Top 10 area football rankings for Minnesota (Week 4)

Mahnomen remains No. 1, but for how long? The Indians were hit hard with injuries in Week 3 and face a tough test in Week 4.

Here are your top area high school football teams after Week 3 in Minnesota.

 

 

1. Mahnomen (3-0)

Last week: 35-14 win at Fosston

Next up: Host Lake Park-Audubon (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Mahnomen has won 31 games in a row, but they probably have never been more vulnerable. The Indians are injured badly at quarterback and running back. It’s bad timing to be going against a Lake Park-Audubon team that has given up 26 points in three games.

As of Wednesday, coach John Clark said starting QB Tom Pavek will be a game-time decision, starting running back Mitch Foss is out with a concussion and other starting running back Dylan Reitan is doubtful. Backup QB Brian Schoenborn is out for four weeks and third-string QB Blake Kahlbaugh is out with a concussion.

Emergency QB Jon Hoffner will start at QB unless Pavek can go with Jake Worms and Jerrel Londo at running back. As is the case with all smalltown football, all these guys also play defense.

The good news for Mahnomen is the teams LP-A have beaten are a combined 1-8.

 

2. Hawley (3-0)

Last week: 41-13 win at Moorhead over Crookston

Next up: At No. 5 Frazee (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Dillon Omberg (25) and Anthony Loegering (26) are leading a potent Hawley rushing attack into its biggest game of the season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

This is the matchup of the season so far for the Nuggets. They passed their first test at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and now comes Frazee.

Hawley’s run game gets scarier each week. Dillon Omberg is putting up big numbers and Anthony Loegering and Austin Koenig compliment him perfectly. The second a team focuses on Hawley’s run game, quarterback Jordan Harms finds tight end Ben Ellefson.

Defensively, Hawley will have its hands full with Hesston and Tanner Bachmann. It’s probably the best duo Hawley has faced all season. The Nuggets defense has given up 26 points in three games.

 

3. Moorhead (3-0)

Last week: 48-14 win at Grand Rapids

Next up: At St. Cloud Tech (1-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

With Jade Lawrence and Mike Duginski running the ball, Moorhead has the running game they always seem to have under coach Kevin Feeney. This season, however, the passing game gets stronger each week.

Matt Bye continues to be efficient for the Spuds. He had 206 yards in Week 3, 101 of those going to Cody Dorow and 47 to Tristen Nelson. With Lawrence, Duginski, Bye Dorow and Nelson, the Spuds offense looks pretty unstoppable.

 

4. Verndale (3-0)

Last week: 26-6 win at home over Berth-Hewitt

Next up: Host Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Dillon Card (left) and Colter Ehrmantraut (right) have Verndale at 3-0. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Quarterback Dillon Card and running back Colter Ehrmantraut are running the show at Verndale. In Week 3, Card shows he still can take over a run game, as Ehrmantraut has lightened the load in the early part of the season. Card rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in Week 3.

The Pirates have a big win over Underwood already, but things will not get easier with Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. Comets beat Berth-Hewitt 41-14 on the road, so, based on common opponents, this won’t be a walk in the park for Verndale.

 

5. Frazee (3-0)

Last week: 56-42 win at Staples-Motley

Next up: Host No. 2 Hawley (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

This is where Frazee has a chance to make their mark. They are hosting the top-ranked Class 2A team in the state in a game that has “Section 8AA championship” written all over it.

Giving up 42 points to a Staples-Motley team that had 14 points in the first two weeks does not look good, heading into a game against an offense like Hawley. Having Hesston and Tanner Bachmann score six touchdowns and rush for 219 yards on 24 carries, however, looks pretty great.

Not sure Frazee had can handle a shootout with Hawley.

 

6. Underwood (2-1)

Last week: 28-18 win at home over Wheaton-Herman-Norcross

Next up: At Ashby (0-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

Underwood needed a win over Wheaton-Herman-Norcross. The section was seemingly a three-horse race between Underwood, Verndale and W-H-N. A one-point, overtime loss to Verndale hurt the Rockets and a loss to W-H-N would have been a disaster.

Behind Noah Thompson’s 173 yards and two touchdowns rushing, the Rockets put up 28 points on a W-H-N team that hadn’t given up any in the first two weeks.

After back-to-back weeks against Verndale and W-H-N, Underwood is incredibly happy to see Ashby.

 

7. Waubun (3-0)

Last week: 48-13 win at home over Win-E-Mac

Next up: At Norman County West (1-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Jordan Spaeth (left) and Ryan Weber (right) have mastered the read option for Waubun. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Waubun destroyed a 2-0 Win-E-Mac team that had given up 14 points in the first two weeks of the season with 48 points. With back-to-back wins over Ada-Borup and Win-E-Mac, there’s no more hiding under the radar for Waubun.

The schedule doesn’t get much easier. Norman County West will be no pushover, as NCW lost by seven to good Kittson County Central and Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal teams in the first two weeks. In Week 3, NCW beat Rothsay 62-0 behind 288 yards rushing by David Skari on seven carries.

Ryan Weber had 168 yards rushing and three touchdowns for Waubun in Week 3 and the defense continues to impress. The Bombers have given up 13 points in three weeks of football.

 

8. Otter Tail Central (2-1)

Last week: 48-6 win at home over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle

Next up: At United North Central (0-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

OTC has answered a heartbreaking 21-20 loss in Week 1 with domination in Week 2 and 3. Granted, the competition may not be there, but the Bulldogs have given up 12 points in the last two weeks.

Tony Ukkelberg was everywhere in Week 3. He threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 44 yards and a touchdown and had an interception on defense. The more confidence he gets at the QB position the better for OTC.

 

9. Detroit Lakes (3-0)

Last week: 14-13 win at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Next up: Host Thief River Falls (1-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Parker Jackson has DL at 3-0. Photo by Brian Basham/Detroit Lakes Tribune

The schedule has been kind to Detroit Lakes, who beat a 1-2 Fargo North (N.D.) team 20-0, a 1-2 Roseau team 27-6 and barely escaped a matchup with a Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton team in a class below them 14-13.

A Class 4A team getting five offensive plays in the fourth quarter and rushing for 92 yards against a 3A team does not look good, but the Lakers are 3-0 regardless and that’s all that matters.

 

10. Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (2-1)

Last week: 7-6 loss at Ada-Borup

Next up: Host Cass Lake-Bena (0-3), Friday, 7 p.m.

A 7-6 loss to a rival on the road can be forgiven. Even if Ada-Borup is replacing their entire offense, they still have won five of the last six section championships.

NCE-U-H needs a bounce-back game against Cass Lake-Bena before a big matchup with Waubun at the Fargodome in Week 5. With Lake Park-Audubon and Hillcrest Lutheran Academy a Week 4 win away from making the rankings, NCE-U-H can’t have anymore setbacks.

 

Knocking on the door

Lake Park-Audubon (3-0) – LP-A is 3-0, but against teams that are 1-8. A win over Mahnomen in Week 4, however, will make them impossible to ignore.

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (3-0) – Behind Reggie Undseth, HLA is 3-0 with No. 4 Verndale up next.

 

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.

Players of Week 3 in Minnesota

Here are your top area performances from Week 3 of high school football in Minnesota.

David Skari – Norman County West

Skari rushed for 288 yards and four touchdowns on seven carries in NCW’s 62-0 win over Rothsay. He averaged 41.14 yards a carry.

Hesston/Tanner Bachmann – Frazee

The Bachmanns had 219 yards and six touchdowns on 24 carries in Frazee’s 56-42 win over Staples-Motley.

Dillon Omberg/Ben Ellefson – Hawley

Omberg ran for 92 yards and a touchdown on eight carries and caught a 21-yard touchdown pass. Ellefson had two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown and nine tackles, one sack and one interception on defense in the Nuggets’ 41-13 win over Crookston.

Nathan Blaufuss – Breckenridge

Cowboys got their first win of the season thanks to three touchdown passes and a touchdown run from Blaufuss in the 43-6 win over Warroad.

Mike Duginski/Jade Lawrence – Moorhead

Jade Lawrence (2) and Mike Duginski (5) led Moorhead to a win in Week 3.  Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Moorhead moved to 3-0 and Duginski and Lawrence got them there. They each had two touchdowns and combined for 114 rushing yards on six carries. Duginski also had three catches for 56 yards.

Gauge Lee/Blaine Gorton – Pelican Rapids

Pelican Rapids knocked off Barnesville 27-26 thanks to these two. Lee rushed for 166 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. He had a 95-yard touchdown run with 1 minute, 24 seconds remaining in the game. Gorton was everywhere. Gorton threw for 85 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown and got an interception on defense.

Noah Thompson – Underwood

Thompson had 173 yards and two rushing touchdowns on 23 carries in Underwood’s 28-18 win over Wheaton-Herman-Norcross.

Ryan Weber – Waubun

Weber ran for 168 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries in Waubun’s 48-13 dismantling of Win-E-Mac.

Mitch Foss – Mahnomen

Foss ran for 111 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries in Mahnomen’s 35-14 win over Fosston.

Zach Kvalvog – Park Christian

Kvalvog ran for two touchdowns and threw for another in Park Christian’s 43-0 win over Cass-Lake Bena.

Dillon Card – Verndale

Dillon Card (right) scored three touchdowns in Week 3 to get Verndale to 3-0. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Card ran for 109 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and threw for 92 yards and two touchdowns in Verndale’s 26-6 win over Bertha-Hewitt.

Tory Haglund – Lake Park-Audubon

Haglund rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries in Lake Park-Audubon’s 34-6 win over Badger-Greenbush-Middle River.

Tony Ukkelburg – Otter Tail Central

Ukkelburg was 8-for-12 passing for 151 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and had an interception on defense in OTC’s 48-6 win over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.

Reggie Undseth – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy

Undseth scored four of Hillcrest’s eight touchdowns. He rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries and caught two passes for 61 yards and two touchdowns.

Tom Bosek/James Huisman – Brandon-Evansville

Bosek threw for 129 yards and three touchdowns and Huisman rushed for 76 yards on 10 carries. Bosek added a touchdown run and Huisman caught a touchdown pass, ran for two touchdowns and returned a punt for a touchdown.

 

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.

Top 10 area football rankings for Minnesota (Week 3)

Dillon Card (right) helped Verndale get revenge over Underwood in Week 2. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Verndale topped Underwood in overtime to make movement in the first five after two weeks of football.

 

1. Mahnomen (2-0)

Last week: 54-0 win at home over Red Lake

Next up: At Fosston (2-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

The longest active winning streak in the state moves to 30 after Mahnomen’s 54-0 shellacking of Red Lake. The Indians gave up minus-28 yards on defense. This after taking out their starters after the second series.

All Class 1A teams should thank the Associated Press for adding fuel to Mahnomen’s fire. The Indians have won two straight Class 1A titles and 30 straight games and were ranked No. 2 in the AP rankings behind Dawson-Boyd, which Mahnomen beat 44-13 in the 1A state title game.

 

2. Hawley  (2-0)

Last week: 46-7 win at Breckenridge

Next up: Crookston (0-2) at Moorhead High School, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Dillon Omberg (25) and Anthony Loegering (26) were huge in Week 2 for Hawley. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Hawley is 25-1 in their last 26 regular-season football games. That one loss was to Breckenridge last season 7-6. The Nuggets – two days after being ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press rankings – got revenge this season.

Jordan Harms bounced back from a tough Week 1 to throw for 133 yards and two touchdowns, but it was the running game that was the story for Hawley.

Dillon Omberg and Anthony Loegering combined for 183 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. That’s 13 yards a carry. Omberg had 88 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and Loegering had 95 yards and a touchdown on four carries and an interception on defense.

 

3. Moorhead (2-0)

Last week: 42-20 win at home over St. Cloud Apollo

Next up: At Grand Rapids (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Moorhead’s Malique Delbrune (21) had a fumble recovery and took a kick 82 yards for a touchdown in the Spuds’ 42-20 win over St. Cloud Apollo in Week 2. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Well, calling Moorhead lucky in Week 1 can go out the window after the Spuds owned St. Cloud Apollo in every aspect of the game in Week 2.

Jade Lawrence did his thing, rushing for 101 yards and two touchdowns, but it’s the addition of a pretty scary passing game that should frighten opponents. Matt Bye was 10-for-17 with 214 yards and three touchdowns and weapons seem to be emerging each week.

In Week 1, it was Lawrence and Tristen Nelson, but the Spuds added Cody Dorow to the mix in Week 2. Dorow had five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. Not bad for a guy who has never played football in his life. With Bye barely getting touched behind a veteran offensive line, the Spuds are becoming more than just a running team.


 

4. Verndale (2-0)

Last week: 14-13 overtime win at Underwood

Next up: Host Bertha-Hewitt (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Verndale got the revenge they’d been waiting for since losing 13-12 on an extra point with time expired in the Class 9-man, Section 4 title game last season to Underwood.Colter Ehrmantraut continues to impress in his taking over the running game. He had 110 yards on 22 carries and caught a touchdown pass in the Week 2 win. Even bigger is Ehrmantraut taking the rushing load off of quarterback Dillon Card.


 

5. Frazee (2-0)

Last week: 42-8 win at Warroad

Next up: At Staples-Motley (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Frazee had six touchdowns in their 42-8 win over Warroad and Hesston and Tanner Bachmann were responsible for five of them. Hesston had touchdown runs of 42 and two yards, took back an interception 75 yards for a touchdown and found Tanner for a 10-yard touchdown pass. On top of the touchdown catch, Tanner also had a 15-yard touchdown run.

Frazee’s defense forced seven turnovers. Garrett Malstrom had 12 tackles, Hesston Bachman had 10 and Roger Thorpe had nine tackles and two fumble recoveries.

 

6. Underwood (1-1)

Last week: 14-13 overtime loss at home to Verndale

Next up: Host Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (2-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

This time last year Underwood had beaten Ortonville by one and lost to Verndale by 31. This season the Rockets have beaten Ortonville by 36 and lost in overtime to Verndale by one.There’s no reason to panic for the 2013 Class 9-man runner up. The Rockets came back and beat Verndale 13-12 in the section championship game last season and that was after losing by 31 to the Pirates earlier in the season.

They still averaged 5.7 yards per carry against Verndale in Week 2 and Noah Thompson had 131 yards on 22 carries and Dylan Kalenze had 100 yards on 14 carries. The game could have went either way.

