Polars, Ptarmigans renew rivalry, but can’t score

In the spirit of sportsmanship, the Polars, wearing black, and the Ptarmigans, in white, gathered for a postgame photo. The 53rd annual Sno Bowl ended in a 0-0 tie. To see more photos go to newpraguetimes.com and click on the blue button to the right. (Chuck Kajer Photo)

The storied rivalry between the Polars and the Ptarmigans was renewed Saturday, Dec. 29, at Memorial Park in New Prague.

The two teams met for the 53rd Annual SnoBowl football game, and for the eighth time in the history of the game, it ended in a tie.

Neither team was able to reach the end zone during the classic confrontation, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t any action in the game. Both teams had close calls, but the defensive play dominated.

The biggest scoring threat came late in the game. With less than two minute remaining, Polars running back Neil Fischer broke through the line and ran 40 yards for what many thought would be a score. However Austin Bachman of the Ptarmigans never relented and made a touchdown-saving tackle, leaving the Polars three yards short of the goal line.

The Polars tried to pound it in from there, but failed on four attempts. That gave the Ptarmigans the ball with less than 30 seconds remaining.

Rather than run the clock out and settle for the tie, the Ptarmigans gambled. Quarterback Tim Stepka completed several passes, to Paul Frykman and Jon Schoenecker, to get his team within striking distance. However a final Hail Mary Pass was knocked down at the goal line as time expired. Following the game, the teams made the customary tour of bars through downtown New Prague, with a meal served at Pauly’s Pub.

Each team was missing several key players due to injuries. Eric Steinhoff, the quarterback for the Polars last year, was coming off recent ACL surgery, an injury he sustained during last year’s game. He lined up for a couple of plays on defense. Chad Skluzacek, a quarterback and co-owner for the Ptarmigans, broke his foot several days earlier and had a cast on, but that didn’t stop him from getting one play in. He made use of the infamous “Sleeper” play, stepping onto the field, taking a lateral pass and then throwing a long pass that just missed its mark.

The SnoBowl is an annual tackle football game played between two teams of New Prague High School alumni. The game was first played in 1960 and is usually played on the Saturday between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The series stands at 30-15- 8, in favor of the Polars.

The following awards were given out following the game: Lineman of the Year: Alex Michel Rookie of the Year: Tony Kubes, who came up with a big interception Defensive MVP - Austin Bachman, for his touchdown- saving tackle Offensive MVP and Overall MVP - Jon Schoenecker for some long receptions Goat - Timmy Stepka for throwing interceptions.