GAME GOES ON

FOOTBALL

VIEWS OF A FARM BOY

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (NIV) (Isaiah 41: 10)



FEBRUARY--2021

Views of a Farm Boy--Dedicated to promote Iowa agriculture and Iowa values--Robert Vaughn--Urbandale, Iowa  EMAIL:   vaughnrobert@me.com

The Iowa Hawkeyes, like many teams. had an abbreviated football season this year. They had a delayed season start and their bowl game was cancelled due to the virus pandemic. When you think of this season--there is one player's name that stands out. ISMIR SMITH-MARSETTE, wide receiver and kick returner, was one of the fastest guys to ever put on an Iowa uniform. A real fun to watch showman, too! In his final touchdown of his final game he celebrated the 53 yard carry with a 360 degree in the air flip. It was fun to watch and the tv broadcasters must have liked it too. I think I may have seen the replay a dozen or so times. Now Ismir--you can take your show to the NFL--we'll be watching.

I0WA  ATHLETES: Comments--and my players of the year.

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BASKETBALL

My pick for Iowa State Cyclone basketball player last year (2019-2020) was TYRESE HALIBURTON. I was sad for the Cyclones, but happy for Tyrese, when he made that big decision to go pro. It was the right choice. Tyrese was the 12th overall pick of the draft going to the Sacramento Kings. I think it was a wise choice for the Kings, too. As point guard, Tyrese keeps piling up those NBA points (also rebounds and assists) for the Kings. For my 2020-21 player I pick XAVIOR FOSTER. He is now out for the season due to an injury, but this 7 feet tall guy has potential. I am warning you now! You can expect to see his name here again next year.

Sports in Iowa (like other entertainment venues) pretty much came to a halt last March--the coronavirus pandemic begins--sports ends. Now-- here it is--one year later. We are not out of the woods yet, but we are finding ways to adapt. The game plan is to protect our Iowa student athletes and still let them play. Tonight (January 07, 2021) we are watching the game from our family room. Look at all those skinny people in the background. No fans were allowed and cardboard cut-outs just don't cut it! However, we are glad the safety of our players is being protected  and the GAME GOES ON.

See anybody you know??

Front row--real people!!

It isn't any surprise that I am picking LUKA GARZA  as my Iowa Hawkeye  player of the year. This 6'11" Iowa center is the national center of attention. Luka is the complete package. He is a great athlete and a great person. As a junior he was named a concensus first-team all-American and Big Ten Player of the year. Yet, he resisted the big money temptation of the draft and decided to return to Iowa. Luka is blessed with great teammates,but I have to give special recognition to "shoot the lights out" senior, JORDAN BOHANNON!

BROCK PURDY--Iowa State Cyclones. An easy choice for me--If I see a good thing (or person)  why change? Brock is just a junior so that makes my work easy! You will probably see his name here again next year. Remember, with Brock--as well as the others--I pick good kids--not just super stars. Wait--It takes more than the quarterback! Iowa State Cyclones had a really good team this year. I don't have space to list them all so I will pick BREECE HALL. The 6.1 sophmore running back from Wichita, is my other Iowa State player of the year.

WRESTLING

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Wrestling is definitely an in your face (and every other part of your body) contact sport, so it's very obvious why last year's season came to an abrupt halt. Sometimes your reputation follows you--and that was good for SPENCER LEE. The 125 pound Iowa Hawkeye wrestler won the 2020 Hodge Trophy without actually winning a national title. This prestigious  award, sponsored by Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine, is given each year to the most dominate college wrestler. Spencer will be back wrestling as a Hawkeye this season. I expect to see him in the Tokyo Olympics--I'm thinking gold!

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Milestones and good things--that is what I like to share with you. During this health crisis I have been "working from home." Therefore, the only photos this month were courtesy of our family room television. Here are just a few good things going on in the Iowa sports world the past few months. (1) Legendary former University of Iowa wrestling coach and Olympic gold medal winner, DAN GABLE, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. That is big time stuff--a great honor for an Iowa sports hero. (2)  November 21, 2020 was a football milestone day for the Iowa  Haweyes. A 41-21 victory over Penn State marked COACH KIRK FERENTZ'S 100th Big Ten Conference win. That's a special accomplishment for a class act guy. (3) Another football milestone! January 02, 2021--the Iowa Cyclones shine in the Arizona sun. Head coach MATT CAMPBELL directed his team to a big win at the Fiesta Bowl. This was the Cyclones first major bowl victory. Now, the big question--will Matt get big offers and be tempted by big money? I don't think so! Here is my take! Matt loves his job and his team. I think we will see him back at Iowa State this fall. (4) I am writing this January 11th. This may not be a true milestone--but it looks like a work in progress. To this point, COACH DARIAN DEVRIES has guided the Drake Bulldogs to a perfect season (13-0). Wouldn't it be good to see Drake return to the glory days? I think, as promised, Coach DeVries is here for the long haul and this could happen.


My View for the Month: For the past few years I have shared with you comments and compliments about "Sports in Iowa." I think for many of us, the games are our warm spot on cold winter days.  That has been especially true the past few months. We are Iowans and we are all in this together. So whether we watch quietly alone or shout and scream in socially distanced groups--we all walk away friends at the end of the day. Wouldn't it be nice if this could be true in all walks of life? Who knows--maybe it can be--if we all do our part. Win or lose--THE GAME GOES ON!

FEBRUARY--2021

SPORTS MILESTONES