NFL playoffs

Now that the NFL regular season has come to an end, the most exciting part of the season is upon us: the post-season playoffs. The playoffs are where the biggest of fans either gather in stadiums packed to the brim, or sit down with friends and family to cheer on their favorite teams and hope that a Super Bowl win will be coming their way. This year, a few teams have come back for yet another playoff appearance, and also some teams have the chance to show that they have what it takes to make it with the “Big Boys” of the league. The first and second round of the playoffs have been extra packed with upsets and close games.

First off, the teams that made it to the playoffs this year were mostly expected to make it. From the AFC, the teams that made the playoffs were the: Tennessee Titans, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots. From the NFC was the: Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings. All teams played Wild Card weekend, except the Vikings, Steelers, Eagles and Patriots. The Eagles placed #1 in the league, with a record of 13-3, and tied with the Vikings for best in the NFC,  also with a record of 13-3. The Patriots and Steelers tied for best in the AFC with records of 13-3 too.

In the wild card games, the Titans took on the Chiefs, and won in a close game 22-21. The Falcons took on the Rams, and won 26-13. The Jaguars and Bills played a slow-paced game, and the Jaguars came out with the 10-3 win over Buffalo. The final wild card game was between the Saints and the Panthers. The game came down to a Panthers defeat when the Saints were able to gain a 31-26 win over Carolina.

The divisional round of this year’s playoffs contained lots of surprises. On Saturday, January 13th, the Eagles were able to come back and defeat the Falcons in a 15-10 victory, and the Patriots used Tom Brady to crush the Titans 35-14.

On Sunday, the Jaguars were able to defeat the Steelers in a high-scoring game 45-42.

The last game of the divisional round was the hometown Vikings against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The Vikings went into halftime up 17-0, and most thought that was going to be the game. Drew Brees was able to come back and take a 24-23 lead though. In the last 16 seconds of the game, quarterback Case Keenum threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Stefon Diggs to win the game. The play is now known as the “Minneapolis Miracle.”

This year’s playoffs have seen a crazy bunch of games, and fans are closing in to see the super bowl matchup. As a Vikings fan myself, I am hoping that the Vikings can come home and win our very first Super Bowl in our home stadium.

 

Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis

Minneapolis will be hosting Super Bowl LII in the new U.S. Bank Stadium, Sunday, February 4 at 5:30 PM CT. The Super Bowl is the final game of the NFL season, played every year for the past 52 years in a different state, and is the biggest annual sporting event in America according to Sports Illustrated. This is the second time Minneapolis has hosted a Super Bowl; they also hosted Super Bowl XXVI in 1992.

It was first announced that Minnesota would be hosting in 2018 in 2013, just after the Minnesota Vikings went 5-10-1 (5 wins, 10 losses, and 1 tie in a season). Since then, the team has improved tremendously, going 7-9, 11-5, and 8-8 in 2014, 2015, and 2016 respectively (Check out Pro Football Reference for more stats).

We will not know who will be competing in the Super Bowl until the end of the playoffs, which continue on January 13, and end on January 21. It is possible that the Vikings, who are headed to the playoffs with a win-loss ratio of 13-3, will make it to this Super Bowl, and as MPR reported, it would be the first time in over 25 years that a Super Bowl participant would be competing in their own state.

As MPR points out, if the Vikings can survive the playoffs by defeating the New Orleans Saints, and then winning their conference championship game, they will become the first franchise in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in their hometown. It would be the team’s fifth Super Bowl (their last was in 1977), having won not a single previous one.

But, while this may sound nice to Vikings fans, to the organizers of Super Bowl LII, it could create a great “headache,” according to Sports Illustrated. Hosting a Super Bowl is already a technical feat, but the logistical problems that would arise from the Vikings reaching the Super Bowl would make it even more impressive. Just by making it this far, the Vikings must host a divisional-round game at home on January 14, making it the first time a Super Bowl host city has also hosted a divisional-round game, and if Philadelphia loses, the Vikings will also host the NFC title game. According to CBS Minnesota, Downtown Minneapolis will be revoking parking permits in the area on the day of the game, in order to free-up parking space for attendees. If the Vikings do make it to the Super Bowl, the facilities which they, and their competitors use, will have to be swapped, to allow the Vikings to use their home facility as noted by Sports Illustrated.

The Super Bowl is more than just an annual football game and cultural event. For local and national businesses, it is a big commercial opportunity. It receives 100 million American viewers annually, more than three times more than the Oscars, the second largest TV event in America. Thus, the cost of a Super Bowl advertisement is roughly $5 million for a thirty-second spot, not including PR, digital promotion or contests. In total, a good campaign can cost around $10 million, according to ForbesA pop-up marketplace called North Local Market, displaying over 20 local brands, will be set up in City Center in downtown Minneapolis, from January 26 through the Super Bowl (for more information see  the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal).