Unfortunately for Underwood, there’s no time to recover. They face another team out for revenge against them in Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, who has outscored opponents 92-0 through two weeks.


7. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (1-1)

Last week: 37-19 win at Thief River Falls

Next up: Host Detroit Lakes (3-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Alex Fuchs (45) helped the D-G-F running game in Week 2 with 71 yards on seven carries . Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

If D-G-F can come out of the first three weeks 2-1 it would be a victory for the Rebels. They scheduled two section champions and another team that was in the section championship last season.

Blake Kragnes was the story from Week 2. The junior quarterback, in his second varsity start, threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns. The big three of Alex Matthews, Brandon Wayne and Joe Flatt rushed for 169 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
Class 3A D-G-F will give 4A Detroit Lakes all they can handle.

 

8. Waubun (2-0)

Last week: 36-0 win at Ada-Borup

Next up: At Staples-Motley (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

The Bombers haven’t given up any points defensively and quarterback Jordan Spaeth and fullback Ryan Weber are running wild with the read-option offense. The two have accounted for all eight touchdowns and have 479 of the 617 rushing yards for Waubun this season.Waubun knocked off an Ada-Borup team that had won 11 in a row against the Bombers and five of the last six section championships. Ada-Borup had gone 105 straight games without being shut out.


 

9. Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (2-0)

Last week: 25-18 win at Norman County West

Next up: At Ada-Borup (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

The Titans won three games all of last season. They’ve already got two after edging rival Norman County West 25-18. They trailed 18-6, but a comeback was sparked by quarterback Brett Braseth.

 

10. Otter Tail Central (1-1)

Last week: 42-6 win at New York Mills

Next up: Host Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (1-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs got over a tough 21-20 loss to Upsala-Swanville in Week 1 with a beating of a New York Mills team fresh off a 25-0 win over United North Central.Dustin Gaudette ran for 191 yards in Week 1. OTC held him to 17 rushing yards. OTC had 304 rushing yards and 111 of them came from Nick Trosdahl, who added two rushing touchdowns on 15 carries.

Knocking on the door
Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (2-0) – The Warriors are 2-0 and have outscored opponents 92-0. Problem is those opponents are both 0-2 and have scored six points combined. Underwood is W-H-N’s first real test.

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.

Players of Week 2 in Minnesota

Here are the top area performances from Week 2 of Minnesota high school football.

Jordan Spaeth – Waubun

Jordan Spaeth was a big reason Waubun handed Ada-Borup its first shut out in 105 games. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Spaeth was 2-for-4 with 56 yards and two touchdowns passing and had 80 yards and two touchdowns rushing in Waubun’s 36-0 win over Ada-Borup.

Blake Kragnes – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Kragnes was 9-for-11 for 279 yards passing and two touchdowns in D-G-F’s 37-19 win over Thief River Falls.

Dillon Omberg/Anthony Loegering – Hawley

Dillon Omberg (25) and Anthony Loegering (26) were huge in Week 2 for Hawley. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

The two running backs combined for 183 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries in Hawley’s 46-7 win over Breckenridge. That’s 13 yards a carry. Omberg had 88 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and Loegering had 95 yards and a touchdown on four carries and an interception on defense.

Matt Bye/Jade Lawrence – Moorhead

Jade Lawrence had three touchdowns for Moorhead in its Week 3 win. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Jade Lawrence rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns and had two catches for 83 yards and a touchdown in Moorhead’s 42-20 win over St. Cloud Apollo. Matt Bye was 10-for-17 with 214 yards and three touchdown passes.

Rylee Anderson – Barnesville

In Barnesville’s 34-21 win over Crookston, Rylee Anderson rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries for the Trojans.

Hesston Bachmann/Tanner Bachmann – Frazee

Frazee had six touchdowns in their 42-8 win over Warroad and the Bachmanns were responsible for five of them. Hesston had touchdown runs of 42 and two yards, took back an interception 75 yards for a touchdown and found Tanner for a 10-yard touchdown pass. On top of the touchdown catch, Tanner also had a 15-yard touchdown run.

Tim Brekken – Lake Park-Audubon

Brekken was 8-for-12 for 65 yards passing, rushed for 53 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and had 4.5 tackles and two interceptions on defense in LP-A’s 33-14 win over Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.

James Huisman – Brandon-Evansville

Huisman rushed for three touchdowns in Brandon-Evansville’s Week 2 win. Photo by Blaze Fugina/Echo Press

Huisman had 89 rushing yards and three touchdowns in Brandon-Evansville’s 41-6 beating of Ashby.

Mahnomen’s defense

The Indians won their 30th straight game and gave up minus-28 total yards in their 54-0 win over Red Lake. This with starters coming out after the first two series.

Brett Braseth – Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal

Braseth completed six passes in the 25-18 win over Norman County West. Three of those went for touchdowns. Two came after the Titans trailed 18-6.

Kyler Newman – Fergus Falls Hillcrest

Newman ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in Hillcrest’s 41-14 win over Bertha-Hewitt.

Tony Ukkelberg/Nick Trosdahl – Otter Tail Central

Ukkelberg was 8-for-12 passing for 147 yards and two touchdowns and Trosdahl rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in OTC’s 42-6 thrashing of New York Mills.

Colter Ehrmantraut – Verndale

Ehrmantraut had 110 yards on 22 carries and caught a 19-yard touchdown pass in Verndale’s 14-13 win in overtime over No. 2 Underwood.

 

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.

Top 10 area football rankings for Minnesota (Week 2)

Moorhead escaped Alexandria thanks to a last-second TD in Week 1. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Some shuffling at the bottom of the Top 10, but the first five remain intact after Week 1 of Minnesota high school football. Breckenridge drops out and Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal gets in.

 

1. Mahnomen (1-0)

Last week: 44-13 win at Pine River-Backus

Next up: Host Red Lake (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Business as usual for Mahnomen. Indians won their 29th straight game behind a running game and a strong defense. Quarterback Tom Pavek rushed for 140 yards on 17 carries and Mitch Foss ran for 139 yards on seven carries and each had two touchdowns.

Indians looking to extend the longest active winning streak in the state to an even 30 games Friday.

 

2. Hawley (1-0)

Last week: 18-6 win at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Next up: At Breckenridge (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Ben Ellefson was everywhere for Hawley in the Nuggets’ Week 1 win. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Hawley can be happy they escaped Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton with a win, considering quarterback Jordan Harms played one of his worst games in recent memory with two interceptions and a fumble, which was taken back for a touchdown.

Dillon Omberg (25) was a big threat in Week 1 for Hawley. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Tight end and North Dakota State commit Ben Ellefson is as good as advertised, hauling in four catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, rushing for 29 yards and a touchdown on six carries and getting in on 14 tackles on defense in Week 1. Nuggets have a backup plan if the passing game isn’t there and that’s Dillon Omberg, who rushed for 119 yards on 21 carries.

Nuggets are 24-1 in their last 25 regular-season games. That one loss is thanks to a 7-6 loss to Breckenridge last season.

 

3. Underwood (1-0)

Last week: 36-0 win at Ortonville

Next up: Host No. 5 Verndale (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Underwood had 372 total yards against Ortonville and 353 of them were on the ground with 177 from Noah Thompson and 89 from Cole Kugler.

This week’s matchup with Verndale has “section championship preview” written all over it. Last time these two teams met a touchdown and extra point with time expired in regulation gave Underwood a 13-12 win and a ticket to state.

 

4. Moorhead (1-0)

Last week: 18-13 win at Alexandria

Next up: Host St. Cloud Apollo (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Jade Lawrence led Moorhead to an 18-13 win over Alexandria in Week 1. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Spuds needed a hook and ladder with less than 30 seconds to escape Alexandria with a win. Probably not the best sign for a Moorhead team that beat Alexandria 28-12 and 40-7 last season, but a win is a win.

Running back Jade Lawrence had 88 rushing yards on 10 carries and junior receiver Tristen Nelson had a coming out party with four catches for 68 yards, a touchdown and the game-winning lateral to Lawrence.

Spuds premiere their new field turf Friday.

 

5. Verndale (1-0)

Last week: 45-6 win at Hancock

Next up: At No. 3 Underwood (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Much was expected from fourth-year starter and quarterback Dillon Card this season for Verndale. Colter Ehrmantraut made things easier for Verndale and could make this blog explode with trying to spell his last name if keeps putting up numbers like he did in Week 1.

He had 144 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries and scored again on a 33-yard punt return. The Pirates are frightening with a duo running game of Card and Ehrmantraut.

Pirates will look for revenge against the team that ended their season in Underwood.

 

6. Frazee (1-0)

Last week: 26-23 win at home over Park Rapids

Next up: At Warroad (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Class 2A Frazee was able to take care of Class 3A Park Rapids and rather handily. The Hornets were up 20-0 at half and 26-7 with 10:01 to go before Park Rapids had a comeback.

Hesston Bachmann led the way with 176 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries and Garrett Malstrom had 12 tackles and recovered a fumble.

 

7. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (0-1)

Last week: 18-6 loss at home against No. 2 Hawley

Next up: At Thief River Falls (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Alex Fuchs (45) helped the D-G-F running game, but the Rebels couldn’t score offensively against Hawley in Week 1. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

D-G-F didn’t do itself any favors in the first three weeks, scheduling three teams that played in section championships last season, two of which made it to state.

The good news is the Rebels stuck with a really good Hawley team behind two interceptions from Jordan Olson and a fumble recovery for a touchdown from Adam Olson. It was 12-6 early in the fourth before Hawley milked the clock.

Brandon Wayne had 34 rushing yards on nine carries, Joe Flatt had 86 yards on 15 carries and Alex Fuchs had 11 rushes for 21 yards. That’s four yards per carry from their big three and junior quarterback Blake Kragnes looked OK in his first varsity start, but D-G-F just couldn’t get in the end zone.

 

8. Waubun (1-0)

Last week: 18-0 win at home over Clearbrook-Gonvick

Next up: At Ada-Borup (0-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

The duo of Jordan Spaeth and Ryan Weber are going to be fun to watch this season. The two rushed for 281 of Waubun’s 294 rushing yards and scored every touchdown for the Bombers in their Week 1 win.

Next up is an Ada-Borup team that ended Waubun’s season in the section title game last year.

 

9. Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (1-0)

Last week: 48-14 win at home over Polk County West

Next up: At Norman County West (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

It was all Hunter Thompson in Week 1, as he took the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and had 115 yards and two touchdowns rushing for NCE-U-H.

The Titans won three games all of last season. They’ll be one away from matching that after Week 2.

 

10. Otter Tail Central (0-1)

Last week: 21-20 loss at home to Upsala-Swanville

Next up: At New York Mills (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Hard to excuse a Class 2A team losing to a Class 1A team at home, but Upsala-Swanville was 10-2 last season and qualified for state. Plus, the Bulldogs lost via an Upsala-Swanville touchdown and 2-point conversion with 45 seconds remaining.

The Bulldogs have weapons, as Cody Seedorf (13 carries, 85 yards) scored on a 64-yard touchdown run, Andrew VanErp (4 carries, 38 yards, 3 catches, 35 yards) scored on an 89-yard kick return and Nick Trosdahl (14 carries, 72 yards, 3 catches, 30 yards, 11 tackles) scored on a 12-yard touchdown.

That’s a tough loss to open the season, but the Bulldogs need to wipe themselves off and get ready for New York Mills quarterback Dustin Gaudette, who is fresh off a game in which he rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns.

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.

Players of Week 1 in Minnesota

Here are your top area performances from the first week of Minnesota high school football.

Ben Ellefson – Hawley

Ben Ellefson was everywhere for Hawley in the Nuggets’ Week 1 win. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Ellefson was everywhere on the field for Hawley in their 18-6 win over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. He rushed for 29 yards and a touchdown on six carries, hauled in four passes for 111 yards and a touchdown and was in on 14 tackles for the Nuggets.

Hunter Thompson – Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal

Thompson took the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown and had 115 yards and two touchdowns rushing in NCE-U-H’s 48-14 beating of Polk County West.

Dustin Gaudette – New York Mills

Gaudette had 191 yards, 90 of which came on a touchdown run, and two touchdowns to lead New York Mills by United North Central 25-0.

Jade Lawrence – Moorhead

Spuds had reason to celebrate thanks to Jade Lawrence. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Lawrence rushed for 88 yards on 10 carries, caught three passes for 35 yards and had two touchdowns, but it was his coaching that got him on this list. He’s taking credit for the idea for calling a hook and ladder with Moorhead trailing by one and less than 30 seconds left and on the Alexandria 20-yard line. It worked, he scored and the Spuds won 18-13.

Noah Thompson – Underwood

Last season’s leading rusher in Minnesota picked up right where he left off. He had 177 yards on just 11 carries in Underwood’s 36-0 win over Ortonville.

Jordan Spaeth/Ryan Weber – Waubun

The duo accounted for 281 of Waubun’s 294 rushing yards and all touchdowns in the 18-0 win over Clearbrook-Gonvick. Spaeth had 167 yards rushing with a TD on 29 carries and Weber had 114 yards and a TD rushing to go along with a fumble recovery return for a TD.

Ethan Ishaug – Barnesville

In Barnesville’s opening week win over East Grand Forks Ishaug showed the Trojans are his team, completing five passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 106 yards on 13 attempts with one touchdown on the ground. He also had six tackles, a fumble recovery and a sack on defense.

Mason Malikowski – Perham

Malikowski led Perham to a 36-21 win over Pelican Rapids with 87 rushing yards and a touchdown to go along with 11-yard and 20-yard touchdown passes.

Hesston Bachamann/Garrett Malstrom – Frazee

Bachmann ran for 176 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries to go along with a 52-yard touchdown pass in Frazee’s 26-23 win over Park Rapids. Malstrom had 12 tackles and recovered a fumble for the Hornets.

Tommy Pavek – Mahnonmen

Indians pushed their highest active winning streak to 29 games with a 44-13 win over Pine River-Backus behind 142 yards and two touchdowns rushing from Pavek.

Colter Ehrmantraut – Verndale

In Verndale’s 45-6 win over Hancock in Week 1, Ehrmantraut finished with 144 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries to go along with a 33-yard punt return for a touchdown.

