Sports Exchange

The Sports Exchange - weekdays from 4-5pm

WIAA High School Football Pairings

All games start at 7pm Friday night, 10-25.


#6 La Crosse Central @ Ft. Atkinson

#7 Waunakee @ #2 Holman



#7 Onalaska @ #2 Reedsburg Area

#6 Evansville @ #3 La Crosse Logan (No time set yet)

#8 West Salem @ #1 Lodi



#5 Black River Falls @ #4 G-E-T



#8 Durand @ #1 Arcadia

#7 Westby @ #2 Mondovi



#8 Melrose-Mindoro @ #1 Darlington

#4 Whitehall @ #5 Cuba City



#8 Independence @ #1 Cochrane-Fountain City

#5 Bangor @ #4 Pittsville

#6 Hillsboro @ #3 Loyal

#7 Blair-Taylor @ #2 New Lisbon


You can find the brackets here:

Division 1:
Division 2:
Division 3:
Division 4:
Division 5:
Division 6:
Division 7:

Are you working tonight?

With my schedule at WKTY it is usually hit and miss when I am out covering a game. Whenever I go to a sporting event I am always asked if I am "working" or if I am just there to watch a game.  I would say more times than not when I am at a game I am "working", my 3 kids aren't old enough yet that I would be covering a sporting event that they are participating in.

 On Friday night I covered a game at Onalaska when they were playing against Aquinas.  Sometimes when I am covering a football game I sit up in the press box with the rest of the media, that for sure has it's advantages.  Not only do you get a perfect view of the game, it is also fairly quiet it makes it much easier to pay attention to the game and the sound quality on the air is probably better too.  Up until last Friday night every game that I was covering this season I was sitting in the press box, either at UW-L or at Logan, most stadiums outside of LaCrosse though I end up sitting in the bleachers or standing somewhere along the sidelines.

On Friday night when I was in Onalaska I was sitting in the bleachers, shortly before the game started I saw a familiar face.  My old high school football coach from Westby Neil Hoven was at the Onalaska/Aquinas game, he had another man with him that I had never met before it was legendary Aquinas coach Jack Nockles.  Coach Hoven greeted me as he always does, with a smile from ear to ear and telling me a joke.  As we were sitting there talking about the glory days, Neil started telling me about coach Nockles and how they coached in an all star game together.  Coach Hoven had picked him up from the nursing home so he could go and watch his old football team.  Coach Nockles had a stroke and no longer talks, but his actions and the expression on his face did all of the speaking for him.  It seemed everyone that was wearing Aquinas blue that walked near him he waved to and they all waved back, he knew everyone in the crowd and everyone knew him.  His former players came up to him and would shake his hand, there was a man that brought his son up to him so that he could meet "his old football coach".  The smile on coach Nockles face is probably still there today, he was so happy to see everyone, and everyone seemed very happy to see him too.

 Friday night the game went into 4 overtimes and it ended with a field goal, as far as a high school football game goes and "not having a horse in the race" it doesn't get much better than that.  There were rushing touchdowns, passing touchdowns, interception for a touchdown, and game winning field goals.  That night though the memory that I will always have is about my old football coach getting one of his old coaching acquaintances out of a nursing home so he could be happy and watch his old team play football.  I know this week I am going to be sitting in another press box, but I look forward to the next time that I am part of the crowd while I am "working" at a football game.

