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Deuce part of bowl win

Deuce part of bowl win
Deuce part of bowl win
Schroder runs one of his 13 carries during CMU’s win. Photo by Robert Barclay, CMU (click for larger version)

Each year, I take a gander at the final college football polls of the season. The Associated Press Top 25, comprised of media types, and the USA Today Top 25, comprised of coaching types, are the two polls we college football aficionados pay the most attention to.
Each January, when the final poll is issued after we are all bowled over, I get a bit wistful knowing it is the last college football poll of consequence until the next fall rolls around and we are five or six weeks into the season, thus finally getting a sense of what our favorite teams are really all about. I watch more college football than any man should who is not being paid to do so, but I can’t help it. I love the game.
The final college football polls of 2009-10 were even more special this year. This year, it was personal.
For the first time in school history, the Central Michigan Chippewas made the final polls of the season. They clocked in at No. 23 in the AP poll, just above Clemson and just below Southern Cal. The coaches’ poll ranked the Chips No. 24, sandwiched between Texas Tech above and Oklahoma State below. The Chippewas, torch bearers of the Mid-American Conference, hanging right there with schools from the Big 12, the ACC and the PAC 10. Whoda thunk it?
All this talk about the Chippewas of Central Michigan stems from the fact that a former North Harrison Cougar, Bryan Schroeder ‘ No. 2 in your program, but No. 1 in our hearts ‘ was a major contributor in making the Chips the MAC champions, the GMAC Bowl champions and earning a place among perennial powers in the final national college football polls.
During the season, Schroeder, a running back in a pass-happy offense, racked up multiple 100-yard rushing games, eight touchdowns and led the team with 73 yards rushing in the GMAC Bowl, a thrilling overtime victory over the Troy Trojans.
I’m not surprised.
Having had a finger on the pulse of Southern Indiana high school football for many years, be it as the son of a coach, a player, a coach, a very interested observer or a play-by-play radio broadcaster of North Harrison games five of the last six years, I confidently state that Bryan Schroeder is the best player the Mid-Southern Conference has ever seen. The performance of this Central Michigan team ‘ and his major contribution to it ‘ gives any observer of the MSC a weak argument against his place in high school lore.
What makes this even better is that every time I talked to Schroeder when he was playing at North Harrison, I always found him very affable and quite polite. He is a good guy. And we need as many of those as we can get.
I know as well, if not better, than anyone, that North Harrison High School football has not been a whole lot to write home about over its history, but this certainly helps. I can say that guy on TV ran up and down the same field I did in high school. I can say I hollered his name out loud and proud as he rolled up 356 yards on 12 carries in a game against West Washington. And every time one of Schroeder’s Central Michigan games shows up on ESPN’s Gameplan, I can point at the TV and remind my lovely wife, Carrie, what a great investment it was! Now, that, my friends, is progress.
And thank you, Bryan, for making this old, worn-out Cougar very proud.
Danny Johnson is a radio broadcaster of North Harrison football on WKLO 96.9 FM.