Parker Jackson – Detroit Lakes

Jackson ran for 156 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in DL’s 20-0 win over Fargo North.

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.

North Dakota and Minnesota area football previews

 

Jake Christensen and Wahpeton played in last year’s Class 2A state championship game. Photo by David Samson/Forum

NORTH DAKOTA

Class 1A

Carrington
Coach: Marty Hochhalter (21st year)
2013 record: 6-3
Players to watch: Easton Paeper, Sr., RB/LB; Brady Smith, Sr., QB/LB; Seth Abaurrea, Sr., RB/LB; Cole Ferguson, Jr., RB/LB; Connor Wendel, Jr., WR/DB; Walker Carr, Jr., RB/LB; Riley Miller, Sr., WR/DB; Jayden Hesch, Sr., OL/DL; Jacob Copenhaver, Jr., OL/DL; Seth Zink, Sr., OL/DL
Coach’s comments: “We are looking to improve the offensive and defensive lines by creating depth and keep the linemen fresh. Nine starters from the offense and defense are back from last year’s team.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Harvey-Wells County, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Linton-HMB, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Kidder County, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Northern Cass, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Milnor-North Sargent, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Hillsboro-Central Valley, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Oakes, 7 p.m.

Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm
Coach: Jon Schiele (6th year)
2013 record: 0-8
Players to watch: Tanner Zahn, Jr., WR/DB; Tanner Mathern, Jr., QB/LB; Brennan Vance, Soph., WR/DB; Josh Foley, Jr., RB/LB; Tucker Knudson, Jr., RB/LB; Weston Ellingson, Soph., RB/LB; Bryce Fisher, Soph., TE/LB; Waylon Stoppleworth, Soph., OL/DL; Jacob Bopp, Sr., OL/DL; Gus Kronberg, Sr., OL/DL
Coach’s comments: “We lost a lot of skill players. All spots are open in the backfield and there should be good competition for those positions. Anyone from up-and-coming freshmen to upperclassmen that once played a different spot will be competing for openings this season.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Lakota-Adams-Edmore-Dakota Prairie, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Oakes, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Hillsboro-Central Valley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Carrington, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Kidder County, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Linton-HMB, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Northern Cass, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Milnor-North Sargent, 1:30 p.m.

Harvey-Wells County
Coach: Bret Dockter (1st year)
2013 record: 4-4
Players to watch: Brady Bachmeier, Sr., TE/DL; Parker Bachmeier, Jr., RB/LB; Hunter Goldade, Sr., WR/DB; Carson Kolbe, Sr., WR/DB; Reece Jones, Jr., LB/OL; Wyatt Lautt, Sr., RB/LB; Tanner Walters, Jr., RB/LB; Isaiah Merril, Jr., RB/LB; Westen Fieckert, Sr., OL/DL; Chris Keller, Sr., OL/DL; Stephen Rapphuhn, Soph., OL/DL; Shaun Kourajian, Sr., WR/DB; Brian Fike, Jr., WR/DB; Tristin Merril, Jr., LB/RB; Andrew Alveshere, Sr., LB/TE
Coach’s comments: “Our strength will be in our numbers. We have close to 50 kids on the 9-12 roster, which will create some good battles for playing time and eventually could produce some depth for us. We return a good nucleus of athletic kids on the defensive side of the ball and some key skill positions, which should help us transition as a new coaching staff.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Carrington, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Lewis & Clark-Our Redeemer’s, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Rugby, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Surrey, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Des Lacs Burlington, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Williams County, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Velva, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Bottineau, 1:30 p.m.

Hillsboro-Central Valley
Coach: Scott Olsen (5th year)
2013 record: 5-3
Players to watch: Jace Higgins, Sr., RB/DB; Jace Stallman, Sr., RB/LB; Wyatt Schultz, Sr., OL/DL; Nick Tapson, Sr., OL/DL; Jake Preston, Jr., QB/S; Brady Siebels, Sr., OL; Logan Buzick, Jr., OL/LB; Kyle Henningsgard, Soph., WR/DB; Austin Reed, Soph., TE/CB
Coach’s comments: “We are in a tough region with teams that return a lot of talent. It will be a challenge to make the playoffs. We are fortunate enough to return a big senior class with players who will hopefully lead us in the right direction.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Mayville-Portland-CG, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Milnor-North Sargent, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12, Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm (game played in Buxton, N.D.), 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Linton-HMB, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Oakes (game played in Hillsboro, N.D.), 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Northern Cass (game played in Buxton, N.D.), 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Carrington, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Kidder County (game played in Hillsboro, N.D.), 7 p.m.

Mayville-Portland-CG
Coach: Heath Horpedahl (1st year)
2013 record: 3-5
Players to watch: Ricky Wilson, Sr., RB/DB; Brady Nygaard, Sr., RB/DB; Chase Knutson, Sr., WR/DB; Josh Gapp, Sr., OL/LB; Zach Osier, Sr., OL/DL; Chantz Mehus, Sr., TE/LB; Nate Erickson, Sr., OL/DL; Aaron Ust, Sr., FB/LB; Aaron Evans, Sr., TE/LB; Eric Dalman, Sr., OL/DL; McClain Paulson, Sr., OL/DL; Tyler Cordahl, Sr., OL/DL; Kyle O’Brien, Jr., TE/LB; Keegan Elliott, Jr., RB/LB
Coach’s comments: “The Patriots will look to their upperclassmen for leadership and to pass their knowledge and experience down to the underclassmen – a group that needs to step up and fill key roles on both sides of the ball. Important to the success of the Patriots this season will be their ability to learn and execute new offensive schemes.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Hillsboro-Central Valley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Langdon-Munich, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-North Prairie, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Midway, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at North Border, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Lakota-Adams-Edmore-Dakota Prairie, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Larimore, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Park River, 7 p.m.

Milnor-North Sargent
Coach: Eric Olson (10th year)
2013 record: 9-3 (Class 1A runner-up)
Players to watch: Drew Hansen, Sr., OL/DL; Dalton Yagow, Sr., OL/LB; Rahk Hansen, Jr., RB/LB; Ben Hanson, Sr., RB/LB; Chance Noonan, Sr., WR/DB; Clay Totenhaugen, Sr., OL/DL
Coach’s comments: “Milnor-North Sargent should again be a very competitive team in Class 1A, Region 1. Our offensive line and defense should be our strength in 2014. We graduated the majority of our skill position players and will need to fill those roles this fall. We feel we have the players to fill those spots, but they will need to gain experience in a hurry. We hope to be in the playoff mix by the end of the regular season.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Lisbon, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Hillsboro-Central Valley (game played in Gwinner, N.D.), 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Northern Cass, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Kidder County, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Linton-HMB (game played in Milnor, N.D.), 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Carrington (game played in Gwinner, N.D.), 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Oakes, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm (game played in Milnor, N.D.), 1:30 p.m.

Northern Cass
Coach: Dale Nordick (7th year)
2013 record: 2-6
Players to watch: Isaiah Seefried, Sr., OL/DL; Cody Springer, Jr., QB/LB; Brandon Bohmert, Sr., RB/LB; Brant Bohmert, Soph., RB/DB; Phil Johnson, Sr., TE/WR/LB; Carter Schimke, Sr., RB/DB; Brady Bauer, Sr., OL/DL; Ben Dickson, Sr., TE/DE; Brady Munro, Jr., OL/DL; Andrew Jones, Soph., RB/LB
Coach’s comments: “Our strength will be our skill players. We replace 12 seniors from last year, but we return a lot of players that have game experience. Up front, our defensive and offensive lines should be improved from a year ago. We have a lot of competition for most of the starting spots. Our team chemistry will be outstanding and that will go a long way as the team battles through a tough Region 1 schedule.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Enderlin-Maple Valley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Kidder County, 7 p.m.; Sept.12-Milnor-North Sargent, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Oakes, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Carrington, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Hillsboro-Central Valley, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Linton-HMB, 1:30 p.m.

Oakes
Coach: Greg Dobitz (4th year)
2013 record: 7-3
Players to watch: Bryce Meehl, Sr., QB/DB; Michael Kelly, Jr., OL/DL; Ethan Zetocha, Jr., WR/DB; Erik Loepp, Sr., RB/LB; Jed Bopp, Sr., OL/DE
Coach’s comments: “The expectations are high to do well this season after making the playoffs last year. With the amount of experience we have returning, we feel that we are in a good position to have a great season. Our kids know what is expected of them and have worked hard in the offseason. We have been able to take our offense to a new level and that should be beneficial for us.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Britton-Hecla (S.D.), 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Linton-HMB, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Northern Cass, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Hillsboro-Central Valley, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Kidder County, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Milnor-North Sargent, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Carrington, 1:30 p.m.

Class 2A

Central Cass
Coach: Nathan Lutkemeier (1st year)
2013 record: 3-6
Players to watch: Adam Breske, Sr., WR/DB; Grady Bresnahan, Jr., WR/DB; Alex Geritz, Sr., OL/DL; Jaden Lemar, Sr., OL/DL; Jack Morris, Jr., QB
Coach’s comments: “This year’s team is a group that has a good amount of game experience and we have a lot of good things to build off of. We will not be big up front, but we will have to have a tremendous amount of speed at all of our positions. Utilizing that speed will be needed in order for the team to be successful. We’ll need to focus on getting the ball to our playmakers on offense and make sure our defense is in good position to make plays.”
Schedule: Sept. 29-at Griggs-Barnes County, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Beulah, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Kindred, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Maple Valley-Enderlin, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Wahpeton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Grafton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Fargo Shanley, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Lisbon, 1 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Valley City, 7 p.m.

Enderlin-Maple Valley
Coach: Mason Hoots (2nd year)
2013 record: 2-7
Players to watch: Corby Richman, Sr., RB/S; Eliot Preston, Sr., C/LB; Gunnar Blom, Sr., OL/DL; Colton Winter, Sr., OL/DL; Levin Berntson, Sr., RB/S; Jorun Hamre, Jr., OL/DL; Jesse Johnson, Jr., QB/LB; Caid Combs, Jr., QB/LB; Lane Chase, Jr., OL/DL; Peter Lindgren, Soph., RB/LB; Sean Beilke, RB/S
Coach’s comments: “Injuries made us shuffle our personnel on the line almost on a weekly basis last year and that caused us to struggle up front on both sides of the ball. All though we lost an
all-state lineman, we only lost one senior on both the offensive and defensive lines. We’re excited about the progress our younger players will make coming into this season.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Northern Cass, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Griggs-Barnes County, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Fargo Shanley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Central Cass, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Valley City, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Lisbon, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Grafton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Kindred, 7 p.m.; Oct. 24-Wahpeton, 7 p.m.

Fargo Shanley
Coach: Rod Oksendahl (4th year)
2013 record: 9-2
Players to watch: Danny Stasch, Sr., RB; Nick Kjera, Sr., DT; Alex Berg, Sr., LB; Tre Fort, Sr., WR; Zach Burd, Sr., RB/LB; Alex Conner, Sr., RB/LB; Kelvin Caga, Sr., TE/DE; Donnie Steinhouse, Sr., C; Kyle Bailey, Sr., OT; Aaron Bubach, Sr., OL/DT; Jake Erholtz, Sr., DB
Coach’s comments: “Our greatest strength is the number of returning starters we have on both offense and defense. We like the looks of our offensive line and they will have to have a great year as we will be a team that runs the football. Defensively we return nine players that have played a lot of football the past 2-3 years so we should be solid on that side of the ball.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Bismarck St. Mary’s, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Fargo North, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Maple Valley-Enderlin, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Grafton, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Kindred, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Wahpeton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Central Cass, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Valley City, 6 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Lisbon, 7 p.m.

Griggs-Barnes County
Coach: Davy Zinke (4th year)
2013 record: 3-6
Players to watch: Beau Beattie, Sr., RB/LB; Justin Hanson, Sr., OL/DL; Dakota Staub, Sr., WR/DB; Austin Lura, Sr., OL/DL; Zach Guthmiller, Sr., FB/LB; Anthony Garnetti, Sr., OL/DL; Cole Diede, Sr., WR/DB; Jayden Grover, Jr., QB/DB; Jesse Iverson, Jr., WR/DB; Jordan Johnson, Jr., OL/DL; Zach Hanson, Jr., FB/LB; Caleb Nolan, Jr., WR/DB; Chris Beddow, Jr., OL/DL; Alberto Mendez, Jr., K/P; Joseph Vollmer, Jr., OL/DL
Coach’s comments: “Our goal this season is to get to the playoffs and be over .500. Senior Justin Hanson was an all-state lineman last season and will be looked up to as a leader up front. He should anchor a good line in front of junior quarterback Jayden Grover, who passed for 506 yards and six touchdowns last season.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Central Cass, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Maple Valley-Enderlin, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Dickinson Trinity, 7 p.m.; Sept. 20-at Watford City, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Stanley-Powers lake, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Beulah, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Bishop Ryan, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Bismarck St. Mary’s, 7 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Turtle Mountain, 7 p.m.

Kindred
Coach: Matt Crane (1st year)
2013 record: 5-5
Players to watch: Fletcher Andel, Sr., QB/DB; Levi Vangsness, Sr., RB/LB; Jordan Staton, Sr., WR/DB; Tyson Tallakson, Sr., RB/LB; Ty Casey, Sr., WR/LB; Alex Braaten, Sr., OL/DL; Devven Pulver, Sr., OL/DL; Justin Van Horn, Sr., OL/DL; Brock Saewert, Sr., OL/DL; Tanner Thompson, Sr., WR/DB
Coach’s comments: “This year’s Vikings will have a new identity. We’ll look to build on a strong foundation left from past seasons. We graduated a lot of seniors who contributed to the team’s success last season. This year’s group of seniors will be relied on heavily to lead this team. There are a number of juniors and sophomores that did not play much in the past that will be asked to step in for us this season.”
Schedule: Aug. 26-at Cavalier, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Minot Ryan, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Central Cass, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Lisbon, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Fargo Shanley, 6 p.m.; Oct. 2-Valley City, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Wahpeton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Enderlin, 7 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Grafton, 7 p.m.

