A national television audience will be watching as an emotional evening unfolds in Parkersburg. ESPN will televise the season opener for the Aplington-Parkersburg football team as the Falcons host Dike-New Hartford. It was just over two months ago long-time coach Ed Thomas was shot and killed while monitoring the school’s weight room.
Long-time assistants Al Kerns and Jon Wiegmann are leading the team as co-coaches and Kerns says the players have done a great job of in the wake of such a tragedy. He says it sometimes seems like a long time ago and sometimes seems like just yesterday, but he says they wanted to move ahead with the schedule and now are ready to play football.
Kerns says there is no way to replace Thomas. He says things happen on a daily basis and he is reminded that he misses Thomas every day. Kerns says they know as a coaching staff that they will all have to do a better job.
Dike-New Hartford coach Don Betts says the death of Thomas was much more than just a local tragedy. He says it’s "an unspeakable tragedy for Aplington-Parkersburg" and also a tragedy for the entire state of Iowa. "He was a very good man and anytime a good man goes down, it’s a tragedy for all involved," Betts says.
Betts says a lot of the kids know each other and that creates some of the most competitive games you can have.