Blue jays had their moments _ jamestown sun
In this month’s version of Five Questions with Steve Linzmeier, Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus asks Steve about the Blue Jays, Jimmies, Gophers football and what the death of Flip Saunders could mean to the Timberwolves season.
CHRIS: What was your favorite moment from the Jamestown High School football season?
STEVE: I’ve got two of them. The first one that sticks out was the 93-yard touchdown catch and run from (quarterback) Andrew Hornung to Noah Wanzek.
It’s one of my favorites because it made me eat my words.
I think it was third-and-11 and they were inside the 10, and I said something like, “This team isn’t built for third and longs.” They made me eat my words very quickly with a 93-yard bomb for a touchdown. Noah Wanzek outraces (Rodney Jones) from Williston. I like being proven wrong, especially when I’m saying something negative about the Jimmies or Blue Jays. And certainly, I was wrong there. It showed the Jays have a little quick strike in them — a big touchdown to take the lead.
The other was the game at Dickinson they lost 14-7. The whole thing in general was a good effort by the Jays. They weren’t able to find a way to win the game, but they played very tough against a really good Dickinson team. Those are my two favorite moments that will stick out to me.
CHRIS: What will the University of Jamestown football team look next season?
STEVE: That’s an interesting question that I’m not sure I have the answer to, and I keep thinking about what this could look like next year.
They’ll be under the direction of a new coach, and there will be a few new players on offense. Dylan Klatt is probably the starter at quarterback, and they lose some offensive linemen. The linebacking corps will be new. The secondary is somewhat intact, and there’s some good pieces in place there.
It’ll come down to what the new coach does. I hope they come in and put together a recruiting class that has guys who can come in and play immediately. We haven’t had that in a while. It’d be awesome to get some guys to strengthen the depth of this team, but also some impact players from the get-go.
CHRIS: What is key to sending the University of Jamestown women’s basketball team back to the Elite Eight and potentially farther?
STEVE: The same thing needs to happen this year as last year. They need to get progressively better as the year goes on.
I was so impressed with how much this team got better from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. Maybe it doesn’t need to be as dramatic of (an improvement), but if they can put things together and keep it moving and get on a run like they did … It sounds cliche, but I watched it unfold in front of my eyes. If you would have asked me at the beginning of last year if the 2015 version would be better than the 2014 version, I would have said, “I don’t think so. They’ll get to nationals, but they’re not as deep.”
The way this team came together, they were able to match them, and even surpassed them in success. But they matched them in overall talent with how well they were playing at the end of the year.
Jessica Buck in the middle of that offense — she’ll leave here as one of the five or 10 greatest players, a first-team All-American. She’s poised for a massive year.
CHRIS: What does the next coach have to do to make the University of Minnesota football team competitive in the Big Ten?
STEVE: What Jerry Kill was doing was making them competitive, and that’s building a defense and a running game. They haven’t had a quarterback to save their lives the last couple years. They’ve had some misses at quarterback, and (this year), they haven’t been able to run the football effectively to try and mask that.
If you can’t find a big-time quarterback, that’s what’s you need to do. Run the football and play defense — in the Big Ten, that’s how you win games. It may not always translate to the ACC, SEC or the PAC-12. But in the Big Ten, that’s how you win.
Then you go to the next level and play in these big bowl games against some of these teams built more on speed, and if you can be physical, you can win. Whoever’s the next coach of the Gophers has to build a physical football team.
CHRIS: Could Flip Saunders’ death provide inspiration for a magical run for the Minnesota Timberwolves?
STEVE: Could it? Yes. Will it? Probably not.
I don’t think there’s enough talent there for the Wolves to make a run. Now if you’re talking about a postseason berth, I think that’s in reach. They have to mesh together the next couple weeks to avoid an early, long losing streak, but this team is gonna be tough. Andrew Wiggins has to take the next step. Karl Anthony-Towns looks like the real deal. Rubio had his best game as a pro in their (season) opener. There are things to build on.
Is this the year they get it done? I don’t know. Could they make a deep run in the future? Maybe. There’s the emotion and everything surrounding his death (from cancer), but this team is gonna need a little more to get these guys a little better to make a run in the future. Certainly, a playoff spot feels attainable, as long as they can get hot at the right time.
Five questions with KQDJ sports director Steve Linzmeier runs monthly.
His show can be heard daily from noon to 2 p. m. on AM 1400.