Friday, February 16, 2007

NHS Football Series

Sorry for the long delay. I've not been in the mood to post. I've decided to switch directions--at least temporarily--to do a historical review of Northwestern High School football. It should be fun. You can also find it at my new blog We'll see how that place goes. I've got low hopes.

Northwestern Tiger Football—Historical Series

Northwestern High School is located in Maple, WI, basically the northernmost part of Wisconsin—only minutes from Lake Superior. It is a small school—enrollment of around 420. Over the past twenty years, it has had an outstanding football program. If you include only the northwestern part of the state (from Minnesota on I-94 east to Eau Claire, Hwy 53/63 north to Ashland and Superior), there are probably only a handful of high school football programs with more consistent success than NHS since 1987. Menomonie is definitely the best—they’ve had consistency as well as state championships. Other schools have achieved greater highs (multiple state championships and appearances)—Somerset comes to mind, but their level of success has come more recently. Northwestern was known state-wide as a football school.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to chronicle much of the history of NHS football. I’ll start today by giving a general overview of the program. Next, I’ll rank the players at all offensive and defensive positions. I will only include players from 1988 on, since (A) those are the only players I know about and (B) that is the period during which NHS football was actually relevant. Then I’ll probably make a list of the Top 10 NHS football players of all time. Then I’ll rank the greatest NHS teams of all time.

My scope of knowledge on this topic is pretty broad. I grew up in the area. I watched first-hand each of these teams (1988-2006) play—personally or on film, with the exception of 2006. I have heard plenty of anecdotal stories regarding players and teams. There is a limited amount of statistical data available, but where I can find some, I will certainly publish it. Everything published in this space will be solely my own opinion. There were lots of good football players, and if I leave someone out, I’d be glad to hear about it in the comments section.


Since 1988, NHS has won 8 conference championships, including six of eight from 1993 to 2000. They qualified for the WIAA playoffs 15 times in 19 years, including 11 straight years from 1991 to 2001. NHS qualified for the Wisconsin state championship game twice, in 1993 and 1988. In 1988, they were state champions, holding a perfect 13-0 record, with their closest contest being the state championship game—a 31-7 victory over Prairie du Chein. They were known for their very physical style of play—hard hitting with big, strong, and quick lineman. They were also known for their version of the double wing offense, involving three running backs that were often in motion, as well as much pulling and trapping. NHS had numerous all-state players during this time, as well as several who received scholarships to play collegiate football. Three NHS athletes received full scholarships from Big Ten schools. One became an All-American and played in the NFL.

The Coaches

The Pelkey Era (1988)
Northwestern football dominance began when Coach Bill Pelkey took over the program in the mid-80s. He brought with him a unique version of the double wing offense. Based primarily on precise repetition of a handful of plays—many of which appeared the same to the defense—Coach Pelkey led the Tigers to a share of the 1987 Heart O’ North Conference Championship in 1987, with their lone loss coming to state champion Hayward. In 1988, Northwestern steamrolled its way to a WIAA Division Three State Championship. The 1988 Northwestern team is regarded as one of the most dominant teams in the state’s history. It is rumored that Wisconsin’s mercy rule was fashioned after the 1988 Tiger team; however, outside of a 70-0 dismantling of the Chetek Bulldogs, they did not run up the score. (Chetek chose to leave their starters in throughout the second half, so NHS put their first team back into the game). Most games were over by half time, and only in the state title game did the first teamers play well into the fourth quarter. Bill Pelkey is in the Wisconsin Football Coaches Hall of Fame.

