Fargo Davies and Fargo Shanley to meet in Class A volleyball semifinals

MINOT – Tonight at 6 p.m. Fargo Shanley and Fargo Davies will square off in the North Dakota Class A state volleyball semifinals at the Minot State Dome.

The All-Fargo semifinal should be an interesting match and this post will go a little deeper into the two team’s all-time history when meeting on the volleyball court.

Several city blocks separate Davies and Shanley and the schools each have established a tradition for their respective volleyball programs the last several seasons.

Here is a quick look at each team heading into the match:

FARGO DAVIES
Record: 25-9
How it got here: Defeated West Fargo in a state-qualifying match at the East Region Tournament; Defeated Jamestown 3-0 in the state quarterfinals.
Key players: Carla Binde, Jr., OH; Arlana Prost, Sr., OH; Jaiden Langlie Jr., S; McKenna Mikkelsen, Soph., Libero.

FARGO SHANLEY
Record: 35-1
How it got here: Defeated Grand Forks Red River 3-0 in East Region Tournament championship; defeated Mandan 3-0 in state quarterfinals.
Key players: Alivia Fraase, Sr., MB; Lauren Sandy, Sr., S; Somer Bucholz, Sr., MB; Kylie Kanwischer, Soph., MB

The Deacons have dominated the all-time series. Davies has never defeated Shanley in its five years as a varsity program.

Shanley holds a 14-0 all-time series lead against the Eagles, however, Davies has come close several times including a Sept. 18th meeting with the Deacons that Davies lost 3-2. The Eagles were up 2-1 in that match, which was held at McCormick Gymnasium.

Below is a look at the all-time series year-by-year

2014: 3-2, 2-0, 3-1
2013: 3-2, 3-1, 3-1 (East Region title match)
2012: 3-1, 2-1, 3-0, 3-0 (State consolation semifinals)
2011: 3-2, 3-2
2010: 3-2, 3-0

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM.

 

Top 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball preseason rankings

The season begins with Battle Lake at the top of the area boys basketball rankings in Minnesota and Hawley at the top of the girls rankings.

Here’s why:

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake

Last season: 27-1, lost in Class 1A, Section 6 championship to Park Christian 62-59

This was the scene Battle Lake had to watch in the section championship as Park Christian celebrated going to state. Photo by David Samson/Forum

That one on the end of the record is going to sting Battle Lake for awhile. The Battlers were ranked No. 2 in Class 1A and the only undefeated team in Minnesota when Park Christian beat them by three in the section title game.

Worst part about it was Battle Lake was without starting senior shooting guard Daniel Marso and his replacement missed two free throws with 59.4 seconds to go that would have tied the game.

The Battlers lose Tyler Ukkelberg and Marso to graduation, but return three starters. Petric VanErp, Tony Ukkelberg, Andrew VanErp and Nick Trosdahl should lead the way. Battlers also have Micah Rogness for more size down low if Trosdahl isn’t enough.

 

2. Hawley

Last season: 15-11, lost in Class 2A, Section 8 subsection semifinals to Perham 66-55

Ben Ellefson was a double-double machine last season for Hawley. He returns for his senior year. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Last season was a nightmare season for Hawley. Came in highly ranked, started 4-8, had some starters quit in the middle of the season and finished 15-11.

Hawley has a new coach, size and seniors. There was just two seniors on the team last season, but eight juniors.

Ben Ellefson averaged 24.1 points and 11 rebounds last season for the Nuggets. He returns, along with seniors Jordan Harms, Dawson Tusow, Aaron Regnier, Ben Steichen and Dillon Omberg.

Expectations have been all over this senior group for football and basketball since they were sophomores. This is their last season.

 

3. Moorhead

Last season: 12-12, lost in Class 4A, Section 8 first round to St. MIchael-Albertville 75-60

Cody Dorow fell one point short of the Moorhead school record for points in a season as a junior. He returns with a lot of colleges looking at him. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Moorhead was full of juniors last season and return 70 percent of their scoring from last season.

Much of that comes from shooting guard Cody Dorow, who fell one point short of the school record for points in a season. Aaron Lien’s record was 689 points in 26 games. Dorow had 688 in 24 games. The knock on Dorow is his defense, so he decided to play football for the first time ever this season. One would imagine that toughened him up, seeing as colleges were looking at him for football after three games at wide receiver.

Around Dorow will be guard Shane Steckler, forward Matt Bye and big man Nick Weismann, all of whom saw a lot of playing time last season. This is a very experienced Spuds team with two players (Dorow, Weismann) getting a lot of attention from colleges.

 

4. Detroit Lakes

Last season: 18-9, lost in Class 3A, Section 8 first round to Fergus Falls 47-43 in overtime

Ben Hokanson gives Detroit Lakes a lot of size down low. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Season ended on a terrible note for Detroit Lakes, losing in overtime in a game the Lakers led 30-22 at halftime. Good thing there was a lot of juniors on that team to come back a season later with that memory.

