Top 10 area football rankings for Minnesota (Week 3)

Moorhead moved to 2-0 on the season with a win over Alexandria in Week 2. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Moorhead moved to 2-0 on the season with a win over Alexandria in Week 2. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Breckenridge had a big win over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton and Waubun had the win of the week for area teams over Stephen-Argyle.

Here’s the area rankings for Minnesota, heading into Week 3 of high school football.

 

1. Underwood (2-0)

Last week: 56-6 win at home over Park Christian

Next up: host Cromwell (2-0), Friday, 6 p.m.

Another dominating week for the Rockets, as they rushed for 330 yards on 33 carries against Park Christian. The Rockets had five different rushers score touchdowns and three with 60 or more yards.

The running game for the Rockets starts with quarterback Justin Masloski and running backs Coy Thorson and Dylan Kalenze.

They will need all three in a Class 9-man, top-10 matchup with Cromwell on Friday. Biggest test of the season for Underwood.

 

2. Mahnomen (2-0)

Last week: 50-0 win at home over Fertile-Beltrami

Next up: at Lake Park-Audubon (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Thought Lake Park-Audubon would be playing better this season, but the Raiders shouldn’t be overlooked by Mahnomen.

At this point, it doesn’t matter. Indians are rolling. They’ve outscored teams 103-0 and have given up a total of 153 yards so far on the season.

The Indians are certainly happy to have Kody Lefebvre back after his injury last season. All he’s done is rush for 194 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, caught six passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns and thrown a 51-yard touchdown in two games. He also has two interceptions on defense.

With either him or quarterback Tom Pavek getting the ball, it’s pick your poison for opposing defenses.

 

3. Moorhead  (2-0)

Last week: 39-8 win at home over Alexandria

Next up: at Sartell-St. Stephen (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

The Moorhead Spuds defense has forced 10 turnovers on the season in two games. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

The Moorhead Spuds defense has forced 10 turnovers on the season in two games. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

The Moorhead defense is ferocious and stacked with seniors. The Spuds swarm to every play, have forced 10 turnovers in two games this season and had four sacks against Alexandria. 

Malique or Devante Debrune are always one step away from a huge play. The twins are absolutely everywhere on the field.

Mix that defense with a senior running back and senior quarterback and the Spuds are frightening. If the Spuds can drop 39 points with a running game that’s figuring things out with a new offensive line, what are they going to be like later in the season.

It doesn’t really matter, considering the Spud offense doesn’t have to do much with that defense. The fact the Spuds offense has the potential to do a lot more than it’s doing is what’s scary.

Not all is good in Spudville, as senior defense and offensive lineman Garrett Brooks came up hobbling with an ankle injury against Alexandria. The two lines are where the Spuds have the least experience.

The Spuds look for revenge in Week 3. Sartell-St. Stephen has beaten the Spuds in the section championship game the last two seasons.

 

4. Ottertail Central (2-0)

Last week: 57-0 win at home over Osakis

Next up: at Frazee (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

A couple of weeks ago, this game would have looked a lot more enticing, but Frazee is in a tailspin, losing to a Staples-Motley team that had a 39-game losing streak.

On the other side, Ottertail Central is rolling. The Bulldogs just won a 57-0 game where no one had any real stand-out stats. Shows OTC has playmakers all over the field with Tony Ukkelberg, Eric and Andrew VanErp and Cody Seedorf.

 

5. Breckenridge (2-0)

Last week: 28-20 win at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Next up: host Barnesville (1-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Breckenridge had a big win over D-G-F in Week 2. Treyton Hought (left) rushed for a TD. Photo courtesy of Robert Wanek and the Wahpeton Daily News

Breckenridge had a big win over D-G-F in Week 2. Treyton Hought (left) rushed for a TD. Photo courtesy of Robert Wanek and the Wahpeton Daily News

Class 2A Breckenridge just knocked off a top-10 Class 3A team on the road in Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. Needless to say, the Cowboys won’t be going overlooked from here on out.

Carson Yaggie looks mighty comfortable at the quarterback position, throwing for 155 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for a touchdown against a good D-G-F defense.

 

6. Waubun (2-0)

Last week: 41-40 win at Stephen-Argyle in overtime

Next up: host Clearbrook-Gonvick (1-1), Thursday, 7 p.m.

The biggest win in the area goes to Waubun. It was on the road against No. 6-ranked Stephen-Argyle.

On top of that, Waubun was trailing 27-6 in the second quarter. If not for a Peyton Syverson 9-yard touchdown pass with one second remaining in the first half, this game could have been completely different.

Syverson did everything for the Bombers. He threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns, had an interception and got the winning 2-point conversion.

As for going for two and the win?

“The decision to go for the win was a no-brainer,” Waubun coach Paul Clark said. “We will always go for the win. It helped that they hadn’t stopped us much in the second half.”

The Bombers are a confident football team right now.

 

7. Ada-Borup (2-0)

Last week: 42-6 win at home over Northern Freeze

Next up: at Goodridge-Grygla (2-0), Thursday, 7 p.m.

Ada-Borup gets a tough bounce from No. 5 to No. 7. It’s too hard to ignore the bigger value of wins for Breckenridge and Waubun, but the Cougars get their first real test with Goodridge-Grygla this week.

Michael Kolness ran wild in Week 2 with 197 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries for the Cougars. With him and Dexter Pelzman (punt return of 81 yards for a touchdown and kick return of 77 yards for a touchdown) making big plays, the Cougars are hard to stop.

 

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

Last week: 28-20 loss at home to Breckenridge

Next up: at Crookston (0-2), Friday, 6 p.m.

Week 2 was a tough loss for the Rebels. Breckenridge is a good team, but to lose to a Class 2A team as a Class 3A team is going to hurt.

The Rebels were in a position they aren’t really built for, as Breckenridge went up 14-0 and 20-6. This takes the Rebels out of the run game. The Rebels need their defense to sway the way the game is played and Breckenridge knocked them out of their comfort zone.

Rebels need a confidence booster at Crookston.

 

9. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (2-0) 

Last week: 39-8 win at Verndale

Next up: host Rothsay (0-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

After a 39-8 beat down of Verndale on the road, the Comets can’t be ignored. At the same time, winning a section featuring Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Wheaton-Herman-Norcross and Underwood is a hard task to take.

For now, the Comets have given up 14 points in two weeks of football and quarterback Sean McGuire just lit up Verndale. He was 17-for-22 for 226 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

Hard to see the Comets not moving to 3-0 on the season.

 

10. Barnesville (1-1)

Last week: 38-8 win at home over Crookston

Next up: at Breckenridge (2-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

If Barnesville can somehow make it through the first three weeks at 2-1 with the injuries the Trojans have, it would be incredible.

Not sure the Trojans have enough to get by Breckenridge, but the Trojans can get to Week 5 at least 2-2 and should be healthy for a game at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. That will be a big test for Barnesville.

Until then, it’s a waiting game for the Trojans to get healthy.

Until then, quarterback Ethan Ishaug, who missed Week 2, and running back Josh Tweeton will have to hold down the fort.

 

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 football in Minnesota

Here’s the standout performances from the area in Week 2 of Minnesota high school football.

 

Peyton Syverson – Waubun

Waubun needed everything to top No. 6-ranked Stephen-Argyle and Peyton Syverson got it for them. He threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns, had an interception and got the winning 2-point conversion in the 41-40 win in overtime.

