Forum prep sports chat (Oct. 24)

Live Blog Prep Sports Chat
 

Central Cass, Valley City to play for final Class 2A East Region football playoff spot

FARGO – The regular season of North Dakota Class 2A football division wraps up Friday night and there is one playoff spot yet to be determined in the 2A East Region.

Fargo Shanley, Wahpeton and Grafton have all clinched playoff spots. The two teams vying for the final playoff spot are Central Cass and Valley City and here is the kicker: The Hi-Liners host the Squirrels at 7 p.m. Friday night.

One game. Winner take all. It all comes down to that.

Below is a composite schedule of the four games going on in the East Region of Class 2A:

Central Cass at Valley City, 7 p.m.
Wahpeton at Enderlin-Maple Valley, 7 p.m.
Fargo Shanley at Lisbon, 7 p.m.
Kindred at Grafton, 7 p.m.

Central Cass junior Grady Bresnahan, right, passed for five touchdowns in the Squirrels’ 41-0 win against Lisbon last Saturday. Forum file photo

Here is what has been determined so far in regards to seeding in the East Region:

NO. 1 SEED: Class 2A No. 2-ranked Fargo Shanley (7-1, 6-0 East Region) has clinched the No. 1 seed. The Deacons hold a tiebreaker with second-place Wahpeton.

NO. 2 SEED: Class 2 A No. 3-ranked Wahpeton (7-1, 5-1 East Region) has clinched the No. 2 seed. Wahpeton’s only loss this fall is against Fargo Shanley. The Huskies hold a tiebreaker with third-place Grafton.

NO. 3 SEED: Grafton (5-3, 4-2 East Region) has clinched the No. 3 seed.  The Spoilers hold tiebreakers against Central Cass and Valley City.

NO. 4 SEED: Winner of Central Cass-Valley City game will be the No. 4 seed. Central Cass and Valley City both hold tiebreakers against Kindred.

Central Cass is coming off a 41-0 win against Lisbon last Saturday. Valley City lost 40-13 to Fargo Shanley at Sid Cichy Stadium.

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

Seeding only matter left unsettled in ND Class 3A East Region football

FARGO – The North Dakota Class 3A and 2A regular seasons come to a close on Friday night. Playoff seeding for both classes will be finalized this weekend and in this blog post I’ll examine the 3A football seeding scenarios in the East Region.

After eight games played this much has been determined:

1. Fargo South, Fargo Davies and West Fargo are all tied for first place in the Eastern Dakota Conference with 5-1 conference records. Grand Forks Red River has a 4-2 conference record. All four teams will represent the East Region in the 3A state playoffs next week.

2. Fargo Davies – ranked No. 2 in the Class 3A football poll – is in the driver’s seat to earn the No. 1 seed from the East Region in the upcoming 3A state playoffs, which begin Oct. 31. Davies owns head-to-head tiebreakers with South and West Fargo. The Eagles also could clinch a share of Eastern Dakota Conference championship on Friday with a win against Fargo North

3. If Davies defeats North on Friday night, the game between No. 3 Fargo South and No. 4 West Fargo will end up being a battle for the East Region’s No. 2 seed for the 3A playoffs. The loser would be the No. 3 seed. The winner of the Fargo South-West Fargo would also share the EDC title with Davies.

4. Grand Forks Red River holds a tiebreaker with Fargo North after defeating the Spartans 53-14 last Friday. The No. 5-ranked Roughriders will be the East Region’s No. 4 seed if Davies ends up defeating Fargo North and would then play No. 1-ranked Bismarck in the 3A quarterfinals at the Community Bowl next Friday at a time to be determined.

5. Davies does not hold a tiebreaker against Red River and if the Eagles lose and the Roughriders defeat Grand Forks Central then things get really complicated.

As far as the EDC championship:

1. The EDC championship will be shared if Davies defeats North. Davies would then share the title with the winner of the South-West Fargo game.

