletic career seemingly over, he was moving on to other things.

From story after story in the Google search, I found that Allison’s friends spoke highly of him as a person with tremendous potential in athletics and a good person, who couldn’t shake trouble. He grew up in a crime-infested neighborhood in Tampa, Fla., and was able to use athletics to get away from that dark environment.

His high school coach at Robinson High in Tampa, Fla., told the St. Petersburg Times (Fla.) that he was dismayed by the news of Allison’s death. “Another tragedy, one that has a far-reaching effect on Robinson High School and the Tampa community. I’ll tell you what, in all my life, Desmond Allison was the best athlete I’ve ever seen. He had opportunities that he squandered, but he kept trying. He had a great personality. This is a sad, sad turn of events.

“Desmond’s death represents what’s wrong in American cities these days,” said University of South Dakota Head Football Coach Ed Meierkort, who gave Allison the opportunity to play football for the Coyotes in 2005. “The Coyote Family is pained with this news of a young man that was always positive and had so much potential. Our prayers are with Desmond’s family,” said Meierkort.

Before ending up at Kentucky and then USD, Allison was a high school prep phenom in both football and basketball at Robinson High. He was a highly ranked basketball player listed at #61 among the top 100 players in the country by RSCI in 1998. His ranking placed him ahead of current NBA stars John Salmons and Udonis Haslem as well as current San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates. At the top of the list was current NBA standout Al Harrington with Stromile Swift ranked fifth.

He was recruited to Kentucky where he was a freshman starter for the defending national champion Wildcats. He started two seasons at Kentucky (averaged 8.9 points and 4.4 rpg., as a sophomore), playing alongside current NBA star Tayshawn Prince. Then in his second season, he was arrested for a DUI and due to head coach Tubby Smith’s “no tolerance” policy was forced to leave the program.

After a year in NAIA basketball and some additional troubles with the law, Allison was given a shot to return to athletics at age of 25 with The University of South Dakota football team. Meierkort allowed Allison to come play football for USD in 2005 as a tight end/wide receiver.

During his two seasons at USD, Allison was a standout for the then-Division II Coyotes. He finished with career totals of 51 receptions for 747 yards and 16 TDs. In 2006, he had 35 receptions for 547 yards and nine TDs, including a scoring catch in a second round playoff loss to Grand Valley State. His contributions had helped the Coyotes reach the playoffs for the first time since the 1986 season. In 2005, he had 16 receptions for 200 yards and seven TDs for the Coyotes (9-2) nation’s top scoring team at nearly 50 per game.

Allison showed Coyote coaches and fans a unique set of skills on the football field that he displayed in big moments. One of my most vivid memories about Allison was his 3-TD performance (17, 14, 27 yards) that helped the Coyotes win a first-round playoff game in 2006 at Northwood (Mich.), 31-28 in overtime. In that game, he had 78 yards receiving on five catches. It was USD’s first playoff win since defeating Troy State in the national DII semifinals in 1986.

I also recall the 18-yard TD pass he caught in the 4th quarter of the Coyotes’ playoff loss with Grand Valley State a week later. In 2005, he caught the a TD in the NCC title game (seven yard TD throw from Wesley Beschorner) in which USD defeated North Dakota, 42-30, to claim a share of the conference crown, the school’s first since 1978.

Yet, with all those football skills, he was willing to help other programs try to get better. Obviously, he had matured and found footing at USD. I recall Allison practicing with Dave Boots’ men’s basketball team.

As you can see, all of my recollections of Allison are connected to athletics. I am sure his friends and family can relate more personal stories, which they will do with each other as they say goodbye.

Like Meierkort and many others, I offer my condolences to his family and friends. His death is sad, tragic and pointless. He becomes another victim of senseless gun violence. FBI statistics on gun violence from 2008 showed that more than 14,000 people died from gun-related homicides.

Thanks for the memories Desmond, you will always be a Coyote. Rest in peace.

