Monday was character day at Rocori High School football practice. This Monday, the subject was about violence against women.
“Athletes make up 35 percent of the domestic abuse cases,” Rocori head coach Mike Rowe said, quoting from Monday’s guest speaker. “The guys from Vanderbilt were just in the news … (the University of) Minnesota has had a lot of it.”
Jeff Hauge, a school youth advocate for Anna Marie’s Alliance of St. Cloud, spoke to the Spartans before practice Monday morning.
“It was a good delivery by him,” Rocori senior captain Justin Kunkel said. “It taught us about domestic violence and date violence and gave us some … statistics on how athletes should treat their girlfriends and every other person they meet.”
Rowe said he has no reason to believe it’s an issue on the football team or even at Rocori.
He does believe that talking about violence against women might help a football player react appropriately to a situation that might occur sometime and how to prevent an incident from happening.
“It just makes us a better community when people know we’re aware of it,” Rowe said.
For Rowe, it’s a bigger deal than winning a Prep Bowl, which the Spartans did in 2010.
“Winning football games is great,” Rowe said. “But if your kids don’t know how to act in public, who wants to cheer for them? Nobody wants to root for a jerk.”
Last year’s character day topic was cancer because a Cold Spring math teacher’s mother had died of it. There were also four families on the football team last year whose family had been affected by cancer. The team raised money for a walk where proceeds went to cancer research.
The Spartans donated a check for $100 Monday to the Anna Marie Alliance and a matching donation of $100 also was given by the Cold Spring Area Jaycees, Rowe said.
“Rowe, he just kind of teaches us a lesson each year about good values,” Rocori senior captain Max Nelson said. “We just want to be good people and learn good stuff every year that helps our character build(ing).”
The Spartans went through their normal routine after the speaker. They have 14 seniors back from last season’s 6-4 squad, including Kunkel, a returning starter at linebacker and Nelson, a 6-foot-3, 235-pounder returning at guard.
Other captains are tight end Luke Asfeld (6-2, 170, sr.) and center Tyler Hoffman (6-3, 270, sr.).
They scrimmage Saturday morning at New London-Spicer.
“It’s just us two,” Rowe said. “For a while there, one of us had a team in the Prep Bowl every year (for three straight seasons).”
Because of scheduling conflicts, St. Cloud Tech plays one Saturday afternoon game and also has a Friday night game under the lights at Collegeville.
Tech opens with Sartell at 7 p.m. Aug. 30 at St. Cloud State’s Husky Stadium, the Tigers’ home field while the future of Clark Field is discussed.
The Tigers then are host to Rocori at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 at SCSU. That game was moved to that day because Friday night at Husky Stadium wasn’t available, Tech head coach Gregg Martig said. There’s an SCSU event, Martig said.
St. Cloud Cathedral, which has long called SCSU its home field, has a game at 8 p.m. Sept. 13 at Collegeville for its homecoming game against Albany.
On Sept. 14, SCSU is host to Winona State at 6 p.m.
Tech plays its Sept. 27 game against Brainerd at Collegeville because SCSU wasn’t available. That’ll be Senior Night for the Tigers. Cathedral has SCSU booked for a home game Sept. 27 with Foley.
Melrose is using St. John’s University for its home games this year while its new field is under construction, making dates in Collegeville limited.
Tech’s homecoming game is Oct. 4 at SCSU against Sauk Rapids.
As openers go, it’s an unusually big one for the St. Cloud Apollo and St. Cloud Cathedral boys and girls soccer teams.
Apollo is host to a boys-girls doubleheader Thursday at Michie Field.
Apollo’s boys play Cathedral at 5 p.m. At 7 p.m., Apollo and Cathedral’s girls play.
Cathedral was 18-2-2 last year. Its 2-0 win over Apollo ended up being one reason why the Crusaders’ got the top seed over second-seeded Apollo in the Section 8A playoffs.
Cathedral ended up winning the section and took fourth in the state tournament.
Apollo was 14-3-1, losing to Sartell 2-1 in a double overtime shootout.
In girls, Apollo was 8-7-3 and Cathedral was 12-5-1. Apollo’s girls beat Cathedral 1-0 in 2012’s season opener.