Monday’s musings while noting that we’re just two weeks away from the first day of high school fall sports practices. It’s almost here, boys and girls...
• IMPRESSIVE HOME SCHEDULE — A post was made here earlier today about McPherson High football reserve season tickets.
Fans will certainly get their money's worth.
Not only are the Bullpups home for five of their nine games, but many of them will have playoff-like atmosphere.
MHS is home only once in its first four games, but it's in Week 2 when Andale comes to town for a rematch of last year's Class 4A playoff game. With star running back Hunter Knoblauch leading a talented group of returnees, I wouldn't be surprised if the Indians are ranked in the Top 3 of Class 4A Division II going into the season.
Other teams on the home slate are El Dorado, Winfield, Buhler and Hays. The latter three handed Bullpups defeats last year.
El Dorado, despite a lackluster record, has pushed the Bullpups each of the last two years. Winfield, Buhler and Hays will feature three of the best quarterbacks in the state in Will Adler, Jace Williams and Kansas State commit Alex Delton, respectively.
McPherson, of course, returns quarterback Kyler Kinnamon, who accounted for more than 2,800 yards of total offense last year and broke Dwayne Chandler's single-season rushing record that had stood for 25 years.
I would urge everyone to get a reserved seat so you can have the best look to watch this talent on the field.
• CHANGING OF THE GUARD? — If you need any further proof that the winds of change are blowing through the pro golf tour, Sunday provided it.
Generally on Sunday mornings, The Golf Channel carries early coverage of the particular tournament of the week, in this instance the Bridgestone Invitational.
Most of the time, golfers you’ve never heard of dominate the 90-minute coverage, giving the viewer a face to go with what could be considered rather anonymous names.
But yesterday the coverage focused on Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, both hopelessly far behind and just playing out the string. The same two golfers who have been the face of the tour for the past 15 years.
Tiger chopped it around so bad that he didn’t even finish his round, claiming he re-injured his surgically repaired back. Lefty did shoot a phenomenal 62, but he was free-wheeling since he was so far behind, taking chances and going for broke — knowing there would be no severe consequences if he failed.
Tiger and Lefty have been also-rans for most of the season, but still garner much of the attention. Meanwhile we’re missing the new Tiger and Lefty — Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia, who seemingly now duel every week. They deserve their proper due.
This week is the last of the four majors — the PGA. While Rory and Sergio are the hottest players on the planet — they have finished 1-2 in the last two tournaments — you can bet the headlines going into Thursday will be grabbed by Tiger. Will he play or won’t he? Does it really matter anymore?
Tiger, who is 38, might think about calling it a year to totally heal. It has been one of waste for him, as he shoots an occasional 68 to gin up his loyal fans, only to spray it around for a 73 or 74. When was the last time he put two really good rounds together? He’s seemingly searching for answers right in front of us and to see him lay the sod over shots — he left a shot 65 yards short on a par-3 Sunday — is practically unfathomable.
Maybe Tiger is sandbagging us. Maybe all of a sudden he’s going to find the elixir and be the Tiger of old. But for now, he’s just plain old and playing more like a ceremonial golfer, like Arnold Palmer did so famously.
• MID KANSAS WINS AGAIN — The Mid Kansas basketball team, which has enjoyed a terrific summer, won nine straight games to capture the championship of the MAYB Nationals over the weekend in Wichita.
That concluded quite a run for the team this summer, as it also fared well in tournaments in St. Louis, Dallas and Las Vegas.
McPherson High’s Kyler Kinnamon was the point guard for the team, while Hesston’s Grant Raleigh and Tyler McCartney were key pieces to the puzzle.
Other star players for the team were Dean Wade of St. John (who has been offered by several Division I schools), Payton Stephens of Manhattan and Brady Werth of Hays.
Kinnamon has started to receive some looks, especially from the NCAA Division II in-state schools. He was first-team All-State All-Class this past season, as was Wade, whose stock has zoomed this summer. Kansas State and Wichita State have extended offers to the versatile 6-9 senior who's expected to lead coach Clint Kinnamon's team to another state championship.
• ANOTHER ROYALS SERIES WIN — The Kansas City Royals are in the thick of the wild-card race, thanks to winning their fourth series in a row on Sunday.
And this was no average series. They took two of three from the team with the best record in baseball, the Oakland A's.
Once again, it was all about great pitching. Jeremy Guthrie, whose spot in the starting rotation has been rather suspect since he was woeful in July, turned it around with a masterpiece on Friday. Jason Vargas, coming off the disabled list, actually threw quite well on Saturday, but received no defensive support as the Royals played like a bunch of butchers in the field. Then James Shields on Sunday pitched like "Big Game James" that the team so desperately needs from him the rest of the way.
The Royals keep saying as long as they win series, they're going to be in the hunt. Now comes a three-game set at Arizona, which is an also-ran in the NL West. To be a playoff team, Kansas City must handle teams considered below them. Winning two of three in Arizona would certainly continue its recent trend.