The Lind Era (1989-1996)
Coach Andy Lind—a defensive assistant under Pelkey—took the reigns of the program in the early-90s. Lind sustained the strong foundation of NHS football based almost entirely on a superb running game and hard-hitting defense. The strength of the running game led NHS to another visit to the state championship game in 1993, where they would fall to Lancaster. Also known as an intense, animated, and passionate motivator, Lind led the Tigers to three straight conference championships, including two in the short-lived conference realignment scheme called the NFL (1995-1995). It also included one HON championship in 1993 and a playoff upset of undefeated Osceola in 1992. Lind also led them to the state semi-finals in 1995, losing to an upstart Stanley-Boyd team. The 1995 squad boasted one of the top offenses in the state under watch of offensive coordinator Dennis Scherz, who took over play-calling duties when Pelkey stepped down as head coach and refined certain aspects of the offense. The Lind Era ended when Lind resigned as head coach following the 1996 season.

The Kosey Era (1997-2004)
Defensive coordinator Ray Kosey—a former UW-Superior standout safety and defensive coordinator under Lind—took the head coaching position beginning with the 1997 season. Despite a more reserved approach to coaching, Kosey had immediate success, winning a HON conference in his first season, with only two losses to Duluth Central and Colby (Playoffs, 2nd round), respectively. Kosey was also the defensive coordinator during his tenure, producing solid 4-4 defensive that gave up few big plays. The offense remained the same for most of Kosey Era, led by both Scherz and Coach Bob DeMeyer. Kosey won HON conference championships in 1997, 1999, 2000 (including an undefeated regular season), and 2004. He missed the playoffs only once. Despite plenty of regular season success, Kosey never managed to reach the state title game, his closest attempt coming in 1998 when the Tigers came within one game of the title game.

The DeMeyer Era (2005)
Bob DeMeyer took over after Kosey’s resignation following the 2004 season. DeMeyer had been the offensive coordinator since the 2000 season. DeMeyer changed the offense a bit, relying more on the quarterback’s ability to run and pass. The Tigers became more diverse under DeMeyer, relying less on the strict rules and formations of the double wing. His only season as head coach resulted in a playoff berth. DeMeyer left to coach the Superior Spartans. He followed Kosey, who had become Superior’s Activities Director a year before.

The Lawton Era (2006)
After DeMeyer’s departure for Superior, NHS moved for the first time in almost twenty years for a coach from outside the program. Peter Lawton, Spooner High School and Minnesota-Duluth standout offensive lineman, was hired. With him came the first wholesale offensive and defensive schematic changes. The Tigers suffered their first real down year in 2006, but more talent is on the way. Also, the Tigers should be more comfortable in Lawton’s system after the rebuilding year.

We’re off and running on this history of NHS football. Enjoy. Comment. Let me know what you think.

Friday, February 2, 2007

About Eating

I'm Addicted to Food. Also--Air.

I really enjoying eating. Food is good. However, I also would like one last shot at having the body of an Adonis. So I try to work out pretty hard--running and weight lifting. Most of the time, that aspect of my never-ending quest for the perfect male body goes pretty well. It's food that gets me.

I'm addicted to food. It's like I need it to survive. I always think about how if I just eat x, y, and z for supper, I will only intake so many calories. Therefore, I'll lose weight. However, I usually think about this immediately after I eat lunch or breakfast. So I'm not hungry. It's so much easier to talk about what you'll do to eat healthy that day when you just ate food. It's alot harder when the food is right in front of you. It's also hard when you get hungry and dream of devouring a whole pizza. When I get to supper, I'm usually effing starving. Usually my wife has cooked me something good, and I tend to want to eat alot of it. It's a daily dilemma. Through in the fact that eating is just a very pleasurable, and I'm all but done for. Then I have to work my ass off at the gym just to get back to square one.

Editors note: some people claim that they really ARE addicted to food. However, by definition, we are all addicted to food. Those people aren't addicted to food; they just eat too much. They should eat less, but completely ceasing to eat will, in fact, kill that person.


I wish I could limit life to the four esses (S):

And eating.

I'd be very happy if that was all I had to do ever. I swear I would not get bored.

If I ever become President of the United States, when I finish my term(s), I will wear sweatpants for the rest of my life. After all, I pretty much slept in a suit for the last four (or eight) years. I'd want something more comfortable, and I think sweats provide that nicely.