Kody Lefebvre – Mahnomen

Lefebvre had a rushing touchdown, caught a touchdown pass, threw a touchdown pass and took an interception back for a touchdown. He threw a 51-yard touchdown pass, rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown on eight carries and had two catches for 61 yards and a touchdown in Mahnomen’s Week 2 win.

Sean McGuire – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy

McGuire was 17-for-22 for 226 yards and two touchdowns through the air and rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in Hillcrest’s 39-8 over Verndale.

Michael Kolness – Ada-Borup

Kolness rushed for 197 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries in Ada-Borup’s 42-6 win over Northern Freeze.

Carson Yaggie – Breckenridge

Yaggie threw for 155 yards and two touchdowns and rushed a for a touchdown to lead Breckenridge over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in Week 2.

Ben Nordmark – Detroit Lakes

Nordmark had 164 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries in the 48-6 win for the Lakers over Roseau.

Josh Tweeton – Barnesville

Tweeton rushed for 103 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries in Barnesville’s 38-8 win over Crookston.

Coy Thorson – Underwood

Thorson had two rushes, both of which went for touchdowns, for 96 yards and had 5.5 tackles, one sack and a 1.5 tackles for loss on defense in Underwood’s Week 2 win over Park Christian.

Isaiah Lemke – Fergus Falls

Lemke welcome Fergus Falls home for the first time since October of 2013 with 51 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 12 carries and 121 yards and a touchdown through the air in the win for the Otters.

Austin Koenig – Hawley 

Koenig rushed for 158 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries and had an interception on defense in Hawley’s Week 2 win over Warroad.

Brady Sirjord – Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal

Sirjord rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries in the Titans’ 52-44 win over Clearbrook-Gonvick.

McKenon Plaster – Brandon-Evansville 

Plaster rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns and had four tackles on defense in Brandon-Evansville’s 52-0 win over Hancock.

 

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)

Big wins for Breckenridge and Ottertail Central shake things up this week in the rankings for Minnesota area football teams.

No team, however, had a bigger win than Moorhead.

 

1. Underwood (1-0)

Last week: 41-6 win at home over Renville County West

Next up: host Park Christian (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Dylan Kalenze had a big Week 1 for Underwood. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Dylan Kalenze had a big Week 1 for Underwood. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Underwood rushed for 286 yards on 50 carries and dominated in Week 1.

Dylan Kalenze and Coy Thorson combined for 219 yards and three touchdowns rushing on just 26 attempts. Kalenze had 128 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries and Thorson had 91 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Both also had interceptions on defense.

Rockets did what a top-ranked team does. They dominated.

 

2. Mahnomen (1-0)

Last week: 53-0 win at home over Pillager

Next up: host Fertile-Beltrami (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Tom Pavek has the makings of a big senior season for Mahnomen. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Tom Pavek has the makings of a big senior season for Mahnomen. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Mahnomen also did what a top-ranked team does. The Indians dominated.

The Indians gave up 69 yards of total offense. Mahnomen quarterback Tom Pavek has the makings of a monster senior season. Pavek completed four pass for 43 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 62 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and had an interception on defense.

Even bigger news for Mahnomen is Kody Lefebvre, who missed all of last season, rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.

 

3. Moorhead (1-0)

Last week: 26-16 win at St. Michael-Albertville

Next up: host Alexandria (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Malique Delbrune came up big in Week 1 for the Spuds. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Malique Delbrune came up big in Week 1 for the Spuds. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

No area team had a bigger win in Week 1 than Moorhead. It was early in a shortened season with less practice than usual and a game 3.5 hours away was moved up from 6 p.m. to 2 p.m. the day before.

So the Spuds had to be at Moorhead at 7:30 a.m. to make the trip to St. Michael-Albertville. They arrived and they beat a team that was in the Class 5A state semifinals last season behind six turnovers forced on defense.

Malique Delbrune came up with the big turnover. An 80-yard interception return for a touchdown in the final minutes, turning a 19-16 lead for the Spuds into a 26-16 win.

Matt Bye also was big for the first game of his senior season, rushing for 111 yards and a touchdown and throwing for 90 yards and a touchdown. Spuds didn’t have much luck in the running game outside of Bye’s 95-yard touchdown run.

Either way, a win like that is huge to start the season for the Spuds.

Spuds have an Alexandria team that has lost six straight to Moorhead. Spuds have ended Alexandria’s season the last three years in the playoffs.

 

4. Ottertail Central (1-0)

Last week: 35-14 win at home over Barnesville

Next up: host Osakis (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Ottertail Central had opened the last two seasons with losses to Barnesville. Not in 2015. Behind Tony Ukkelberg, Andrew VanErp and Cody Seedorf the Bulldogs opened with a win.

Ukkelberg threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns, VanErp had three catches for 86 yards and a touchdown and had an 80-yard kick return for a touchdown and Seedorf had 73 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, while taking back a fumble 40 yards for a touchdown.

Barnesville is a little hobbled right now, but the Trojans are still a big win for the Bulldogs.

 

5. Ada-Borup (1-0)

Last week: 42-7 win at Warren-Alvarado-Oslo

Next up: host Northern Freeze (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

Ada-Borup opened up the season with a bang, scoring 28 unanswered points on Warren-Alvarado-Oslo.

Lucas Lindell threw for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Dexter Pelzman caught both of those touchdown passes and had 98 yards receiving. Zach Pelzman rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown on just four attempts.

 

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

Last week: 16-2 win at Thief River Falls

Next up: host No. 7 Breckenridge (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

So much for D-G-F having problems with replacing people on defense and the running game. The Rebels gave up 187 total yards of offense and Tyler Oberg and Garrett Scheel combined for 290 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries.

Rebels have a tough matchup in Breckenridge, which is coming off a big win over Frazee to open the season.

 

7. Breckenridge (1-0)

Last week: 28-12 win at home over Frazee

Next up: at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

The win over Frazee was a big one for the Cowboys. The stats are pretty similar. Both teams ran 55 plays. Breckenridge had 289 yards of total offense versus Frazee’s 237. Both teams had one turnover. Breckenridge had 45 more rushing yards, three more first downs and 10 yards less of penalties.

Breckenridge was able to limit Frazee running back Tanner Bachmann, who rushed for nearly 1,500 yards last season, to just 61 yards on 24 attempts, which is 2.5 yards per carry.

Breckenridge will need to do the same thing with D-G-F’s running game.

 

8. Waubun (1-0)

Last week: 40-20 win at home over Kittson County Central

Next up: at Stephen-Argyle (1-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Huge game for Peyton Syverson. He rushed for 163 yards and four touchdowns on 15 attempts in Week 1.

Dayton Makey continues to do everything for the Bombers. He rushed for 32 yards and a touchdown on just three carries, had an interception, hit two extra points and averaged 41.7 yards on three punts.

 

9. Barnesville (0-1)

Last week: 35-15 loss at Ottertail Central

Next up: host Crookston (0-1), Friday, 7 p.m.

The injury bug just won’t get away from Barnesville. Quarterback Ethan Ishaug left the Week 1 game prior to halftime with back spasms. This was already a team playing without its running back in Connor Meyer and five defensive linemen.