But, not everyone is happy with the Super Bowl. According to the Minneapolis StarTribune, A coalition group has organized a protest march on the day of the game, from Peavey Park to U.S. Bank Stadium, in a route as of yet unrevealed. Activist Jess Sundin, a head organizer, said she expects to see “several hundred protesters.” They will be protesting against, in their own words, the “racism and corporate greed,” they perceive in the Super Bowl and the various side-acts connected to it.

Individuals interested in attending Super Bowl LII, who do not already have tickets, will be disappointed; the going price on StubHub, one month away from the game, is upwards of $3,200. Fortunately though, according to MPR, the Super Bowl host committee has announced Super Bowl Live, a 10-day festival leading up to Super Bowl Sunday. It will be held outside in Nicollet Mall, and will include free concerts, ice sculptures, and food.

The Vikings must win only two more games in order to make it to Super Bowl LII, and fans will be impatiently waiting until they next play. If they do make it, it will be a historic moment for the Vikings, the NFL, and Minnesota. If they win the Super Bowl, it will be a historic moment for American sports history in general.

Highland Park Athletic Hall of Fame

By: Gabe Mattick and Riley Lumpkin

On Saturday, October 7th, 2017, Highland Park Senior High inducted the following individuals, and teams, into the Athletic Hall of Fame: John Heller, Louise Kramer, Charles Portis, Gary Podas, the 1999 Basketball Team, and the 1977 Volleyball Team. All of the inductees that were inducted into the Highland Park Athletic Hall Of Fame had notable accomplishments in their sports, while also helping the school thrive.

We attended the luncheon on Saturday morning, and listened to the various inductees and what they had to say. The first inductee was John Heller. He served as Head Football Coach from 1985-2000 and as the Athletic Director from 1995-2009. He did not say much about his accomplishments as the Highland Park football coach, but focused more on his amazing achievements as the Athletic Director. In an approximately 15 minute speech, he gave the audience a great story of how he was able, with the help of many parents, students, and teachers, to add on a field house to the school, and help install brand new lights onto the football field.

The next inductee was Charles Portis, and the 1999 Boys Basketball Team. Charles Portis was a school counselor and coached boys basketball from 1989-2010. He helped lead the 1999 Boys Basketball Team to a great season and a state title.

Next up, was Louise Kramer and the 1977 Girls Volleyball Team. No one from the 1977 team was able to attend the luncheon, and neither was Ms. Kramer, but we did get to hear a few words of their accomplishments, including a quote from Ms. Kathleen Kramer (who is not related the coach of the 1977 Volleyball Team) “The team that year went 6-0 in conference and went on later that year to win the state tournament with coach Louise Kramer.” Kramer coached from 1972-1978.

The final inductee was Gary Podas, who is the current golf coach at Highland Park Senior High. He has been the coach of the boys golf team since 1979, and has lead numerous boys golf teams to conference titles and state. He is the longest serving coach in the SPPS district.

Sports schedule for: Oct 23-Nov 1

For  a full calendar of events please refer to: http://www.sports.spps.org

Fall Sports: Co-ed Cross-country,Adapted Soccer, Football,Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Volleyball, Girls Tennis, Girls Swimming. Danceline, Cheerleading

Activities the Week of Oct. 23-Nov. 1

Monday  Oct. 23

Volleyball Twin CIties Match @ Mpls. Southwest  C-Squad & JV 5:30pm  Varsity @ 7pm  (Bus 4:15/8:15pm)

Danceline begins

Tuesday Oct. 24

Varsity Volleyball @ HP TBD

Girls Swim Varsity Twin Cites Meet @ Mpls. Southwest 5pm (Bus 4:30/8:30pm)

Wednesday Oct. 25

Co-Ed Cross Country Sectional @ Bolstad- University GC 3pm (Bus 1:30/5:30pm)

Girls Varsity Conference Diving @ Humboldt 6pm(Bus 4/8pm)

Thursday Oct. 26

Girls Swim Varsity Conference Meet @ St. Catherine’s 6pm

Friday Oct. 27

Saturday Oct 28

Mon.Oct. 30:

Girls ‘Blades’ Hockey begins

Tues: Oct. 31:

Wed. Nov. 1

Girls Swim Varsity Twin Cities Meet TBD @ Mpls. Site 6pm

Thurs. Nov. 2

Fri Nov. 3:

Sat. Nov. 4:

State Cross Country Championship @ St. Olaf College (Bus 7:30/12pm)

Go Scots!