Lisbon
Coach: Mark Moss (5th year)
2013 record: 5-5
Players to watch: Ben Peasley, Sr., OL/LB; Brady Matheny, Sr., OL/DL; Trevor Schultz, Sr., WR/DB; Dalton Rotenberger, Sr., WR/DB; Brady Sorby, Jr., RB/LB
Coach’s comments: “We have a hungry bunch of kids who have put in a lot of time this summer to get themselves prepared for the season. Almost all of our offensive starters graduated last spring so we’ll be looking for players to step up on that side of the ball. We return several starters on defense, so that will need to be a strength until the offense catches up.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Milnor-North Sargent, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Bismarck St. Mary’s, 8 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Wahpeton, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Kindred, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Grafton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Maple Valley-Enderlin, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Valley City, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Central Cass, 1 p.m.; Oct. 24-Fargo Shanley, 7 p.m.

Valley City
Coach: Scott Roehrich (8th year)
2013 record: 4-5
Players to watch: Ben Baasch, Sr., LB/TE; John Halgrimson, Jr., RB/DB; Jordan Magnuson, Jr., OL/DL; Nate Rodriguez, Soph., RB/LB
Coach’s comments: “We have a somewhat young, but experienced team. If we are willing to do the work required, we feel that we will be very competitive.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Dickinson, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Dickinson Trinity, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Grafton, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Wahpeton, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Enderlin-Maple Valley, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Kindred, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Lisbon, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18- at Fargo Shanley, 5 p.m.; at Oct. 24-Central Cass, 7 p.m.

Wahpeton
Coach: Brian Dokken (5th year)
2013 record: 10-2 (Class 2A state
runner-up)
Players to watch: Austin Krause, Sr., LB/RB; Blaze Irwin, Sr., WR/DB; Nate Albrecht, Sr., OL/DL; Carson Zarak, Jr., QB/LB; Isaac Erickson, Jr., WR/DB
Coach’s comments: “After losing our top running, our top wide receiver, our leading tackler and our quarterback we know we’ll need some kids to step up and lead our team. I feel we have some kids that are hungry to prove that they can play at the varsity level and hopefully they can lead us back to the playoffs.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Breckenridge, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Turtle Mountain, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Lisbon, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Valley City, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Central Cass, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Fargo Shanley, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Kindred, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Grafton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Maple Valley-Enderlin, 7 p.m.

Class 9-man

Fargo Oak Grove
Coach: Derek Bakken (2nd year)
2013 record: 1-8
Players to watch: Peter Buedie, Sr., FB/LB; Christian Adams, Sr., QB/LB; Jarod Berger, Sr., WR/S; Alex Olson, Sr., RB/LB; Obbie Bladholm, Sr., OL/DL
Coach’s comments: “The 2014 season will be pivotal for Oak Grove and our quest at getting better. It also will be our second and final year in Region 1, 9-man football. We worked at making the transition from 11-Man to 9-Man and our kids found out that the 9-Man game is just as physical. The 2014 roster will be young, but we have a core group of hard working, enthusiastic and coachable players. We return Christian Adams as a three-year starting quarterback and Peter Buedie will anchor the defense as a four-year starter at linebacker.”
Schedule: Aug. 26-Hankinson, 7 p.m.; Aug. 30-at Wyndmere-Lidgerwood, 2 p.m.; Sept. 5-Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at South Border, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Strasburg-Zeeland, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Richland, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-LaMoure-Litchville-Marion, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Sargent Central, 2 p.m.

Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page
Coach: Mike Jacobson and Kevin Nesemeier (2nd year)
2013 record: 8-2
Players to watch: Sully Breckheimer, Sr., OL/FB/LB; Matt Suhr, Sr., QB/LB; Ethan Jacobson, Jr., RB/LB/S; Tate Goughnour, Jr., RB/LB/DE; Parker Stein, Jr., RB/LB; Ethan Brown, Soph., TE/DE; Wyatt Carlson, Jr., OL/LB; Hunter Huschka, Jr., OL/DL
Coach’s comments: “We lost nine seniors – all starters – and return only three starters, two on offense and one on defense, this season,” Nesemeier said. “All of our underclassmen received valuable experience at the junior varsity and varsity levels last season. The boys have placed very high expectations on themselves and it is quite clear due to our core group committing themselves to offseason workouts. Players and coaches are determined to build upon last year’s success.”
Schedule: Aug. 26-at Hatton-Northwood (game played in Hatton, N.D), 7 p.m.; Aug. 30-Four Winds (game played in Hope, N.D.), 2 p.m.; Sept. 5-at North Star (game played in Cando, N.D.), 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Cavalier (game played in Hope, N.D), 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Thompson (game played in Finley, N.D), 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-At Benson County (game played in Maddock, N.D.), 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Oak Grove (game played in Hope, N.D.), 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at New Rockford-Sheyenne (game played in New Rockford, N.D.), 7 p.m.; Oct. 18- Drayton-Valley-Edinburg (game played in Hope, N.D.), 2 p.m.

Hankinson
Coach: Jason Monilaws (10th year)
2013 record: 3-5
Players to watch: Carter Mauch, Sr., QB/S; Grady Mauch, Sr., RB/DE; Peyton Krump, Sr., OL/DL; Jared Hoglin WR/DB; Kendrick Lenzen, Jr., OL/LB; Daniel Round, Jr., RB/DB; Korbin Steinwehr, Jr., RB; Trevor Weidner, Jr., WR/LB; Bailey Hernandez, Jr., WR/DB
Coach’s comments: “We return a large group of kids that have played a lot of football so we are not lacking game experience; however we need to learn how to win games. We will not have much depth at the quarterback position or the offensive and defensive lines.”
Schedule: Aug. 26- at Fargo Oak Grove, 7 p.m.; Aug. 30-LaMoure-Litchville-Marion, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Sargent Central, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Wyndmere-Lidgerwood, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter; Oct. 3-South Border, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Strasburg-Zeeland, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Richland, 1 p.m.

Hatton-Northwood
Coach: David Smith (5th year)
2013 record: 6-3
Players to watch: Jacob Pladson, Sr., QB/DB; Jace Pederson, Sr., TE; Neil Foss, Sr., OL/LB; Adrian Carrillo, Sr., WR/LB; Logan Vettleson, Sr., TE/LB
Coach’s comments: “I believe one of our strengths will be our QB. (Jacob Pladson) returns for his third year as quarterback and he has a very good arm. He has been improving over the years and has made good decisions with the football. We also have a solid group of receivers and tight ends to give the quarterback many options to throw to. Defensively, I feel our strength will be in the secondary. We return all our defensive back and linebackers – a group that was very solid last year in pass coverage.”
Schedule: Aug. 26-Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page, 7 p.m.; Aug. 30-at New Rockford-Sheyenne, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Thompson, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Drayton-Valley-Edinburg, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Four Winds, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Cavalier, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Benson County, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at North Star, 7 p.m.

LaMoure-Litchville-Marion
Coach: Andy DelaBarre (3rd year)
2013 record: 7-3
Players to watch: Anthony Olson, Sr., RB/DB; parker Stemen, Sr., QB/LB; Quinn Alo, Jr., OL/DL; Landon Smith, Soph., RB/LB; Hunter Sherman, Jr., OL/LB; Drew Thielges, Jr., WR/DB; Brady Warcken, Jr., RB/DB; Levi Hirschkorn, Soph., TE/LB
Coach’s comments: “We will return a lot of good talent this year. Many of our returners have starting experience, but it will be key for us to fill two vacant spots. Anthony Olson will bring plenty of athleticism to the offense and Quinn Alo will play a big role up front on the line of scrimmage.”
Schedule: Aug.26-Sargent Central, 7 p.m.; Aug. 30-at Hankinson, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Wyndmere-Lidgerwood, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-South Border, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Strasburg-Zeeland, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Richland, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Fargo Oak Grove, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Mott Regent (game played in Bismarck), noon

New Rockford-Sheyenne
Coach: Elliot Belquist (6th year)
2013 record: 2-6
Players to watch: Ben McKay, Sr., QB; Kaleb Haley, Jr., RB; Seth Gilliss, Sr., WR
Coach’s comments: “We were really young last year and we should be a more mature team this fall. We only have two seniors on the team so we’ll still be a young team, but hopefully the experience some of the young players gained last year shows up on the field and they step up for us.
Schedule: Aug. 26-at North Star, 7 p.m.; Aug. 30-Hatton-Northwood, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Benson County, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Four Winds, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Cavalier, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Drayton-Valley-Edinburg, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Finley Sharon-Hope-Page, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Thomspon, 7 p.m.

Richland
Coach: Kal Triplett (6th year)
2013 record: 2-7
Players to watch: Chase Zenker, Sr., OL/DL; John Thompson, Sr., OL/DL; Brady Heyen, Jr., QB/FS; Jake Bergeson, Soph., RB/CB; Alec Heesch, Jr., OL/DL; Travor Flaa, Jr., WR/CB
Coach’s comments: “No question we lost some skill position players to graduation, but I feel we return a core group of offensive and defensive linemen that we will look to lean on. Our aggressiveness has been something that has really stuck in summer camps. We’ll need our captains and leaders to emerge in order to bring together the team as one unit. If we accomplish that, we will be successful.”
Schedule: Aug. 26-Wyndmere-Lidgerwood, 7 p.m.; Aug. 30-at Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter, 2 p.m.; Sept. 5-South Border, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Strasburg-Zeeland, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Fargo Oak Grove, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at LaMoure-Litchville-Marion, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Sargent Central, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Hankinson, 1 p.m.

Sargent Central
Coach: Ben Anderson (2nd year)
2013 record: 4-4
Players to watch: Lucas Parrow, Jr., RB/DB; Kian McKibben, Sr., G/DL; Tyler Peterson, Sr., QB/LB
Coach’s comments: “We will bring size to the table on our offensive and defensive lines. We also have a couple guys who can handle the football pretty well offensively.”
Schedule: Aug. 26-at LaMoure-Litchville-Marion, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Hankinson, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Wyndmere-Lidgerwood, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at South Border, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Strasburg-Zeeland, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Richland, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Oak Grove, 2 p.m.

South Border
Coach: Bryan Schumacher (2nd year)
2013 record: 7-3
Players to watch: Brayden Kuntz, Sr., RB/OLB; Nash Bettenhausen, Sr., FB/OLB; Hunter Pinke, Jr., TE; Noah Froehling, Jr., TE; Matt Rueb, Jr., QB
Coach’s comments: “The top nine guys we have on the team are really solid and we should also have some depth at several positions. We are an aggressive team and this group has proven they can win games. They have a great understanding of the game, and that should lead to success for us this fall. This year I want us to be challenging for one of the top seeds in our region.”
Schedule: Aug. 30-Strasburg-Zeeland, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Richland, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Fargo Oak Grove, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at LaMoure-Litchville-Marion; Oct. 3-at Hankinson, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Wyndmere-Lidgerwood, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter, 7 p.m.

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood
Coach: Scott Strenge (14th year)
2013 record: 1-7
Players to watch: Kellen Jorgenson, Sr., TE/DE; Seth Harles, Sr., QB/LB; Brian Schmit, Sr., WR/DB; Nick Foertsch, Sr., OL/LB; Aldolfo Vasquez, Jr., TE/LB; Paul Moffet, Jr., FB/LB; Colson Barton, Jr., OL/DL; Vincent Chicaderis, Jr., OL/DL
Coach’s comments: “The team had more players focus on training and lifting in the offseason than they did the year before. Our passing game should be our strength. We will be a better program with larger numbers in the high school, which will provide more competition and more efficient practices.”
Schedule: Aug. 26-at Richland, 7 p.m.; Aug. 30-Fargo Oak Grove, 2 p.m.; Sept. 5-at LaMoure-Litchville-Marion, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Sargent Central, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Hankinson, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Napoleon, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at South Border, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Strasburg-Zeeland, 3 p.m.

Class 3A

East region

Devils Lake
Coach: Jay Schneider (9th year)
2013 record: 2-7
Players to watch: Sean Olson, Sr., RB/S; Bradley Davidson, Jr., RB/S; Josh Frelich, Jr., QB/S; Blair Roemmich, Sr., WR/CB; Jacob Mertens, Soph., QB/S; Nik Desai, Soph., RB/LB; Jaden Hunt, Jr., OT/DT; Frank Knowski, Sr., G/LB; Cole Thompson, Soph., WR/LB; Matthew Boren, Soph., FB/LB; Zach Dahlen, Soph., WR/CB; Jordan Swanson, Sr., WR/CB; Hunter Fee, Soph., TE/DL; Hunter Brown, Soph., OL/DL; Wyatt Ziegler, Jr., G/LB; Ryan Kraft, Jr., FB/LB; Dennis Nelson, Jr., FB/LB; Kris Curtis, Jr., G/DL
Coach’s comments: “We will be a very young team as we don’t have a very large senior class, but we do have talented younger players who will need to grow and mature quickly at the varsity level.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Williston, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Bismarck Legacy, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Fargo Davies, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Grand Forks Central, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Fargo South, 5 p.m.; Oct. 4-Fargo North, 3 p.m.; Oct. 10-Grand Forks Red River, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at West Fargo, 6 p.m.; Oct. 24-at West Fargo Sheyenne, 7 p.m.

Fargo Davies
Coach: Jason Thielges (5th year)
2013 record: 6-4 (Co-Eastern Dakota Conference regular-season champions)
Players to watch: Aidan Hartness, Sr., QB/DB; Tristan Hartness, Sr., WR/DB; Gunnar Kollman, Sr., OL/DL; Rylan Drake, Sr., TE/OLB; Quinn Martin, Sr., OL/DL; Cody Frey, Sr., OL/LB; JD Arguelles, Jr., RB/DB; Ty Jochim, Jr., RB/LB; Connor Rayl, Jr., RB/LB; Deyton Slama, Jr., TE/LB; Mitchell Vetter, Jr., WR/DB; Tanner Boynovski, WR/DB; Reed Jacobson, Jr., OL/LB; Jacob West, OL/DL; Jackie Ross, Soph., OL/DL
Coach’s comments: “We return our all-state QB-WR tandem of Aidan and Tristan Hartness. Those two can make plays. We have to replace a key group of seniors, who played a lot of downs for us last year. We have a lot of talent at the receiving position, but we graduated all our running backs.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Bismarck Century, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Minot, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Devils Lake, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-West Fargo Sheyenne, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Grand Forks Central, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Grand Forks Red River, 4:30 p.m.; Oct. 10-West Fargo, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Fargo South-1 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Fargo North, 7 p.m.