2. The only way the EDC championship can be won outright be one school is if Davies were to lose to Fargo North. Then the winner of the Fargo South-West Fargo game would be crowned the outright champions of the EDC.

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

 

First round playoff pairings for ND Class 1A and 9-man football are set

FARGO – The North Dakota 9-man and Class 1A football playoffs begin this Saturday. Here are the first-round playoff pairings:

9-Man
First round
Saturday
1) R2 No. 4 North Star at R1 No. 1 LaMoure-Litchville-Marion, 1:30 p.m. (Game played in LaMoure)

2) R1 No. 3 Richland at R2 No. 2 Hatton-Northwood, 1:30 p.m (Game played in Hatton)

3) R1 No. 4 South Border at R2 No. 1 Cavalier, 2 p.m.

4) R2 No. 3 Thompson at R1 No. 2 Hankinson, 1:30 p.m.

5) R4 No. 4 Mott-Regent at R3 No. 1 Towner-Granville-Upham, 2 p.m. (Game played in Towner)

6) R3 No. 3 St. John at R4 No. 2 Richardton-Taylor-Hebron, 2 p.m.

7) R3 No. 4 Divide County at R4 No. 1 Bismarck Shiloh Christian, 2 p.m.

8) R4 No. 3 Grant County-Flasher at R3 No. 2 Westhope-Newbrug-Glenburn, 2 p.m.

Class 1A
First round
Saturday
1) R2 No. 4 May-Port-CG at R1 No. 1 Oakes, 2:30 p.m.

2) R1 No. 3 Linton-HMB at R2 No. 2 No. Park River-Fordville-Lankin, 2 p.m. (Game played in Park River)

3) R1 No. 4 Hillboro-Central Valley at R2 No. 1 Larimore, 3 p.m.

4) R2 No. 3 North Prairie at R1 No. 2 Carrington, 1:30 p.m.

5) R4 No. 4 New Salem-Glenn Ullin at R3 No. 1 Rugby, 3:30 p.m.

6) R3 No. 3 Harvey-Wells County at R4 No. 2 Killdeer 1:30 p.m.

7) R3 No. 4 Des Lacs-Burlington at R4 No. 1 Hazen, 1:30 p.m.

8) R4 No. 3 Heart River at R3 No. 2 Lewis and Clark-Our Redeemer’s, 2 p.m.

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

State champion contendors in Minnesota football

With the playoffs beginning today, here’s a look at the football teams in the area with the best chance of winning a state title.

 

FAVORITES

Mahnomen (8-0)

Mahnomen has plenty of reason for pride with the longest active winning streak in the state heading into the 2014 playoffs. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Until Mahnomen proves otherwise, Class 1A belongs to the Indians. They’ve won 36 straight games and two straight state titles. They’ve been ranked No. 1 in the AP polls every week except one.

The Indians have outscored teams 361-40 this season with the closest game being a 21-point win against Fosston in Week 3. Fosston is the No. 2 seed in Class 1A, Section 8, so the Indians’ fifth straight section title seems imminent.

The health of quarterback Tom Pavek is big for the Indians. They proved this season they can win without him, but they can roll teams with him.

 

Hawley (8-0)

Hawley is look for its first team state title to call their own. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

This is what the Nuggets have been waiting for. Even last season when the Nuggets were good enough to make it to the Class 2A quarterfinals, they still had this season in the back of their heads with returning seniors all over the field.

Their offensive line is healthy with senior Logan Alm back. Senior Cody Cook has been a monster defensively with 42 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss on the season.

Quarterback Jordan Harms and tight end/North Dakota State commit Ben Ellefson are seniors. Running back Dillon Omberg is a senior.

Omberg’s health is the one question heading into the playoffs. He hurt his ankle in Week 7, didn’t play Week 8, but is practicing again this week. Coach Peder Naatz says he isn’t sure if or how much Omberg will play in the section semifinals.