Sports schedule for: Oct 16-21

For  a full calendar of events please refer to: http://www.sports.spps.org

Fall Sports: Co-ed Cross-country, Adapted Soccer, Football,Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Volleyball, Girls Tennis, Girls Swimming, Danceline, Cheerleading

Activities the Week of October 16-21

Monday Oct. 16:

Volleyball @ Humboldt  JV & C-Squad 5:30pm  Varsity @ 7pm

Tuesday Oct. 17:

Co-Ed Cross Country @ Como Park GC 3pm

Girls Swim Meet @ Humboldt 5pm

Volleyball @ Johnson JV & C-Squad 5:30pm  Varsity 7pm

Wednesday Oct. 18:

Varsity Football vs. New Life Academy @ St.Croix Prep 7pm

Thursday Oct. 19:

B-Squad Football vs. New Life Academy @ Health East Sports Center 4:15pm

Friday Oct. 20:

Saturday Oct. 21:

Go Scots!

Sports schedule for: Oct 9-13

For  a full calendar of events please refer to: http://www.sports.spps.org

Fall Sports: Co-ed Cross-country,Adapted Soccer, Football,Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Volleyball, Girls Tennis, Girls Swimming. Danceline, Cheerleading

Activities the Week of October 9-13

Monday Oct. 9:

Tuesday Oct. 10:

B Squad Football @ Minnehaha 4:15

Volleyball @ Central JV & C 5:30 Varsity 7:00

Girls’ Swimming @ Humboldt 6:30

Wednesday Oct. 11:

Thursday Oct. 12:

Volleyball @ HP vs Washington JV & C 5:30 & Varsity 7:00

Friday Oct. 13:

Varsity Football @ HP vs Providence Academy 6:00

Saturday Oct. 14:

Volleyball C & JV Tournament @ Harding TBA

B Squad Football @ HP vs Providence Academy 10:00

Go Scots!

Sports schedule for: Oct 2-7

For  a full calendar of events please refer to: http://www.sports.spps.org

Fall Sports: Co-ed Cross-country, Adapted Soccer, Football, Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Volleyball, Girls Tennis, Girls Swimming. Danceline, Cheerleading

Activities the Week of October 2-7

Monday Oct. 2:

Boys B-squad Soccer @ Washington Tech. Magnet 4:30pm (Bus 3/6pm)

Tuesday Oct 3: 

Girls Soccer @ Simley JV 4pm  (Bus 2:30/5:30pm)  Varsity @ 7pm (Bus 5:30/8:30pm)

Volleyball @ Harding  JV @ C-Squad  5:30pm  Varsity @ 7pm (Bus 4:30/8pm)

Wednesday Oct. 4:

Boys Varsity & JV Soccer @ Humboldt 3:15pm (Bus 2/5pm)

C-Squad Volleyball vs. SPA @ HP 3:30pm

Thursday Oct. 5:.

Co-Ed Cross Country Invitational  @ Fox Hollow Gun Club 4pm (Bus 1:15/5:30pm)

Girls Soccer vs. South St. Paul @ HP  JV @ 5pm  Varsity @ 7pm

Volleyball vs. Como Park @ HP  JV & C-Squad 5:30pm  Varsity @ 7pm

B-Squad Football @ St. Croix Lutheran 7pm

Friday Oct. 6:

Saturday Oct 7:

Varsity & JV Volleyball Tournament @ Park-Cottage Grove 9am

Varsity Football vs. St. Croix Lutheran @ HP 1pm  (Homecoming- Half Time Cross Country Exhibition)

Boys B-Squad Soccer Tournament TBD 11am start

Go Scots!

Sports schedule for: Sept 18-23

For  a full calendar of events please refer to: http://www.sports.spps.org

Fall Sports: Co-ed Cross-country,Adapted Soccer, Football,Girls Soccer, Boys Soccer, Volleyball, Girls Tennis, Girls Swimming. Danceline, Cheerleading

Activities the Week of September 18-23

Monday Sept. 18:

Girls Varsity Soccer vs. Humboldt @ HP 3:15pm

Boys Varsity & JV Soccer vs. Humboldt @ HP 5pm   B-Squad vs. Como @ McMurray Fields 3:15pm (Bus 2:15/5pm)

Volleyball @ Washington Tech. Magnet  JV & C-Squad 5:30pm  Varsity @ 7pm (Bus 4:30/8pm)

Tuesday Sept.19: 

Co-Ed Cross Country @ Battle Creek Reg. Park 3pm (Bus 2:15/5:30pm)

