A different view of the game

By Chuck Kajer

Last week I had the chance to watch the Trojan football game from a different perspective. Instead of my usual place on the sidelines, I watched from the broadcast booth.

KCHK needed a substitute for the New Prague High School football broadcast Saturday. I broadcast most of the games back in the 2001 season when I wasn't working for The Times, and have filled in on other broadcasts since then. But this was my first football game in the booth in four years. Arv Olson helped with color commentary.

Things went rather well throughout the first quarter, or so I thought, until someone came up to the booth and told us we weren't on the air, and the station was playing music. Somehow our phone had disconnected. We quickly called the studio and were back on the air... for a while.

For some reason, the cell phone we were using was dropping our calls and also putting our call on hold and making phantom phone calls back to the studio for no apparent reason. We kept an eye on things and had to call back to the studio five or six times during the first half.

Fortunately, the problem went away, and we were able to finish the game without incident.

One of the difficult things is making out the red numbers on the black jerseys the Trojans wear. There were a few times when I called out the wrong name, especially when it came to brothers Nick and Andy Zweber, who wear numbers 43 and 45, respectively, and play the same position. Those numbers were hard to tell apart. Finally, Arv noticed that Nick wears white gloves.

Overall, things went well, but I'm not going to quit my day job. I plan to be back in my usual spot on the sidelines taking photos Friday at Northfield.

Speaking of photos, thanks to Jay Schneider, the editor of the Lake Region Life in Waterville. Jay's team played Saturday afternoon, and he had already offered to drive to New Prague and shoot our game with Faribault. At first I declined, but when KCHK asked me later that day if I could do the broadcast, I accepted Jay's offer.

Jay's equipment and ability with the camera make me look like a kid with an old Brownie instamatic camera. You can see some of his work on Page 1B and more of it on our website, www.newpraguetimes.com. Just click on the blue button on the right side of the page and look for the photos from the Faribault game.

The photo galleries are a new feature on our website. We began offering this service in September, and we put many of our photos, published and unpublished, on our website. People can purchase these photos online. We've had a lot of positive comments on this service, and our website has gotten a lot of hits.

In preparing for the broadcast, I did a little research and found that this was the first time in 72 years that New Prague and Faribault had met in football. The teams met five times in the 1920s and then again in 1935. New Prague won only one of those games. It seems unusual that two teams so near each other would not meet, but remember that Faribault for many years was a much larger school than New Prague. Even in the 1980s and early 1990s, when New Prague grew in size, Faribault was still playing in the largest class. It wasn't until the late 1990s that Faribault and New Prague were put in the same class, but the teams were never in the same section until this year.

However, it won't take another 72 years before these teams meet again. It will happen in 10 months. New Prague Activities Director Bob Scripture tells me the Trojans and Falcons are scheduled to face each other in the first game of the 2008 season.

Meanwhile, the Trojans, with a 5-5 record, will be trying to earn their third-straight state tournament berth. They will be facing Northfield with a 5-4 record. The Raiders are also looking to return to state after losing in the first round last year. These teams met September 28 and had an exciting game that was decided in the final minutes. Indications are this will be a similar contest, with Trojan fans hoping for a different outcome.

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