Mark your calendars for Friday, Oct. 14, as Elk River will take on Rogers in a marquis battle at Jerry Schempf Athletic Field.
If things went well last night for the Elks in Becker and the Royals in Sartell, the game could be a battle of unbeatens. No matter what, the game could have huge playoff implications.
(Note: Be sure to check out full game reports filed by Star News Sports Editor Bruce Strand, who works tirelessly into the night each Friday in the fall to make sure there’s a full rundown on local sports action when you wake up on Saturday mornings.)
I have no doubt the stands on both sides of the field will be filled to capacity and then some for what is billed as community night.
For all those who turned out for Elk River’s homecoming game against Monticello, they have a taste of how sweet a victory could be. The Elks ended their winless homecoming streak that dated back to 2003, and took one more step to putting last year’s season behind them. It was an exhilarating game, capped off with a gorgeous 27-yard pass play from Corey Collins to tight end Jordan Meyer, on fourth-and-five with two minutes left, that broke a 34-34 tie.
The Elks ran off their home field whooping and hollering and giving high fives to adoring fans, who hung around to congratulate them on a 4-0 season as they headed to the locker room.
It was good to see that kind of elation, and to see that Elk Pride is as strong as ever, both on the field and in the stands.
Games like that one and the one on Oct. 14 between the Elks and the Royals help build stronger football programs. How many children left Elk River’s homecoming dreaming about suiting up in black, red and white someday and strapping on an Elk River football helmet? There were many, I promise you.
It’s happening across the board in the Elk River Area School District where Elk River, Rogers and Zimmerman got off to a combined 12-0 start. Who would have predicted it? The truth of the matter is no one.
That’s one of the things that’s very special about athletics. It’s amazing what the human spirit can accomplish when it sets its sights on a goal and commits to working as a team to achieve it.
To this I say go Elks. Go Royals. And go Thunder. You have made your fans proud and brought your community together in a way that only successful programs can. Keep up the hard work.
And for those who don’t know how last night’s games (Sept. 30) turned out, be sure to click on www.erstarnews.com and scroll down to sports stories and see if your team won.
I know it’s not the same as your morning coffee and a newspaper in your hand, but it has been a pretty close second on Saturday mornings this particular fall. — Jim Boyle, editor