Fargo North
Coach: Adam Roland (1st year)
2013 record: 1-8
Players to watch: Michael Boutain, Sr., QB/DB; Gavin Rook, Sr., C/FB; Talon Schloesser, Sr., OL/LB; Clark Mjelstad, Sr., OLB/TE
Coach’s comments: “Our biggest strength so far has been our energy. The players have been focused and motivated during practices.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Detroit Lakes, Minn., 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Fargo Shanley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Grand Forks Central, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Fargo South, 5 p.m.; Sept. 26-at West Fargo, 7 p.m.; Oct. 4-at Devils Lake, 3 p.m.; Oct. 10-West Fargo Sheyenne, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Grand Forks Red River, 2 p.m.; Oct. 24-Fargo Davies, 7 p.m.

Fargo South
Coach: Troy Mattern (5th year)
2013 record: 9-3 (North Dakota Class 3A state champions, Co-EDC regular-season champions)
Players to watch: James Johannesson, Sr., RB; Ty Brooks, Sr., RB/DB; Connor Ryan, Sr., LB; Kyle Trefethren, Sr., OL; Hunter Hanson, Sr., OL/DL; Jake Solem, Sr., QB; Tyson Lytle, Jr., DL; Augustus Siaway, Jr., RB; Alex Dubord, Sr., TE; Monami Niyonkuru, Sr., LB; Zeb Taber, Jr., TE; Jason Klug, Sr., S; Josh Weiler, Sr., K; Cale Dunwoody, Jr., OL
Coach’s comments: “I’m really excited about our team speed this year. We have a lot of kids that can run well and we have to make sure as a coaching staff that we allow them to play fast in the scheme we install. Our biggest goal at the beginning of the season will be to create depth at each position.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Mandan, 8 p.m.; Sept. 6-at Bismarck Century, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Grand Forks Red River 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Fargo North, 5 p.m.; Sept. 26-Devils Lake, 5 p.m.; Oct. 3-at West Fargo Sheyenne, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Grand Forks Central, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Fargo Davies, 1 p.m.; Oct. 24-West Fargo, 7 p.m.

Grand Forks Central
Coach: Bill Lorenz (8th year)
2013 record: 1-8
Players to watch: Spencer Oen, Sr., WR/OLB; Kaleb Binstock, Sr., RB/LB; Chance Devier, Sr., WR/DB; Bryan Miller, Sr., OL/DL; Nick Escobar, Sr., OL/DL; Cody Aarvig, Jr., QB/DB; Bryce Brandon, Jr., RB/DB; Ryan Erickson, Jr., QB/DB; Nick Lund, Soph., RB/LB.
Coach’s comments: “We have a lot of returning players with varsity experience. We will have to develop depth on the offensive and defensive lines. We will be looking for a new quarterback and we have two juniors that will battle for that position in the preseason.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Jamestown, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Dickinson, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Fargo North, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Devils Lake, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Fargo Davies, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-West Fargo, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Fargo South, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at West Fargo Sheyenne, 1 p.m.; Oct. 24-Grand Forks Red River, 7 p.m.

Grand Forks Red River
Coach: Vyrn Muir (11th year)
2013 record: 5-5
Players to watch: Ty Stauss, Sr., WR/DB; Logan Steen, Sr., OL/DL; Marquelle Tardeski, Sr., OL/DL; Alec Sampson, Sr., OL/DL; Justin Mann, Sr., OL/DL; Zac Ranisate, Sr., RB/LB; Lucas Neulle, Sr., RB/LB; Peter Warcup, Sr., WR/LB; Chase Chirsten, Sr., WR/DB; Derek Murphy, Jr., QB/DB; Zak Kuntz, Jr., RB/LB; Braeden Handon, Jr., WR/DB; Casey Schumacher, Jr., RB/LB; Baden Ripplinger, Jr., TE/LB
Coach’s comments: “We have some experience returning at the wide receiver position and we hope to be at the top of the region in passing. We have a good stable of running backs where we should be able to use four or five guys at tailback and two to three guys at full back. We have three returning starters on the offensive line and we hope that experience helps us come out of the gates stronger than we have in past seasons.”
Schedule: Aug. 29- Bismarck, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Mandan, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Fargo South, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at West Fargo, 6 p.m.; Sept. 26-West Fargo Sheyenne, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Fargo Davies, 4:30 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Devils Lake, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18- Fargo North, 2 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Grand Forks Central, 7 p.m.

West Fargo
Coach: Jay Gibson (24th year)
2013 record: 4-5
Players to watch: Bennett Rindy, Sr., WR; Isaiah Helland-Davis, Sr., RB/LB; Creighton Pfau, Jr., QB; Tanner McKinnon, Sr., WR; Brady Heisler, Sr., DB/WR; Tony Nichols, Sr., WR; Jasper Schmidt, Sr., RB/LB; Jacob Hoy, Sr., QB; Ewan Jones, Sr., NG; Raphael Ndimubandi, Sr., RB/CB; Sam Olsen, Sr., RB/LB; Dylan Anthony, Jr., LB; Tyson Jelinek, Jr., DE; Bryce Masset, Sr., DE; Alex Talley, Jr., TE; Ben Dirks, Jr., DE
Coach’s comments: “We return 11 starters from last year’s team – five on offense and six on defense. It will be nice to have so many returning players, and the senior class should be providing some strong leadership.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Minot, 8 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Bismarck, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 12-West Fargo Sheyenne, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Grand Forks Red River, 6 p.m.; Sept. 26-Fargo North, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Grand Forks Central, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Fargo Davies, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Devils Lake, 7 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Fargo South, 7 p.m.

West Fargo Sheyenne
Coach: Jeremy Newton (1st year)
2013 record: NA (2014 is Sheyenne’s first year as a varsity program)
Players to watch: Skyler Angeles, Jr., RB; Josh Roerich, Jr., QB; Eric Ringdahl, Jr., WR; Cole Setter, Jr., RB/LB; Steven Chalifoux, Soph., OL; Justin Olien, Soph., OL; Lane Jacobson, Soph., OL; Hayden Reynolds, Soph., LB; Tyler Evenson, Jr., DE; Jaden May, Soph., DE; Caleb Kuznia, Soph., CB; Andy Stephan, Jr., CB
Coach’s comments: “We are hoping to make a strong start towards varsity football at Sheyenne, improve every week, and live up to our potential. We are looking forward to playing EDC football and can’t wait to get started. We are going to be a very young team and we hope to minimize our growing pains as we go through this season.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Bismarck Legacy, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Jamestown, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at West Fargo, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Fargo Davies, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Grand Forks Red River, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Fargo South, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Fargo North, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Grand Forks Central, 1 p.m.; Oct. 24-Devils Lake, 7 p.m.

West region

Bismarck
Coach: Mark Gibson (16th year)
2013 record: 11-1 (North Dakota Class 3A state runner-up, Western Dakota Conference regular-season champions)
Players to watch: Jon Tharaldsen, Sr., WR (first-team All-State, All-WDA); Hayden Gibson, Sr., QB (second-team All-State, All-WDA); Noah DuBord, Sr., FB; Dalton Sanders, Sr., RB/DB; Jaxon Ford, Jr., RB.
Coach’s comments: “We return six starters on offense, but lost some outstanding players on that side of the ball. We do return the majority of skill positions including our quarterback and all-state wide receiver Jon Tharaldsen.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Grand Forks Red River, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-West Fargo, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Dickinson, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Williston, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Jamestown, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Minot, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Bismarck Century, 7 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Mandan, 7 p.m.

Bismarck Century
Coach: Ron Wingenbach (25th year)
2013 record: 7-3
Players to watch: Chris Kraft, Sr., QB/LB; Cyril Nagurski, Sr., WR/DB; Joel Crane, Sr., WR/LB; Alex Flicek, Sr., RB/LB; Andrew Steinwand, Sr., WR/DB; Dalton Feeney, Jr., QB/DB; Zach Sweep, Jr., RB/LB; Adam Geiger, Jr., WR/DB; Travis Vatsndel, Sr., TE/LB.
Coach’s comments: “After graduating 32 seniors off of last year’s team, there will be a lot of holes to fill. Depth will be a factor throughout our lineup.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Fargo Davies, 7 p.m.; Sept. 6-Fargo South, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Mandan, 8 p.m.; Sept. 19-Minot, 6:30 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Dickinson, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Jamestown, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-at Bismarck, 7 p.m.; Oct. 23-Willison

Dickinson
Coach: John Tuchscherer (2nd year)
2013 record: 5-4
Players to watch: Carter Blackwell, Sr., WR/DB; Riley Schaltz, Sr., OL/LB; Ben Twist, Sr., WR/DB; Andrew Heckeman, Sr., QB/DB; Dillon Clark, Sr., RB/LB; Kass Dvorak, Sr., RB/LB; Tony Kostelecky, Sr., WR/DB/K; Michael McChesney, Jr.
Coach’s comments: “We return a handful of players that saw a lot of time on varsity last season. We also return a lot of skill position players that have a lot of speed.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Valley City, 6 p.m.; Sept. 5-at Grand Forks Central, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12, Bismarck, 8 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Mandan, 6:30 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Jamestown, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Bismarck century, 8 p.m.; Oct. 10-at Williston, 7 p.m.; Oct. 24-Minot, 8 p.m.

Jamestown
Coach: Tim Fletcher (3rd year)
2013 record: 6-4
Players to watch: Ross Monson, Sr., QB/CB; Scott Nelson, Sr., RB/CB; Alex Zimmerman, Sr., OL/DL; Kyle Anderson, Sr., OL/DL; Logan Anderson, Jr., TE/LB; Noah Wanzek, Jr., WR/DB; Ben Hanson, Jr., RB/LB
Coach’s comments: “We return senior quarterback and cornerback Ross Monson, who passed for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. One of Monson’s favorite targets will likely be junior tight end Logan Anderson.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Grand Forks Central, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-at West Fargo Sheyenne, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-Minot, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Williston, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Dickinson, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Bismarck, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Bismarck Century, 7 p.m.; Oct. 19-at Mandan, 1 p.m.

Mandan
Coach: Todd Sheldon (3rd year)
2013 record: 1-8
Players to watch: Cameron Christopherson, Sr., DB/RB/WR; Dmitri Tausend, Sr., DB/RB/WR; Trever Leingang, Sr., LB/QB; Trevor Muth, Sr., DB/WR; RB/DB; Ethan Cermak, Sr., RB/DB; Braden Bowers, Sr., OL/LB; Nick Miller, Jr., RB/DB; Jake Carlson, Jr., QB/DE; Tyler Gangl, Jr., RB/LB; Gabe Meschke, Jr., WR/DB.
Coach’s comments: “We will be looking to be consistent and constantly making improvements throughout the year. We’ll have a number of new faces taking over starting roles on both offense and defense.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at Fargo South, 8 p.m.; Sept. 5-Grand Forks Red River, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Bismarck Century, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 19-Dickinson, 6:30 p.m.; Sept. 26-at Minot, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-Williston, 7 p.m.; Oct. 18-Jamestown, Oct. 18; Oct. 24-Bismarck, 7 p.m.

Minot
Coach: Barry Holmen (10th year)
2013 record: 9-2
Players to watch: Zach Danelson, Sr., LB; Matt Marler, Jr., LB; Garrett Picard, Sr., LB; Alex Mack, Sr., LB; Braden Lach, Sr., NG; Braydon Lund, Jr., DE; Ben Bolinske, Jr., QB; Spencer Brekhus, Jr., C; Kyle Routledge, Jr., OT
Coach’s comments: “We return four of our five starting linebackers and two of our three defensive linemen. We’ll have a new back field behind Ben (Bolinske) as well as new group of receivers.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-at West Fargo, 8 p.m.; Sept. 5-Fargo Davies, 8 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Jamestown, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-at Bismarck Century, 6:30 p.m.; Sept. 26-Mandan, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Bismarck, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15-Williston, 7 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Dickinson, 7 p.m.

Williston
Coach: Andrew Mock (1st year)
2013 record: 1-8
Players to watch: Austin Arndt, Sr., LB; Leo Zubiate, Sr., OL/DL; Brady Miller, Sr., DB/RB; Joren Falcon, Sr., OL/DL
Coach’s comments: “Our players have been more consistent in the weight room trying to improve themselves and develop a football program they can be proud of.”
Schedule: Aug. 29-Devils Lake, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5-Sidney, Mont., 7 p.m.; Sept. 12-at Bismarck Legacy, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19-Jamestown, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26-Bismarck, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3-at Mandan, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10-Dickinson, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15-at Minot, 7 p.m.; Oct. 24-at Bismarck Century, 7 p.m.

 

MINNESOTA

Tom Pavek led Mahnomen to a state title as a sophomore. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Class 9-man

Ada-Borup
Coach: Paul Tinjum (first year)
2013 record: 9-3 (Lost to Kittson County Central 38-14 in state quarterfinals)
Players to watch: Lucas Lindell, Jr., QB/DB; Zach Holweger, Sr., TE/LB; Theo Solseng, Sr., G/DT; Michael Kolness, Jr., RB/LB.
Coach’s comments: “There’s a winning tradition here, so people expect to win. Expectations are to compete for the conference and compete for the section. They graduated 13 seniors, so I think we probably won’t rely on any one player so much. We have a number of players we can count on.”
Schedule: Sept. 5–Waubun, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Moorhead Park Christian, 5 p.m.; Sept. 27–Win-E-Mac (at Fargodome), 6 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Norman County West, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Rothsay, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Cass Lake-Bena, 7 p.m.

Ashby
Coach: Jeff Risbrudt (second year)
2013 record: 2-7
Players to watch: Hunter Fick, Sr., FB/LB, Triston Korkowski, Sr., OL/DL; Zach Barry, Sr., WR/CB.
Coach’s comments: “We only have 18 guys, so setting expectations is hard for me to do. If we stay healthy, like most teams always say, we should be OK. We play in a tough Pheasant Conference. I hope our guys stay together and stay physical with the teams we play.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Brandon-Evansville, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Fergus Falls Hillcrest, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Underwood, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Verndale, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Bertha-Hewitt, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Ortonville, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, 7 p.m.