75 Years of Westby Football

This year Westby high school celebrates it's 75th year of high school football.  Being part, albeit a small part, but still a part of the history of that program still has an impact on me and my life today.  I went to high school in the mid 90's, when I was a Freshman in high school the head coach was Art Brunje, coach Brunje was known around the area as a tough but great coach, he had state titles under his belt and had coached some of the best football players in the area on his resume.  I remember wondering as a kid if I could make it being coached by him, but being a boy growing up in Westby, that is just what you did, you played football.  The first day of Freshman football and being in a warmup line that felt like it was over 50 yards long and barely even being able to see him leading his seniors at the front of the line you still wanted to put in your best effort doing the jumping jacks in fear that he might see you slacking off.
I remember when I was a sophomore we got a call to go to his classroom during a lunch hour in the middle of the winter, it was then that coach Brunje told the team that he was going to be stepping down, but that he was leaving the team in good hands.  He said that Neil Hoven a coach from the 70's was coming back to take over the team, and his line coach "B" was going to stay part of the staff.  I remember the sadness and joy of the older kids when they heard the news, the sadness because of the loss of a great coach like Art Brunje but the optimism because of a coaching legend like Neil Hoven coming back to take over the team.
Westby football is all about tradition, they still "shoulder block" they still do warmups that teams probably back in the 40's used to do, in Westby when it comes to football time stands still, it is throwback football, so far throwback in fact that if you were to call a passing play, it means that you would only have 2 more chances to get a first down.  You don't throw the ball, you run it, and if you are coaching the team and you do throw the ball, then you never hear the end of it from the "experts" that gather at Borgens.  Many study hall hours were spent watching game film from teams in 80's and you not only learned how the schemes worked you learned of the young men that were there before you that proved the system works if you ran it correctly, and they had the state championship trophies to prove it.  The players last names were most of the time the same last name as our teammates because they were their older brothers, or their cousins.  As little kids we could remember the police and fire trucks escorting the championship team back into town after they took care of business in Madison, and you dream of the day that you would be able to wear that jersey and those people would be cheering for you.
Winning was tradition at Westby, wether it was Art Brunje, or Neil Hoven or even before them coaches like Bill Terry, and Elmo Gulsvig.  It was just expected that if you play for Westby you are supposed to be as good or better than everyone else.  It was a swagger without a swagger, there was nothing flashy at all about it, no running through the signs no running through a tunnel as your name gets called, nothing flashy at all.  The only name on the jersey was Norsemen, and the only thing that made you different than anyone else was the number on your jersey, there was nothing special about playing football for the Norsemen yet at the same time everything about it was special.  The coaches used the history and the tradition as motivation every chance they got.  Maybe the best high school football player to come out of this area was a running back for Westby, his name is Steve Hougom he was first in rushing in the COUNTRY his senior season.  There was never anything that we could ever do to "impress" our coaches that they hadn't seen before and every chance they had to remind us of that they did.  That was part of what made these coaches so great, it was the fire that kept burning, the fire that even keeps burning today of "I'll show you how good I am".
The beauty of high school football, and not just Westby football but high school football in general is that it bridges the gaps in generations.  A player from the 70's Dan Nelson (now the head football coach) was the one that got me interested in football in the first place, recently I have been in contact with other men that I consider legends and role models because of what they did playing football at Westby.  I had a chance to coach football for a few years in Ohio and that really opened up my eyes that just because it wasn't "Westby football" didn't make it any less special, every school has something different about it that makes it "better" and "more special" than any other school.  The traditions of high school football in this area and around the country are very special and they make an impact on a young man's life.  I like most other adult males that played high school football can still remember as much how to run the bread and butter plays as any senior on the field right now, but the X's and O's aren't what makes the game special, it is those that are standing next to you and those that are leading you.  And with that, it doesn't matter if you played high school football in Westby or Viroqua, it doesn't matter if you were division 6 or division 1, it doesn't matter if you played in Wisconsin or in Ohio.  High school football has been changing the lives of young men for many many years, and no matter what rules are put in to change the game, as long as they keep playing, it will continue to change lives for the next 75 years.
That was my high school football experience minus many many details, please feel free to comment on what made where you played "more special" than anywhere else.

Big Football Weekend

This weekend is a HUGE weekend for football all around.  In the NFL the Packers and Vikings are looking to rebound from tough week 1 losses, the Bears are going to try to stay on top of the NFC North with a win against the Vikings.  In college football the Badgers for the first time this season are a rare underdog going into a game at Arizona State, and the game with the biggest hype of the season is where "Johnny Football" and Texas A&M are going to try to beat Alabama for the second time in 2 years.


