Two weeks into the football season, there have definitely been highs and lows for N’West Iowans playing in the upper levels.

Miami Dolphins rookie Andrew Van Ginkel, a fifth-round draft pick out of the University of Wisconsin, was put on injured reserve just two days before the team’s season opener. The linebacker from Rock Valley played in one game in the preseason before injuring his foot. The ailment has lingered, thus the decision to put him on the injured list. The good news for Van Ginkel is that since he did make the 53-man roster to start the regular season, he is eligible to return after week eight. The Dolphins have envisioned using Van Ginkel on passing downs on defense and extensively on special teams, but those plans are now on hold.

A pair of Sioux Center natives probably ran into each other before, during and after the game when the University of Minnesota kicked its season off with a 28-21 win over South Dakota State University. Redshirt junior Ko Kieft was starting at tight end for the Gophers in the game. As was the case last season, Kieft sees extensive playing time but is used mostly as a blocker and a special teams player. He did not start in the Gophers’ second game, a 38-35 double-overtime win at Fresno State, but he did play in the contest.

Part of Kieft’s assignment in the opener probably involved helping try to block SDSU linebacker Christian Rozeboom. While the Gophers won the game, Rozeboom had a big day. The senior from Sioux Center had three solo tackles, eight assisted stops and 0.5 tackles for loss. He did even better the next week as South Dakota State, which is ranked third in the NCAA FCS Division, blasted Long Island University 38-3. Rozeboom was the Missouri Valley Football Conference Defensive Player of the Week after making five solo tackles, three assisted stops, forcing a fumble and intercepting a pass.

Sheldon High School graduate Darin Greenfield has recorded 20 sacks in his career at the University of South Dakota, but few will be as memorable as the one he got on Sept. 7 in Norman, OK. The game did not go well for the Coyotes, to say the least. USD lost 70-14 to the University of Oklahoma, which is ranked fourth in the NCAA FBS Division. However, Greenfield had one sack and a quarterback hurry against the Sooners’ signal caller Jalen Hurts. Hurts is in his first year at Oklahoma after transferring from the University of Alabama. He helped the Crimson Tide to a national title as its starting quarterback before eventually losing the job to Tua Tagovailoa, then ending up with the Sooners. Greenfield had two solo tackles, three assisted stops and 0.5 tackles for loss in a 31-17 loss to the University of Montana to start the season.

South Dakota junior punter Brady Schutt, who attended MOC-Floyd Valley High School, has excelled despite the team’s early struggles. Schutt is sixth in the FCS in average yards per punt at 47.1 going into a home game today (Saturday, Sept. 14) against Houston Baptist University. He had four punts for an average of 49.2 yards per punt, with a long of 61, against Montana. Two of those punts landed inside the 20-yard line. Schutt punted six times for an average of 45.7 yards at Oklahoma. His long was 60 yards and again he got two of those punts stopped inside the 20-yard line.

The University of Northern Iowa football team is off to a 1-1 start and just missed a major upset in its season opener, falling 29-26 in triple overtime at Iowa State University. The Panthers, ranked 10th in FCS, came back with a 24-14 win over Southern Utah University the next week. Central Lyon High School graduate Riley Van Wyhe saw action in both games. The reserve linebacker, who is a redshirt sophomore, played on special teams in those contests and did not record any statistics.

Race is on

The Iowa Association of Track Coaches released an updated set of individual high school cross country rankings on Tuesday.

Gehlen Catholic senior Will Roder held steady at second in the Class 1A boys poll. He is the only N’West Iowa athlete ranked in Class 1A.

In the Class 2A girls rankings, Western Christian senior Whitney Minderhoud is 21st. Wolfpack sophomore Tage Hulstein is ranked 10th in the Class 2A boys grouping. Sioux Center seniors Carter Vande Vegte and Sam Harrison are 14th and 15th, respectively. George-Little Rock/Central Lyon junior Dan Schriever is 26th.

No N’West Iowa runners are included in the newest Class 3A rankings.

Hockey season

Two U.S. Hockey League squads with strong local followings will try to build that fan base even more as the Sioux City Musketeers take on the Sioux Falls Stampede at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in Sioux Center.

Tickets are on sale for the preseason exhibition, which will be played at the All Seasons Center’s Vernon Arena. Doors will open at 6 p.m. on game day and seating is first come, first serve with standing-room-only sections. Tickets for adults are $12 in advance and $15 on the day of the event. Tickets for youth ages 6-14 are $8 in advance and $10 on the day of the game. Children under 5 are allowed in free. Active military personnel and veterans also are free with valid ID.

To purchase tickets, call the All Season Center at 712-722-4386 Ext. 5.

It’s early people

No matter how valid you want to believe a preseason poll to be, trust me, it’s not.

Preseason polls often are based on outdated information, which is what is available to those who vote in the poll at that time. All you can go on is last year and what teams have coming back. Once teams start to get more games under their belts and more current information is available, polls become more reliable.

You want proof of that statement? Check out the second NAIA volleyball poll of the season. Now compare it to the first. Did you notice something? Not a single team stayed in the same spot from week one to week two. Something tells me the week two poll may be a bit more accurate, although not as accurate as the week three one will be.