As a sophomore, Ryan Cihak had 285 points. He was the leading DL scorer as a junior. He’s now a senior, as is Sam Champa, Corbin Duncan, Christian Hedstrom and Connor Johnson, all of whom saw playing time last season. In fact, 12 of the 15 players on DL’s roster are seniors.

As for size, there’s 6-foot-5, 290-pound Briton Thompson, 6-foot-5, 200-pound Trey Lyngaas and 6-foot-7 Ben Hokanson.

 

5. Breckenridge

Last season: 12-14,lost in Class 2A, Section 8 first round to Hawley 73-61

The Cowboys started last season 3-11. They closed the season winning nine of 12.

Forward Nate Lorenz surpassed 1,000 career points in the season finale and is 158 away from the school record. He’s already the school’s all-time leader in rebounds, averaging about 12 rebounds a game. He’s committed to the University of Minnesota-Crookston to play basketball.

With Lorenz and Nate Blaufuss, the Cowboys have their senior leaders. Junior guard Ashton Hegge came on strong at the end of last season, so he could be the X-factor for the Cowboys.

Season starts tough at Fergus Falls, Perham and Wahpeton and hosting Hawley and Barnesville.

 

GIRLS

1. Hawley

Last season: 21-7, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 championship to Pequot Lakes 81-64

Jody Noreen returns for her senior year at point guard for Hawley. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Hawley was one game away from the state tournament and the Nuggets had one senior.

The Nuggets return everyone, including senior point guard Jody Noreen and senior shooting guard Olivia Olson. Junior Mira Ellefson is 5-foot-10 and can be seen in the post or bringing up the ball. The Nuggets also have 6-foot senior Karyssa Hovelson.

This could be a huge season for Hawley.

 

2. Ada-Borup

Last season: 28-2, lost in the Class 1A quarterfinals to Goodhue 65-58

Miki Lee (left) returns to help Ada-Borup revamp their starting lineup. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Ada-Borup has won seven section titles in the last nine seasons. The Cougars lose their ball handlers in Monica Vega and Shaina Stevenson and post Haley Gehrtz, but return starting forward Haley Poehler.

The Cougars destroyed teams last season, so everyone got playing time, meaning seniors Lexi Merkens and Miki Lee and junior Morgan Miller are ready to take over starting roles.

 

3. Pelican Rapids

Last season: 19-7, lost in the Class 2A, Section 8 first round to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton 75-71 in overtime

Pelican Rapids was never the same after guard Mackenzie Korf tore her ACL. She’s back for this season. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Pelican Rapids was ranked No. 9 in Class 2A and 18-2 before they lost sophomore guard Mackenzie Korf to a torn ACL. She was averaging nearly 25 points a game for the Vikings.

From there, the Vikings went 1-5 and were out in their first playoff game. Good news is Pelican Rapids had just three seniors on last season’s team and have a lot of talented post players back, mainly in senior Lincoln Haiby and junior Grace Forsgren.

 

4. New York Mills

Last season: 19-6, lost in the Class 1A, Section 6 subsection semifinals to Lake Park-Audubon 61-47

Lydia Rutten (left) and her sister Ellie will lead New York Mills this season. Photo by David Samson/Forum

New York Mills has sisters Ellie Rutten and Lydia Rutten. Ellie is a 6-foot-1 senior and Lydia is a 6-foot sophomore.

They are a tough combo to stop. Opponents are happy, after this season, half of the duo will be gone.

 

5. Verndale

Last season: 25-4, lost in the Class 1A, Section 5 subsection championship to Browerville 79-54

Verndale had just two seniors on last season’s team. The Pirates return senior Elyssa Kern, juniors Jordyn Glenz, Sarah Moenkedick and Keila Schmitz, along with sophomore Shania Glenz.

They were young last season and still went 25-4. This season, the Pirates are built to be scary and should be even scarier in two years.

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or cmurphy@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.

NDSU commit Ben Ellefson gets offer from Purdue

Ben Ellefson picked up an offer from Purdue on Friday. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Hawley senior Ben Ellefson picked up an offer Friday from Purdue. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end and linebacker for Hawley gave a verbal commitment to North Dakota State on July 11 and said that commitment hasn’t changed.

“It doesn’t change my commitment right now,” Ellefson said.

Ellefson had offers from Air Force, Fordham, New Mexico, Wyoming and South Dakota State before committing to NDSU.

Purdue is the first offer he’s received after verballing to NDSU.

 

THE NUMBERS

Ben Ellefson finished with over 1,000 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons at Hawley Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Here are the stats for Ellefson in his junior and senior seasons at Hawley.

Games: 23

Passing: 4-for-9 for 110 yards with a touchdown and an interception

Rushing: 75 rushes, 467 yards, 11 touchdowns

Receiving: 60 catches, 1,122 yards, 15 touchdowns

Defense: 141.5 tackles, five interceptions, 4.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss


Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or cmurphy@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeeMurphsTweets for Minnesota prep updates and smart alecky remarks about sports, movies, music and life in general.