Ishaug may not be back for Week 2 and Connor Meyer is out until probably Week 5, but the Trojans get back three of those defensive linemen for Week 2 and the other two will be back for Week 3. Trojans can get by Crookston hobbled, but they’ll need Ishaug and the rest of the team to be as healthy as possible for Breckenridge, Frazee and Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in Weeks 3, 4 and 5.

 

10. Frazee  (0-1)

Last week: 28-12 loss at Breckenridge

Next up: at Staples-Motley (0-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Frazee took a shot to open the season, but Class 2A, Section 8 is winnable and it’d be hard to imagine it would not come down to Frazee and Barnesville.

The Hornets need to gain momentum, while Barnesville is hurt. Time to see how the Hornets respond to some early adversity.

 

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 football in Minnesota

Park Christian School football players observe a moment of silence Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015, before the start of their game against Maccray in memory of Zach and Connor Kvalvog who died in a vehicle accident June 23rd near Fergus Falls. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Park Christian football players observe a moment of silence Saturday before the start of their game against MACCRAY in memory of Zach and Connor Kvalvog who died in a vehicle accident June 23rd near Fergus Falls. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Here’s the top performances of the area from Week 1 of Minnesota high school football.

Park Christian 

Jordan Kerr had to step into the quarterback role that was supposed to go to Zach Kvalvog before he died this summer. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Jordan Kerr had to step into the quarterback role that was supposed to go to Zach Kvalvog before he died this summer. The ‘K’ on the helmets was for Kvalvog and his brother, Connor, who also died in the rollover crash. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

The Park Christian football team played in the first school event since the death of quarterback, point guard and track runner Zach Kvalvog and his brother, Connor, in a rollover crash in the summer.

The Falcons lost 48-0, but sometimes the scoreboard doesn’t tell the whole story. The fact the Falcons were even on the field is all that matters.

Sean McGuire – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy

McGuire was 17-for-38 for 188 yards and two touchdowns through the air and rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on seven carries on the ground in the Hillcrest Lutheran Academy’s 30-6 win over Hancock in Week 1.

Mitch Blaha – Verndale 

Blaha rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown and had eight tackles and an interception in Verndale’s 22-20 come-from-behind win over Brandon-Evansville. The Pirates trailed the game 14-0.

Tyler Oberg/Garrett Scheel – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Tyler Oberg rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns and picked up a safety on defense. Garrett Scheel rushed for 165 yards on 20 carries in D-G-F’s 16-2 win over Thief River Falls.

Matt Bye/Malique Delbrune – Moorhead

Malique Delbrune came up big in Week 1 for the Spuds. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Malique Delbrune came up big in Week 1 for the Spuds. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

A big win generally has a huge play. Moorhead was up 19-16 in the final two minutes against St. Michael-Albertville. St. Michael-Albertville had first-and-10 from the Moorhead 25 and Malique Delbrune took an interception 80 yards to the house to put the Spuds up 26-16 with a little over a minute to play. He also had a fumble recovery.

Matt Bye rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and threw for 90 yards and a touchdown.

Tom Pavek – Mahnomen

Pavek was 4-for-6 for 43 yards and two touchdowns passing and rushed for 62 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and had an interception in Mahnomen’s 53-0 win over Pillager.

Dylan Kalenze/Coy Thorson – Underwood

Kalenze and Thorson combined for 219 yards and three touchdowns rushing on just 26 attempts. Kalenze had 128 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries and Thorson had 91 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. Both also had interceptions on defense in Underwood’s 41-6 win over Renville County West.

Dylan Perrine – Perham 

Perham's Dylan Perrine (right) had a big Week 1 for the Yellowjackets. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Perham’s Dylan Perrine (right) had a big Week 1 for the Yellowjackets. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Perrine helped hand Hawley just its second loss in last 33 regular season games. Perrine threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown in a 36-14 win over Hawley.

Peyton Syverson – Waubun

Syverson rushed for 163 yards and four touchdowns on 15 carries in Waubun’s 40-20 win over Kittson County Central.

Andrew VanErp/Cody Seedorf- Ottertail Central

Andrew VanErp had three catches for 86 yards and a touchdown and opened the second half with an 80-yard touchdown kick return. Cody Seedorf had 73 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and took a fumble back 40 yards for a touchdown in OTC’s 35-14 win over Barnesville.

Lucas Lindell/Dexter Pelzman – Ada-Borup

Lindell completed seven passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a touchdown in Ada-Borup’s 42-7 win over Warren-Alvarado-Oslo. Four of those passes went to Pelzman for 94 yards and two touchdowns. Pelzman also returned a punt 69 yards 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 1)

For the first time since starting these rankings two seasons ago, there is a new No. 1 area Minnesota football team in the top 10.

Underwood gets the No. 1 for the start of the 2015 football season.

 

1. Underwood 

Last season: 10-2, lost to Grand Meadow in the Class 9-man quarterfinals 20-0

Next up: host Renville County West, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Underwood begins the season as the No. 1 area football team. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Underwood begins the season as the No. 1 area football team. Photo by David Samson/Forum

There’s talent all over for a team which was in the state championship two years ago and in the state quarterfinals last season.

Matt Biegler is an absolute monster and he returns at defensive end and tight end. He had 63 tackles last season and 15 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. He also had 16 catches for 294 yards and four touchdowns and even had five carries for 28 yards last season.

The Rockets lose leading rusher Noah Thompson, but return quarterback Justin Masloski and running back Dylan Kalenze. Masloski threw for 655 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for 514 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Kalenze averaged 6.6 yards a carry, rushing for 774 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Underwood returns three all-conference players in Biegler, offensive and defensive lineman Joe Onstad and linebacker Coy Thorson, along with all-conference honorable mentions in Kalenze and fullback Cole Kugler.

Kugler ran for 561 yards and six touchdowns on 93 carries last season. Underwood has a state championship on its mind this season. There’s no reason the Rockets shouldn’t.

 

2. Mahnomen

Last season: 11-1, lost to Dawson-Boyd in the Class 1A quarterfinals 34-20

Next up: host Pillager, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Mahnomen's Jerell Londo (21) had 24.5 tackles last season and 3.5 sacks along with rushing for three touchdowns for Mahnomen. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

Mahnomen’s Jerell Londo (21) had 24.5 tackles and 3.5 sacks along with rushing for three touchdowns for Mahnomen last season. Photo by Mike Vosburg/Forum

The streak ended last season for Mahnomen. The Indians won 39 straight games and two Class 1A state titles. It was Dawson-Boyd that got them again. In their last 41 games, the Indians are 1-2 against Dawson-Boyd and 38-0 against everyone else.

Mahnomen looks to build a new streak and the Indians have the pieces to do so, despite the fact the Indians have to rebuild their offensive line.

Playmakers are back for Mahnomen. Quarterback Tom Pavek is back after rushing for 1,329 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He averaged 12.3 yards per carry. Jake Worms had six rushing touchdowns, one receiving touchdown and  rushed for 444 yards on just 38 carries. Mitch Foss averaged 10.3 yards per carry, rushing for 764 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Mahnomen has Foss, Pavek, and Worms for the running game, but also have Kody Lefebvre, who missed all of last season. Coach John Clark is expecting a lot out of him.

Defense is never usually a problem for Mahnomen. They’ll have Pavek and Lefebvre in the secondary with Worms and Dan Olson on the defensive line and Jerell Londo and Foss leading the linebackers.

The last time Mahnomen ended a season with a loss, the Indians responded with 39 straight wins and two state titles.