Brandon-Evansville
Coach: Tim Pattrin (third year)
2013 record: 3-6
Players to watch: James Huisman, Sr., FS; Tom Bosek, Sr., QB; Will Shroeder, Sr., TE/DE; McKenon Plaster, So., MLB/RB; Skyler Quinn, Jr., LB/TE.
Coach’s comments: “We have really high expectations. We have a big group of seniors and juniors with lots of starting experience. We are looking to take that next step in the conference and the section.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Fergus Falls Hillcrest, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Ashby, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Hancock, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Ortonville, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Verndale, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Bertha-Hewitt, 7 p.m.

Fergus Falls Hillcrest
Coach: Charlie Brue (10th year)
2013 record: 1-7
Players to watch: Jake Isaac, Sr, QB; Evan Malmstrom, Sr., WR/DB; Nathan Christenson, Sr., WR/DB; Jared Christenson, Sr., TE/LB; Chris Tungseth, Jr., FB/LB.
Coach’s comments: “We’re going to work on being fast and air the ball out. I expect we’re going to do better than last year, tackle better, hold teams to lower scores. We need to see better line play.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–Brandon-Evansville, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Bertha-Hewitt, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Ashby, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Verndale, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Ortonville, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Underwood, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Hancock, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, 7 p.m.

Moorhead Park Christian
Coach: Tim Kerr (first year)
2013 record: 5-5
Players to watch: Jake Stenerson Sr., RB; Liam Huseby, Sr. Lineman; Seth Heinen, Jr.,TE.
Coach’s comments: “We are looking forward to a season of growth. We are a younger team this year and have fewer numbers, but have a key core group that will carry us. Park will get better as the season progresses and will hopefully compete for the playoffs again this year.”
Schedule: Aug. 28–Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, 5 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Win-E-Mac, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Cass Lake-Bena, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Ada-Borup, 5 p.m.; Sept. 27–Rothsay (at Fargodome), 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 3–Waubun, 5 p.m.; Oct. 10–Norman County West, 5 p.m.; Oct. 15–at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal, 7 p.m.

Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal
Coach: Dustin Flaten (sixth year)
2013 record: 3-6
Players to watch: Patrick Busby, Sr., RB/DB; Hunter Thompson, Sr., RB/DB; Isaac Kraft, Sr., RB/LB; DeForrest Nelson, Sr., TE/LB; Kyle Lisburg, Sr., TE/DE; Noah Stene, Sr., OL/DL; Matt Lee, Sr., RB/LB; Mason Okke, Sr., OL/DL; Jordan Halvorson, Sr., OL.
Coach’s comments: “We got pretty high expectations. We have a lot of returning guys that started for us last year. Second year as our co-op, so we should have all the kinks ironed out. We got to get our offensive line a lot better. Our focus is to pound the ball, wear teams out and defensively we don’t want to give up that big play.”
Schedule: Aug. 28–Sacred Heart-Climax-Fisher, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Norman County West, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Ada-Borup, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Cass Lake-Bena, 7 p.m.; Sept. 27–Waubun (at Fargodome), 3:45 p.m.; Oct. 3–Rothsay, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Win-E-Mac, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Moorhead Park Christian, 7 p.m.

Norman County West
Coach: Nate McCraven (third year)
2013 record: 0-9
Players to watch: Ryan Olson, Sr., WR/S; Tony Larson, Sr., RB/CB; David Skari, Sr., RB/CB; Ezra Walz, Sr., G/DT; Dalton Jorgensen, Sr., C/DT.
Coach’s comments: “We return everybody from last year’s team and are ready to be competitive in the conference and section again. Size-wise we will be a tough matchup for area 9-man teams and our speed and strength in the backfield has improved as well.”
Schedule: Aug. 28–at Kittson County Central, 3:30 p.m.; Sept. 5–Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Rothsay, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Waubun, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26– at Cass Lake-Bena, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–Ada-Borup, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Moorhead Park Christian, 5 p.m.; Oct. 15–Win-E-Mac, 7 p.m.

Rothsay
Coach: Andrew Oland (sixth year)
2013 record: 1-8
Players to watch: Logan Moen, Sr., LB/TE; Ryan Larson, Sr., DE/RB; Jesse Helgeson, Sr., FB/DB; Casey Backstrom, Sr., QB/DB; Cole Lang, Sr., TE.
Coach’s comments: “We just ended up losing our entire backfield to graduation. We have new people in every position in the backfield, except fullback. We do have our offensive line returning, but they are still pretty young. We’ll have the same offensive line for three years in a row. We still expect to be doing a little bit better. It’s our fifth year as a varsity program since dissolving our co-op. We just have to put a couple on the win column and carry that momentum.”
Schedule: Aug. 28–Goodridge-Grygla-Gatzke, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Cass Lake-Bena, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Norman County West, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Win-E-Mac, 7 p.m.; Sept. 27–Moorhead Park Christian (at Fargodome), 1:30 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitteral (at Ulen-Hitterdal), 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–Ada-Borup, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–at Waubun, 7 p.m.

Underwood
Coach: Chuck Ross (16th year)
2013 record: 10-4 (Lost to Grand Meadow 28-6 in the state championship)
Players to watch: Dan Anderson (captain), Sr., OL/DL; Noah Thompson (captain), Sr., RB/LB; Jacob Mattfeld (captain), Sr., FB/LB; Tyler Aune, Sr., DB; Matt Biegler, Jr., FB/DE; Joe Onstad, Jr., OL/DL; Dylan Kalenze, Jr., RB; Cole Kugler, Jr., FB/LB.
Coach’s comments: “The coaching staff and community are very excited about this upcoming season. We have four returning starters at key positions. Our running backs, along with our interior line, are very experienced. The kids really feel like we have some unfinished business and want to not only get back to the Prep Bowl, but win it.”
Schedule: Aug. 28–at Ortonville, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Verndale, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Ashby, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–at Bertha-Hewitt, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–Fergus Falls Hillcrest, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, 3:30 p.m.; Oct. 15–Hancock, 7 p.m.

Verndale
Coach: Mike Mahlen (46th year)
2013 record: 9-2 (lost to Underwood 13-12 in the section championship)
Players to watch: Dillon Card, Sr., QB/DE; James Kveton, Sr., FB/LB; Seth Zins, Sr., OL/DL.
Coach’s comments: “We have 15 seniors returning, great leadership, four-year starter at quarterback. Need to find replacements at offensive and defensive line.”
Schedule: Aug. 28–at Hancock, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Underwood, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Bertha-Hewitt, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Fergus Falls Hillcrest, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–at Ashby, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, 3:30 p.m.; Oct. 10–Brandon-Evansville, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Ortonville, 7 p.m.

Waubun
Coach: Paul Clark (fourth year)
2013 record: 7-4 (Lost to Ada-Borup 17-8 in section championship)
Players to watch: Ryan Weber, Sr., FB/LB; Jordan Spaeth, Sr., QB/S; Cole Thompson, Sr., TE/S.
Coach’s comments: “We are excited about the potential of this year’s squad. We had a good run to end last year and very solid summer. We were pretty young last year, so many players gained valuable experience on both sides of the ball. Offensively, it’s always nice to return two, 1,000-yard rushers and have solid linemen returning. Defensively, we hope to be a little more physical and a little quicker than last year.”
Schedule: Aug. 28–Clearbrook-Gonvick, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Ada-Borup, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Win-E-Mac, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Norman County West, 7 p.m.; Sept. 27–Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (at Fargodome), 3:45 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Moorhead Park Christian, 5 p.m.; Oct. 10–Cass Lake-Bena, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Rothsay, 7 p.m.

Wheaton-Herman-Norcross
Coach: Tony Thiel (18th year)
2013 record: 8-2
Players to watch: Bradan Krump, Sr., TE/LB; Parker Yost, Sr., OL/DL; Mason Deal, Sr., RB/LB; Blake Coffman, Sr., QB/LB; Paul Berger, Sr., RB; James Backman, Sr., RB/LB.
Coach’s comments: “For us to be successful, we’re going to have to stay healthy. We’ve got some good size, decent team speed. We have a lot of returning guys back, so we’ll have to see. It’s very hard to replace what (graduate Carter Thiel) did at safety for us, but I have to feel confident of what other kids can do for us. He was a big aspect for us running the ball and on defense. These other kids have to learn from him and step up.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–Ashby, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Ortonville, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Underwood, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, 3:30 p.m.; Sept. 26–Hancock, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Brandon-Evansville, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–Bertha-Hewitt, 3:30 p.m.; Oct. 15–at Fergus Falls Hillcrest, 7 p.m.

Class 1A

Fertile-Beltrami
Coach: Brian Nelson (20th year)
2013 record: 5-5
Players to watch: Joey Woods, Sr., OL/LB; Billy Gramer, Sr., QB/S; Carter Burke, Sr., DE/TE; Jordan Leiting, Jr., TE/S.
Coach’s comments: “We’re looking to develop some depth in the backfield, defensively and offensively. We want to improve weekly and be a real competitive ball club. We need more offensive consistency.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Red Lake, 4 p.m.; Sept. 5–Pillager, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Red Lake County, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Fosston, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Lake Park-Audubon, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Mahnomen, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Badger-Greenbush-Middle River, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Bagley, 7 p.m.

Lake Park-Audubon
Coach: Bradley Dunham (first year)
2013 record: 6-4
Players to watch: Taylor Briard, Sr., RB/LB; Tory Haglund, Sr., RB/LB; Tim Brekken, Sr. QB/DB, Aaron Felker, Sr., WR/LB; Hunter Christianson, Jr., WR/CB; Paul Jenson, Jr., WR/CB; Reese Mattson, Jr., QB/LB; Clay Anderson, Jr., G/LB; Brady Mann, Sr., WR/DB; Mitchell Hall, So., WR/S.
Coach’s comments: “(We want to) compete for a conference championship and section title and want to be playing in late November. I am looking for great things to happen for the Raiders this season.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Pillager, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Walker-Hackensack-Akeley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Badger-Greenbush-Middle River, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Mahnomen, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–at Fertile-Beltrami, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–Red Lake County, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Fosston, 7 p.m.; Oct. 16–Pine River-Backus (at Fargodome), 1:15 p.m.

Mahnomen
Coach: John Clark (14th year)
2013 record: 14-0 (Class 1A state champions)
Players to watch: Levi Liebl, Sr., OL; Kurt Francis, Sr., OL; Anthony Sanchez, Sr., OL; Gabe Large, Sr., OL; Tom Pavek, Jr., QB; Kody Lefebvre, Jr., RB.
Coach’s comments: “We have a solid core coming back from last year’s team. Our offensive and defensive lines will be our strength. We will use the same formula (of) strong defense and a pounding running attack. Building depth will be important as we have holes to fill. Looking to make another long run in the playoffs.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Pine River-Backus, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Red Lake, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Fosston, 7 p.m.; Sept 19–Lake Park-Audubon, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–at Badger-Greenbush-Middle River, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–Fertile-Beltrami, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Red Lake County, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Pillager, 7 p.m.

New York Mills
Coach: Matt Radniecki (21st year)
2013 record: 4-5
Players to watch: Dustin Gaudette, Sr., QB/LB; AJ Wegscheid, Sr., RB/CB; Zach Frost, Jr., RB/LB; Zach Bauck, Sr., TE/DE; Sam Erckenbrack, Jr., DE/OT.
Coach’s comments: “We lost some key players, but also return a large group of letter winners. We are looking forward to the season; our last in the Prairie Conference. We will be competitive and hope to get a few breaks to have a really good season. We have potential it will (depend on) just how fast some of the younger players can gain confidence and realize they can compete with the tough teams.”
Schedule: Aug. 28–at United North Central, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Otter Tail Central, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Upsala-Swanville, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–at Browerville, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Royalton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–West Central, 7 p.m.; Oct. 16–Wadena-Deer Creek (at Fargodome), 7 p.m.

Sacred Heart-Climax-Fisher
Coach: Darrin Byklum (18th year)
2013 record: 2-7
Players to watch: Kane Perrin, Sr., OL/DL; Nick Donarski, Sr., TE/LB; Chris Devine, Sr., RB/LB; Eddie Bushaw, Sr., RB/LB; Grant Walski, Sr., RB/LB; Brandon Kassa, Sr., OL/DL.
Coach’s comments: “I think the big thing for us is to gel as one and leaning a lot toward our upperclassmen leadership. We got 27 juniors and seniors, so there’s a lot of leadership and competition. With the 27 upperclassmen it’s good for the competition and making us get better each week.”
Schedule: Aug. 28–at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal (at Ulen-Hitterdal), 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Kittson County Central (at Climax), 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Goodridge-Grygla-Gatzke (at Grand Forks), 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Stephen-Argyle (at Grand Forks), 7 p.m.; Oct. 4–Northern Freeze (at Grand Forks), 7 p.m.; Oct. 9–at Clearbrook-Gonvick, 7 p.m.

West Central Area
Coach: Jon Moore (first year)
2013 record: 2-7
Players to watch: Tanner Wagner, Sr., RB/LB; Koel Seifert, Sr., FB; Royal Crow, Sr., FB/LB; Jay Zimmerman, Sr., WR/CB.
Coach’s comments: “We have a good group of kids that are all ready to go. Expectations are definitely to be above .500. We have to have confidence. We’re better than we think we are. We definitely have the capability to be successful.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Waden-Deer Creek, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Osakis, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Browerville, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Royalton, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–Upsala-Swanville, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at New York Mills, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Otter Tail Central, 7 p.m.

Class 2A

Barnesville
Coach: Bryan Strand (10th year)
2013 record: 10-1 (Lost to Hawley 42-21 in the section championship)
Players to watch: Ethan Ishaug, Jr., QB/LB; Connor Meyer, Jr., RB/SS; Nick Randklev, Sr., RB/FS.
Coach’s comments: “I think we can be in the hunt for both conference and section if we stay healthy, which we aren’t. We have to get back to being healthy. I have some good-sized big kids out there that will help us, but lost four potential starters before the season started. If we’re healthy by Week 4 or 5, we should be OK. Ethan is the best quarterback I’ve had here. I foresee him being outstanding.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–East Grand Forks, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Crookston (at University of Minnesota-Crookston), 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Pelican Rapids, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Staples-Motley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Breckenridge, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Warroad, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Hawley (at Moorhead), 7 p.m.; Oct. 16–Frazee (at Fargodome, 3:30 p.m.