 

Davies’ Thielges says Minot game last season was tipping point for Eagles

FARGO – There is no better source to determine when exactly the Fargo Davies football program turned a corner from a team that experienced three losing seasons prior to its first year above .500 in 2013 than the team’s head coach Jason Thielges.

The answer might surprise some people.

There have been many milestones since the team’s 0-9 season in 2010, but Thielges pointed to one game as the moment he and his staff thought things were about to change. The game was Davies’ 34-27 overtime loss to Minot on Sept. 6, 2013.

Davies plays Minot in the North Dakota Class 3A state championship game at 6:40 p.m. Friday at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.

The loss against the Magicians put Davies at 0-2 to start its 2013 season. There were two directions to go after that.

“The Minot game last year was a big tipping point,” Thielges said. “We felt we should have won that game, but we ended up losing it in overtime and the kids were devastated. I think teams we had prior to that season would have been content with saying, ‘Wow we played with Minot.’ They were not content with that. They were mad and they were upset. You knew something was different then.”

Davies ended the 2013 season 6-4 and won a share of the Eastern Dakota Conference championship. A playoff loss to Bismarck Century left some things on the table however.

2014 has been Davies best in program history. The team is 10-1 entering the Dakota Bowl and one of those 10 victories came against Minot – a 25-13 victory on Sept. 5.

“Early on this season we were a confident team,” Thielges said. “We overcame some mental hurdles. When you are not a good team if a couple things go bad at the beginning of a game it is really easy to quit or panic. There wasn’t any of that with our team anymore. When we played Bismarck Century the kids were confident we could get it done. Going to Minot, they were confident they could get it done. There really hasn’t been a game this year where they didn’t feel confident they could get it done.”

In the Alerus Center all things will be equal in regards to playing conditions, which should favor both teams when it comes to offense.

Davies’ passing attack hasn’t been able to take off due to weather conditions this postseason.

No two players might be happier to play under a dome on Friday than Aidan and Tristan Hartness.

The twin brothers connected for three touchdowns through the air against Minot earlier this season with Aidan Hartness passing for 181 yards in the game. Tristan Hartness hauled in touchdowns of 7, 47 and 66 yards in the game.

“I’m more than happy that we are playing in the Alerus Center,” Tristan Hartness said. “The passing game is going to be open just like it was the entire regular season and that definitely worked out well for us.”

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM.

PREP BLOG EXCLUSIVE: Shanley and Davies football teams share common thread

FARGO – Friday two high school football teams from Fargo – Fargo Davies and Fargo Shanley – will be playing in a state football championship at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. Shanley plays Bismarck St. Mary’s in the Class 2A state title game set to begin at 3 p.m. and Davies plays Minot in the 3A title at 6:40 p.m.

The schools’ football fields are only separated by several city blocks on 25th Street in south Fargo, but there is another common thread that both programs share.

Several star players from each team at one time played on the same F-M athletics football team in sixth grade.

Aidan and Tristan Hartness, who both star on Davies’ 10-1 football team were once teammates of Shanley standouts Danny Stasch, Tre Fort, Alex Conner, Alex Berg, Nick Kjera, Kyle Bailey and Donny Steinhouse. All are now seniors in high school. Shanley is also 10-1 heading into the Dakota Bowl.

A team photo of the 2008 Deacons sixth grade F-M athletics football team. Submitted photo from Brad Conner

The sixth grade F-M athletics football team those players played on went 8-0 in the fall of 2008. The team’s nickname was the Deacons and the talented squad wore orange jerseys with black and white trim.

Six years later those players will be playing games that will be broadcast on television via WDAY-TV statewide.

“We were a great team,” Conner said. “We crushed every team we played. We knew if we all stuck together by the time we hit high school we would be something special. The fact that Aidan and Tristan went to Davies and still carried out their dreams of hopefully winning a state championship one day is pretty cool too.”

Aidan Hartness, Davies’ quarterback who has thrown for 1,772 yards and 21 touchdowns this fall, recalls the days playing F-M athletics well.

“I had great years playing football with all those guys,” Aidan Hartness said. “They are great athletes they definitely have put in a ton of work too. I am so proud of those guys. To see what they have done and what I have done is a great feeling. It is great to know my good friends from a couple years back are doing the same things I am doing. I know I’ll see them at the Alerus Center this week.”

Aidan and Tristan Hartness were in attendance Saturday when Shanley defeated Beulah 36-6 at Sid Cichy Stadium.

“It was nice to see another team from Fargo make it to the Dakota Bowl,” Tristan Hartness said. “Growing up and playing football with those guys I always knew we were a great team with great players because we always participated well in F-M athletics. I knew their team (Shanley) was going to be special.”

The 8-0 season was highlighted by a lot of offense.