Quote from one of my favorite shows, The Office:
Michael: Guys - meat it’s what’s for dinner. Who wants some man meat?
Dwight: I want some man meat!
Jim: Dwight wants your man meat.
Michael: Well then my man meat he shall have.

Me: That is really, really funny.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

This Is a Rant--Do Not Read if You Are My Wife

Music: My Chemical Romance, "Thank You For the Venom"

I can tell when she's pissed off, but sometimes you just gotta tell it like it is

I have almost no thought process today. The wife and I spent the morning waiting for our car to get serviced. Then we checked out new vehicles, as we plan on buying a new vehicle in the next six to eight months. Cars are expensive.

We are also in the embryonic stages of looking at houses. My mom told me about a program that gives a $5500 interest free loan to be used as a downpayment on a house for people who "qualify." First, we should qualify because we are undoubtedly poor. I just checked out what my student loan payments will look like, and I think they'll be like a grand. Second, we don't make much money right now. We will soon, but we don't right now.

So, houses. I tell her that this a great opportunity to actually buy a house since it will be otherwise very difficult for us to earn enough for a downpayment. I say it could pay for the entire downpayment if we buy a house in the $100 to $120 thousand range. She gets that I-sincerely-doubt-it-and-you look on her face. She says, "I don't think we will find a house for $100,000." I say that almost every thing I've looked at has been in the 115 to 125k range. She says, "In an area we want to live?" YES! OF COURSE! I explain that we don't have a lot of money. I'm not sure how many more times I can explain that, or how I can clarify the fact. We don't have money. We (I) have a tremendous amount of debt. She usually explains that away by saying because it's student loan debt, it is "good debt," as compared to "bad debt" like credit cards. I agree, but the payments will still be HUGE!

She does this every time we make a major decision. The wedding. Buying a car. Going on vacation. Nothing seems to be good enough, at least initially. Eventually she may warm up to the idea, but initially she is very skeptical that it will be sufficient for her standards. And to be honest, it fucking pisses me off. You don't go straight from a fucking two-bedroom pisshole in subsidized student housing to a beautiful house built circa 2003 with brand-fucking-new appliances. That's just not how it works. If she wanted more, then she should've married someone with more money or less debt or both. I'm sure they are out there. If she feels like she is shut out of the decision making, then she is more than welcome to be more involved. I would hope she has a tremendous impact on which house we choose. However, even if she made the decision herself, that doesn't all of a sudden change the budget. I'm not making this up: we have a limited amount of funds, and there is a big fucking difference between $120,000 and $150,000. Like $30,000 difference, and several hundred dollars per month. It's not like I can say, "We only have enough money a cheap-ass house." Then she says, "I want a better house." And I can say, "Okay, now that I know that, I'll just think really hard about it until about 40 grand just appears in my lap." We can afford what we can afford.

A Miscellaneous Thought

If someone asked me what my least favorite thing about any girl I was dating, I would answer, "Any past and future sexual partners." That would always be the answer.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Greatest Songs Ever--In No Particular Order

Let's say you were forced onto a deserted island. All you could bring with you is an Ipod Teeny, which holds five songs. You'd have to choose which songs you wanted to bring with you. That analogy is terrible. It is cliched, and I generally feel pretty stupid having typed it. You'd get so sick of those songs if that was all you had to do, regardless of how good the songs were.

So.... songs I couldn't live without....

A little preface: First, these songs are in no particular order. They will be occassionally posted and discussed when I remember them. And that isn't to say that these songs aren't memorable, but I've got alot of shit to do every day. I can't spend time sitting around thinking about the greatest songs ever.

Second, these songs are different from the "Music" segment I've been using in all my other posts. Those songs are the songs I like that day. This series is about pretty much the best songs that humans have ever conceived. Hopefully that distinction is clear.

