Smith Center solved the easy part of the playoff equation last night with a 34-8 victory over Bennington at home. The game was never in doubt, even though the Bulldogs scored in the second quarter to narrow the gap to 14-8.
The Redmen scored on their next drive on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Thayne Benoit to Mason Buckmaster, and then just before halftime, Kaden Meitler’s pass rush forced Bulldog quarteback Kyle Kiborz into a hurried throw which was intercepted by Gavin Overmiller. Smith Center cashed in the turnover for a touchdown, and it was 28-8 at halftime. Game over.
Now comes the hard part. Smith Center must win at Phillipsburg Thursday, or the Redmen are out of the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Phillipsburg won a tougher than expected game at Ell-Saline 20-14. The Panthers would have clinched a playoff berth if they would have won by a larger margin, but I still think they win the district title Thursday by ousting the Redmen.
I listened to the final three innings of game three of the World Series on XM Radio going south on 281. The Royals won 3-2, as Wade Davis and Greg Holland retired the Giants in order in the eighth and ninth innings to put Kansas City up 2-1.
Since I have XM, I can get the Royals radio broadcasters, Denny Matthews and Ryan Lefebvre. I can also get the Giants’ call, which means the legendary voice of the one and only Jon Miller.
Under the MLB’s radio agreement with ESPN, the only stations which may carry local broadcasters during the World Series are the flagship stations, which this year means KCSP-AM in Kansas City and KNBR-AM in San Francisco. Every other station, including WIBW in Topeka, the only station to carry every Royals game since the franchise began in 1969, must take the ESPN Radio feed.
However, there is no exclusivity for local stations and their broadcasters, meaning any station in one of the competing cities can carry ESPN’s feed if they so choose. This has caused a major ruckus in Kansas City, where WHB-AM, the leading sports talk station in the market and the archrival of KCSP, has carried ESPN’s feed for all Royals playoff games. I’m sure there are affiliates in all the other postseason cities, including San Francisco, which has the same problem. It’s worse in KC, however, because WHB dominates the market, save for Royals games, which air on KCSP. The Chiefs have aired on an FM station, KCFX, since 1989.
Matthews, who has been with the Royals since day one, did not call the 1980 World Series at all. That was the last year local radio stations were precluded from producing their own broadcasts, forcing even the flagship stations to take the national feed, which at the time was CBS Radio.
In 1980, it may not have caused more than a ripple in Kansas City, but it caused a near-riot in Philadelphia, where Phillies fans were not allowed to hear the voice of one of the legends of broadcasting, Harry Kalas. Most sports fans, myself included, first heard Kalas doing voice-over work for NFL Films, but in the City of Brotherly Love, he was Jesus Christ as far as broadcasters were concerned. I say Jesus Christ because the Lord was John Facenda, who of course was the main voice of NFL Films from 1966 until his death in 1984, and also was a famous anchor for the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia from the late 1940s through 1973.
In 1981, MLB changed its rules to allow the flagship station for each team to produce its own broadcasts , but only the flagship could carry the local announcers; all other stations still had to take the national feed. It worked out wonderfully in 1982, when fans for the Brewers and Cardinals got to hear Bob Uecker and Jack Buck, respectively. The next year, Kalas got to call his beloved Phillies in the World Series, but they lost to Orioles. Same in 1984 with the Padres (Jerry Coleman) and Tigers (Ernie Harwell). Matthews got his chance in 1985.
As much as I’d like to sit around, I’ve got to get moving. Got a long trip to Scott City for sub-state volleyball this afternoon. I’ll next report when I’m there.