“One game I remember pretty well was when we played a team and the final score was 76-0,” Conner said. “That’s always one thing I look back on when some of us talk about that 2008 season.”

After the 2008 Deacons wrapped up its season, a pizza party was organized for the team at Happy Joes.

A couple of the parents made up a team banner, which all the players autographed. The banner read:

DEACONS
2008: 8-0
2014: ND state champions

The 2014 projection could end up being right on the money in more ways than one.

The team banner has resurfaced and has provided all the players a little nostalgia prior to the big games on Friday in Grand Forks.

A photo of the team banner that celebrated the perfect 8-0 season turned in by the 2008 Deacons sixth grade F-M Athletics football team. Submitted photo by Brad Conner.

Below is the team roster.

THE 2008 DEACONS
#             Name
4              Austin Scott
5              Mack Christianson
10           Alex Conner
12           Sam Fisher
20           Tre Fort
22           Joshua Joacheim
26           Luke Payne
33           Alex Berg
39           Kyle Bailey
40           Danny Stasch
44           Tanner Braun
48           Riley Fisher
49           Leo Hedl
50           Kevin Wolfe
52           Aidan Hartness
55           Tristan Hartness
60           Ben Herrington
64           Gregory Beauclair
66           Nick Kjera
68           Donny Steinhouse
85           Jack Christlieb
88           Wyatt Leier

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM.

 

West Fargo ranked nationally in InterMat Wrestling poll again

WEST FARGO – The West Fargo wrestling team will begin its upcoming season ranked in a national poll.

The Packers are ranked No. 33 in the InterMat Wrestling high school national preseason poll, which was released earlier today.

West Fargo – the three-time defending North Dakota Class A team dual champions – has now appeared in the InterMat “Fab 50” poll at different points during the last three seasons.

“It is an honor anytime you are ranked in a national poll,” West Fargo head coach Kayle Dangerud said. “I think this ranking has a lot to do with the success some of our wrestlers like Weston Dobler, Jordan Shearer, Brandon Metz and Jared Franek have had at national tournaments. Having those individuals on the team this year gives us a good chance to do well.”

West Fargo senior wrestler Jordan Shearer has helped the Packers to a No. 33 national preseason ranking in the InterMat Wrestling “Fab 50″ high school poll. Forum file photo taken by David Samson

West Fargo finished last season with a 27-3 dual record.

Dobler is ranked 15th at 170 pounds in the InterMat individual rankings and Shearer is ranked 16th at 138 pounds. Both grapplers are seniors and verbally committed to the Division I schools last month. Dobler committed to Oregon State and Shearer gave his commitment to Nebraska.

Dobler, Shearer and Metz are also ranked in the Flowrestling individual high school rankings. Shearer is 16th at 138 pounds, Dobler is 16th at 160 pounds and Metz – a sophomore – is 19th at 220 pounds

Wrestling practices statewide began Monday and first competitions are set to begin Nov. 21.

ND Class 2A, 1A and 9-man semifinals play out Saturday

FARGO – Below are the preview capsules for the Saturday semifinal football games across the state of North Dakota in Class 2A, 1A and 9-man. I also included them in The Forum Friday sports section, which also has two metro area football feature stories in it. The section basically has everything from ND and MN high school football, MN prep volleyball and an update on former West Fargo wrestler Scott Schiller. It is full of local copy.

I’ll be covering the 2A semifinal between Beulah and Fargo Shanley on Saturday at Sid Cichy Stadium. The Sunday edition will also have plenty of other local prep sport coverage so don’t miss out. Find out which of these teams made the Dakota Bowl.

CLASS 2A SEMIFINALS

BEULAH (8-2) at FARGO SHANLEY (9-1)
Kickoff: 4 p.m. Saturday
Site: Sid Cichy Stadium
Players to watch: Beulah: Tanner Erickson, Sr. RB; Cory Alt, Jr., RB; Matt Krizan, Jr., RB; Casey Walcker, Jr., QB. Fargo Shanley: Danny Stasch, Sr., RB/DB; Kelvin Caga, Sr., WR/DL; Zach Burd, Sr., RB/LB; Tre Fort, Sr., WR/DB; Alex Berg, Sr., TE/LB; Matt Burd, Soph., QB/LB
Quick facts: No. 2-ranked Shanley and No. 4 ranked Beulah met in the Class 2A semifinals in 2012. … The Deacons defeated Miners 27-14 in that meeting at Sid Cichy Stadium. … Shanley is 9-1 all-time in playoff games played Sid Cichy Stadium. … Stasch rushed for 190 yards and three touchdowns in Shanley’s 41-7 win against Watford City in the quarterfinals. … Shanley’s lone loss this fall is to St. Mary’s … Beulah features a strong running game led by Erickson, who rushed for 128 yards and touchdown in the Miners’ 41-6 win over Grafton in the quarterfinals.