 

3. Moorhead

Last season: 8-2, lost to Sartell-St. Stephen in the Class 5A, Section 8 championship 34-27

Next up: at St. Michael-Albertville, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Mike Duginski will take over the load at running back this season for Moorhead. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Mike Duginski (right) will take over the load at running back this season for Moorhead. Photo by David Samson/Forum

It was more heartbreak at the hands of Sartell-St. Stephen last season for Moorhead. Two seasons ago it was an interception in the opposing end zone, trailing by five, that ended the section championship against Sartell for the Spuds.

Last season it was a touchdown with 16 seconds remaining that turned a 27-26 Moorhead lead into a 34-27 win for Sartell in the section championship.

Having met in the last three section titles, it smells like the Spuds have themselves a pretty good rivalry with Sartell at this point.

The Spuds have been in the Class 5A, Section 8 championship game all five years under coach Kevin Feeney. There’s no reason the Spuds shouldn’t be right back there again this year with 15 returning starters.

Brody Jerome is a mammoth human being. He’ll lead the defensive line, along with Garrett Brooks. Nate Stich will lead linebackers Tristen Nelson, Zech Klindt and Jacob Viou. Mike Duginski and the Delbrune twins (Malique and Devante) will be the secondary. All of these guys have played together on defense and all are seniors.

For the first time in a long time, the running game for Moorhead is a little bit in question. In the Feeney years at Moorhead, the Spuds have always had a clear lead running back and a secondary guy. Chase Morlock (NDSU) and Jade Lawrence (University of North Dakota) became Jade Lawrence and Mike Duginski.

Duginski is the lead back this season. He rushed for nearly 400 yards and six touchdowns last season and had nearly 200 reception yards and three touchdowns receiving. Question is who will be the secondary back. On top of that, the Spuds lose a lot of their offensive line and will need Jerome, Brooks and Tanner McBain to take over the offensive line.

Spuds have Matt Bye returning for his second season at quarterback and Nelson will be his big target.

Finally, Moorhead has an incredibly tough schedule with three Class 5A teams that made it to state in St. Michael-Albertville, Bemidji and Elk River. The eight teams on the schedule for Moorhead combined for a 55-27 record last season.

 

4. Ottertail Central

Last season: 9-2, lost to Holdingford in the Class 2A, Section 6 championship 42-22

Next up: host Barnesville, Saturday, 8 p.m.

Ottertail Central will be looking for a big year from 3-year starter Cody Seedorf this season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Ottertail Central will be looking for a big year from 3-year starter Cody Seedorf this season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

It’s pretty hard to bet against Ottertail Central as long as the names Ukkelberg and VanErp continue to pop up on the roster. It would seem there are 500 of each, so it’ll be hard to bet against the Bulldogs, especially with Don Seipkes coaching, for awhile.

OTC has three-year starters in quarterback and linebacker Tony Ukkelberg, fullback and linebacker Cody Seedorf and safety and wide receiver Andrew VanErp.

Ukkelberg threw for 1,200 yards and ran for 677 yards last year at quarterback as a junior. Seedorf ran for 848 yards and was second on the team in tackles. VanErp had 548 yards receiving and four interceptions. All three were all-conference players, as was junior defensive and offensive tackle Daniel Ukkelberg.

Another big help for Ottertail is the Bulldogs won’t be seeing Holdingford in the section playoffs, as Holdingford moved up to Class 3A. Holdingford knocked out the Bulldogs in the section championship the last two seasons.

 

5. Frazee

Last season9-2, lost to Hawley in the Class 2A, Section 8 championship 34-13

Next up: at Breckenridge, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Tanner Bachmann (ball) will be the leader of this year's Frazee team. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Tanner Bachmann (ball) will be the leader of this year’s Frazee team. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Eyes are big in Class 2A, Section 8 with Hawley losing 21 starters to graduation. The section seems up for grabs after belonging to the Nuggets for the last three seasons.

No team was closer to topping Hawley in the section than Frazee last season. They lose a big piece in quarterback Hesston Bachmann and Garrett Malstrom, Roger Thorp and Austin Torma on defense.

The Hornets return leading rusher Tanner Bachmann, who rushed for 1,471 yards and 17 touchdowns last season and leading receiver Riley Utke, who had 25 catches for 394 yards and four touchdowns.

Senior linebacker Jonah Lange will have to fill in for the losses on defense.

Jim Jacobson has a good situation for his first year as head coach of the Hornets.

 

6. Ada-Borup 

Last season: 7-2, lost to Nevis in the Class 9-man, Section 6 semifinals 36-0

Next up: at Warren-Alvarado-Oslo, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Last season was supposed to be it for Ada-Borup. The Cougars lost all their offensive weapons and had a first-year coach and a new system. Finally, the football team would become human, after winning five of the previous six section titles.

Apparently human for Ada-Borup is 7-2. Now, the Cougars went from young and inexperienced in a new system with a new coach to experienced and fully aware of the system.

Michael Kolness returns after rushing for 764 yards and five touchdowns, catching eight passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns and recording 53 tackles on defense. He’s back at running back. Lucas Lindell is back at quarterback, after throwing for 650 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

The Cougars have 10 returning seniors with a lot of experience. This high of a ranking could be a reach for the Cougars, but if they can go 7-2 with no expectations, hard to bet against them with experience.

 

7. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

Last season: 8-3, lost to Pierz in the Class 3A state quarterfinals 42-28

Next up: Thief River Falls, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Payne

Gunnar Payne (left) will need to have a big season on defense for D-G-F to get back to state. Photo by Michael Vosburg/Forum

Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton has made it to state in back-to-back seasons. The Rebels have done so with their defense and their running game.

The Rebels had over 2,500 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns between Brandon Wayne, Alex Matthews and Joe Flatt last season. All three have graduated, so D-G-F will look to Tyler Oberg, Eric Watt, Ryan Poehls and Garrett Scheel to fill those numbers.

The spotlight is on senior Blake Kragnes at quarterback. He’s grown two inches and gained 25 pounds and is in his second season starting at quarterback. There isn’t a lot of experience at wide receiver, but D-G-F will use Kragnes and his size in some shape or form. He threw for 1,029 yards and nine touchdowns, but also threw eight interceptions.

The Rebels lost a lot on defense. Their linebackers were all seniors last season and their three main defensive linemen were as well. Gunnar Payne will have to fill the shoes of Garrett Pemelton on the defensive line.

Coach Anthony Soderberg said his team may not have the experience, but they have the athletes.

No part of the Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton co-op has been to state three seasons in a row since Glyndon-Felton did it in 1983, 84 and 85.

 

8. Breckenridge

Last season: 4-5, lost to Pelican Rapids in the quarterfinals of the Class 2, Section 6 playoffs 27-20

Next up: host Frazee, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Breckenridge has a lot of experience returning and four big boys on the offensive and defensive lines in Erik Manning, Tyler Vold, Alex Mertes and Austin Ramos.

The Cowboys have experience all over the field with Easton Erbes, Hunter Aigner, Travis Miranowski and Treyton Hought returning in the backfield and Stevin Lipp at wide receiver. Ashton Hegge is also playing football this season and he’ll be another option at wide receiver.

Defensively, Aigner, Miranowski and Hought will be the linebacker corps, along with Erbes, Lipp, Carson Yaggie and Hegge at defensive backs.

Much will depend on how Yaggie plays in his first year at quarterback. He certainly has experienced options around him.