McKelvey 2nd at Pan Am Juniors… Kyle McKelvey of Beresford, who will be member of the 2011-12 University of South Dakota men’s track and field team, took second in the shot put at the 2011 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships held Sunday at the Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar, Fla. McKelvey continued his unbelievable year with a throw of 60 feet, 4 inches. He finished second to Jamaica’s Ashinia Miller (65-6 1/4) and was well ahead of third place Caleb Whitener of the University of Georgia at 56-6.

Coyote Pre-season All-Americans…Punter Cole Zwiefelhofer (Chippewa Falls, Wisc.) and offensive tackle Tom Compton (Rosemount, Minn.) have been named to Phil Steele’s 2011 Preseason FCS All-America Team. Compton is a first team selection, while Zwiefelhofer was selected on the third team.

SDSU FB Stars Sign With NFL…With NFL training camps about to begin (finally), local players are signing with teams. KELO is reporting today that SDSU standouts Colin Cochart and Cole Brodie are headed to Cincinnati and Jacksonville respectively. The Argus Leader’s Terry Vandrovec says that Derek Domino has signed with the Denver Broncos. All are unrestricted free agent signings.

Matt Hendrickson is the sports director at KJAM Radio in Madison and a Die-Hard Vikings fan… which means he’ll need a Die-Hard Battery to jump-start his heart if the Vikings ever win the Super Bowl.

Well, after all the hard-feelings, name-calling, and generally Congress-like attitude, the NFL players, who somehow think they are “Labor”, and the NFL owners have come to an agreement to end the 132-day lockout. Which means we’ll see a flurry of free-agent signings, training camp and much more before pre-season games begin next month. It also marks about 6 weeks before my Vikings start sucking wind again.

Frankly, I could have cared less about the plight of the owners or the players… the players talk about the long-term damage to their bodies after making millions of dollars in their career. They should talk to firefighters, paramedic/EMTs, and police officers. Their careers (and lives) could end like that. And none of them will ever make a TENTH of what you spoiled crybabies will ever make.

The owners talk about losing money… how the HELL can you lose money when the taxpayers are paying for your brand new stadiums with retractable roofs? Or when you’re charging TEN FRICKING DOLLARS for crappy-a$$ beer? Or when it costs about as much to go to ONE GAME as it does for me to put new tires on my car? With licensing fees, concessions, TV revenue, revenue-sharing, salary caps, corporate sponsorships and ticket sales, you’d have to be a COMPLETE FRICKING MORON to lose money like that!

Both sides came out of this situation as complete TOOLS. And they almost cost themselves not only a season, but a lot of fans, too. Good job, you guys–you nearly killed the golden goose… IDIOTS.

Despite my whining, I’ll still tune in this to watch my Vikings break my heart for the umpteenth time. I’ll shell out the couple-hundred bucks this fall to go with my brothers and dad on our annual NFL sojourn to Minneapolis (though my sister-in-law might insist on Green Bay this year). And I’ll still wear my Jared Allen jersey with hole in it when I tried to burn off loose threads.

Why?

Because, despite all this B.S. and drama, I’ve come to this conclusion….

It’s a hell of a lot better than watching soccer.

(The following blogpost was written by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D., who writes The Genz blog — www.genzmania.blogspot.com)
Aberdeen native Terry Francona, now the Red Sox skipper, won his 1,000th game as a manager with a win over Seattle on Saturday. Francona was born in Aberdeen and moved with his family to Beaver County, PA. His father, John “Tito” Francona is a former major leaguer from 1956-70. Francona served as the Tigers’ third-base coach in 1996.

Blyleven Deserving of Hall Recognition…Did you know that former Twins player Bert Blyleven is one of 10 foreign-born major leaguers to being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame? Blyleven is from The Netherlands. Another Minnesota star (also of the Angels), Rod Carew is among those 10. He is from Panama.

Blyleven is obviously a deserving enshrinee who showed off his humor and good-natured personality during his speech at Cooperstown on Sunday on MLB Network. As noted by Matt Zimmer of the Argus Leader in a column on Monday, July 25, Blyleven is probably best known by those 35 years and younger for his TV work as a Twins color analyst.

