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12 Months of Football Ė Continued (August)
Originally posted on ArenaFan.com, Thursday, September 1, 2005
month, another football game. Actually, I attended two games in August on my way
to attending at least one football game every month during 2005. It seems that
no matter where I go in my football travels, I have discovered that there is
always some sort of connection between all the different football leagues and
teams that play throughout the year. And you donít have to look very hard to
find them, either.
Month of Football Begins
To tell you the truth, I was getting kind of "footballed out" by the
time the NFL preseason finally got under way in August. But, being the trooper
that I am, I managed to catch a second wind and was somehow able to watch more
football as the month got under way.
On August 6, the NFL kicked off its preseason with an American Bowl game in
Japan between the Indianapolis Colts and the Atlanta Falcons. If you wanted to
watch the game live it was on ESPN2, but you had to get up at 5 AM EST to do so.
It was also replayed later that day at 6 PM on ESPN. Atlanta won the game 27-21.
Two days later, on Monday night, August 8, the annual Hall of Fame game was
played in Canton, Ohio. The Chicago Bears beat the Miami Dolphins 27-24.
The National Indoor Football League held its first ever NIFL All-Star Classic in
Odessa, Texas on August 6 also. The Odessa Roughnecks took on a team of NIFL
All-Stars representing the other 21 teams in the league. The All-Star squad was
down by 18 points at halftime but came back to post a 49-44 victory over the
Roughnecks. Odessa is the town that is at the center of the book and movie,
"Friday Night Lights."
On August 14, United Indoor Football crowned its first ever league champion when
the Sioux City Bandits hosted the Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Storm in United
Bowl 1 played in Sioux City, Iowa. The Storm won the game 40-38.
The high school football season also kicked off in late August here in Michigan.
In many school districts, the first football games of the season occurred even
before the first day of school. This was the case when I attended a varsity
football game the first weekend of the season between the Galesburg-Augusta Rams
and the visiting Vicksburg Bulldogs on August 26. My kids go to G-A and the
first day of school was not until the Monday following the Friday night game.
G-A took a 19-18 lead after a long drive that consumer most of third quarter.
The Rams even converted a couple of fourth downs to keep the drive going.
Unfortunately, it was the last points the Rams would score as they lost the game
to the Bulldogs 40-19.
The Galesburg-Augusta varsity football team has a connection to the Arena
Football League through one of its assistant coaches. G-Aís offensive
coordinator is Brian Dolph, a 1996 G-A graduate. After setting several school
records in high school as a wide receiver and also in college at Division II
Saginaw Valley State in Saginaw, Michigan, Dolph played WR/LB briefly in the
Arena Football League. He was signed by the Houston Thunderbears towards the end
of the 2001 season and played the 2002 season with the Indiana Firebirds.
In June, former Galesburg-Augusta head football coach Bill Maskill was inducted
into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Maskill
coached at the school from 1957-1990 and posted a lifetime high school coaching
record of 273-84-2, During his time at G-A, Maskillís teams won four state
championships, 1962, 66, 67, and 70 and in his final season, 1990, the school
was the Class C state runner-up. In 1983, Maskill was inducted into the Michigan
High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and in 1986, the school
honored their longtime coach by naming the football field after him. It has been
known as Maskill Field ever since.
A documentary about Coach Maskill has been in the works for the past year and it
is scheduled to be completed and released sometime in early 2006. Maskillís
son, Bill, Jr., who is also a G-A grad and played for his father, is now the
head football coach at Division II Midwestern State in Wichita Falls, Texas.
Ironically, Midwestern State and Galesburg-Augusta both have the same school
colors, maroon and gold!
ArenaCup VI, the af2 championship game, was played in Bossier City, Louisiana on
August 27. The Memphis Xplorers defeated the Louisville Fire 63-41. The af2 was
the last of the indoor football leagues still playing this year. The indoor
season began back on January 28 when the Arena Football League kicked off its
2005 season. This was the first time that the ArenaCup was played at a neutral
site. The game was televised nationally on Fox Sports Net and I was really
looking forward to watching it. However, Fox Sports Detroit, which is available
on my satellite dish, did not carry the game. Instead, the network aired a
rebroadcast of a 2001 college hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State!
To say the least, I was extremely disappointed.
Two days later, on August 29, my oldest son and I were at Ford Field in Detroit
for an NFL Monday Night Football preseason game between the Detroit Lions and
the St. Louis Rams. It was the first time I had ever been to a Monday Night
Football game. New security measures introduced this year by the league include
a pat down from shoulders to waist by security personnel of everyone entering an
NFL stadium. I guess this is the world we live in now.
I have been to Detroit to see a game every year since the new stadium opened in
2002, but after attending a CFL game in Toronto earlier this summer and seeing
that huge playing field at the Rogers Centre, the playing field at Ford Field
seemed kind of small in comparison.
The thing about preseason games is that you get to see a lot of unknown players
trying to make the team. Among the hopefuls for each team we noticed a couple of
familiar faces that night as well. Detroit had punter Adam Anderson on their
roster, a rookie from Western Michigan University here in Kalamazoo. St. Louis
had kicker Remy Hamilton, who played college football at Michigan and was also
with the Grand Rapids Rampage from 1998-1999. Hamilton has been playing for the
Los Angeles Avengers since 2002. Both players were trying to earn a spot on
their team and both saw action during the game. Unfortunately, both players were
also cut the following day.
The Lions were also wearing their new, black jerseys for the first time during
the nationally televised game. Personally, Iíll take Honolulu Blue and Silver
My son and I left the game early in the fourth quarter, a little after 11
oíclock, with the Lions trailing 34-6. Detroit lost the game by the final
score of 37-13. We listened to the end of the game and the post game interviews
on the radio in our car as we made the two and a half hour drive back to
Kalamazoo. We got home around 2 AM.
Since attending my first NFL game in 1975, I have seen all but six of the
current 32 NFL teams play against the Detroit Lions. Now that Iíve seen the
St. Louis Rams, the list is down to just five teams.
The total number of games attended this year now stands at 16 over eight
consecutive months. The 12 Months of Football marches on!
Coming Next Month
A college football game in East Lansing, Michigan and more high school football.
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