Thole: Kisch family finds plenty of fowl up north, eh

Covering three generations, the Kisch family enjoyed a productive duck and goose hunting trip to Canada earlier this fall. Members of the Kisch family include, from left, Josh, Dave, Tim, Bob, Trev and Steve (and “Cedar” the dog).

Covering three generations, the Kisch family enjoyed a productive duck and goose hunting trip to Canada earlier this fall. Members of the Kisch family include, from left, Josh, Dave, Tim, Bob, Trev and Steve (and “Cedar” the dog).

The Bob Kisch hunting team, which is made up of his family members who reside in the Stillwater area, are no strangers to the hunters in Canada.

In fact, on a trip to Manitoba in the first week of October, eight members of the Kisch group bagged 83 Canada Geese (Canadian Honkers), 11 Snow Geese and 154 ducks in five days. They hunt geese in wheat fields and have a thousand decoys.

These trips across the border have been an annual event for the past 14 years and the Canadian people actually like these guys. This doesn’t surprise me in the least because those ducks probably cost 250 bucks apiece after you figure in expenses.

Bob’s three sons and two grandsons all went to SAHS, including sons Steve Kisch, who played football for me, David Kisch and Tim Kisch, plus grandsons Trev Kisch and Josh Kisch. Another grandson, Bob, went to Humboldt High, but I won’t hold that against him.

Chris Felsch, another one of my former gridders and a Stillwater policeman, and Drew Perkins and are the only ringers on the Kisch team.

The Kischs have hunting property near Fergus Falls and hunting has been a family tradition in that area for more than 70 years. These guys and their families eat every part of their quarry, but I’m not sure about the feathers.

I’m sure that I don’t like to eat ducks and geese because they taste fowl to me.

These guys are OK, because they are all about protecting our outdoor environment.

I used to think that I was the nicest guy in Stillwater, but that was before I met Bob Kisch. Bob was a fine three-sport athlete at Humboldt and Hamline U, where he played alongside Jerry Foley.

 

Checking out the Prep Bowl

When the smoke clears after next week’s final Prep Bowl at the Metrodome, Eden Prairie will be getting the large-school gold medallions for the ninth time. Coach Mike Grant’s poised Eagles will be hard to unseat as they attempt to three-peat as state football champions.

Rosemount last won a state title when they blasted Moorhead 40-14 in 1981 and the Irish were runner-ups after a 31-14 loss to Wayzata in 2010.

I’m picking EP to slow down Rosemount’s option offense in 6A and Owatonna over Brainerd in a 5A stone-rocker. Andy Rostberg’s Hutchinson Tigers should roll over Holy Angels in 4A, which will give the Tigers five state crowns — three from retired coach Grady Rostberg and two for his son Andy. Wow!

Look for St. Croix Lutheran to squeeze by Rochester Lourdes in 3A, Chatfield to nudge past Minneota/Lincoln in 2A and Mahnomen with a plethora of titles to handle Dawson-Boyd for the A title.

 

Thole Poll

Here is this week’s prep football Thole Poll.

1. Eden Prairie (11-0); 2. Rosemount (11-1); 3. Roseville (9-3); 4. Maple Grove (10-1); 5. Hutch (12-0); 6. Owatonna (12-0); 7. Totino-Grace (9-3); 8. Osseo (9-2); 9. Brainerd (12-0); 10, tie, East Ridge (8-2) and Lakeville North (8-3).

 

In the huddle

The SAHS girls’ x-country team selected Bria Eder-Zdechlik as its MVP. State participant Abby Lange was the only member of the Ponies squad to make the all-conference team. The locals placed fourth in the section and fifth in the Suburban East Conference. Captains elect for next fall are Lange, Sophie Wicklund and Lauren Lampright…. The fall of 2013 marked the final season of seventh- and eighth-grade football at ISD 834 junior high schools. Next fall, the St. Croix Valley Athletic Association will take over the program while freshmen football will remain under the direction of the school district. With that in mind, a pair of old geezers Jerry Foley, 76, and this writer, 74, volunteered to coach eighth-graders at SJHS. Some of our former Ponies signed on as well, including all-conference center Jason Roettger, who was a standout on two Ponies state semifinal teams (10-3 in 1987 and 11-2 in 1988), Tony Polzin, a wide receiver

Cody Venske, whose father Bryan is a former Ponies football player coached by George Thole and Jerry Foley, was a member of the Stillwater eighth-grade football team coached by Thole and Foley, among others, this past fall.

Cody Venske, whose father Bryan is a former Ponies football player coached by George Thole and Jerry Foley, was a member of the Stillwater eighth-grade football team coached by Thole and Foley, among others, this past fall.

on the 10-3 1990 state semifinal team and Ponies head wrestling coach Rich Keller. Another pair played for coach Scott Hoffman, running back and former Mr. Football Hans Larson and offensive tackle Nick Lee. We also had some players who have dads that played for the Ponies. John Keller is Rich’s son, Mark Roettger’s dad is Jason, Nick Gag’s dad Rob was a wide receiver on that 1988 state semifinal outfit, Cody Venske’s father Bryan Venske was an offensive tackle on the 10-4 state runner-up team of 1989 and Nick Polzin is Tony’s son. My grandson Kevin Thole’s dad Eric was an All-Metro player who quarterbacked the Ponies to 26 wins in 30 starts, including the 1982 state title. So as you can see, we had an SAHS flavor to the Red and Black teams. Tommy de St. Aubin had some interesting uncles, including Bobby, who scored the winning TD in the state championship game for the 1975 team (12-0), Ed, a top receiver in 1980 and all-conference quarterback Art for the 9-1 state quarterfinalists. Cody’s all-state offensive tackle uncle Al Venske was on the 1987 state semifinal outfit (10-3). Those are a few of the SJHS eighth-graders who had ties to the past. I’m sure the other coaches will agree that when you take the guys off the SJHS Red and Black teams, combined with Oak-Land’s two teams, there is big reason for optimism in River City. These kids have spirit!…. The new format of the Gazette is fine, but I miss my five-star paper boy Ben Schlegel because the paper always arrived on time. During inclement weather his mom provided transportation for him and he was always Mr. Dependable…. Nate Purdie was named MVP for the 12-3-3 Suburban East Conference champion SAHS boys’ soccer team. Purdie was an all-state selection by the state soccer coaches association and he also joined Jared Allan, Aropo Ojulu and Erik Meitz on the all-conference team. It was the Ponies’ 18th conference crown in school history. Tri-captains selected for next fall include Sam Keran, Matt Lagus and Tashi Tsering…. Sorry to see the passing of good pal Max Garrett of NYC at age 96. He was a star pole vaulter at the U of Nebraska and a diehard Huskers grid fan…. Together we build courage, character and loyalty….

 

Today’s rumination #643

The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.

• • • •

George Thole retired as head football coach at Stillwater after the 1999 season. He ranks among Minnesota’s top coaches in history with a 285-69-2 record (.805 winning percentage), including four state titles and two state runner-up finishes among 22 championship seasons. He co-authored (with Jerry Foley) “Coaching the Veer Offense,” second edition. His column appears Fridays in the Gazette. To contact the hall of fame coach e-mail: georgethole@gmail.com

up arrow