 

9. Barnesville 

Last season: 6-4, lost to Hawley in the Class 2A, Section 8 semifinals 26-11

Next up: Ottertail Central, Saturday, 8 p.m.

The health of Ethan Ishaug (8) will be a big factor for the Trojans this season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

The health of Ethan Ishaug (8) will be a big factor for the Trojans this season. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Barnesville could not stay healthy last season, which was a pain for the Trojans, but it makes for a lot of experience this season, as the Trojans return 15 starters. Despite the injuries, the Trojans still finished 6-4 and gave Hawley – ranked No. 1 in Class 2A at the time – a pretty good game in the section semifinals.

Trojans would be ranked higher if they weren’t injured again, but they should come around in the middle of the season. Ethan Ishaug is back at starting quarterback, but he’s fighting back problems. He’s also a four-year starter at linebacker.

Connor Meyer returns at running back, but he’ll be out for a few weeks, as will Joey Roste. Barnesville has four returning starters on the offensive line and a linebacking corps that will be in its third year starting together.

Problem for Barnesville is the schedule offers no help for the Trojans and their injuries, as three of their four games to start the season are against Ottertail Central, Breckenridge and Frazee.

 

10. Waubun

Last season: 9-1, lost to Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal in the Class 9-man, Section 6 semifinals 14-13

Next up: host Kittson County Central, Saturday, 7 p.m.

Waubun's Dayton Makey will rarely leave the field this season for the Bombers. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Waubun’s Dayton Makey will rarely leave the field this season for the Bombers. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Much was talked about the read-option offense for Waubun last season and they lose their two leaders of that in quarterback Jordan Spaeth and running back Ryan Weber.

Those two combined for 2,697 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns. What was generally overlooked was the Waubun defense. The Bombers defense gave up a total of 75 points in 10 games last season.

A big reason behind that was Darius Woods-Steichen, who had 16 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks last season. He also rushed for 374 yards and five touchdowns on 38 carries.

Dayton Makey is another guy Waubun coach Paul Clark is going to need. Clark said Makey will probably not come off the field this season, playing running back, linebacker, kicker, punter and kick returner. Makey showed good signs last season of breaking through as a sophomore. He averaged 9.4 yards a carry, rushed for 273 yards and two touchdowns, caught three passes for 29 yards and a touchdown, had six tackles (three for loss), punted and kicked extra points and field goals last season.

A lot is on Woods-Steichen to lead the Bombers, but Makey could take a lot off his shoulders if the junior has a breakout season.

 

SLEEPER

Lake Park-Audubon 

Last season: 6-4, lost to Fosston in the Class 1A, Section 8 semifinals 14-8

A lot will be on Paul Jensen at running back. He had 96 carries and two touchdowns on 29 carries last season. He’ll be getting a way larger workload this season. Defensively, he returns in the secondary where he had 39 tackles and one interception. Hunter Christianson and his five interceptions from last season also returns to the secondary.

The defense was big last season for LP-A. Outside of a 45-7 loss to Mahnomen, the Raiders gave up 73 points in nine games. Three of their four losses were by a combined nine points.

Carter Reann and Trent Rosing will fight for the No. 2 running back position behind Jensen. Reese Matson will step in at quarterback after LP-A lost Tim Brekken to graduation.

Even bigger for LP-A is the Raiders are out of the section with Mahnomen, moving from section 8 to section 6 in Class 1A.

 

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.

Basketball opponents remember Zach Kvalvog

Zach Kvalvog (10) celebrates Park Christian's first ever trip to state. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Zach Kvalvog (10) celebrates Park Christian’s first ever trip to state after upsetting No. 2-ranked Battle Lake. Photo by David Samson/Forum

The funeral for Park Christian’s Zach Kvalvog was Monday, after a car accident took the 18-year-old’s life last week.

It was said the happiest place for Kvalvog was the basketball court. He was the starting point guard for the Falcons since he was a freshman. He was a captain as a sophomore when the Falcons went to state for the first time in school history and he scored his 1,000th career point as a junior.

The Falcons were 16-10, 22-10 and 21-7 with a section championship in the three seasons Kvalvog was the starting point guard. They were 8-19 and 6-21 in the two seasons before Kvalvog took over at point guard.

Here’s what opponents said on social media and in interviews with the Forum about facing Kvalvog in his happy place.

 

Brett Maas – Norman County East Ulen-Hitterdal basketball coach 

As a freshman, Zach had the task of guarding (conference) player of the year Neil Henrickson early in the year when Park came to Ulen. During free throws, Neil would always come over to me and we would talk about the game and some strategy. In the middle of the game, Park was shooting free throws so Neil came over towards the bench to come talk to me. As I was going over adjustments with Neil, we looked over and Zach was basically standing side by side with us. Gary Walton, Parks coach at the time, must have told Zach to never leave Neil’s side. We both kind of just looked at Zach with this weird look and started laughing. Zach never flinched. He was totally immersed in the game plan. I will never forget that. The kid had absolutely no fear.

 

Daniel Lindgren – Mayville State (Enderlin High School)

 

Ron Ohren – Norman County West basketball coach

Lots of memories most of them bad for the Panthers. The kid never stopped hustling all over the court. I remember last year’s game at NCW when our point guard asked Zack, “Don’t you ever get tired?” and Zack calmly replied, “Never.” I remember playing them his freshmen year and I called my point guard, who Zack was guarding, over for a chat during a free throw and Zack came with him to listen to our conversation. Hated playing against the kid, but that is out of complete respect for his talents and work ethic. What coach wouldn’t want a Zack Kavlvog on your own team.

 

Cody Baumann – Fosston 

 

Kyle Haberman – Lake Park-Audubon basketball coach

He was a player your guys hated playing, but highly respected. I remember during our playoff game last year where he simply took over the game on both ends of the floor. He made you shake your head and admire how hard he was playing. Zach was the type of kid you could tell your players, “This is what it takes to be great.”

 

Ryan Bjerke – Fargo North 

 

Tyler Bormann – Breckenridge basketball coach 

He was a tremendous leader, as evidenced by his ability to set the tone for that program as a freshman, a tough task for any high school player, yet it appeared natural for him. He lead by example with his effort and toughness. As a point guard, he played beyond his years in terms of understanding how to make others better and being difficult to play against at an early age. If you’re a basketball fan, you appreciated and respected the way Zach played the game regardless of what team you cheer for. We (Breckenridge) left the floor better as a team having played against Zach’s team and he earned our respect both as a player and young man in the process.

 

Samuel Priem – Detroit Lakes 

 

Mike Clark – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton basketball coach 

Zach was the kind of player any coach would want on and leading their team. His work ethic and passion for the game was evident every time he stepped on the floor. He was as intense of a competitor as we’ll ever see, but played the game and treated it and his opponents with the respect and honor they deserve. He was a joy to watch and a challenge to game plan against. Just an all-around great player.