Breckenridge
Coach: Chad Fredericksen (eighth year)
2013 record: 7-3
Players to watch: Nathan Blaufuss, Sr., QB/LB; Nathan Lorenz, Sr., TE/DE; Zarek Reiff, Sr., RB/DB; Weston Ronan, Sr., OL/DL.
Coach’s comments: “We graduated a number of seniors, but we feel as though we have a good nucleus of playmakers back. We are hoping to get some of our younger guys to step up and fill some important roles as the season progresses. If that happens, we are hoping for another good year.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Wahpeton (at NDSCS Football Complex), 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Hawley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Warroad, 6 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Crookston (at University of Minnesota-Crookston), 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–at Barnesville, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–Frazee, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Staples-Motley, 7 p.m.; Oct. 16–Pelican Rapids (at Fargodome), 5:45 p.m.

Frazee
Coach: Jim Rader (eighth year)
2013 record: 7-3
Players to watch: Garrett Malstrom, Sr., LB/G/FB; Roger Thorp, Sr., OL/DL; Hesston Bachmann, Sr., QB/FS; Austin Torma, Sr., FB/LB.
Coach’s comments: “We have some hard-working seniors, with solid football skills, and lots of previous experience.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–Park Rapids, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Warroad, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Staples-Motley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Hawley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Crookston, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Breckenridge, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–Pelican Rapids, 7 p.m.; Oct. 16–Barnesville (at Fargodome), 3:30 p.m.

Hawley
Coach: Peder Naatz (15th year)
2013 record: 10-2 (Lost to Chatfield 41-21 in state semifinals)
Players to watch: Jordan Harms, Sr., QB/S; Ben Ellefson, Sr., TE/LB; Dillon Omberg, Sr., RB; Dawson Tusow, Sr., TE/LB/DE; Logan Alm, Sr., OL/DL.
Coach’s comments: “We always want to compete for a conference title and be on a roll once we get to the playoffs and then start to shine things up a bit. I think the amount of pressure is about the same. The pressure on us is more of the kids putting pressure on themselves and expecting to do better. The ultimate goal for these guys is to play right after Thanksgiving.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Breckenridge, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Crookston (at Moorhead), 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Frazee, 7 p.m.; Sept. 27–Pelican Rapids (at Fargodome), 7:45 p.m.; Oct. 3–Staples-Motely (at Concordia College), 4 p.m.; Oct. 10–Barnesville (at Moorhead), 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–at Warroad, 7 p.m.

Otter Tail Central
Coach: Don Seipkes (42nd year)
2013 record: 9-2 (Lost 32-14 to Holdingford in Class 2A, Section 6 championship)
Players to watch: Nick Trosdahl, Sr., FB/MLB; Micah Rogness, Sr., OL/DL; Tony Ukkelberg, Jr., QB/CB; Cody Seedorf, Jr., RB/OLB; Andrew VanErp, Jr., WR/CB.
Coach’s comments: “We hope to be in the thick of things in both the Prairie North and for the section titles. Our offensive backfield should be pretty solid with three returning starters and the fourth started several games last year. Our biggest need is finding replacements in the offensive and defensive line where we have only one returning starter back. We have several that have worked hard and are trying to earn and work their way to be players the team needs in the offensive and defensive line.”
Schedule: Aug. 28–Upsala-Swanville (at Battle Lake), 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at New York Mills, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (at Henning), 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at United North Central (at Sebeka), 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Osakis (at Battle Lake), 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Prairie Valley, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–Wadena-Deer Creek (at Henning), 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–at West Central Area, 7 p.m.

Pelican Rapids
Coach: Dave Haugen (18th year)
2013 record: 6-4
Players to watch: Gauge Lee, Sr., RB/S; Nick Thompson, Sr., FB/LB; Blaine Gorton, Sr., QB/S.
Coach’s comments: “Depends on if we are going to stay healthy or not. I like the look of our first unit. If we can get good mileage out of our top guys we’re going to turn in a good season. If we get banged up we might have some problems.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–Perham, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Staples-Motley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Barnesville, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Warroad, 7 p.m.; Sept. 27–Hawley (at Fargodome), 7:45 p.m.; Oct. 3–Crookston, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Frazee, 7 p.m.; Oct. 16–Breckenridge (at Fargodome), 5:45 p.m.

Wadena-Deer Creek
Coach: Howie Kangas (third year)
2013 record: 1-8
Players to watch: Zach Shertler, Jr., QB; Austin Sutherland, Jr., WR; Thomas Brekke, Jr., WR/DB; Sutton Lohmiller, Sr., OL/DL; Isaac Malone, Sr., OL/DL.
Coach’s comments: “We are certainly going to try to get to be competitive in this conference. We’ve got to start scoring some points. We have to score some points and try to coordinate things, so we got more points than they do.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–West Central Area, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Upsala-Swanville (at Swanville), 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–United North Central, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Osakis, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–at Prairie Valley, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Otter Tail Central (at Henning), 7 p.m.; Oct. 16–New York Mills, 7 p.m.

Class 3A

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton
Coach: Anthony Soderberg (seventh year)
2013 record: 8-3 (lost to New London-Spicer 56-30 in the state quarterfinals)
Players to watch: Joe Flatt, Sr., FB/LB; Alex Matthews, Sr., RB/LB; Brandon Wayne, Sr., RB/LB; Ben Knutson, Sr., OL/DL; Mark Steichen, Sr., OL; Alex Fuchs, Sr., TE; Garrett Pemelton, Sr., DL; Chase Schumann, Sr., TE/FS; Tyler Oberg, Jr., OL; Eric Watt, Jr., RB/DB; Blake Kragnes, Jr., QB.
Coach’s comments: “We return a great group of kids with a lot of experience. We will have a good test the first three weeks of the season, facing two defending section champs and a runner-up. That will let us know where we stand. As always, staying healthy will be a key if we hope to be successful. We have a luxury of having great depth with this squad, but we will need some underclassmen to step up at some key positions.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–Hawley, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Thief River Falls, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Detroit Lakes, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Park Rapids, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–at Perham, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Pequot Lakes, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–Roseau, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–at East Grand Forks, 7 p.m.

Park Rapids
Coach: Aaron Morris (sixth year)
2013 record: 6-3
Players to watch: Ben Baumgartner, Sr., OLB/RB; Derek Porozinski, Sr., DE/WR; Jon Burlingame, Sr., S/RB; Jordan McCollum, Sr., QB/S.
Coach’s comments: “We’re going to be young, but athletic. We’re very fundamentally sound. We’ll play the game hard and let our talent do the work for us. We have some young kids that are going to be expected to fill some big roles, but I have some older kids that will be great leaders for the team.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Frazee, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Pequot Lakes, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–Roseau, 6 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–at Thief River Falls, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–Detroit Lakes, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–East Grand Forks, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–at Perham, 7 p.m.

Perham
Coach: Mike Jordahl (fifth year)
2013 record: 6-4
Players to watch: Cole Schmitz, Sr., LB/FB; Sam Muer, Sr., LB/RB; Patrick Glynn, Sr., LB/G.
Coach’s comments: “(Team strengths include) mentally and physically tough, great, coachable kids, decent speed and team cohesiveness. (Team weaknesses include) Friday night experience. Lost 18 seniors from last year.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Pelican Rapids, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at East Grand Forks, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Pequot Lakes, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Roseau, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Thief River Falls, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–Detroit Lakes, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Park Rapids, 7 p.m.

Class 4A

Detroit Lakes
Coach: Flint Motschenbacher (17th year)
2013 record: 9-2 (lost to DeLaSalle 42-7 in the state quarterfinals)
Players to watch: Sam Champa, Sr., WR/CB; Ryan Cihak, Sr., WR/S; Parker Jackson, Sr., RB/LB; James Huwe, Jr., G/DT
Coach’s comments: “We’ll be a real inexperienced team, return only four starters on offense, four on defense. Kids have worked real hard in the offseason and have a chance to be a pretty good team by playoff time. ”
Schedule: Aug. 29–Fargo North, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–at Roseau, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–Thief River Falls, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–East Grand Forks; Oct. 3–at Park Rapids, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Perham, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Pequot Lakes, 7 p.m.

Fergus Falls
Coach: Steve Olson (second year)
2013 record: 3-6
Players to watch: Noah Strom, Sr., QB/DB; Hayden Vogel, Sr., TE/LB; Ben Schindler, Sr., RB/DB; Luke Kasper, Sr., WR/DB; Andrew Tysdal, Sr., OL/DL.
Coach’s comments: “We will have low numbers this season, but are happy with the talent we have. The players that are coming out have shown a lot of commitment and we are excited to watch them develop into a team this season.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Brainerd, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–Rocori, 3 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Bemidji (at Bemidji State University), 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at Sauk Rapids-Rice, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–St. Cloud Apollo, 3 p.m.; Oct. 3–at Moorhead, 7 p.m.; Oct. 10–Grand Rapids, 3 p.m.; Oct. 15–at Alexandria, 7 p.m.

Class 5A

Moorhead
Coach: Kevin Feeney (fifth year)
2013 record: 7-4 (Lost to Sartell-St. Stephen 24-19 in section championship)
Players to watch: Jade Lawrence, Sr., RB/DB; Mike Duginski, Jr., RB/DB; Nate Stich, Jr., LB/TE; Brody Jerome, Jr., OL/DL; Brady Emerson, Sr., OL; Drew Haiby, Sr., TE/DL; Brandon Bundgaard, Sr., OL; Ethan Marquart, Sr., OL.
Coach’s comments: “We want to keep improving off of last year’s late-season run. I think we played some great football at the end of last year and I think that has us in a great offseason. We are going to have great team speed. This is the first year that we’ve returned offensive linemen and we’ve returned three.”
Schedule: Aug. 29–at Alexandria, 7 p.m.; Sept. 5–St. Cloud Apollo, 7 p.m.; Sept. 12–at Grand Rapids, 7 p.m.; Sept. 19–at St. Cloud Tech, 7 p.m.; Sept. 26–Sauk Rapids-Rice, 7 p.m.; Oct. 3–Fergus Falls,
7 p.m.; Oct. 10–at Brainerd, 7 p.m.; Oct. 15–Bemidji, 7 p.m.

Top 10 Area Football Rankings for Minnesota (Week 1)

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

Another year, another set of weekly football rankings.

Here’s a preseason look at the top 10 Minnesota high school football teams in the Forum coverage area with the best chance to win a state title in 2014. Football opens this week in Minnesota, but no local teams play.

Mahnomen was No. 1 every week last season and proved why with the only state championship in the area. They begin the 2014 season where they’ve always been.

 

 

1. Mahnomen

Last season: 14-0, Class 1A state champions

Next up: at Pine River-Backus, 7 p.m., Aug. 29

Tom Pavek led Mahnomen to a state title as a sophomore. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The longest active winning streak in Minnesota high school football belongs to Mahnomen. The Indians have won 28 straight games and two straight state Class 1A state titles.

Mahnomen loses running backs Trevor Haugo, Bob Bjorge and Austin Reitan to graduation. They also lose Kal Handyside, who was big on both the offensive and defensive lines, and Nathan Hansen, who was a threat through the air and at defensive back. Hansen started every game in the 28-game winning streak for Mahnomen.

The Indians bring back quarterback Tom Pavek, who is just a junior, and running back Kody Lefebvre, along with Levi Liebl, Kurt Francis, Anthony Sanchez and Gabe Large, who man both offensive and defensive lines.

Until they prove otherwise, the Indians will be No. 1.

 

2. Hawley

Last season: 10-2, Lost in Class 2A state semifinals 41-21 to Chatfield

Next up: at No. 6 Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, 7 p.m., Aug. 29

Ben Ellefson does everything for Hawley. Can he bring them their first state title? Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Hawley was loaded with juniors last season. The loss of running back Chris Buttke to graduation hurts, as does not having a home field, but the Nuggets return quarterback Jordan Harms, tight end/quarterback/linebacker Ben Ellefson, running back Dillon Omberg and tight end/linebacker/defensive end Dawson Tusow. Nuggets take a big hit losing offensive and defensive lineman Logan Alm, who is out 6-8 weeks, but he could be back come playoff time.

The Nuggets have talent everywhere and Ellefson has a lot of it. Ellefson had 34 receptions for 613 yards and nine touchdowns, 48 carries for 347 yards and seven touchdowns and had 46 tackles, four interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery at linebacker for the Nuggets last season. He earned all-section and conference MVP honors, along with scholarships to Wyoming, North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Army, New Mexico and Fordham.

Ellefson is headed to North Dakota State next season, but he’ll try to get Hawley its first non co-op team title in school history before he heads off to college.

 

3. Underwood

Last season: 10-4, Lost in Class 9-man state championship to Grand Meadow 28-6

Next up: at Ortonville, 7 p.m., Aug. 28

Noah Thompson (right) led the entire state in rushing. He’s back to lead Underwood. Photo by Davide Samson/Forum

Underwood surprised everyone last season. The Rockets lost their starting running back to a torn ACL in a scrimmage before the season began and lost two of their first three games. They made it to the Class 9-man state title game as a No. 3 seed in their section.

Noah Thompson literally picked up the starting running back position and ran with it. He was the leading rusher in the state, finishing with 2,069 yards on the ground. For that, he was not named to any AP All-State teams or even the Minnesota Coaches Association All-State Class 9-man team. He got an honorable mention from the coaches association.

The Rockets are hoping that angered Thompson a bit because he’s back to run behind linemen Dan Anderson and Joe Onstad. If Underwood has Thompson and 6-foot-3, 223-pound Matt Biegler both taking carries, their run game could be the scariest in Class 9-man. Biegler also has the hands to be a receiving option and the size to play on either line.

The Rockets lose starting quarterback Adam Creek, center/linebacker and leading tackler Max Kollar, lineman Leroy Hauge, tight end/defensive end Aaron Thompson and linebacker AJ Montgomery.

The Rockets and Thompson are no longer off radars. We’ll see how they answer.

 

4. Moorhead

Last season: 7-4, Lost in Class 5A, Section 8 championship to Sartell-St. Stephen 24-19

Next up: at Alexandria, 7 p.m., Aug. 29

Jade Lawrence returns after rushing for 827 yards and nine touchdowns on 122 attempts in 2013. Michael Vosburg/Forum

Trailing 24-7 with 8:59 left in the section championship, Moorhead made an incredible comeback that fell just short.