WAHPETON (9-1) at BISMARK ST. MARY’S (10-0)
Kickoff: 4 p.m. Saturday
Site: Bismarck Community Bowl
Players to watch: Wahpeton: Mike Poppen, Sr., WR/CB; Carson Zarak, Jr., QB/DB; Austin Krause, RB/LB; Blaze Irwin Sr., WR/S. Bismarck St. Mary’s: Noah Krebs, Sr., RB; Cole Gendreau, Fr., QB; Casey Uhler, Jr., WR/LB; Dillon Reiner, Sr., RB/S
Quick facts: No. 1-ranked Bismarck St. Mary’s won its first outright West Region championship this season … The Saints are defending 2A state champions and are on a 13-game winning streak dating back to last fall. … Krebs has returned strong for St. Mary’s after missing two games late in the season due to an MCL sprain. … The 5-foot-11, 185-pound running back has rushed for 200-plus yards in the Saints’ last two games including a 230-yard, five touchdown performance in St. Mary’s 35-12 win over Central Cass in the quarterfinals. …  Zarak passed for 199 yards in No. 3-ranked Wahpeton’s 20-14 win over Minot Ryan in the quarterfinals … St. Mary’s defeated Wahpeton 24-22 in the 2A championship game last fall.

CLASS 1A SEMIFINALS 

PARK RIVER-FORDVILLE-LANKIN (9-1) at LARIMORE (9-1)
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Site: Larimore High School
Players to watch: Park River-F-L: Jackson Hankey, Soph., RB; Abe Hankey, Sr., QB; Levi Cudmore, Jr., WR. Larimore: Jeremy Wiegandt, Sr., FB/LB; Jake Peterson, Sr., S/RB; Jacob Tupa, Soph. QB/LB.
Quick facts: No.5-ranked Larimore is on a nine-game winning streak since opening the season with a 48-28 loss to Rugby. … The Polar Bears defeated Park River-Fordville-Lankin 29-13 on Sept. 12 and eventually won the 1A, Region 2 championship. … Larimore senior running back Jake Peterson rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown in the Polar Bears’ 17-6 win against Carrington in the quarterfinals. … Aggies sophomore running back Jackson Hankey rushed for 93 yards and two touchdowns in Park River-F-L’s 34-27 quarterfinals win against Oakes.

KILLDEER (8-1) at HAZEN (10-0)
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Site: Hazen High School
Players to watch: Killdeer: Lewis Dobitz, Sr., RB/S; Trent Rohr, Sr., QB; Hayes LeMieux, Sr., WR/CB. Hazen: Connor Doll, Sr., QB/CB; Hunter Steffen, Jr., RB/CB; Austin Hintz, Sr., OL/DL
Quick facts: No. 1-ranked Hazen has won 30 consecutive games. … During that winning streak, which dates back to 2012, the Bison have won two Class 1A state titles. … Hazen is averaging 39 points per game. … Killdeer’s lone loss this season came against Hazen – a 27-16 contest on Oct. 18. … Doll and Steffen each rushed for two touchdowns in Hazen’s 43-14 win against Lewis & Clark Our Redeemers in the quarterfinals. … Dobitz rushed for 124 yards and two touchdowns in Killdeer’s 49-20 win over Rugby in the quarterfinals.

9-MAN SEMIFINALS 

LAMOURE-LITCHVILLE-MARION (10-1) at CAVALIER (11-0)
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
Site: Cavalier High School
Players to watch: LaMoure-L-M: Anthony Olson, Sr., RB/CB; Parker Stemen, Sr., QB/LB; Drew Thielges, Jr., WR/DL. Cavalier: Brock Robbins, Sr., RB/LB; Trent Karel, Sr., QB/S; Jeff Stith, Sr., OL/DL.
Quick facts: The No. 1-ranked Tornadoes are on a 22-game winning streak that dates back to the 2012 season. … Cavalier’s last loss came to New Rockford-Sheyenne in the 2012 9-man semifinals. … Cavalier and No. 3-ranked LaMoure-L-M met in the first round of the 2013 9-man playoffs with the Tornadoes defeating the Loboes 50-24. … LaMoure-L-M is led by Olson, who rushed for 412 yards and seven touchdowns in the Loboes’ 46-12 quarterfinals win over Richland last Saturday. … The Loboes average 41.1 points per game. … Cavalier has posted two shutouts this postseason and has only given up 38 points all season.

TOWNER-GRANVILLE-UPHAM (10-1) at BISMARCK-SHILOH CHRISTIAN (10-0)
Kickoff: 2 p.m. Saturday
Site: Shiloh Christian High School
Players to watch: Towner-G-U: Eli Luna, Sr., QB/CB; Lane Schmitt, Jr., RB/LB; Colter Thorp, Sr., WR/LB. Bismarck Shiloh Christian: Blake Emmel, Sr., RB/LB; Zac Marin, Jr., QB/CB; Seth Losos, Sr., RB/CB.
Quick facts: The No. 2-ranked Skyhawks are averaging 52.1 points per game and have only allowed two touchdowns in two playoff games played this postseason. … Shiloh Christian features an effective running game led by Emmel and Losos. … Emmel and Lossos combined to score all five of the Skyhawks’ touchdowns in last Saturday’s 36-8 win over Grant County-Flasher in the quarterfinals. … The No. 4-ranked Titans’ only loss this season was a 44-34 setback against St. John on Sept. 19. … Luna leads the Titans in passing and rushing yards … He is 105 of 151 passing for 1,631 yards and 23 touchdowns along with 1,659 rushing yards.