 

Matt Bye – Moorhead 

 

Gregg Preston – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy basketball coach

The news about the Kvalvog boys was completely gut-wrenching. I appreciated Zach’s energy, enthusiasm, hard work, competitiveness, and the overall excitement and life that he brought into a gym and a game by his presence. Personally, he was a player that always was willing to talk after the game, whether he won or lost and it was apparent that the basketball relationships he built in his years as a high school basketball player extended well beyond the Fargo-Moorhead area. We are hurting with and praying for the  family, friends, and our brothers and sisters at Park Christian

 

Shayne Dauenhauer – Fargo Shanley 

 

Todd Henrickson – Barnesville basketball coach 

What I remember of Zach as a freshman was the tenacity with which he played. Although he was not big in stature, he more than made up for it through heart and desire. We had solid guards that year and he made things very difficult for us. He was aggressive on both ends of the floor and worked extremely hard. He did a great job running their offense and setting his teammates up. It was also difficult to rattle him. I remember showing different defensive looks which seemed to have little or no affect on him. The program may have said he was a freshman, however, he sure did not play like one.

 

John Gullingsrud – Pelican Rapids basketball coach

I think the best word that comes to mind when I think about Zach Kvalvog, as a basketball player, is relentless. He would go all out on both ends of the floor for the entire game and would never let up. When a team’s best player has that type of attitude and work ethic, it rubs off on the rest of his teammates and the whole team follows suit, which is what we would see when we played Park Christian. That is why he was such a good leader. He led not only with words but with his actions. As a coach, opponent, or basketball fan in the stands, you couldn’t help but respect the way he played the game.

 

Neil Steffes – Fertile-Beltrami

He was a very intense competitor, hard worker, great leader and he was a player who you hated when you were playing against him, but you wanted him on your team because he wanted to win and would do anything to get the win.

 

 

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.

2014-15 Minnesota All-Area girls basketball team

Here’s a look at the top Minnesota girls basketball players from the area for the 2014-15 season.

 

ALL-AREA TEAM

Sam Haiby – Moorhead – Guard – Freshman

Moorhead freshman Sam Haiby is getting looks from a lot of colleges including the University of Minnesota and North Carolina. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Moorhead freshman Sam Haiby is getting looks from a lot of colleges, including the University of Minnesota and North Carolina. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

There’s a reason colleges are looking at Sam Haiby. She’s just a freshman and there’s not much she can’t do on a basketball court.

In her first year starting for the Spuds, Haiby averaged 20.7 points, 5.8 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 steals a game. She shot 41 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free-throw line.

Her assist-to-turnover ratio was more than 2-to-1.

 

 

Mackenzie Korf – Pelican Rapids –  Guard –  Junior

Mackenzie Korf picked up right where she left off before tearing her ACL last season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Mackenzie Korf picked up right where she left off before tearing her ACL last season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Mackenzie Korf averaged 18.5 points, 6.5 assists, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals a game this season for 19-9 Pelican Rapids, while shooting nearly 80 percent from the free-throw line.

Not bad considering she tore her ACL last February. The picture above was the only real way to guard Korf.

 

 

Mira Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Junior

Hawley junior Mira Ellefson (left) averaged 18.3 points a game this season for Hawley. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Hawley junior Mira Ellefson (left) averaged 18.3 points a game this season for Hawley. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

She’s got the size of a power forward, but can handle the ball like a point guard. She can shoot, she can drive, she can work in the post. Hawley’s Mira Ellefson did it all for the Nuggets.

Ellefson averaged 18.3 points and 8.08 rebounds this season. She shot 54 percent from the field, hit 27 of her 66 (40.9 percent) of her 3-point attempts and shot 77.7 percent from the free-throw line. Ellefson also averaged 2.62 steals and 2.62 assists to go along with one block a game.

 

 

Lexi Merkens – Ada-Borup – Forward – Senior

Ada-Borup was the leader of No. 1-ranked Ada-Borup all season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Ada-Borup was the leader of No. 1-ranked Ada-Borup all season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Lexi Merkens was the No. 1 player on the No. 1 team in Class 1A in Ada-Borup.

Everything down low belonged to Merkens. Every rebound, every point, every defensive stop.

She averaged nearly 15 points and more than five rebounds a game. She shot 45 percent from the field and hit 47 of her 134 (35 percent) attempts from 3-point land.

She could score down low or beyond the 3-point arc and averaged 3.62 assists and 2.55 steals a game.

In the state tournament, Merkens had seven points, eight assists and nine rebounds in the quarterfinals, 12 points in the semifinals and a double-double in the state championship with 17 points, 11 rebounds and five assists to lead the Cougars to a state title.

 

 

Shay Nielsen –  Detroit Lakes –  Center – Senior

Detroit Lakes' Shay Nielsen (right) averaged a double-double this season for DL. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Detroit Lakes’ Shay Nielsen (right) averaged a double-double this season for DL. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Shay Nielsen averaged 18.5 points and 11.3 rebounds this season for Detroit Lakes. The senior shot 51.4 percent from the field and 74.6 percent at the free-throw line.

Nielsen was a finalist for Minnesota Miss Basketball award and is headed to the University of Minnesota for shot put.

 

 

FIRST OFF THE BENCH

Lincoln Haiby – Pelican Rapids – Forward – Senior

Pelican Rapids' senior Lincoln Haiby (ball) averaged nearly a double-double this season for the Vikings. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Pelican Rapids’ senior Lincoln Haiby (ball) averaged nearly a double-double this season for the Vikings. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Lincoln Haiby averaged 14.9 points and 9.4 rebounds a game for Pelican Rapids to go along with two assists and 1.9 steals a game. The senior shot 76.3 percent from the free-throw line as well.

 

Jody Noreen – Hawley – Guard – Senior

Jody Noreen was the floor general for Hawley this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Jody Noreen was the floor general for Hawley this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Stats will never show what Jody Noreen has meant to the Hawley basketball program, but the oddity in seeing someone else bring up the ball next season will.

Noreen has seemingly been the point guard and floor general for the Nuggets forever. She averaged 7.96 points, 4.07 assists, 2.81 rebounds and 2.46 steals a game this season for the Nuggets. She had one turnover for every three assists.

She played some of the best defense in the area, dove for loose balls and it’s hard to find someone who got more excited for every point than Noreen. Every intangible a coach could want, Noreen had.

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Haley Poehler – Ada-Borup – Forward – Senior
Lexi Nelson – Ada-Borup – Guard – Junior
Miki Lee – Ada-Borup – Forward – Senior

Alli Skogen – Barnesville – Guard – Senior
Nicole Herbranson – Barnesville – Guard – Freshman
Peyton Boom – Barnesville – Center – Sophomore

Emily Friedrich – Brandon-Evansville – Center – Senior

Kyley Foster – Detroit Lakes – Guard – Senior

Alyson Brenna – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton – Forward – Junior
Natalie Steichen – Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton – Guard – Freshman

Josi Tappe – Frazee – Guard – Senior
Kennady Barlund – Frazee – Forward – Senior

Olivia Olson – Hawley – Guard – Senior

Brooke Tonsfeldt – Moorhead – Forward – Sophomore

Lydia Rutten – New York Mills – Guard – Sophomore

Haley Henrickson – Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal – Guard – Senior

Katie Klein – Park Rapids – Guard – Senior

Megan Swedberg – Waubun – Center – Junior

Shania Glenz – Verndale – Guard – Sophomore

Hannah Gail – Wheaton-Herman-Norcross –  Center – Sophomore
Jordan Stafford – Wheaton-Herman-Norcross – Guard – Junior

 

 

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.

2014-15 Minnesota All-Area boys basketball team

Here’s a look at the top Minnesota boys basketball players from the area for the 2014-15 season.