Girls Varsity Tennis vs. Johnson @ HP 4pm  JV @ Phalen Tennis Courts 4pm (Bus 2:45/5pm))

Girls Varsity Swim Meet @ Humboldt 6:30pm (Bus 5/9pm)

Wednesday Sept. 20:

JV & Varsity Boys  Soccer vs. Johnson @ HP 3:15pm   B-Squad @ Como Park 5pm (Bus 3:45/6:45pm)

Varsity Tennis @ Humboldt  3:15pm  (Bus 2:30/5:30pm)  JV vs. Simley @ HP 3:30pm

Girls Varsity & JV Soccer  vs. Johnson @ HP 5pm

Volleyball vs. Humboldt @ HP  JV & C-Squad 5:30pm  Varsity @ 7pm

Thursday Sept. 21:

Girls B-Squad Tennis  vs. CDH @ HP 3:30pm

Friday Sept. 22: 

Varsity Football vs. Central @ HP 4pm

Boys Varsity & JV Soccer @ Washington Tech. Magnet 3:15pm (Bus 2:10/5pm)

Girls Varsity & JV Soccer @ Washington Tech. Magnet 5:15pm

Saturday Sept. 23:

Varsity Volleyball Tournament @ Nova Classical Academy 9am

Girls Varsity  Soccer vs. Trinity School @ River Ridge 2pm (Bus 12:45/3:30pm) JV 10am (Bus 8:45/11:30am)

Boys Varsity Soccer vs. Trinity School @ River Ridge 4pm (Bus 2:15/6pm)   JV 12pm (Bus 10:30/2pm)

Co-Ed Cross Country Invitational @  Bolstad- University GC 2:15pm

The wildest ending in Super Bowl history

Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots, defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28, in overtime, to win the Super Bowl.

In the first quarter, not much happened offensively for the 2016/17 season MVP Matt Ryan, of the Atlanta Falcons, as the first quarter ended 0-0.

In the second quarter, Devonta Freemen ran it in for the first Atlanta touchdown. The Falcons then got the ball back and scored again, this time throwing it to the tight end, Austin Hooper, for another touchdown, making it 14-0 very quickly. Even though no team has ever come back from being more than 10 points behind, the Falcons were still relentless. Tom Brady ended up throwing an interception, which was returned for a touchdown by Robert Alford, a starting corner for the Atlanta Falcons, making it 21-0.  The Patriots got some life back by kicking a late second quarter field goal, making it 21-3 at the half.

The Falcons started the second half the same way they did in the second quarter – scoring a quick touchdown making it a 28-3 game. Matt Ryan threw his second touchdown to Tevin Coleman. Brady then finally threw his first touchdown of the game, late in the third quarter, giving Patriots fans hope in a comeback. That hope quickly went away though, as Gostkowski, the Patriot’s kicker, missed the extra point, narrowing the deficit to 19 points going into the 4th quarter: 28-9.

Matt Ryan was sack fumbled by Donta Hightower, but the Patriots could not capitalize with the great field position they had and settled for a field goal making it 28-12 in the 4th quarter, with 9:44 left in the game.  Atlanta got the ball back, but didn’t do much with it as they went 3 and out. Tom Brady then drove down the field, once again, and threw a touchdown pass to Danny Amendola. The Patriots were successful in their 2 point try making it a 20-28 game. The Patriots somehow got the ball back again with 3 minutes left, scoring with less then a minute on the clock making it 28-28 and sending the game to overtime.

The refs called the coin toss for possession in overtime. The Patriots selected heads and the coin flipped heads. The Patriots selected to receive the ball, and they drove down 75 yards and scored the game winning touchdown, making the game 34-28, and completing the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

 

Highland Park falls short of a State appearance once again

The Scots lost for the second time in a row, in the Section Finals, to Fridley, a team they had beat earlier in the season. Had the Scots beat Fridley, they would have made their first State Tournament appearance in the school’s history. The Scots came back from a 28-7 deficit, but it wasn’t enough in the end as they fell 49-40.

This season has been full of many up and downs.  Some of the highlights include beating the Fridley Tigers in the regular season at their homecoming.  The Highland Scots also got the Musket back as they beat the Central Minutemen, at Central, beating them 21-14 and ending a 6 game losing streak in the musket bowl to Central.

Next season the Scots will be facing 5A teams, unlike this year where they faced many 4A teams, so they will see much better competition then they did this year.  The Scots will also be losing key Seniors, such as team captains Will Conzet, Amitri Collins-Westlund, and Antonio Ortiz.

Key Sophomores and Juniors will need to step up in the next offseason if they want to be the first to make it to the State tournament after losing in the section finals the last couple of years.