If it ends up being Hawley-Frazee in the section title game, the Nuggets will need Omberg.

 

Waubun (8-0)

This is the Waubun offense behind Jordan Spaeth (left) and Ryan Weber (right). All teams know it. No team has stopped it. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Teams simply can’t stop Waubun’s read-option offense with Jordan Spaeth at QB and Ryan Weber at running back.

When Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal somewhat stopped it, the Bombers proved they could adjust. That was the only game Waubun ever trailed in this season.

There’s a lot of talk about the read-option offense, but the defense, behind Weber and Dairus Woods-Steichen, has given up 47 points all season.

Bombers haven’t won a section title since 2007.

 

CONTENDERS

Moorhead (7-1)

Jade Lawrence leads Moorhead into the playoffs Saturday. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Cody Dorow has made the Moorhead offense balanced in his first year ever playing football this season. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Getting to the section title game is what Moorhead coach Kevin Feeney does. He’s been at Moorhead for four years, been to four section title games and won two of them. He even did that last season when the Spuds had lost 31 seniors from the season before.

Last season’s team was young. This season’s Spuds are experienced. And the scary thing is, the Spuds have a lot of juniors.

There’s no looking toward next season for running back Jade Lawrence, wide receiver Cody Dorow. They are the playmakers for the Spuds and this is it for these two seniors, along with Ben Lien, Brandon Bundgaard, Ethan Marquart and Brady Emerson, all of which are big pieces to Moorhead.

Moorhead was cruising through the season until a 56-21 loss to Brainerd. Questions began and the Spuds answered them with a 52-25 win over Bemidji.

So Bemidji destroyed Brainerd 40-14, Brainerd destroyed Moorhead and Moorhead destroyed Bemidji. Lucky for Moorhead, the Spuds wouldn’t seen any Class 5A, Section 7 team until the state title game and the Spuds would gladly take that.

Spuds will most likely have to get by a Sartell team they haven’t faced this season. The Sabres, however, lost to Bemidji 31-0.

 

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (6-2)

D-G-F’s defense has given up eight points in its last three games. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

D-G-F does what’s big with the weather this time of year. The Rebels run the ball and play defense. The Rebels have given up eight points in their last three games, including a 13-0 shutout at Pequot Lakes, who the Rebels will most likely see in the section championship.

The Rebels have 1,842 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns on the ground between Brandon Wayne, Alex Matthews and Joe Flatt.

D-G-F hasn’t won back-to-back section titles since Dilworth did it in 1988 and 1989.

 

Ottertail Central (7-1)

This was the scene last season when Holdingford knocked off Ottertail in the section championship game. Bulldogs are looking for redemption. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The Bulldogs have won seven straight and given up 18 points in those seven games. OTC will probably have to get by Holdingford in the section title game.

The two haven’t faced this season, but OTC will be out for revenge after losing to Holdingford in last season’s section title game.

 

Verndale (7-1)

Dillon Card (right) will lead Verndale to possible redemption over last season’s section championship loss. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Pirates remember this feeling. They’ve waited to redeem last season’s 13-12 loss on the final play of regulation to Underwood in the section championship since it happened.

Behind quarter back Dillon Card and running back Colter Ehrmantraut the Pirates can do just that. They’ve already beaten Underwood this season 14-13 in overtime. It’s shaping up for a rematch.

 

SLEEPERS

Underwood (7-1)

It was this extra point at the end of regulation that ended Verndale’s season in a 13-12 loss to Underwood with state on the line. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The Rockets one loss is a 14-13 loss in overtime to Underwood. That was in Week 2. In Week 7, Underwood beat a Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley team 40-0 on the road a week after C-G-G beat Verndale 28-8.

The Rockets went to the state title game last season behind the running game of Noah Thompson. Now, the Rockets have Thompson and Dylan Kalenze with Justin Masloski. It’s a tough trio to stop.

