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Bryce Miller’s 3 for 3: Ex-Hawks Banks, Dwight put on unmatched show

[ 0 ] July 29, 2013 |

The 3 for 3 blog scans the memory banks to its most memorable football game of all time …

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1: A GAME LIKE NO OTHER — When you’re involved in covering sports for a couple of decades, you’re asked from time to time about the athletes and games you remember most.

For me, that’s a question with an easy answer — an answer that jogged memory banks when Tavian Banks was inducted in to the Des Moines Sunday Register’s Iowa Sports Hall of Fame last weekend.

It was 1992. Bettendorf. Iowa City High. Iowa high school football’s Class 4-A quarterfinals.

And, more than anything, Tavian Banks and Tim Dwight.

A crowd ringed the entire field — standing five and six deep along each sideline — in anticipation of two of the best to play the game in the state going head to head.

It was one of those rare moments where sky-high expectations actually were met — and exceeded — by the future Iowa football players.

Banks would score going one direction. Dwight would sprint and dart for a touchdown going the other direction. It felt like the glory days of boxing when two champions traded massive punch after massive punch.

Here’s a clip of Banks outracing defenders for one of the scores:

Iowa City High bolted to a 14-0 lead, but Bettendorf roared back for a 31-28 win. Dwight scored four touchdowns, Banks ran for 245 yards and found the endzone three times.

It was, quite simply, the best high school football game in state history. And it was a late-fall showcase for two of the best prep athletes every to compete in Iowa, period.

Dwight and Adam Haluska (Carroll) and LeRoy McCuen (Corning) each won eight individual track titles — second only to Des Moines North great Clyde Duncan. From 1991-94, Dwight won the 200-meter title at the state meet four times — one of only six competitors in history to win the same event four seasons in a row. He won the long jump three times and his time of 20.8 seconds in the 200 is still Iowa’s all-time best.

In football, Dwight still owns the mark for most points in a season (264, 1993) by a large-school player in history.

Banks was considered one of the best soccer players ever in Iowa, obscured because the sport had yet to grow into an accepted, sanctioned sport. Some feel Banks could have played soccer professionally, if he hadn’t picked football — which led him to the NFL.

Banks was the Des Moines Register’s athlete of the year in 1992 — a year before Dwight landed the same title.

Two amazing athletes. One unmatched game.

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2. IOWAN LANDED HIS OWN BRETT, PINE-TAR BAT — One of the most iconic moments in the Major League Baseball hall of fame career of George Brett was the infamous “Pine Tar Incident” involving Iowa umpire Tim McClelland.

Kansas City’s Brett hit a two-out, lead-changing home run in the ninth inning off legendary pitcher Goose Gossage at historic Yankee Stadium.

Yankees manager Billy Martin protested about the amount of pine tar on the bat. McClelland agreed, and called Brett out.

What followed: A dugout charge unlike any other as an enraged, arm-flailing Brett raced toward the imposing McClelland.

Here’s a great video on the memorable moment:

The 30th anniversary of the at-bat heard round the country was last Wednesday. Brett was called out because the amount of pine tar on the bat exceeded the allowed rule of 18 inches from the nob of the bat.

On radio’s “Dan Patrick Show” today, Brett joked that he had more pine tar on other bats, including one he gave to another Iowan.

Brett said Norway star Mike Boddicker — a World Series champion and all-star — asked for a game-used bat in 1993. Brett said the one he passed to Boddicker could have had as much as 24 inches of pine tar — far exceeding the one that led to baseball’s unforgettable moment.

“It is thick,” Brett said of the Boddicker bat.

The league office later over-ruled McClelland’s decision to disallow the home run, and the game was resumed with Kansas City leading. The Royals stalled the Yankees in their final at-bat to win a game they thought they’d lost in the haze of the bizarre ruling.

McClelland said during the “Miller & Brinson” show on KXNO (AM-1460) that he and Brett exchanged text messages the day of the anniversary.

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3. BOBSLED ROUGH-HOUSIN’ — Reports surfaced earlier this month, alleging that Iowa’s Lolo Jones had gotten involved in a bar scuffle in Lake Placid, N.Y. — where she trains with the U.S. bobsled team.

Officials with the American bobsled group investigated the incident, but decided against any discipline for Jones, the two-time Olympian in track.

Dan Steele, the track and cross country coach at Northern Iowa, said he wasn’t necessarily surprised at one element of the story.

“I can tell you that bobsledding is a crazy sport. Lots of stuff happens in bobsledding, and almost none of it makes the newspapers,” said Steele, a former Olympic bobsledder. “These are Alpha Males and Alpha Females, so it’s not entirely shocking something like that can happen.”

When asked if he or his brother, Darrin (CEO of USA Bobsled and Skeleton), got tangled in a fight, he said: “Not me, but I witnessed a number of bar fights that I didn’t jump into. These are Alpha personalities. I don’t think it’s a shocking thing inside the sport, when you hear about it.”

Neither Jones nor a representative for Jones responded to requests for comment at the time from The Des Moines Register.

Dan Steele, who just finished his fourth season coaching the Panthers,  said the public attention Jones brings to bobsled also applies to situations beyond the track — ice or no ice.

“If this isn’t Lolo Jones, it’s probably a non story,” he said.

Steele said he admires the ability and commitment of Jones in her relatively new sport.

“What people don’t understand, it’s a really difficult sport,” he said. “It’s a tough sport. There’s nothing easy about it. According to the coaches and my brother, she works just as hard as everybody else — no diva attitude at all.

“I think she’s doing all the right things.”

Here’s Dan Steele helping win an Olympic bronze medal for the U.S. in 2002, with apologies for the Greg Kihn Band earworm someone dropped into the background:

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If you have suggestions for the blog or a column in the Des Moines Register, fire along a note at brmiller@dmreg.com or call (515) 284-8288.

And follow along on Twitter: @Bryce_A_Miller

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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