September 14, 2011

Moving across the street

More news about: Kalamazoo
This is Kalamazoo's new stadium. Well, more like a borrowed one.
Western Michigan athletics photo 

It's the price of progress, I suppose.

You have to sacrifice for a while to get something better. You grin and bear it with the knowledge or at least the hope its going to be better.

Imagine being forced out of your home and one of your friends offers to let you stay until you get back on your feet.

Now imagine your friend being Western Michigan University, and their home, Waldo Stadium, your temporary home. A 30,000-seat, state-of-the-art stadium towering eight stories over the neighborhood with a multimillion dollar video board.

A lot of teams wouldn't mind sacrificing this way.

Kalamazoo College is in the midst of a 13-month, $16 million renovation of its athletic complex and field house. The project, which includes new synthetic turf, press box as well as enhancements to its baseball, softball and soccer fields, left the Hornets with out a home.

They didn't have to look far, literally across the street to their next-door neighbors – Western Michigan.

The Bronco athletic department has also let Kalamazoo use its practice fields as if they were their own. Occassionally, when WMU prepares for a grass game they'll request to use the field. The Hornets move to another spot at Western. Very graciously, I am sure.

“They've been great,” Kalamazoo coach Jamie Zorbo said. “Their athletic director was great to work with and they've been working with our staff to make it happen.”

Some details like maintainance and administration is headed by the WMU, game management is shared in some other cases, but it really is Kalamazoo's game.

On game day, the Hornet players and coaches will dress in the field house and cross the street. Depending on the game, they'll walk or hop on a bus.

Saturday the Hornets welcome Rose-Hulman as part of a doubleheader with Western Michigan. The Broncos host Mid-American Conference rival Central Michigan at noon, followed by Kalamazoo/Rose-Hulman at 7 p.m.

Zorbo says his players are simply excited: “It's not a distraction or a focus. We think its just a great place to play a game. We are certainly more concerned with playing Rose-Hulman, and glad to be off the road. But, this certainly adds a lot to the excitement. I can't remember us playing under the lights for a game at home.”

Officials are confident that at least a few of the thousands who come to the CMU-WMU will stick around, if only out of curiosity.

The new Kalmazoo College facilities are expected to be completed next summer. Visit the school's website for more details.

Game notes

Ryan Hargraves threw for 402 yards and five touchdowns, while Trine teammate Ja Vontae Hence grabbed five passes for 105 yards in a 41-27 win against Bluffton.

Dan Shannon tallied 334 yards for Kenyon in a 16-13 loss to Hiram. Jeff Schofield hauled in 10 catches for 104 yards for Hiram in the win.

Alma's Jarrett Leister threw for 218 yards. Barak Henderson had five receptions for 105 yards in a 17-9 loss to Illinois Wesleyan.

Kalamazoo's Nick Jones threw for 258 yards and a score in a 26-17 loss to Manchester.

Aaron Smetanka of St. Vincent had four touchdowns and 247 yards passing in a 55-3 win over FDU-Florham

Chase Belton finished with 244 yards passing to lead Wabash in a 19-7 win over Wooster. Receiver Jonathan Horn had eight receptions for 134 yards and a score.

Damon Brown converted 29 carries into 181 yards and two scores as Adrian topped Defiance 27-6.

Sean Griffin had six catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns as Allegany bested Carnegie Mellon 33-13

Ben Zoeller led Wittenberg with 317 yards passing and three touchdowns. Michael Cooper had seven receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown. The Tigers beat Ohio Wesleyan 34-13.

Max Paulus threw four touchdowns in a 269-yard day as Denison crushed Earlham 44-7.

Matt Bliss threw for 260 yards with a pair of scores and Adam Dominick had seven catches for 105 yards in Washington and Jefferson's 20-19 loss to Delaware Valley.

Remember when ...
Oberlin achieved a pair of historical milestones in its week 42-0 Week 1 victory over Kenyon. It's the first Yeomen opening day win since 1997 (an 18-17 win over Thiel) and the first shutout since 1982.

Denison's Scott Baird recovered a fumble and returned it 35 yards for a score in the second quarter, marking the first Big Red fumble return for a touchdown since 2004.

DePauw is at Allegheny for its first-ever contest in Pennsylvania as well as its first ever meeting against Allegheny in the program’s 124-year history. They will come more regularly with DePauw moving into the NCAC next fall for football.

On the horizon
Watch Robert Flagg at Wooster. The diminutive running back is closing in on a Scot record. He's less than 400 yards away from 2000 career rushing yards and about 100 from 1,000 receiving yards in his tenure.

Deja vu' all over again?
He has the same number, No. 1. He's from Florida, transferred from Norwich to Mount Union, and like Pierre Garcon, he caught a touchdown pass in his first game. Chris Denton will probably have to deal with comparisons to the NFL receiver more than a few times in games to come.

Great Lakes Region teams in’s Top 25 poll this week
No. 2 - Mount Union (OAC) – Wins 41-17 against UW-Oshkosh
No. 10 - Thomas More (PAC)- 44-13 over Hanover
No. 13 - Ohio Northern (OAC)- Did not play
No. 18 - Wabash (NCAC)- opens with a 19-7 win over Wooster
No. 19 - Wittenberg (NCAC)- 34-13 over Ohio Wesleyan
No. 22 -Trine (MIAA)   beats Bluffton 41-27

Others receiving votes:  Baldwin-Wallace (OAC), Washington and Jefferson (PAC), Adrian (MIAA)

Game of the Week
Wittenberg (2-0) at Washington U. (2-0), 1 p.m. Central:
Unbeatens collide in St. Louis as No. 21 Wittenberg faces Washington. The Tigers have won 22 straight in the regular season. A win by the Bears (and a UAA title) would help strengthen their playoff case, even though this is a non-regional game. Wash U also has a winning streak, eight in a row.

Joe Sager

Joe Sager is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh. He has written about sports since 1996 for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. He first covered D-III football in 2000 with the New Castle (Pa.) News.

2012-14 columnist: Brian Lester
2011 columnist: Dean Jackson
2007-10 columnist: Matt Florjancic

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