For the second time in a month our column was M.I.A. with the reason this time the same as in September—a 50th high school class reunion. Only this time it was in Marshall, Mo. where wife Susan graduated in her class of ’59.

And instead of utilizing the “big bird in the sky” we decided to drive the 850 miles in our family car last week. What we didn’t know was that it would rain for nearly 750 of those miles, making the trip a bit more tedious on the old nerves.

Susan had a great time renewing old friendships with her classmates and visiting many of her relatives still living in and around her home town. She even got to ride on a special float in her high school’s homecoming parade the afternoon before the football game.

Most of the sports nuts up there were ardent Missouri Tiger fans, who already were familiar with her two ex-students Earl Thomas and Deon Beasley, who were invading the Columbia, Mo. campus with their Texas Longhorn teammates the next weekend, which was last Saturday.

We brought our golf clubs with us in hopes of getting in a round, but the upper 30 degree temperatures and biting wind put that idea on the back burner in a hurry.

Our final night in the “Show-Me State” was spent with Susan’s cousin’s daughter, Glenna Bult and husband Brock in their new home on the east side of Kansas City. 

Glenna is an assistant principal at William Chrisman High, a Class 5A school in Independence, while Brock teaches Calculus and is the defensive backfield and punt return coach at Fort Osage High, also a Class 5A school that happens to be the alma mater of St. Louis Cardinals’ slugger Albert Pujols.

We arrived early Sunday afternoon to find Brock mowing the lawn. “Not many high school football coaches get to mow their lawn on the weekend,” we pointed out to Brock. “They are usually busy breaking down film and formulating the game plan for the next opponent.”

Brock admitted that he never was able to do any weekend yard work until his school district paid for the website which cuts out about two-thirds of the work the coaching staff had to do in the field house.

And it seems to be paying off big time for the Fort Osage Indians, who are sitting at 9-0 for the season after winning big Friday night. The team has an open date this week and will conclude the regular season next week. They already have qualified for the state playoffs and know their first-round opponent will be Park Hill High of Parkville, Mo.

Shortly after Brock finished the lawn and took a quick shower, there was a knock on the door as defensive coordinator and neighbor Jon Oyler wanted to borrow Brock’s lawn mower. Most of the Indians’ coaching staff came to Fort Osage five years ago and have that football program really rolling.

Oyler said that the website was developed in Feb. 2006 by David Graff, Brian Kaiser and John Wirtz, who all went to the University of Nebraska.

Game films on the upcoming opponent and the playoff foe can be broken down numerous ways and consolidated into formations used from the start to the end of the game. Plays are given names as well as the passing routes the opponent uses.

“Our opponents can’t log on to our program,” Brock explained, “It’s like banking on line. And we can log on to our program anywhere there’s internet access.” He added that if future opponents have the two teams can exchange game films by e-mail.
He went on to explain that most of the Fort Osage players go exclusively one way, so their individual assignments from certain offensive and defensive formations can be isolated. “The players can even log on to our program during study hall, with the teacher’s approval, of course,” Brock added.

Brock said that he can isolate all punts his return team has been involved in throughout the season and make a consolidated film clip. “Then I can decide which players to send this specific information to,” he continued. 

“We call it the punt blocking team, but if they get the kick off, it’s the punt return team. So far we’ve blocked six punts this season,” Brock said proudly.

He said that the players can break down the games and produce a highlight film they can e-mail to college coaches to view. Indians cornerback E.J. Gaines already has verbally committed to attend the University of Missouri next fall. Brock added that Gaines runs the 40 in about 4.3.

According to the Massey Ratings Fort Osage is ranked No. 3 among the state’s Class 5A schools in defense and fifth in all classes. The Indians are second in offense in 5A and No. 12 in all classes.

We visited last weekend with West Orange Stark’s longtime defensive coordinator Cornel Thompson and asked if he was familiar with the website. He said he wasn’t, but that some of the schools in the northern part of Texas have something similar.

Thompson said that what little extra money is available since the school’s activity funds have been frozen is used to make up individual DVD’s for some of the Mustang members of the offense and the renowned Chain Gang Defense.

KWICKIES…After trailing for most of the game, our McNeese State Cowboys rallied in the final quarter and scored a touchdown with 34 seconds left to defeat Southeastern Louisiana 36-35 at Cowboy Stadium Saturday night in Lake Charles. The come-from-behind victory upped the Pokes record to 5-2 for the season and 2-1 in Southland Conference play that was televised locally.

Our three regional NFL teams all emerged victorious Sunday as the Dallas Cowboys overcame a slow start to rip the Atlanta Falcons 37-21 on a pair of touchdowns by new big-play star Miles Austin and speedy Patrick Crayton, the Houston Texans jumped out to a 21-0 lead over the San Francisco 49ers and hung on for a 24-21 win and the New Orleans Saints overcame a 21-0 deficit to overtake the Miami Dolphins 46-34 and remain undefeated with their sixth straight win.

Former Port Neches-Groves and Lamar University golf star Chris Stroud finished in a tie for eighth place in last weekend’s PGA Tour Open to collect a $135,000 paycheck and moved up to 111th and earned his PGA Tour card for 2010. The payday upped his earnings total to a career-best $735,019. Stroud finished 13-under-par with rounds of 67-65-65-70—267.

JUST BETWEEN US…The 2009 World Series will begin Wednesday with the defending World Champion Philadelphia Phillies facing the dreaded New York Yankees in the best-of-seven series. This will mark the latest start in the history of the Fall Classic. This Korner would be happy is the Phillies won in four straight, but we’re smart enough to realize that probably won’t happen. Let’s predict Philadelphia will win the Series in seven games, sometime in early November.