Thursday, October 6, 2011

It will be after 9 p.m. Friday before we know the outcome of a major Class 2A football game between Kuemper Catholic High School and OA-BCIG in Ida Grove.

But one contest is already over, scored and in the books.

That would the title of biggest fan at the game. And the undisputed holder is 84-year-old Audrey Weitl, of Carroll, who will have five grandchildren suited up for the decisive northwest Iowa game — three for Kuemper and twins in the consolidated school around Ida Grove, Battle Creek and Odebolt-Arthur.

“I’m really proud of them,” Mrs. Weitl said.

That said, Mrs. Weitl joked that she’s not exactly sure how she’s going to handle seating and rooting arrangements for the game. Does she switch sides at half? Wear different hats? Do some sort of offense-defense thing? Or just pray for no one to get hurt?

“It’s kind of difficult that they’re playing against each other,” Mrs. Weitl said.

Visiting Kuemper will bring Cass Weitl, a starting defensive lineman and a son of Dan and Peggy Weitl of Carroll. (Peggy is the Carroll County treasurer.) Cass, a senior, is fourth in the district in tackles with 69.

The Knights’ Audrey Weitl connection also includes Kolby Vetter, the staring center and a son of Denny and Terri Vetter of Carroll; and Cody Weitl, a freshman who will suit up Friday and a son of Jerry and Kristy Weitl of Templeton.

On the other side of the field are juniors Logan and Keagan Scott, twins who are respectively a starting tackle and defensive back/tight end. The Scott boys are sons of John and Linda Scott of Odebolt. Linda operates a salon in Wall Lake, Always In Season.

Friday’s game isn’t some meaningless get-together, either. Post-season aspirations hang in the balance.

Kuemper enters the game 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the district. OA-BCIG is also 5-1 but carries one loss in district — to South Central Calhoun, a team Kuemper beat.

“I’m excited for them,” Terri Vetter said of her family. “This is a big game for Kuemper on Friday night. The bottom line is you want them to play well and have no injuries.”

This is not the first time the Weitl clan has competed on the football field against each other. At Thanksgiving, members of Audrey’s family — six children (all Kuemper alums), 26 grandchildren and eight great-grand-children — gather at the old family farm two miles east of Templeton for the feast and football. There’s a tradition of painting lines in the yard for the game, and the kids — basically people in the family from 25 to 14 — play football.

Touch or flag?

“Oh, no, they play tackle,” Terri Vetter said.

For her part, Audrey and her late husband, Floyd, farmed near Templeton for four decades and moved into Carroll in 1988. Floyd passed 13 years ago.

Audrey Weitl, a daughter of the late Joe and Frances Danzer, grew up on a farm northeast of Willey and graduated from St. Angela Academy in Carroll in 1945. She worked for a time as a stenographer for the law firm of Reynolds, Meyers & Tan Creti. She loved the work, and a life full of farming and family.

Mrs. Weitl admits that she’s not exactly a hard-core football fan, an X’s and O’s kind of gal who will be screaming at officials over offsides/illegal motion disputes. Back in her high school days football was something of a luxury, particularly if there was work on the farm, and, for that matter, a war with Germany and Japan to be won.

“The kids, they worked after school,” she said. “They didn’t go out for sports.”

At the end of an interview Wednesday afternoon Mrs. Weitl mulled over a potential cheering strategy. Maybe the teams could tie?

“Wouldn’t that be something,” she joked.