Maxwell News

Staff Writer
Tri-County Times

Running the ball, not dropping it!

By Susan Livesay, Photos Submitted

This past Friday was the homecoming football game for the CMB Raiders. But before the game started, the game ball made an interesting journey via some gravel roads, bike trail, main streets, even crossing some busy highways- traveling with the CMB cross country team. Twenty-four high school runners, three coaches, one bus, one van and one football set out at 2 p.m. from Nevada, our opponent that night for the game, running the ball to the Baxter football field.

Along the way they had two parents who went with the group taking photos, a group of them were also at Nevada when they started out, several more were at areas along the way to cheer them on, and and several supplied them with snacks, water and Gatorade during the run. Then, of course, the Baxter stadium was filled with cheering people to greet the team when they arrived a little after 7 p.m.

I talked to Coach Jerry Meinerts about the Football Run, as I had never heard or seen anything like this before, and asked where the idea had originated from? He said they had talked about doing it in the past, but never tried it. He did remember doing it once when he was in high school, and had also seen it done at different football games, too. And the previous cross country coach, Coach Vaughn, had done the Football Run. CMB hasn’t participated in this for the past eight years Coach Meinerts said, so they thought it was time.

How many miles did that game ball travel? Just over 30. The students took turns running between three-four miles, and then they would hand the ball off to another group, like a relay. They rotated groups until they got to Baxter. Most of the students ran between 7-10 miles, and Coach Meinerts said there was a group of runners that topped out at 15 miles. He did mention his hardest job during the entire run was keeping them from running too fast. They wanted to time it just right to arrive before game time, so they did stop a few times to slow down the pace.

Since social media is out there now, this really went viral around CMB quickly on Friday, and that is a great way to get more supporters for the runners along the route. When they got to Maxwell, the fire chief met them on the edge of town and led them on the route, with the lights and sirens going on the firetruck. Little kids and big kids took the opportunity to run along with them down the main street for just a few blocks, too. Coach Meinerts said that he noticed several teachers there in the crowd cheering them on, and a teacher even joined them for a few miles out on the bike trail on the way to Baxter.

Arriving in Baxter, their town cops led them through town to the stadium. Once there, the team ran around the track and onto the 50-yard line to deliver the ball to the officials. Coach Meinerts said after all the running, the team was treated to a much deserved meal of pizza and chicken that was provided by the parents. He would also like to mention that none of the run would have been possible without both schools’ administrations giving them the OK, along with the athletic directors from both schools helping to plan the route and timing.

He also said the kids did a really good job! And no problems happened, so that is always good. He and the team would like to thank all the communities for all their support. After the run was over, they all enjoyed reading the Tweets and comments on Facebook and seeing people’s videos, too. Coach Meinerts said these runners work so hard all season long and normally don’t get much recognition, so it was just great for these athletes to get some much needed and earned recognition.

And I would be a bad correspondent if I didn’t report that YES, we also won the football game that evening, too! So it was a really great football Friday night all the way around, with lots of teamwork and awesome community support for the Raiders!