The comical and easy going Blyleven is especially known around the league for his “Circle me Bert” promotion. Years ago, he was a major leaguer for 22 seasons, finishing with 60 shutouts and 3,701 strikeouts that rank fifth all-time in baseball history. A two-time all-star, Blyleven pitched a no-hitter in 1977 and has had his number, #28, retired by the Twins. He won 287 games and lost 250 with a 3.31 ERA.

Blyelven, who was part of the Twins 1987 World Series championship team, was elected on the 14th HOF ballot after years of personal frustration for Bert and his fans. There are a lot of other “great” things that can be said about Blyleven but he is a class guy that deserved enshrinement.

He calls Dodger HOF pitcher Sandy Koufax, who some considered the best pitcher of all time, a great inspiration (with good reason). Yet Blyleven had perhaps the greatest curveball of all time, yes better than Koufax. It is time that he was honored by baseball’s Hall. Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson said that Blyleven had a “knee buckling curve” and the long wait for enshrinement was a bit knee buckling for Bert and all his fans. Good for you Bert – congratulations (yes, from a Tigers’ fan).

By: Cody Oliver- KDSJ Radio

The Black Hills State University women’s basketball program has added local standout and Sturgis native Carsey Barden to the 2011-2012 roster. Barden, a 5’11″ guard from Sturgis Brown High School, averaged 19.3 points, 4.5 assists and 4 steals per game as a senior for the Scoopers in 2009-2010. She was a two-time Class AA South Dakota All-State Selection.

KDSJ has been covering the Region 3A Legion Baseball Tournament from Rapid City’s Fitzgerald Stadium. Spearfish Post 164 and Sturgis Post 33 have both been eliminated. For scores through the first two days, go to www.kdsj980.com

Lead-Deadwood Post 31 was the first team eliminated from the State B Legion Baseball Tournament taking place in Winner. Lead-Deadwood lost on Wednesday to Redfield 8-1 and then was defeated by Beresford 14-4 in just 5 innings on Thursday. Congratulations to Lead-Deadwood Post 31 for making it to the State Tournament. They should have a very experienced squad coming back next year. For results of the State B Tournament through two days, you can also check out our website at www.kdsj980.com

More sports news from across the northern Black Hills including Black Hills State, Spearfish, Sturgis and Lead-Deadwood coming soon.

(The following blog was written by Dan Genzler of Sioux Falls, S.D. He produces The Genz blog found at www.genzmani.blogspot.com. Please enjoy the following piece).I am starting to feel it.

With all of this NFL lockout talk coming to a head, college previews hitting the Internet and magazine racks, and high school football in the conversation, I am antsy for the start of football. Believe me, I have a great passion for baseball as the races heat up. I also became a bit involved in women’s soccer during the World Cup.

All of that aside, football is the game that captures my deepest passion.

It was a while ago when I was one of those teenagers heading down to the Gettysburg (SD) Park to do a bit of off-season football training. A few sprints,a lot of kicking and throwing the football, and then across the street to the High School gum for late afternoons weight sessions, all in preparation for the fall football season. I probably did too much of the throwing and kicking and not enough of the weight room. Still, those days seem as if they were yesterday.

It is interesting how the football focus gets real for players as late July soon becomes August. Today’s off season preparation is much different than when I tried to figure out my own workouts to be ready to play football for the Battlers in the late 1970′s and early 1980s. The game is more scientific or strategic; football camps are part of nearly every players schedule in the summer; and participation in acceleration training is important, so I am told.

Regardless, when you get down to it, football is still…well, football. At its root, the game is about blocking and tackling, throwing and catching, running and jumping. Those that do it better, win.

It is funny as I reflect about how and why every late-summer the itch for the game comes back. It is if I have a scratch that never seems to heal.

Why is it that the dog days of July and August fail to dissuade those with the passion for playing the game. Physically grinding two-a-day practices shouldn’t be anybody’s idea for fun. Punishing the body endlessly, why?