The Spuds were within striking distance of its third section title in a row, but an interception by Sartell in their own end zone with the Spuds down five clinched it.

Good thing for the Spuds they return a lot of players who played in that game and still remember the sting.

Moorhead coach Kevin Feeney has been in the Class 5A, Section 8 title game all four seasons with the Spuds with two wins. He’s never had returning starters on the offensive line. This season he has three in Brady Emerson, Brandon Bundgaard and Ethan Marquart.

He also has Jade Lawrence, who rushed for 827 yards and nine touchdowns on 121 carries and hauled in 21 receptions for 211 yards in 2013. The Spuds will miss Brett Lawrence’s size at receiver and will have to replace quarterback Tyler Eidsness.

The Spuds lost 31 seniors going into last season and were supposed to have growing pains. Instead they were five points short of state for the third straight season with a bunch of new guys starting. Now, they are back with experience.

 

5. Verndale

Last season: 9-2, Lost in Class 9-man, Section 4 championship to Underwood 13-12

Next up: at Hancock, 7 p.m., Aug. 28

Dillon Card returns to lead Verndale at quarterback. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The section title game was a nightmare for Verndale. The Pirates blew a 12-point second-half lead and gave up the tying touchdown with no time remaining and lost with the extra point.

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

Quarterback Dillon Card returns with that on his shoulders. His shoulders can handle it as the 6-foot-5, 225-pound senior rushed for 1,278 yards and 20 touchdowns and threw for 801 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. On defense, he had 69 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and four fumble recoveries. If that doesn’t scare you, he had a 45-1 wrestling season in which he finished third in the state at 220 pounds.

Card is one of 15 returning seniors to the team. They all have a giant chip on their shoulders after that Underwood loss.

 

6. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Last season: 8-3, Lost in Class 3A state quarterfinals to New London-Spicer 56-30

Next up: host No. 2 Hawley, 7 p.m., Friday

Brandon Wayne will try to carry the load for D-G-F’s running game with Chad Johnson having graduated. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton coach Anthony Soderberg said he has no plans of trying to replace graduated running back Chad Johnson. Johnson broke the school record with 1,668 yards rushing on 224 attempts for the Rebels last season. He was the conference offensive back of the year, team captain and team MVP.

He does, however, plan to reconstruct Johnson with a couple players in senior running backs Joe Flatt (564 rushing yards on 69 attempts), Brandon Wayne (618 yards on 97 attempts) and Alex Matthews behind returning offensive linemen Ben Knutson, Mark Steichen, Chase Schumann and tight end Tyler Oberg.

The Rebels also have eight starters back on defense and Soderberg said the only real position they don’t have a lot of experience is at quarterback. That job will go to junior Blake Kragnes.

The towns of Dilworth, Glyndon and Felton haven’t seen back-to-back trips to state since 1988-89.

 

7. Otter Tail Central

Last season: 9-2, Lost in Class 2A, Section 6 championship game to Holdingford 32-14

Next up: host Upsala-Swanville, 7 p.m., Aug. 28

Nick Trosdahl (44) will lead the rushing attack of Ottertail Central in 2014. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Bulldogs return three starters in their backfield, but only return one starter on the offensive and defensive lines. They have to replace Dan Marso (LB), Andrew Smith (QB/RB/FS), Jake Trosdahl (RB/OLB) and Tyler Ukkelberg (TE/DE), all of which were starters for the last three years.

That’s the bad news. Good news is they return Nick Trosdahl, who rushed for over 1,000 yards and was the leading tackler in 2013, Micah Rogness, who is a three-year starter on both the offensive and defensive lines, and Tony Ukkelberg, who has already spent some time at quarterback, throwing for 526 yards last season.

The Bulldogs will look for Tony Ukkelberg to take over the quarterback position and Cody Seedorf, who rushed for 488 yards last season, to help out Nick Trosdahl at running back. Andrew VanErp will be Tony Ukkelberg’s big receiver option on offensive and led the team in interceptions last season on defense.

 

8. Frazee

Last season: 7-3, Lost in Class 2A, Section 8 semifinal to Barnesville 41-0

Next up: host Park Rapids, 7 p.m., Aug. 29

Frazee returns its top three rushers in Hesston Bachman, who rushed for over 1,200 yards last season, Tanner Bachmann and Austin Torma. Hesston Bachman will move to quarterback where Tanner Bachmann is the best returning wide receiver as well.

Garrett Malstrom and Roger Thorp are animals on defense for Frazee. In eight games, Malstrom had 107 tackles, 4.5 sacks, seven tackles for loss and one forced fumble at linebacker. Thorp is a two-way starter on both lines and had 33 tackles and 0.5 sacks last season on defense. Malstrom will also see time at fullback.

Frazee only had seven seniors on last year’s team. The Hornets have not been to state since 1990.

 

9. Breckenridge

Last season: 7-3, Lost in the Class 2A, Section 6 semifinals to Otter Tail Central 22-19

Next up: host Wahpeton, 7 p.m., Aug. 29

Breckenridge loses it’s leading rusher in Parker Busse, but return quarterback Nathan Blaufuss and big receiving option Nathan Lorenz at tight end.

A year after going 2-7, the Cowboys went 7-3 last season, were co-conference champions of the Heart O’ Lakes and closed the season winning five of six games, giving up 35 points – 22 of which came in the loss – during that stretch.

 

10. Waubun

Last season: 7-4, Lost in the Class 9-man, Section 6 finals to Ada-Borup 17-8

Next up: host Clearbrook-Gonvick, 7 p.m., Aug. 28

Jordan Spaeth (left) is back at quarterback this season for Waubun. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The Bombers return two 1,000-yard rushers in Ryan Weber and Jordan Spaeth.

Ada-Borup had won the section title five of the last six seasons. The Cougars lost their top three offensive weapons and are learning a new system under a new coach. With the Cougars seemingly down for this season, the section is up for grabs and the Bombers have the weapons to grab it.

 

 

SLEEPER

Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal

Last season: 3-6, Lost in opening round of Class 9-man, Section 6 to Park Christian 18-0

Next up: host Polk County West, 7 p.m., Aug. 28

Hunter Thompson (right) returns to Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal a season after leading the Titans in rushing. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Head coach Dustin Flaten says, since it’s the second year of the co-op, all the kinks are fixed. He’s got nine returning starters, including running back Hunter Thompson, who ran for nearly 1,000 yards last season. Flaten is expecting Thompson and fellow senior Patrick Busby to be two, 1,000-yard backs for the Titans this season behind returning offensive linemen Noah Stene, Mason Okke and Jordan Halvorson.

 

 

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 possible future of Hawley boys basketball

On the agenda for Hawley’s Monday school board meeting is voting on Nathan Stoa as the next Nuggets head boys basketball coach.

Ben Ellefson averaged over 24 points this season for Hawley. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Stoa would inherit a senior class of six with parts of it having gone 57-22 in the last three seasons, including Ben Ellefson. Ellefson averaged 24.1 points, 11 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.8 assists last season at center, while hitting 36.8 percent of his 125 shots from beyond the 3-point line. Ellefson has an offer from Augustana to play basketball along with offers from North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Wyoming, Air Force and Fordham to play football.

Here’s a look at Stoa’s resume:

- Graduated from Oak Grove Lutheran in 1999 where he played on two District 2 championship teams under Steve Carnal.

- Graduated from Concordia College in 2003

Coaching experience

2003-2004
Assistant coach for Shanley girls basketball under head coach Barb Metcalf.

2004-2005
Assistant coach for Ulen-Hitterdal girls basketball under head coach Jeff Schultz.

2005-2006
Assistant coach for Ulen-Hitterdal boys basketball under head coach Jason Cresap.

2006-2007
Head boys basketball coach at Ulen-Hitterdal. 4-22 overall, 2-16 in Heart O’ Lakes Conference.

2007-2014
Head girls basketball coach at Pine City. 64-123 overall. The Dragons 18-8 season in 2009-2010 was their only season over .500 since 1988-89.

Other coaching
Assistant baseball coach for Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal and assistant football coach for Ulen-Hitterdal.

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.

 

 

Minnesota All-Area girls and boys basketball teams

Here’s a look at the top Minnesota boys and girls basketball players from around the area.

ALL-AREA TEAM

Tyler Ukkelberg – Battle Lake – Forward – Senior

Tyler Ukkelberg (33) led Battle Lake to a 27-1 season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Ukkelberg averaged 16.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for the Battlers with a field-goal percentage of nearly 59 percent. He also earned the Triple ‘A’ award in Minnesota for his work in academics, art and athletics.

The Battlers went 27-1 and were ranked No. 2 for most of the season in Class 1A with their lone loss coming in the Section 6A championship game.

 

Hunter Nickel – Park Christian – Center – Senior

Park Christian’s Hunter Nickel (right) led the Falcons to their first trip to state in school history. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Nickel was a walking triple-double for the Falcons, leading Park Christian to its first trip to the state tournament in school history. He averaged 14.6 points, 8.41 rebounds and 7.34 blocks a game.

His 219 blocks this season were the third most in a season in Minnesota high school basketball history.

 

Ben Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Junior

Ben Ellefson averaged over 24 points this season for Hawley. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Ellefson was a double-double machine for the Nuggets. He averaged 24.1 points, 11 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.8 assists for Hawley. He shot 48.1 percent from the field, 73.8 from the free-throw line and hit 36.8 percent of his 125 3-point attempts.

He’ll be looking to pass the 2,000-point mark next season for Hawley.

 

Cody Dorow – Moorhead – Guard – Junior

Cody Dorow was one point away from breaking the Moorhead single-season school record for points this season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Dorow could fill it up. The junior finished with 688 points on the season, one short of Aaron Lien’s school record. Lien got that record in 26 games, Dorow scored 688 in 24 games for an average of 28.67 points a game for the Spuds.

Scary to think what he’ll be like next season.

 

Ryan Bruggeman – Pelican Rapids – Guard – Senior

Ryan Bruggeman was the MVP of the Heart O’ Lakes conference. Photo by Michael Vosburg/Forum

Bruggeman was the MVP of the Heart O’ Lakes Conference and for good reason. He averaged 26.7 points, 8.7 assists, 8.7 rebounds and 3.2 steals a game for the Vikings this season.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Michael Strand – Barnesville – Guard – Senior
Kyler Martz – Barnesville – Forward – Senior

Nick Trosdahl – Battle Lake – Center – Junior
Dan Marso – Battle Lake – Guard – Senior

Nate Lorenz – Breckenridge – Forward – Junior

Austin Rund – Fergus Falls – Forward – Senior

Daniel Nersten – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy – Forward – Senior

Matt Moberg – Park Christian – Guard – Senior
Zach Kvalvog – Park Christian – Guard – Sophomore

Tyler Glines – Perham – Guard – Senior
Hunter Salathe – Perham – Forward – Senior
Nick Bahls – Perham – Guard – Senior

Carter Thiel – Wheaton-Herman-Norcross – Forward – Senior

 

 

GIRLS

ALL-AREA TEAM

Monica Vega – Ada-Borup – Guard – Senior

Monica Vega earned all-state honors for her senior season. Michael Vosburg/Forum

There wasn’t anything Vega was incredible at for the Cougars, but there was nothing she wasn’t good at, as the backbone for section champion Ada-Borup. She led the Cougars with 11.6 points a game to go along with 3.5 assists, 3.9 steals and 2.7 rebounds a game.

She was named to the Minnesota Coaches Association all-state team.

 

Bailey Strand – Fergus Falls – Guard – Senior

Bailey Strand is headed to the University of North Dakota to play basketball. Photo by Joe Brown/Red Wing Republican Eagle

Strand averaged over 22 points a game, while shooting over 48 percent from the field, including 39 percent from beyond the 3-point line. She’s headed to the University of North Dakota to play basketball and was named by the Minnesota Coaches Association to the all-state team.

 

Brianna Rasmusson – Fergus Falls – Guard – Senior

Brianna Rasmusson led Fergus Falls to a third-place finish in Class 3A. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Rasmusson did everything for Fergus Falls, earning all-state honors along the way. She averaged 11.15 points, 8.74 assists, 6.28 rebounds and more than three steals a game for the section-champion Otters.

 

Mackenzie Korf – Pelican Rapids – Guard – Sophomore

Mackenzie Korf (ball) got career point No. 1,000 this season as just a sophomore. Photo by Chris Murphy/Forum

Before tearing her ACL, Mackenzie Korf was averaging over 25 points, along with seven assists, six rebounds and five steals, a game and Pelican Rapids was ranked in the top 5 in the state. After, the Vikings fell to a No. 3 seed in their subsection and lost in the first round of the playoffs.

The all-state sophomore scored her 1,000th point of her career just 18 games into her sophomore season.

 

Anna Monke – Fergus Falls – Forward – Senior

Anna Monke is headed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth to play basketball next season. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Monke averaged over 14 points and eight rebounds a game for Fergus Falls. She was an honorable mention on the Minnesota Coaches Association’s all-state team and will play basketball at the University of Minnesota-Duluth next season.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Shaina Stevenson – Ada-Borup – Guard – Senior
Haley Gehrtz - Ada-Borup – Center – Senior

Holly Vancura – Barnesville – Guard – Senior
Peyton Boom – Barnesville – Center – Freshman

Alison Beyer – Breckenridge – Forward – Senior
Katrina Dahlgren – Breckenridge – Guard – Senior

Jody Noreen – Hawley – Guard – Junior
Olivia Olson – Hawley – Guard – Junior
Mira Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Sophomore

Kristin Traiser – Fergus Falls – Center – Senior
Devonie Smith – Fergus Falls – Guard – Senior

Josi Tappe – Frazee – Guard – Junior

Breann Hogie – Lake Park-Audubon – Forward – Senior
Bailee Bartunek – Lake Park-Audubon – Center – Senior

Lydia Rutten – New York Mills – Guard – Freshman
Ellie Rutten – New York Mills – Center – Junior

Lincoln Haiby – Pelican Rapids – Forward – Junior

Ella Von Ruden – Perham – Guard – Sophomore
Maria Rutten – Perham – Guard – Sophomore

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.