The Anchor reports the Vikings will host the Lake Mills Bulldogs tonight for the football home opener, having lost to Newman of Mason City last week.
Lake Mills was always a grudge match, it seems, and when we played them in the final game of the '61 season, we could only tie them 6 - 6, keeping our record .500 for the season at three wins, three losses, two ties. The game itself was anticlimactic, and was personally a downer when the season had started with so much hope. Apparently the record was the school's best since 1955, but nowhere near the performance of teams since then.
Just for the record, in case any of today's players may read this, we did NOT have leather helmets that could be folded and put in your pocket, and we DID have facemasks, but they were more a single bar or two made of nylon and they didn't look very cool at all. I believe facemasks first came out when we were in seventh grade and Billy Roberts was the first to be able to put one on his helmet. I don't know why he was selected but the rest of us didn't get them until 8th grade.
Our equipment was much inferior to what's available today, especially the helmet, which was a suspension style, a shell held off the head by a web of straps. They were a little better than the leather style of prior players, but not much. It hurt to "get your bell rung."
The yearbook report on the Lake Mills game says we completely dominated except for one Lake Mills touchdown drive brought about by a costly lapse in defense. My recollection is more along the line of our just not getting our act together throughout the game than seeing any domination on our part. If we dominated, why did we lose? It was a cool or cold night, combined with a so-so record, so the turnout wasn't that great either.
Afterwards we got on the bus and the season's sorrow was mixed with a relief that it was over, unfortunately. So we wish the 2011 version of the NK Vikings much better success tonight against the archenemy. And I may place a bet on it with my Bulldog wife.