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM.

 

 

Big plays bountiful when Eagles and Bruins hit the football field

FARGO – When Fargo South and Fargo Davies last met on a football field 99 total points were scored. The offense generated in that game by both teams is well documented, but with all the yards and points put up that day, there was equally an abundant amount of big plays made in that contest. Some plays went for big yardage and others just simply extended drives or kept momentum rolling.

In this post I’ll attempt to rank the top 10 plays of that game and also will include some player’s comments on the upcoming rematch between South and Davies in the North Dakota Class 3A semifinals.

THE PLAYS (10 to 1)

10. Ty Brooks 60-yard touchdown run in first quarter: Brooks scored on the first offensive play from scrimmage of the game. The play foreshadowed what turned out to be a game filled with momentum-swinging plays.

9. JD Arguelles 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter: Really hard to put this so far down on the list, but this play was the finishing touch on a 14-play, 80 yard drive by the Eagles.

8. Davies stopping Fargo South to begin the second half in Eagles territory forcing a turnover on downs: Davies turned the ball over and South appeared poised to go up by three scores after going into halftime up 28-14. Davies stopped the Bruins who went for it on fourth down and failed to convert. It forced Davies to into a long field, but if South goes up by three touchdowns at that point of the game, Davies may not have won the game.

7. Aidan Hartness 70-yard touchdown pass to Tristan Hartness: This play came minutes after Davies stopped the Bruins on fourthdown. The Hartness brothers delivered and the touchdown got Davies right back in the game.

6. Davies’ two on sides kicks in the second half: Simply put if Davies didn’t get the two on sides kick, South probably puts the game out of reach. The special teams play Davies made were a big difference in the game.

5. Arguelles blocked field goal to end the game: South lined up for a field goal at the end of the game, but Arguelles blocked the attempt.

4. James Johannesson 63 yard touchdown in fourth quarter: Davies had just ties the game 42-42. Johannesson rushed for a 63 touchdown on South’s next drive. The run was the first play of the drive and was Johannesson’s sixth touchdown of the game.

3. Aidan Hartness 1-yard run on a fourth-and-1 on Davies’ final drive of the game: Aidan Hartness extended Davies’ 14-play 80 yard, drive with a fourth down conversion. The Eagles eventually scored and the QB keeper by Hartness was the third time he had converted on fourth down with a run during the game.

2. Davies defense stopping Johannesson at the 1-yard line before halftime: Johannesson narrowly scored on a 43-yard touchdown on the final play of the first half. Johannesson rumbled 42 yards and was stopped at the 1-yard line. Davies needed every defender to stop Johannesson from getting to the pile on.

1. Hartness 2-point conversion in fourth quarter: Arguelles had just scored the three-yard touchdown with under a minute left to play and instead of going for the tie, the Eagles opted to go for two points. Aidan Hartness got the call and ran in for the conversion that made it 50-49 in favor of the Eagles.

Hopefully I didn’t miss any.

Here is what the players are saying about what they learned for the first game played between Davies and South:

“When you lose by one point it is always tough and when you have a team put up 50 points against your defense, that was tough too,” South strong safety Jason Klug said.

Klug got an interception in the Oct. 18 game and said stopping Davies running game will be import in the early going. Davies has thrived this fall passing the ball, but it sets up the air attack with its ground game. If Ty Jochim gets going early South could be in trouble defensively.

“It is all about momentum and I feel like the momentum changed with the big plays throughout the game,” Ty Brooks said of the Oct. 18 meeting. “So when we play them Friday we’ll have to limit the big plays when they are on offense and control the momentum.”

Davies defeated Dickinson in the quarterfinals last Friday and following the game, the players I interviewed were already recognizing the significance of meeting South in the playoffs.

Joahnnesson said this game feels like a state championship game and Tristan Hartness said the Eagles will be ready to play the defending Class 3A state champions again.

“We are focusing on South and that is all,” Tristan Hartness said. “We have been dialed in at practice the last couple of days. The guys are so tuned in on football right now. That is all we are thinking about. We just want to keep playing football.”

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM.

Mattern and Thielges weigh in on Davies-South football rematch

FARGO – This week I interviewed Fargo South head football coach Troy Mattern and Fargo Davies head football coach Jason Thielges in anticipation of the South-Davies meeting in the North Dakota Class 3A football semifinals.

A number of topics were discussed, but none greater than the importance of each team needing to play better defensively. The Oct. 18 meeting was a shootout and you got the feeling that both defensive units were guessing the whole game.

