GRAND RAPIDS — An old axiom says that defense wins championships and if that is correct, then both the Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Gophers football teams are in big trouble.

I was excited for the Gophers’ season because I thought they would be relevant. But it was obvious from the start that this wasn’t the same team as last year and that the defense was going to struggle.

To put it bluntly, the defensive performance by the Golden Gophers team this year has been atrocious. Running backs crack off 10-yard runs routinely and the opposing quarterbacks pass at will against an outmanned Minnesota defense.

I thought that the Gophers’ recent good recruiting classes could produce athletes that can play against the best. Obviously that is not the case this year.

Then we have the Vikings whose defense has improved in recent weeks. But you just can’t trust this defense to hold a lead so you had better be aggressive offensively.

The Vikings are still in the playoff picture but they will need to play almost flawless football the rest of the way to achieve that.

Sadly, with the defensive performances I have witnessed so far this year, that is almost an impossibility.

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Congratulations goes out to all the fall sports teams and student-athletes from the area.

With the pandemic, things went haywire all season. First, we didn’t know if there was going to be any sports at all, and as it turned out, it probably worked out about as well as possible.Most teams were able to complete their seasons.

I am really happy that this year’s seniors were able to play their fall sports. While it wasn’t as it has been in the past with no state tournaments and the such, it still gave the student-athletes a chance to allow their hard work to show during competition.

Let’s hope things get better as the winter sports season approaches.

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Congratulations goes out to the Grand Rapids High School football team for a fine season.

The Thunderhawks had an undfeated regular season and reached the section championship game where it lost to the defending state champion Rocori team.

I would also like to congratulate the Thunderhawk volleyball team for accomplishing a successful season with an 11-2 record under new coach Bekah Morris.

And a big high five goes out to the undefeated Greenway volleyball team that had a chance to win a state title this season.

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