By Bruce Karnick [email protected] The Hastings Raiders football team held summer practices after the mandatory MSHSL no contact period from earlier in July, which is a nearly two-week window …
By Bruce Karnick
The Hastings Raiders football team held summer practices after the mandatory MSHSL no contact period from earlier in July, which is a nearly two-week window where coaches cannot contact any student athletes. The practices were held at Todd Field for four days.
Head Coach Dana Strain was happy to be back to a more normal summer before the season starts in August. With the opportunity to practice in a more normal fashion, he surprised his incoming players with guest coaches, Raider Alumni that made it to play at the collegiate level. According to Strain, the guys loved it.
The regular practice season starts August 16th with the first game potentially scheduled on Thursday, September 2nd. The opponent has yet to confirm this date. Hastings will have their home opener on Thursday, September 9th against Apple Valley, then host Simley on Friday, September 17th. Friday the 24th they travel to St. Thomas Academy.
October’s schedule is just as strange, Friday the 1st the Raiders will host So. St. Paul then travel to Mendota Heights to take on the Henry Sibley / Two Rivers Warriors on Saturday the 9th. Yes, a Saturday game. Friday the 15th the Raiders travel to Bloomington Jefferson, and they finish the regular season at home against Cretin-Derham Hall on Wednesday the 20th.
Why all the weird days? Primarily it is due to a lack of officials. Sports all over the country are losing officials at an alarming rate. The officials simply will not tolerate the abuse from fans, coaches and players anymore. Recently at an amateur baseball game in Waseca, an umpire was officiating a game solo. During the game, the teams and fans were giving the official grief. With the game tied at one in the 10th inning, one team and the fans did not agree with a call and that was all the umpire could stand. He walked to the dugout, dumped the ball bag out, said something to the effect of ‘you guys don’t like my calls, call the game yourself,’ and he walked off. A previous edition of the journal explored this growing issue more in depth because it is also affecting our coaches.
Thankfully for the Raider football program, there has been stability at the top. Coach Strain has been with the program for 15 years and many of his assistants have been around quite a long time too, a fact that he is proud of. That trickles down to the lower ranks too, all the way down to Little Raiders tackle football and the flag football group too. Strain and his staff work with the various youth teams to try and build age-appropriate skill coaching.
Strain is looking forward to a normal year for his Raiders which will help dramatically with the planning and player availability. Last year at this time, the plan was no football until spring. All of a sudden, that was changed to be fall but with a shortened pre-season and season. Many players had made other commitments so there was a mad scramble to adjust their schedules again on short notice.
This year, the Raiders can focus on football, and we can focus on our Raiders.
Hastings Raiders had a chance to return to normal and get in a week of summer practice before the fall season starts with the help of some Raider Alumni. Photo by Bruce Karnick