On the local stage where there aren't controversies like who got paid for signing what and who should or shouldn't be suspended.  In high school football it is a very important week.  In the MVC there is a full schedule starting out with Sparta @ Tomah, after tough starts by both teams (0-3) and playing in a tough conference like the MVC wins will be hard to come by for both teams this season,  this is a big match up for both teams.  Onalaska is at Logan, Onalaska has had a couple tough losses including a conference lost last week to a tough Holmen team, but they also had a big win against their former coach when they held on for a win against West Salem.  Logan had a tough loss in the opening week, but since then has had 2 wins including a very impressive win last weekend against a previously beaten Aquinas team.  It should be a good match up as well to see if Onalaska can prove they are a contender in the conference or if Logan proves that they are one of the top 2 or 3 teams in the conference.  The biggest match up of the night is in Holmen where Central comes to town.  Both teams are 3-0 the Central offense is highly flammable, and the Holmen defense has allowed only 3 points all season long, it is a clash is styles, Holmen is big and strong, Central is small and quick.  The conference champion very well could be one of the 2 teams playing this game tonight. 


In local college football UW-L is trying to rebound from a loss to the University of Dubuque when they play North Central College.  Last season UW-L was an underdog against this school and ended up beating them, the question is can they do it 2 times in a row?  Saturday afternoon we will find out!  The weather forecast looks like perfect football weather, if you can't find a game to go to this weekend, you aren't trying very hard.  Good luck to all teams!

Politics Vs. Sports

There have been a lot of politics tied in with sports as of late.  To name a few there was Dennis Rodman going to North Korea, there has been political debates about what has happened at the Boston Marathon.  Charles Barkley has taken shots at different political parties, religion has always been in sports. The Miami Heat wore hoodies to support Trayvon Martin not that long ago, and recently the biggest political issue in sports has been when Jason Collins and Brittany Grinner came out and said they were gay.

Sports figures in the past have been associated with political stances as well, this isn't anything new as a matter of fact one of the biggest ties with politics and sports was back in the 30's when Jesse Owens won a gold medal.  There was also the 1980 men's hockey team who proved to the world that our will is as strong as any in the world.  In the 60's there were many athletes that were protesting the war, and used their fame to gain attention about it, maybe the most famous being Muhammed Ali.  And we still celebrate today Jackie Robinson day and what he did for baseball.

 The most recent story has been about Vikings punter Chris Kluwe supporting the idea of having gay teammates.  Kluwe has been vocal about many issues in the past, and the viking organization has said that they found it amusing.  I agree with them, his drawings have been very amusing and his stances on issues while not everyone agrees with all of them are still entertaining and just.  I don't know if anyone will know why Kluwe was released by the Vikings, I do know that they didn't have a problem with him last season, but that some started getting fed up with him when he was complaining about having to play a game at the university when the Metrodome roof fell in a couple years ago.  The last punter from the Vikings was Mitch Berger, he was known for keeping candy bars in his socks and eating one before he punted the ball.  Kluwe will be known for in my opinion something much more important, he will be known for standing up for his beliefs no matter who agreed with him or disagreed with him, even if it cost him his career. 

 The reason most of us watch sports is to escape reality, unfortunately sometimes sports and reality mix.  You can agree with a political stance or you can disagree with it, but there is always something to be said about the one's who are brave enough to take a side and to stick with it.  While it is debatable on whether or not it is important to be heard, there is still a lot more to a person than their political views.  You know, more important things like can he catch or throw a football, or can he pin the opponenents deep in their own know, the stuff that really matters when we are watching them on the field.

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  • January 2015
Aquinas girls at Logan
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 7:20pm
Uw Stevens Point men at Uwl
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 6:50pm
Bucks at Magic
Thursday, January 29, 2015 6pm
Onalaska boys at Logan
Friday, January 30, 2015 7:20pm
Uw Whitewater women at Uwl
Saturday, January 31, 2015 2:50pm
Bucks vs. Blazers
Saturday, January 31, 2015 7:30pm