Both Davies and South feature elite offenses, but I have a distinct feeling a play on defense will decide Friday night’s outcome.

Fargo South head coach Troy Mattern. Forum file photo.

“We are trying to get better defensively, but on the other hand we are playing against a really good offense,” Mattern said of the South-Davies Oct. 18 meeting. “There is going to be two really good offensive teams showcased in this game (Friday) and points are going to be scored. Obviously we’d like play in a little lower scoring game, but there is a lot offensive playmakers on both teams. It’s going to come down which team can make stops in crucial parts of the game.”

When players like Aidan and Tristan Hartness along with James Johannesson and Ty Brooks are involved it is easy to see how defenses could be in for rough nights. Both teams can pile up yards. Each roster is full of players capable of making a game-changing play.

Thielges said though his squad won the Oct. 18 meeting, the defensive lapses were not ignored.

“We felt like our defense didn’t play very well,” Thielges said. “We got on our heels and stopped attacking on that side of the ball. Part of it is the James Johannesson ‘awe factor’ and we got to get over that. We have to get some stops on defense. We can’t rely on two on sides kicks and all the other things that we had happen for us in the other game in order to win this game.”

“I don’t think this game will play out same way and rarely do they ever,” Thielges added. “I think we are going see more defense from both teams in this game. I think both defenses’ pride is a little shaken and they are going to play extremely hard. I don’t think it will be the shootout that everyone is expecting and it should be a very good football game.”

Fargo Davies head coach Jason Thielges. Forum file photo.

Mattern said his Bruins squad played tight in the first meeting.

“We struggled with the pressure of being the No. 1-ranked team and being the undefeated, defending state champions,” Mattern said. “It showed late in the game. When the game got tight we were tight.”

“At Fargo South we pride ourselves on winning the fourth quarter,” Mattern added. “We got outscored by 15 points in the fourth quarter and that bothered us. We were disappointed what Davies was able to do against us late in the game and were disappointed when Davies was able to go on an 80-yard drive with four minutes left to play.”

Davies ran 84 plays on offense compared to South’s 40. That stat is still mind boggling to me more in regards to the fact that South was able to score 49 points on just 40 plays, but then again South scored two touchdowns in the game on the first plays of a drive.

The rematch has been highly anticipated all week and Mattern said his team is motivated to play the Eagles again.

“There are a lot things that happened on that field on that Saturday afternoon that left a lot of mental images in our players’ and coaches’ minds. We were hoping for the chance to play them again and now the opportunity is here and our kids are embracing it,” Mattern said. “We are excited to go back to Davies for that challenge.”

Davies is in its fifth year as a varsity program. South’s program was split to create what is now the Davies program and Friday night both will meet on a football field in Fargo to decide which team will play in the 2014 Dakota Bowl.

“They’ve done a good job of maintaining and we’ve done a good job of building,” said Thielges, who along with Mattern was an assistant coach at South prior to the program split.

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM.

A look back at the Oct. 18 “Davies vs. South” 1.0 football game

FARGO – When Fargo Davies defeated Fargo South 50-49 on Oct. 18 there was a possibility that the two teams would meet again in the playoffs. The rematch is one day away and the at 7 p.m. Friday night the Eagles and Bruins will line up on the sidelines for a chance to play in the Dakota Bowl.

This post (the first of several in a series I’ll be posting on the Forum’s Prep Sports Blog today) will look back – in-depth – on that Oct. 18 matchup between the two teams.

Entering the game, South was No. 1-ranked and 7-0 while Davies was 6-1 and ranked No. 3 in the Class 3A poll. The Bruins were in the midst of a 12-game winning streak and the Eagles were fresh off a 14-13 win over West Fargo in Week 7.

Davies junior running back JD Arguelles (20) rushed for 46 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 50-49 win over Fargo South on Oct. 18. Both touchdowns came in the second half. Forum file photo.

The game – as we all know – feature copious amounts of offense. The best way to review would be looking at the drive charts of both teams which I kept in detail.

Here we go …

SOUTH POSSESSION #1
Drive started on the Bruins 40-yard line and ended with a 60-yard touchdown run by Ty Brooks on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Josh Weiler kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 1 play, 60 yards
Play of the drive: Brooks 60-yard run.
Score: South 7, Davies 0

DAVIES POSSESSION #1
Drive started on the Eagles 27-yard line and ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Ty Jochim. Cy Cyr kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 9 plays, 73 yards.
Play of the drive: 2-yard run by Aidan Hartness on a fourth-and-1 from 5-yard line.
Score: South 7, Davies 7

SOUTH POSSESSION #2
Drive started on the Bruins 33-yard line and ended with an eight-yard touchdown run by James Johannesson. Josh Weiler kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 8 plays, 67 yards
Play of the drive: Johannesson 15-yard run on second play of the drive that got South in Davies territory.
Score: South 14, Davies 7

DAVIES POSSESSION #2
Drive started on the Eagles 38-yard line and ended with a 2-yard run by Tristan Hartness. Cy Cyr kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 10 plays, 62 yards
Play of the drive: 3-yard run by Aidan Hartness on a fourth-and-1 from the 5-yard line.
Score: South 14, Davies 14

SOUTH POSSESSION #3
Drive started on the Bruins 42-yard line and ended with and 43-yard touchdown run by Johannesson. Josh Weiler kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 5 plays, 58 yards
Play of the drive: Johannesson 43-yard run for touchdown.
Score: South 21, Davies 14

DAVIES POSSESSION #3
Drive started on the Eagles 20-yard line and ended with Davies turning the ball over on downs.