Greatest Songs Ever: The Verve, "Bittersweet Symphony"

I recently mentioned this song, but I felt it would be a good time to mention it again. Because it is really good.

The strings are perfect. The manner in which they are used creates the entire mood and tone for the song. Contrary to popular belief, the main violin "hook" was not the part The Verve stole from the Rolling Stones.

The lyrics are beautiful, and I'm not sure there's a song that can make you really ponder--just sit and ponder shit--like this song. I'm not sure there's another song that you can change your perspective without really knowing what hit you. Actually, there might be a similar song, but I won't reveal it today.

'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
Trying to find some money then you die
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah

Richard Ashcroft is, according to some people who know a thing or two about music, one of the best songwriters ever. I guess it makes sense that he wrote one of the best songs ever. It's a shame he isn't bigger here because he is damn good. His solo album "Alone With Everybody" is a great disc as well.

So there it is--one of the Greatest Songs Ever. I guess if I think of more to write about it later, I will. Since I can't really do the actual song justice with words, I'll probably just listen to it again.

Off to school. Eight straight hours of class, including a night class from six to nine PM. Ugh.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Cities 97 Makes Me Want to Punch Things

Music: Billy Talent, "Line and Sinker"

What you see is what you get
Fishing for the answer with a line and sinker
Look at me and don't forget
Hard to get a grip with all these broken fingers

This song is a screamer and a rocker (like almost every song on Billy Talent's self-titled first album). It's great on the treadmill when I turn up the speed above 9 mph. I just imagine that this angry asshole is screaming these lyrics at me. So I run.

A buddy of mine told me that he thought I was going through an early midlife crisis. When most people get my age, the reach for their radio tuners and listen to Cities 97. They find the mellow, unoffensive tones of adult contemporary soothing. I find them obnoxious and pretentious. It reminds me of the South Park episode where everyone bought hybrid vehicles and started enjoying the smell of their own farts. That's a Cities 97 listener--a pretentious fart lover.

So maybe it is a midlife crisis. Or maybe it's because my major contact with the outside world (outside of marriage and law school) is my 19 year old brother (who I have decided to start addressing with "Heyyy Little Brother" like JD's brother on Scrubs). Or maybe its because this music is less pretentious and isn't afraid to wear its heart on its sleeve. It's probably a combination of the three.

Riding the Bus

I've been going to school here for over two years. I started riding the bus after my first year. It was a result of two factors. First, I was sick of riding my bike in the winter. Second, my bike got its back wheel stolen and was hit by a plow. I wasn't on it at the time, but it was pretty hard to ride after that.

So I started riding public transportation. At first, I had a romantic attitude about it. I was on my own in the city, riding the bus. I liked being among other people who were just trying to make it. I liked going through the city on the bus; you can look around through the big windows.

Now I hate riding the bus, and I'll do just about anything to avoid it. To make matters worse, I moved about a mile further away from school (which equates to about 8 minutes on a bus--which feels like 37 hours). Now I realize that I am merely trapped on a stinky, crowded bus for way too long. I hate the people on the bus. They sit by me, and occassionally they smell. I can't see a damn thing because I never get a window seat. The bus manages to hit every red light on the route. It's late, I'm hungry, and the bus driver bitches at me if I don't ask for a transfer quickly enough. I'm reminded that I'm not wealthy or established enough to be able to drive my own damn vehicle to a real job. I'm just part of the huddled masses--something I used to relish.

New Series: How to Avoid Looking Gay

Over the past few weeks, I've seen two dudes using the "abductor-adductor" machine in the weight room. That is two more dudes than I had ever previously seen. There's good reason why I've never seen a dude using this machine: it's not for dudes. It's for chicks who think that if they do about 50 reps, they will slim their fat, cottage cheesy thighs.