Big problem for Underwood is they will have to go through Wheaton-Herman-Norcross to get to Verndale. Verndale and Underwood were separated by 0.2 in the QRF, but Verndale owned the tiebreaker thanks to the 14-13 overtime win.

One point separated Underwood from a No. 1 seed. Verndale doesn’t feel bad for the Rockets. One point separated the Pirates from state last year.

 

Frazee (7-1)

Hesston Bachmann (right) will lead Frazee at QB and the Hornets want top-ranked Hawley in the section title game. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

No team in Class 2A has been closer to knocking off top-ranked Hawley than the Hornets this season. It’s hard to beat a team twice.

With Hesston and Tanner Bachmann the Hornets can run with any team. If there’s a hiccup for Hawley on the road to state it would be Frazee in the section title game.

Frazee has wanted another chance at the Nuggets since their 25-12 loss to Hawley in which the Hornets had three drives inside the Nuggets 10-yard line go for zero points.

Frazee has not won a section title since 1990.

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.

The X factors for each top-seeded area football team in Minnesota

These area top seeds need these guys to perform big on the playoff stage to get to the Minnesota football state tournament.

Cody Dorow/Jade Lawrence – Moorhead (Class 5A, Section 8)

Jade Lawrence leads the run game into the playoffs for the Spuds. Photo by Jun-Kai Teoh/St. Cloud Times

Cody Dorow has made it so teams must respect the pass for Moorhead. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

The Moorhead offense runs on these two. Dorow has 36 catches for 555 yards and seven touchdowns in seven games for the Spuds in his first year every playing football. Lawrence has 91 carries for 1,061 yards and 22 total touchdowns for Moorhead. That’s 11.66 yards per carry.

 

Tony Ukkelberg/Nick Trosdahl- Ottertail Central (Class 2A, Section 6)

Nick Trosdahl (44) will lead the rushing attack/defense of Ottertail Central in the playoffs. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

OTC has won seven straight behind Ukkelberg at QB and Trosdahl leading the Bulldogs defense that has given up 18 points in those seven games and the running game.

Ukkelberg has thrown for 843 yards and 12 touchdowns, rushed for six touchdowns and returned a punt for a touchdown. Trosdahl has rushed for 684 yards and 19 total touchdowns for OTC.

 

Tom Pavek – Mahnomen (Class 1A, Section 8)

Tom Pavek hasn’t been healthy all season, but he has the chance to lead Mahnomen to its third straight state title. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The quarterback hasn’t been healthy all the season, but he has Mahnomen undefeated and in line to make a run at the Indians third straight state title and the second with him at quarterback.

Pavek has played in seven games, throwing for four touchdowns and rushing for 12 TDs and 833 yards on just 67 carries, mostly coming in the first half of games. That’s 12.4 yards per carry. Mahnomen can win if Pavek gets hurt, but they dominate with him even somewhat healthy.

 

Ben Ellefson/Dillon Omberg – Hawley (Class 2A, Section 8)

Ben Ellefson is the go-to guy for Hawley. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Hawley starting RB Dillon Omberg (ball) left Week 7′s game with an injury and hasn’t played since. The Nuggets will need him come playoff time. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

The health of Omberg will alter the role of Ellefson. Omberg has 839 yards and nine touchdowns on 90 carries and two touchdowns and 115 yards on five catches. He was injured early in Week 7 and sat out Week 8. When he’s healthy, the Nuggets offense is a machine.

Ellefson – a North Dakota State tight end commit – hasn’t had massive numbers this season. He’s rushed for three touchdowns and 48 yards on 12 carries and caught 21 passes for 393 yards and five touchdowns. Where he has been a monster is at linebacker. He has 64.5 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss and one interception.

A healthy Omberg means Ellefson isn’t totally relied on offensively, which frees him up to run wild on defense. However, Ellefson is still the go-to target come crunch time. That’s what playoff time is.