I mean really why get up at 5:30 a.m. for a 6:30 a.m. practice and putting on shorts and ripped t-shirts that should have been washed a week earlier. Then, two hours or so later, you and your buddies are at a local watering hole for a Coke, Dew, Pepsi or whatever, talking and venting about the uselessness of 4×4 drills, gutbusters, and meaningless run through of offensive plays. Really, doesn’t the coach realize, it is time to hit? Don’t they know we know this offense and defense? Why do they constantly lecture us about repetition being the key to success? I mean this isn’t school – it is just a game, right?

After about an hour in the local establishment, you head home for a nap or just jump in your beat up truck to waste away the afternoon, cruising nowhere except to engage in a few water balloon fights. All in fun – though when your coachfinds out about your “grab ass” behavior, you find a few more sprints and calisthenics in the practice mix.

He doesn’t just understand boys will be boys.

I still want to put on some pads and spikes right now — but only in dreams or thoughts. I mean really, the muscles are a little old and easily injured now. Plus, I like my couch, or seat in the stands.

Still, as I think about the start of games, the adrenaline still fills my insides. It is a feeling, a passion that never goes away.

Sometimes I think that is why so many of our heroes play beyond their days. Understandable but we all need to move on.

As fans (and players), we can’t wait to head to the games on Friday, Saturday or NFL on Sunday, ready to give our all whether it is on the field or in the stands. We invest time into our Steelers and Vikings, Chargers or Packers, Colts and Pats. Or, our Battlers, Knights, Warriors, Eagles or whoever we favor in high school. And, of course, on Saturday there are the Sooners, Huskers, Coyotes, Jacks, Vikings, Cougars or whoever.

I love this feeling. I don’t play anymore but my passion still runs deep. I can talk to the TV as much as I want. I can sit in the stands and cheer or jeer. I can head to a local watering hole and debate why this and that was done or wasn’t.

Yep, I can feel it – football is back…almost.

Now to a Hall of Fame discussion on Jim Thome… I was watching the the mother ship yesterday and ESPN commentators began discussing the candidacy of Jim Thome, a member of the Minnesota Twins, a classy guy that is quickly approaching 600 home runs.

J.A. Adande, who I usually agree but not this time,suggested that Thome had a long career of good stats but was never the defining player for any of the teams that he has played on.

Thome has been member of the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, L.A. Dodgers and now seems to be finishing a long successful career with the Twins.

I find it disconcerting how some people seem to overlook or downplay guys that deserve a spot in baseball’s hall. Guys like Bert Blyleven (finally inducted this year) and Ron Santo, now deceased but not inducted, who are deserving but put through years and years of frustration. I am glad for Blyleven, he is a class guy who deserves enshrinement. Yet, I am a bit miffed that Santo, also deserving, wasn’t vote in while he was alive. He will never be able to enjoy the moment that a lifetime honor like the HOF brings – sad, sad, sad.

Back to Thome, a lifetime .277 hitter who ranks in the top 30 all-time in RBIs with 1,646. Eighteen times he has had 20 or more home runs and 12 times at least 30. He has been in the top 10 of MVP balloting four times. For a nine year period (1996 to 2004), he hit more than 30 home runs every year. He isn’t yet up for the Hall – he is still playing. But to suggest he wasn’t and isn’t feared disrespects one of the true gentlemen in the game.

Remember, I am a Tigers fan, a team that Thome has brutalized over his career. Just as I listened to many deride Derek Jeter’s quest for 3,000 hits and his candidacy for the HOF, I feel the same about Thome. Both men deserve a spot in Cooperstown.

Jeter has been one of the game’s great ambassadors and a Yankee’s captain, who has performed at a top level over one of the great runs of that proud franchise. And, Thome, wherever he has been, he has produced.

Is Thome feared? Maybe not.

I bet if you ask managers, or better yet, pitchers, what they are thinking about when the 40-year old power hitter steps into the batter’s box in a crucial moment, “fear” might not what they are feeling, but “scared’ is etched on their faces.