My point? If you are dude, don't use the "abductor-adductor" machine. It's not for you. Do an effing squat if you want to work your legs.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Batting .500

Music: Motion City Soundtrack, "Perfect Teeth"

It's been a long week. Since Monday, I've spent roughly 10 hours driving, about 20 hours working, about 15 hours in class, and another 15 studying. The only thing that has kept me going on the long road trips to work twice a week is a medium light roast Caribou coffee with cream and sugar and rock and roll music. "Perfect Teeth" has the best "rock out" moment I know right now. I play it really loud while traveling north at 77 mph, and I rock out.

It's Kinda Hit and Miss

Wednesday was a great day at work. I dominated some lawyering. I got a problem and helped find an answer within that day. I was into it. I was smart. I didn't waste any time.

Today, I suck at work. I got a problem, and seven hours later, I've got no answers. I've run out of places to look for answers. $100 grand and can't find an effing case. Law school has failed me. The resources that that law has provided have failed me. So on this day, I'm left with more anxiety and anger about my chosen profession.

I wanna go home and watch 24. Four more episodes of Season One. I'd also like to order some Broadway Pizza and eat the shit out of it.

I guess my blogging is also pretty hit and miss. At 4:13 PM on a Friday, I have about as much desire to create this post as I do to continue to work. My mind is totally void of anything meaningful or remotely smart to type in this space. Instead, I'll continue to post random crap that none of my devoted readers really care to hear. Sorry guys. Er. Guy.

I wore a sweater today. I wore an Oxford shirt underneath the sweater. It is something I never thought I'd do. However, it is very cozy, and it doesn't make me look that gay. Maybe because I'm too manly and grizzled looking to appear gay to anyone.

Maybe I'll be smarter tomorrow.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

People Better Than Me

Music: Regina Spektor, "Fidelity"

I hear in my mind all these voices
I hear in my mind all of these words
I hear in my mind all this music
And it breaks my heart
And it breaks my heart
And it breaks my heart
It breaks my heart

Sometimes I hear a song, and I get it. I first heard "Fidelity" roughly 26 minutes ago. I KNOW what Regina Spektor is saying. There are experiences in life that are so good they hurt. More specifically, songs break my heart--in a good way. Unlike Spektor, I only hear the music that other people's minds have created. People smarter than me. People better than me. It guess it isn't so much that I get it, but rather Regina Spektor gets it. She makes it easy for someone like me who doesn't have his own music in his head to get it.

"Fidelity" would be a good song to take your Ipod out into the world and just walk with it. Watch the world, and listen to the music. You're in a movie. You could be the lead or an extra. Doesn't really matter. This soundtrack works the same for both. The music streams in like atmosphere. The sound comes from the leaves or the snowbanks. The sounds of wheels and feet and voices and exhaust and the afternoon are replaced by the alternate reality of the song.

Some songs just have that quality about them. Something in its richness or sound. Not a hook, but something deeper and real. Not something that just makes you shuffle your toes a little. "Fergalicious" is really catchy, but that is not quite what I am talking about. I paused the song to the answer the phone, and I felt bad. It's that good. The last time I really remember a song like this was The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony." Maybe Coldplay's "Clocks."

We're all greedy. We all wanna be better than we are. I suppose Regina Spektor probably wishes she was better at math, or something. I get so damn frustrated because I can't do things I want to. I can't express myself in ways I'd like to--bits and pieces of something good or unique that I can visualize but am not physically or metally capable of creating with my mind or my fingers or my voice. I want to make something beautiful. I'd even settle for creating something that was merely good or satisfactory, by my standards but also by other people's standards. Something enjoyable. Maybe I already have, or maybe I will. Maybe I won't. But it makes me mad and jealous that I don't have great ideas in my head. I don't have songs in my head, and even when I do, they never sound as good as they did in my head. And even if they sound good in my head, they never have the capacity to break my heart. "Fidelity" has only made me realize the same things I already knew, that I am frustrated and restless. That my desire to create is almost always stifled by my pure lack of time, effort, and creativity.

I wanna get high. I think I'll have a chew.