 

Dillon Card/Colter Ehrmantraut – Verndale (Class 9-man, Section 4)

Dillon Card (right) will lead Verndale to possible redemption over last season’s section-championship loss. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The Pirates offense, which is averaging more than 34 points a game, runs through quarterback Dillon Card and running back Colter Ehrmantraut. Card was relied on heavily last season, but Ehrmantraut was able to take the burden off Card.

The two were both on the field last season when Underwood scored a touchdown to tie the game with no time remaining in the section championship. The Rockets won it with the extra point.

 

Jordan Spaeth/Ryan Weber – Waubun (Class 9-man, Section 6)

This is the Waubun offense behind Jordan Spaeth (left) and Ryan Weber (right). All teams know it. No team has stopped it. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Spaeth and Weber have run the read-option offense to perfection this season. Spaeth has 694 yards and nine TDs on 93 carries to go along with 280 yards passing and six touchdowns and Weber has rushed for 903 yards and 10 touchdowns on 131 carries.

They not only hold the ball for Waubun, but the key to the state tournament.

 

Ben Nordmark/Ryan Cihak – Detroit Lakes (Class 4A, Section 8)

DL has two senior backs that can run the ball, but it could be a freshman that takes them to the top in Ben Nordmark. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newpapers

With a backfield of seniors Sam Champa and Forrest Schleske, freshman Ben Nordmark could really change things for the Heart O’Lakes North champion Lakers. He leads the team in rushing and has been getting more carries each game and torched Pequot Lakes for 163 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries in the regular-season finale.

Cihak is the leading receiver for DL. He had a 90-yard punt return and a 29-yard TD catch in that win against Pequot Lakes. He keeps defenses from focusing completely on the DL run game.

 

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton running game (Class 3A, Section 8)

D-G-F’s run game is getting going at the right time. Alex Matthews (ball) is a big part of a trio of Rebel runners. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

There’s really no hiding what the Rebels do. They run the ball a lot behind Brandon Wayne, Alex Matthews and Joe Flatt.

Wayne has rushed for 716 yards and eight touchdowns on 112 carries, Matthews has 477 yards rushing, four rushing TDs and two receiving TDs without playing in the regular-season finale and Flatt has 649 yards and nine touchdowns on 97 carries. They even have a fourth option with Alex Fuchs.

 

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.

West Fargo Sheyenne boys and girls cross country teams donate time to good cause

WEST FARGO – Today, in addition to preparing for the upcoming North Dakota high school cross country state meet, the West Fargo Sheyenne boys and girls cross country teams volunteered at the Great Plains Food Bank to package up food to be donated to people who need in the community.

Members of the West Fargo Sheyenne boys and girls cross country team helped package food at the Great Plains Food Bank on Friday morning. Submitted photo

Students across the state have had a few days off this week and it’s always good to see individuals take a little time to help out those in need.

West Fargo Sheyenne High School has implemented a “Day of Giving” program for its varsity athletic programs this year where teams go into the community and volunteer their time to a program/place of their choice.

Many athletic teams at high schools in the F-M metro area have participated in programs similar to one Sheyenne organized today and I figured it was a good time to recognize the efforts of the student-athletes, coaches and administrators who have pitched in for good causes.

Members of the West Fargo Sheyenne boys and girls cross country team helped package food at the Great Plains Food Bank on Friday morning. The group packaged a total of 6,000 pounds of food. Submitted photo

Sheyenne’s boys and girls cross country teams packaged a total of 6,000 pounds of food this morning. That’s 6,000 pounds of food that wasn’t organized into deliverable packages yesterday and no doubt that food will be going to good use as the Holiday season is approaching fast.

The Sheyenne boys cross country team is coached by Tyler Carlson and the Sheyenne girls cross country team is coached by Troy Thorson.

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

No. 2-ranked Oakes plays No. 5-ranked Carrington to decide Class 1A, Region football championship

FARGO – Like I alluded to in my post yesterday about Saturday’s prep football matchup between North Dakota Class 3A, No. 1-ranked Fargo South and No. 3-ranked Fargo Davies, there certainly is not a short supply of highly anticipated football games tomorrow.

