By Steve Robinson | September 26, 2015 - 11:00 pm
Posted in Category: Bloomington HS, NCHS, The Normalite

Steve RobinsonAfter 34 seasons, Rigo Schmelzer is going to finish out his career as head football coach at Bloomington High School when this current season ends. The sad thing is, that ending will, due to BHS’ 0-5 record as of last Friday, isn’t indicative of all the good Schmelzer has done while at BHS.

Prior to the Raiders’ game at Normal Community High School on Sept. 25, Schmelzer was greeted at mid-field of Ironmen Field by NCHS head coach Wes Temples, NCHS Athletic Director Andy Turner, and NCHS Principal David Bollman. They each shook Schmelzer’s hand and then presented him with a gift certificate to a local steakhouse. The crowd of between 1,500-1,600 spectators applauded in appreciation, one can assume, for Schmelzer, to wish him a happy retirement.

Besides asking him the usual postgame questions, I checked with Schmelzer to see what he was thinking as he made his last trips around the Big 12 Conference. “Football’s a great game and it’s a way for communities to come together and to form good sportsmanship habits and rivalries while making good memories,” Schmelzer began. “In 34 years, there are some games and players that stand out in my mind.”

Addressing BHS’ gridiron situation this season, Schmelzer said, “I’m disappointed, obviously, for our current seniors and for how things have played out in the last couple years.” Schmelzer’s disappointment concerning those last couple years was not something he felt alone in, I’m sure, as every player, parent, and fan of the Raiders felt it, too. But those same folks should also feel a sense of pride in having had someone of Schmelzer’s caliber to lead the team.

On another subject, it didn’t rain last Friday when NCHS hosted BHS. While that’s not exactly bulletin material, it was a relief to members of NCHS’ Marching Band, who got to play at halftime of a game for the first time this season.

With just five home games on the Ironmen’s schedule, two of which were postponed by lightning and heavy rain, I’m sure the kids were happy to finally be able to strut their stuff in front of the home crowd this season.

The Ironmen’s next game is Oct. 9 against Peoria Richwoods, while no newcomer to the Big 12 in other sports, is getting acquainted with how the league’s teams play football. Peoria Richwoods, along with the River City’s schools, belonged to another smaller conference last season.

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