 

ALL-AREA TEAM

Cody Dorow – Moorhead – Guard – Senior
Moorhead's Cody Dorow had another big season scoring. He's headed to MSUM. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Moorhead’s Cody Dorow had another big season scoring. He’s headed to MSUM. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Cody Dorow could score any way possible for the Spuds. When it came to crunch time, there was no one who wanted the ball more.

He improved his defense from a year ago and the only real struggle, ironically, came at the free-throw line for a guy who could hit a shot anywhere beyond the 3-point arc. Even though he shot 77 percent from the free-throw line, it was something Dorow was not pleased with all season.

Dorow averaged 23 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals a game this season for the Spuds. He shot 51 percent from the field and ended his career as one of the best scorers in Moorhead history, finishing with 1,613 career points.

Dorow finished third all-time in Moorhead history for points behind Aaron Lien’s 1,886 and Jordan Driscoll’s 1,651.

In 93 games for his career, Dorow finished with 17.34 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.03 assists and 1.52 steals per game.

Dorow is headed to Minnesota State Moorhead to play basketball.

 

 

Tony Ukkelberg – Battle Lake – Guard – Junior

Battle Lake junior Tony Ukkelberg (right) was the leading scorer for BL this season. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Battle Lake junior Tony Ukkelberg (right) was the leading scorer for BL this season. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

Tony Ukkelberg averaged nearly 17 points a game for Class 1A, Section 6 champion Battle Lake.

Ukkelberg was efficient as can be, hitting nearly 60 percent of his shots from the field and nearly 50 percent of the 3-pointers he took. The junior got his 1,000th point this season and helped lead Battle Lake to its first state tournament win in program history.

Unfortunately for Ukkelberg, he suffered an ankle injury in the state quarterfinals that kept him out for most of the second half and the state semifinals.

 

 

Ben Ellefson – Hawley – Forward – Senior

Ben Ellefson became the 26th player in Minnesota high school basketball history to get 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Ben Ellefson became the 26th player in Minnesota high school basketball history to get 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Ben Ellefson is headed to North Dakota State for football, but one could argue he’s almost a better basketball player. It’s one thing to have the size of a DI tight end to outmuscle anyone on the court in high school. It’s another thing to have the shot and smarts Ellefson showed.

Ellefson not only shot 62 percent from the field, but he hit 46 of the 102 (45.1 percent) 3-pointers he attempted and shot nearly 80 percent from the free-throw line. On top of averaging 23 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, he averaged 1.85 assists, 1.93 steals and a block a game for the Nuggets.

He hit two milestones this season, getting his 2,000th point and 1,000th rebound of his career, becoming just the 26th player in Minnesota history to have both.

An example of how smart of a basketball player could be seen in the final two plays of his basketball career.

In this video from the Wahpeton Daily News at the 1:38 mark Ellefson gets a rebound with Hawley down five in the final 10 seconds of the subsection championship and instead of putting it back up, goes to the 3-point line and buries a fadeaway 3.

Hawley fouls with 1.6 seconds to go and trailing by two. Breckenridge misses the first free throw and instead of just grabbing the ball, turning and throwing it at the net, Ellefson moves a teammate away from touching it, let’s it bounce, gets behind it before time starts and tries to get a quick pass closer to the net for a better shot.

It didn’t work, but just portrayed how Ellefson does not think like the average athlete.

 

 

Petric VanErp – Battle Lake – Forward – Senior

Petric VanErp averaged nearly 17 points a game for Battle Lake this season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Petric VanErp averaged 16.2 points and 8.7 rebounds a game for Battle Lake this season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Petric VanErp did it all for the Battlers this season. VanErp could jump, run, shoot and could guard a team’s best player, whether they were a guard or center.

VanErp averaged 16.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.7 steals a game for Battle Lake. He even came back less than two weeks after tearing his meniscus to help the Battlers win a sub-section and section title.

In the state quarterfinals, exactly three weeks after tearing his meniscus, VanErp had nine points, 15 rebounds and five assists to get the Battlers to the state semifinals. In the state semifinals, with Battle Lake without its leading scorer, VanErp dropped 29 points.

He got the 1,000th point of his career this season as well.

 

 

Nate Lorenz – Breckenridge – Center – Senior

Breckenridge's Nate Lorenz (right) led the Cowboys to their first state tournament since 1979. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Breckenridge’s Nate Lorenz (right) led the Cowboys to their first state tournament since 1979. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Starting for Breckenridge since he was a freshman, there’s been a lot on the shoulders of Nate Lorenz.

The 6-foot-7 University of Minnesota Crookston commit got everything off his shoulders this season, averaging 17 points and 11 rebounds a game to lead the Cowboys to their first state tournament since 1979.

Lorenz became the all-time leading scorer in school history this season and the all-time leading rebounder in school history as a junior. He finished with 1,523 points and 984 rebounds in his career.

The size is one thing, but Lorenz could pass the ball, averaging more than two assists a game. He was a big reason Breckenridge was such a good shooting team from beyond the 3-point arc. Once the double team would come to him in the post, Lorenz would find an open guy for 3.

 

 

FIRST OFF THE BENCH

Christian Hedstrom – Detroit Lakes – Guard – Senior

Christian Hedstrom was the leading scorer for Detroit Lakes this season. Photo by Bob Williams/DL Newspapers

Christian Hedstrom was the leading scorer for Detroit Lakes this season. Photo by Bob Williams/DL Newspapers

Christian Hedstrom averaged 16.03 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.54 assists and 1.77 steals a game for 23-6 Detroit Lakes this season.

 

Jake Isaac – Fergus Falls Hillcrest – Center – Senior

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy senior Jake Isaac (left) averaged a double-double for HLA this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy senior Jake Isaac (left) averaged 21.7 points a game for HLA this season. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Jake Isaac averaged 21.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists a game for Hillcrest Lutheran Academy this season. He shot 58 percent from the field and hit 29 of the 79 (37 percent) 3-pointers he attempted.

Isaac finished with 1,413 points for his career and broke the school record for career free-throw percentage at 84 percent.

 

 

HONORABLE MENTION

Ben Sauve – Barnesville – Guard – Senior

Nick Trosdahl – Battle Lake – Center – Senior

Ashton Hegge – Breckenridge – Guard – Junior
Nate Blaufuss – Breckenridge – Guard – Senior

Ben Hokanson – Detroit Lakes – Center – Senior
Ryan Cihak – Detroit Lakes – Guard – Senior

Brady Bellefeuille – Frazee – Forward – Senior

Aaron Regnier – Hawley – Forward – Senior
Dillon Omberg – Hawley – Guard – Senior

Chris Tungseth – Hillcrest Lutheran Academy – Guard – Junior

Matt Bye – Moorhead – Guard – Junior
Nick Wiesmann – Moorhead – Center – Senior

Hunter Thompson – Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal – Guard – Senior

Zach Kvalvog – Park Christian – Guard – Junior

Jordan McCollum – Park Rapids – Forward – Senior

Sam Muer – Perham – Forward – Senior

Darius Woods-Steichen – Waubun – Forward – Junior

Jay Zimmerman – West Cental Area – Center – Senior

 

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 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Feb. 18)

Boys rankings stay the same, but Hillcrest gets within striking distance of Battle Lake and Moorhead tops Detroit Lakes.

On the girls side, the top two teams squared off with Ada-Borup proving why the Cougars are the best girls basketball team in the area.