Another meeting of ranked teams occurs in Class 1A where No. 2-ranked Oakes travels to No. 5-ranked Carrington in a showdown of undefeated Region 1 teams. Oakes and Carrington are both 7-0 overall and 6-0 in Region 1 play.

Oakes senior quarterback Bryce Meehl has passed for 1,125 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Photo by David Samson / The Forum

Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Carrington High School and the winner of the game will earn the Region 1 championship and the highly coveted No. 1 seed for the 1A playoffs, which begin Oct. 25. Regardless of the outcome both teams have clinched a home playoff game next week.

These two teams have been on a collision course for several weeks and both have been ranked in the state 1A poll most of the season.

Something has to give on Saturday. Will the torrid Tornadoes keep their pace going heading into the postseason or will the cunning Cardinals claim the region crown.

Carrington has posted three shutouts this fall and are led on the defensive side of the ball by senior Easton Paeper, who has 42 tackles and junior Cole Ferguson, who checks in with 41 tackles.

Offensively the Cardinals feature a balanced run game led by senior running back Seth Abaurrea. Abaurrea, who also is a standout track and field and basketball athlete at Carrington, has rushed for 763 yards on 74 carries this fall. He is averaging 10.3 yards per carry and 109 yards per game. Abaurrea also has 13 touchdowns this fall.

Senior Brady Smith has passed for 611 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith has been efficient completing 61 percent of his passes (31 of 51), but will be going up a very tough Tornadoes secondary tomorrow.

Oakes defenders Bryce Meehl (7) and Ethan Zetocha defend a pass intended for Hillsboro-Central Valley’s Kyle Henningsgard Friday, Sept.26, 2014, in Hillsboro. David Samson / The Forum

Oakes has put together another solid season and it all has started with senior quarterback Bryce Meehl. Meehl (6-foot-1, 160 pounds) has passed for 1,125 yards and rushed for 454 yards this fall. He’s been especially consistent in the passing game throwing for over 100 yards in all seven of Oakes’ games this fall. Meehl has thrown for 15 touchdowns and is 61 of 96.

Meehl’s top targets are listed below:
1. Sr. Blake Hollingsworth (14 catches for 337 yards, 2 TDs)
2. Sr. Carter Zetocha (18 catches for 289 yards, 6 TDs)
3. Jr. Ethan Zetocha (17 catches for 275 yards, 4 TDs)

The Tornadoes also excel in the running game. That department is led by senior Erik Loepp. Loepp, who also is a standout wrestler at Oakes, has rushed for 813 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. He is averaging 116.1 yards per game and has been clicking of late posting three 100-yard games in a row.

Here are Loepp’s lines the last three games
vs. Milnor-North Sargent (151 yards, 3 TDs)
vs. Kidder County (112 yards, 3 TDs)
vs. Hillsboro-Central Valley (199 yards, 3 TDs)

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

Forum prep sports chat (Oct. 17)

Live Blog Prep Sports Chat
 

SATURDAY PREVIEW: No. 1 Fargo South at No. 3 Fargo Davies (3A football)

FARGO – There are several highly anticipated high school football matchups across the state of North Dakota on Saturday. One of those ‘can’t-miss’ games will be played at Fargo Davies High School when the No. 1-ranked Fargo South Bruins play the No. 3-ranked Eagles at 1 p.m. (Link below is a video clip of Fargo South’s James Johannesson, Ty Brooks and head coach Troy Mattern discussing South’s upcoming games against Fargo Davies and West Fargo)

Fargo South vs. Fargo Davies football preview

I promised I’d breakdown this matchup and this post will do just that. For starters here is a quick snapshot of what each team has done thus far in 2014.