SOUTH POSSESSION #4
Drive started on the Bruins 42-yard line and ended with a 43-yard touchdown run by Johannesson. Josh Weiler kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 4 plays, 58 yards
Play of the drive: Johannesson 43-yard run for touchdown.
Score: South 28, Davies 14

DAVIES POSSESSION #4
Drive started on the Eagles 20-yard line and ended with South’s Jason Klug intercepting a pass from Aidan Hartness.

SOUTH POSSESSION #5
Drive started on the Bruins 49-yard line and ended with Johannesson being stopped at the 1-yard line after a 42-yard run as time expired in the first half.

***HALFTIME: South led 28-14

Davies fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half and the Bruins recovered on the Davies 24-yard line.

SOUTH POSSESSION #6
Drive started on the Davies 24-yard line and ended on the Davies 30-yard line after the Bruins were called for a holding penalty during the drive. South turned the ball over on downs.

DAVIES POSSESSION #5
Drive started on the Eagles 30-yard line and ended with a 70-yard touchdown catch made by Tristan Hartness from Aidan Hartness. Cy Cyr kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 4 plays, 73 yards
Play of the drive: 70-yard touchdown catch by Tristan Hartness.
Score: South 28, Davies 21

DAVIES POSSESSION #6
Drive started on the Bruins 36-yard line after Davies recovered its kickoff past 10 yards and ended with a 14-yard touchdown by Aidan Hartness. Cy Cyr kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 7 plays, 36 yards
Play of the drive: 14-yard touchdown run by Aidan Hartness.
Score: South 28, Davies 28

SOUTH POSSESSION #7
Drive started on the Bruins 43-yard line and ended with a 26-yard touchdown run by Johannesson. Kick failed.
Scoring drive summary: 8 plays, 57 yards
Play of the drive: Johannesson 26-yard touchdown run.
Score: South 34, Davies 28

DAVIES POSSESSION #7
Drive started on the Eagles 16-yard line and ended with Davies turning the ball over on a fumble.

SOUTH POSSESSION #8
Drive started on the Eagles 37-yard line and ended with a 33-yard touchdown run by Johannesson. Johannesson run.
Scoring drive summary: 2 plays, 37 yards
Play of the drive: Johannesson 33-yard touchdown run.
Score: South 42, Davies 28

DAVIES POSSESSION #8
Drive started on the Eagles 37-yard line and ended with a nine-yard touchdown run by JD Arguelles. Cy Cyr kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 7 plays, 63 yards
Play of the drive: 14-yard pass to Arguelles from Aidan Hartness on the first play of the drive.
Score: South 42, Davies 35

DAVIES POSSESSION #9
Drive started on the Eagles 49-yard line after Davies recovers and on-sides kick. Drive ended with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Tristan Hartness from Aidan Hartness. Cy Cyr kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 9 plays, 51 yards
Play of the drive: Seven-yard touchdown pass to Tristan Hartness from Aidan Hartness.
Score: South 42, Davies 42

SOUTH POSSESSION #9
Drive started on the Bruins 37-yard line and ended with a 63-yard touchdown run by Johannesson. Weiler kick good.
Scoring drive summary: 1 plays, 63 yards
Play of the drive: Johannesson 63-yard touchdown run.
Score: South 49, Davies 42

DAVIES POSSESSION #10
Drive started on the Eagles 20-yard line and ended with a three-yard touchdown run by Arguelles. Aidan Hartness run.
Scoring drive summary: 14 plays, 80 yards
Play of the drive: one-yard run by Aidan Hartness on a fourth-and-1 at the 12-yard line.
Score: Davies 50, South 49

SOUTH POSSESSION #10
Drive started on the Bruins 25-yard line and ended with Bruins attempting a field goal that was blocked by Arguelles.

Well, that is how it went. A lot of big plays, but none bigger than the two-point conversion by Aidan Hartness with 54 seconds left in the game. The play gave the Eagles its first lead of the game and eventually led to the program’s first ever win against South.

Tom Mix is the North Dakota high schools sports reporter at The Forum. He has been working at The Forum since 2009 and has been covering the ND prep sports beat since 2012. Mix can be reached at tmix@forumcomm.com. Follow Mix on Twitter @MixMaster_TGM.