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SIOUX CITY – The tradition began many years ago.

With Olsen Stadium eerily silent following a game, Morningside football coach Steve Ryan trudged alone with only his thoughts toward the Mustangs lockerroom.

After his team slugged out a 2018 opening victory over William Penn just over a week ago, an emotional Ryan was retracing his post-game steps.

The emotions had very little to do with the victory.

“I’m always the last guy to leave the stadium, but it was very different this time,’’ said the winningest football coach in school history, in a halting tone. “I began that game day pattern of leaving the field a long time ago after visiting with players and Mustang fans and boosters.

“And the final visit was always meeting with Rebby on the field after a game to discuss what had happened so he could write his game story for our website and his plans to promote the next game.

“He’d always have a nugget or two he’d make me aware of. That’s how thorough and dedicated he was.

“He wasn’t there after the Penn game and I don’t mind telling you it was more than a bit emotional.

“That guy was the very best and I don’t mind telling you, I’m going to miss that relationship.

Dave Rebstock, the most proficient sports information director in NAIA athletics, passed away just prior to the opening football game of the season.

Rebby was responsible, perhaps more than any other, for campaigning the Morningside brand in athletics. He did what all the electronic marketing in the world could never accomplish, provide some inside information, oodles of it.

#As it proved Saturday, Northern Illinois is far better than a mid-Missouri Valley (Football Conference) football team. Now, Akron, that’s a mid-Mo.

#With University of Iowa commit Sarah Goodman back, Crestwood will repeat as Iowa Class 3A girls state basketball champ. Crestwood may win in 2020, too. The 6-2 junior averaged 19.9 points as a sophomore last season.

Another Iowa prep and Hawkeye commit, Shateah Wetering of Montezuma, is also in the 2020 class.

#Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander lettered his last year as an Iowa Hawkeye in 2002. A walk-on offensive lineman originally in 1998 out of Allison-Bristow (Iowa) High School obviously learned the rudiments of the game well despite not playing a down until the 2002 season.

New Nebraska Coach Scott Frost brought Chinander along with him when he left Central Florida to take the NU job.

#Common ground.

Central Florida began football in 1979 and among its 11 head coaches there’s Lou Saban (Nick’s dad), George O’Leary (briefly Notre Dame), Frost and now Josh Huepel, the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2000 after leading Oklahoma to the BCS national title.

Huepel has succeeded Frost, now the coach at his alma mater.

At Nebraska, Frost quarterbacked the Huskers to a share of the 1997 national title with Michigan.

Huepel played his high school football in Aberdeen, S.D., and played collegiately at Weber State and Snow (Utah) Junior College before landing at Oklahoma.

Frost, from Wood River, Neb., began his college career at Stanford, then transferred.

#Our Town’s West High will face one of the state’s premier running backs in Gavin Williams when Southeast Polk visits the Wolverines on Oct. 5. Williams has scholarship offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan and Nebraska.

A week later, West hosts Fort Dodge and Drake Miller, one of the state’s elite quarterbacks. Miller is the son of Matt Miller, the Fort Dodge coach and standout on some fine Morningside teams in the NCAA Division II days.

North High already met another of the state’s premier backs in that incredible 99-81 loss to Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson Friday night.

Tee Jay’s Cameron Baker rushed for 371 yards and a whopping eight touchdowns in the amazing shootout.

#None of the three Sioux City public schools face West Des Moines Valley this time around, but North and East both play at five-time Class 4A state champ West Des Moines Dowling.

Word is Dowling showcases an offensive line group that ranks fourth best in the state – behind Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa.

Valley (five) and Dowling (eight) have won 13 of Iowa’s Class 4A state titles going back to 2000.

#This just in.

The University of Iowa began playing football prior to 2000.

Believe it. So, many times talented tight ends and NFL draft picks like Curt Merz, Cliff Wilder (Sioux City Central), Jim Gibbons, Jon Hayes, Jim Swift and Bill Whistler (Yankton, S.D.) are many times overlooked.

Marv Cook, Dallas Clark and current standout Noah Fant didn’t invent the tight end position at Iowa.

#Good to see Buena Vista University has climbed down from its NCAA Divisiion III Iowa Conference high horse to schedule an NAIA opponent.

After clipping Hamline 39-27 in its opener Thursday in Storm Lake, BV will play at Concordia (Neb.) Saturday.

It’ll be the only time a Great Plains Athletic Conference team (Concordia) meets a newly named American Rivers Conference (the old IIAC) team in football this season.

After the inception of NCAA Division III in 1973, former IIAC members have tangled with NAIA schools on rare occasions.

One result was the eventual end of one of the best small college football rivalries in the state, Northwestern College in Orange City and Central College in Pella.

Hamline, incidentally, hasn’t had a winning season in football since at least 1998 and just once during the time frame has the St. Paul (Minn.) institution won as many as five games in a season (2016).

By the way, D3-NAIA scrimmages and JVs don’t count in the divorce.

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