FARGO SOUTH: The Bruins have been ranked No. 1 all season long in the North Dakota Class 3A polls and are 7-0 overall and 5-0 in Eastern Dakota Conference play entering Saturday’s game against Davies. … The Bruins are averaging 46.9 points per game and are currently in the midst of a 12-game winning streak dating back to last season.

FARGO DAVIES: The Eagles are coming off their biggest win of the season – a 14-13 win over West Fargo. The win over the Packers served as a big rebound after dropping a road game to Grand Forks Red River in Week 6. … Davies has been ranked in the state 3A poll all season after opening the season with a convincing win over Bismarck Century. … The Eagles are 6-1 overall and 5-1 in EDC play.

ALL-TIME SERIES: South leads the all-time series 4-0 between the two schools. Saturday will be the fifth time the schools have played. South won the 2014 meeting 17-14 that was played at Sid Cichy Field.

Now that we know the teams, I’ll do a couple comparisons of the teams in five key areas of the game (running game, passing game, receiving, defense and special teams).

Fargo South senior running back James Johannesson has rushed for 1,036 yards this fall on 109 carries and has scored 21 touchdowns. Forum file photo.

RUSHING: Fargo South’s running game is powered by senior all-state running back James Johannesson. Johannesson has rushed for 1,036 yards on 109 carries and has scored 21 total touchdowns. The University of Minnesota football commit eclipsed 5,000 career rushing yards last week and is averaging 148 yards per game this fall. The Bruins also work in senior wide receiver Ty Brooks into their rushing attack. Brooks is a 1,000 yard rusher for South and like Johannesson is a threat to pop off a big gain at any moment. Davies counters with Ty Jochim, who has 774 yards on 108 carries this fall. Jochim has scored six touchdowns, but is coming off a poor game against the West Fargo more so because the Packers are very good against stopping the run. All together, Johannesson, Jochim and Brooks are the top three rushers in the conference and both teams feature solid offensive lines.

RECEIVING: The featured players in this category with be Fargo Davies senior wide receiver Tristan Hartness and South’s Brooks. Hartness has 38 catches for 848 yards and 13 touchdowns. Brooks has 16 catches for 308 yards and three TDs. Look for the Eagles to also work in Mitch Vetter, JD Arguelles and Kaden Steiner into its passing attack.

Fargo Davies senior quarterback Aidan Hartness (12) leads the Eastern Dakota Conference with 1,300 passing yards this fall. His top target has been his twin brother Tristan Hartness (19) who has 848 receiving yards and has scored 13 touchdowns. Forum file photo.

PASSING: Fargo Davies senior Aidan Hartness has thrown for 1,300 yards this fall. He has 16 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Hartness has completed 63 of 125 passing attempts (50.4 percent). South senior quarterback Jake Solem has passed for 609 yards but has been just as accurate as Hartness completing 36 of 72 attempts (50 percent). It is very hard to say what this game will come down to, but if Davies’ passing game gets any traction things could get very interesting and the scoreboard could wind up showing very big numbers.

DEFENSE: The offense is going to be the feature part of this game most likely, but the game could be decided by a defensive stop. Davies has several crafty defensive backs and senior all-state defensive lineman Gunnar Kollman anchors the whole unit. Kollman had 2 ½ sacks last week against West Fargo. South will be tasked with stopping the Eagles passing attack. Brooks leads the Bruins defensive secondary, which will get challenged. Jason Klug leads South in tackles with 32 ½.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Both teams have dynamic returners on punts and kickoffs. Davies’ JD Arguelles had a big kickoff return last week against West Fargo. Johannesson and Brooks each have a kickoff return for a touchdown for the Bruins this fall. South’s kicking game led by senior Josh Weiler is very strong. Weiler is 2 of 3 in field goal attempts this fall and has one 40-plus yarder made. He has 42 points, which leads all Eastern Dakota Conference kickers. Davies’ kicker – Cy Cyr – has made one field goal this season and is 13 of 18 on extra points.

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