Trekking home from the Golden Dome

THIS COLUMN will be a short one this week. For many of you that may be good news.

I am penning it on Thursday night, two days earlier than usual. I am doing so because as you read it, I am navigating back on the Ohio Turnpike from Notre Dame, completing my annual junket to a Fighting Irish football game.

I would be shocked if you are not reading about a Notre Dame triumph over Purdue, pushing to the Golden Domers to 2-0 on the campaign before a torturous schedule kicks in.

The football game is always the obvious centerpiece of the six-plus hour excursion. Rubbing elbows in the pressbox with ND heroes of the past as well as current national celebrities is always fascinating.

Football is only one piece of a most pleasurable puzzle.

Former Martins Ferry High quarterbacking great and close friend Don Reese always puts on the Rolls Royce of tailgate parties, situated near the stadium.

Walking around campus prior to kickoff always provides a myriad of sights and sounds. That walk always includes a stop at The Grotto, which remains the most sacred place I have ever visited. Right next door is another spiritual landmark: The Basilica of the Sacred Heart. It is where the Notre Dame football team attends Mass prior to home games. The players then march through campus to the stadium amid thousands of passionate fans.

Our Notre Dame visit starts with a trip to the bookstore Friday afternoon, which can prove quite costly. We usually dine at the main Notre Dame cafeteria which is amazingly good, followed by rushing to the pep rally.

Saturday morning finds us on campus at 10 a.m. for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. Time passes all too quickly with all the sites and attractions to take in. Post game features Mass in the business college building right outside the stadium, allowing traffic to clear.

Dinner, back to our Elkhart motel, some football on tv and bedtime lead to a 7 a.m. Sunday wakeup and the return trip home.

We have already targeted next year’s game: The Oklahoma Sooners on Sept. 28.


STATE TROOPERS made 194 drug arrests over the Labor Day holiday weekend while 13 fatalities were reported on Ohio roadways during that span.

EX-STEUBENVILLE High and WVU hoop great Liz Repella has had a change of career plans. Repella played professionally in Europe last year and was planning a return this fall. However, the former Lady Mountaineers’ Academic All-American has received a plum coaching offer. Repella is now assistant coach with the University of Michigan women’s basketball team. She planned on playing pro hoops just one more year then resume schooling to become a physical therapist. Now she can be a coach and student at the same time in Ann Arbor.

THE OHIO State Highway Patrol held a graduation ceremony for 39 cadets last week at the Patrol’s Training Academy. The Patrol’s 152nd Academy Class graduated after 22 weeks of intense paramilitary training. Courses completed included core values, crash investigation, criminal and traffic law, detection of impaired drivers, firearms, physical fitness and self-defense. Among the graduates were: Trooper Katheryn M. Banks of Martins Ferry. Banks is being assigned to the Lima post.

CONGRATULATIONS TO Times Leader Sports Editor Seth Staskey as he helped his team to second place in the recent Health Plan golf scramble at Wheeling Country Club. Seth partnered with former Bellaire Mayor Jerry Fisher and ex-WVU grid standout Bob Dunlevy to card a scorching 20 under par. Dunlevy spent two years with the Dallas Cowboys and also played for the Wheeling Ironmen.

NOW THAT the NFL has kicked off its season, it is time to make my Super Bowl prediction. I foresee the Patriots grabbing the Lombardi Trophy at the expense of the San Francisco 49ers.

IF OHIO State quarterback Braxton Miller remains healthy, he will be a Heisman Trophy finalist this season.

Kapral may be reached at