Here are your area Minnesota high school boys and girls basketball rankings for the week of Feb. 18.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (24-1)

Last week: 66-48 win at Henning; 85-82 win at home over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy

Next up: host Barnesville, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Petric VanErp led the way for Battle Lake in a big win over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Petric VanErp led the way for Battle Lake in a big win over Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Battle Lake will head into the postseason with a grip on 6A, after beating Hillcrest twice in the regular season. Things become a tad more interesting considering Battle Lake beat Hillcrest 54-34 earlier in the season and only beat the Comets by three on Tuesday.

Outside of a loss to Maranatha Christian, the closest margin was 15 in the 23 Battle Lake wins. Hillcrest now has gotten the closest with a three-point loss.

The Battlers are healthy with Tony Ukkelberg fully back. He had 21 against Hillcrest, Petric VanErp had 23 and Andrew VanErp and Nick Trosdahl each had 16.

 

2. Hawley (19-3)

Last week: 65-35 win at home over Verndale; 58-48 win at home over Perham; 84-53 win at Pelican Rapids

Next week: host Frazee, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Ben Ellefson became the 26th player in Minnesota high school basketball history to get 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Ben Ellefson became the 26th player in Minnesota high school basketball history to get 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career. Photo by Carrie Snyder/Forum

Big win for Hawley over Perham, considering Perham is sporting two new players from Class 4A St. Cloud Tech transfers junior Max and freshman Mitch Plombon.

With the Plombons, Perham rolled one of the top 8AA North teams in Crosby-Ironton 46-30 on Monday, so the Yellowjackets are nothing to sleep on. Then again, they lost to Frazee 45-44 for the first time in two decades.

The Nuggets have won 12 in a row and big man Ben Ellefson just became the 26th player in Minnesota high school boys basketball history to have over 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career.

Against Perham, it was Ellefson with 19 points and seven rebounds and Dillon Omberg with 17 points that led the Nuggets. Hawley has size, weapons and is full of seniors.

Next stop should be state for the first time since 2000. First step was locking up the No. 1 seed in 8AA South and the Nuggets did just that.

 

3. Moorhead (19-5)

Last week: 73-63 win at Alexandria; 52-46 win at home over Detroit Lakes

Next up: postseason

Matt Bye (ball) had a big night to fuel a comeback for Moorhead against Detroit Lakes on Tuesday. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Matt Bye (ball) had a big night to fuel a comeback for Moorhead against Detroit Lakes on Tuesday. Photo by David Samson/Forum

Moorhead looks to have a No. 2 seed locked up for the 8AAAA tournament, meaning they’ll open the playoffs at home. Spuds are 8-1 in the section with their only loss coming 70-59 to St. Michael Albertville, which will most likely be the No. 1 seed.

Spuds will most likely have Rogers in the section semifinals, a team they beat 66-50 in the regular season.

If things go according to plan, Spuds should have St. Cloud Tech in the first round, a team they beat 79-37 on Jan. 9.

 

4. Detroit Lakes (21-4)

Last week: 69-68 win in overtime at Grand Rapids; 52-46 loss at Moorhead

Next up: host Alexandria, Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Leading scorer Christian Hedstrom returned for DL after missing two games because of a concussion. Photo by Bob Williams/DL Newspapers

Leading scorer Christian Hedstrom returned for DL after missing two games because of a concussion. Photo by Bob Williams/DL Newspapers

The good news for the Lakers is they got their leading scorer Christian Hedstrom back after a concussion.

Hedstrom missed the second half of the game against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton that the Lakers squeaked out a 51-49 win, missed a 54-46 loss to a Thief River Falls team the Lakers beat 78-58 with him and a 69-68 overtime win over an 11-14 Grand Rapids team.

Clearly, the Lakers need Hedstrom. They close the season against the only 8AAA team with a better QRF ranking than them.

 

5. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (19-4)

Last week: 70-49 win at home over Underwood; 69-26 win at home over Wheaton-Herman-Norcross; 85-82 loss at Battle Lake

Next up: at Minnewaska Area, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Hillcrest gets the No. 2 seed in 6A North despite going 15-2 in the section with their only losses coming to Battle Lake, which was 16-0 in 6A.

Waubun got the No. 1 seed in 6A North even though the Bombers 77.7 QRF ranking was third in 6A North to Hillcrest’s 81.6 and Park Christian’s 79.2

The Comets never did play Waubun in the regular season and Park Christian went 1-1 against the Bombers.

Regardless, Hillcrest made things very interesting. Outside of one loss, no team came within 15 of Battle Lake before Hillcrest fell to the Battlers 85-82 on Tuesday.

Chris Tungseth lost his mind on Tuesday, scoring 39 points on 14-of-22 shooting to go along with Jake Isaac’s 27 points. With those two playing like that, Hillcrest can beat anyone in 6A.

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup (22-0)

Last week: 80-10 win at home over Lake Park-Audubon; 55-51 win at Hawley

Next up: host Crookston, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.; vs. Win-E-Mac at Lake Park, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Still only one remaining unbeaten girls basketball team in the state and that’s Ada-Borup.

The Cougars just beat one of the best teams in Class 2A on the road without one of their starters in Morgan Miller. Haley Poehler had 16 points against Hawley.

The road gets even harder to close the regular season for the Cougars, as they take on 17-6 Crookston and 19-4 Win-E-Mac.

 

2. Hawley (18-3)

Last week: 62-41 win over Brandon-Evansville at Concordia-Moorhead; 55-51 loss at home to Ada-Borup

Next up: host Pelican Rapids, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Frazee, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Ellefson shadow

Mira Ellefson is the key for Hawley to get to the state tournament. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Hawley dropped a tough one to the No. 1-ranked team in Class 1A, but the Nuggets have bigger fish to fry. They’ve already given Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton hope by dropping a game to the Rebels. They can’t allow that with Pelican Rapids as well.

The Nuggets are 11-1 in 8AA and have one loss to a Class 2A team.

 

3. Dilworth-Glyndon Felton (15-6)

Last week: 67-47 win at Pelican Rapids; 69-67 win at Crookston; 60-57 win at home over Breckenridge

Next up: at Barnesville, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Perham, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Big week for the Rebels. They rolled a team they’d need to get through to get another shot at Hawley in the sub-section championship in Pelican Rapids and they showed they are contenders for the 8AA title with a 69-67 win over Crookston.

D-G-F is a better bet to beat Hawley than Wheaton-Herman-Norcross is to beat Ada-Borup.

 

4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (21-2)

Last week: 40-36 win at home over Underwood; 61-25 win at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy

Next up: host Breckenridge, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Park Christian, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

The Warriors didn’t deserve to drop a spot in the rankings, but with Ada-Borup getting stronger and with D-G-F having beaten Hawley before, there’s just no reason to think the Warriors will beat the Cougars in the section title game if they are to even get there.

W-H-N doesn’t play Ada-Borup in the regular season.

 

5. Detroit Lakes (16-6)

Last week: 69-38 win at home over Bemidji; 60-38 win at home over Staples-Motley

Next up: host Pequot Lakes, Saturday, 7:15 p.m.

Shay Nielsen will be big for DL down the stretch. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Shay Nielsen will be big for DL down the stretch. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

One would think 16-6 would be a good overall record, but that is good enough for sixth in 8AAA. The section holds five of the top 23 QRF rankings in Class 3A.

DL has a tough road, but they have five seniors for it.


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 5 area Minnesota girls and boys basketball rankings (Feb. 11)

A loss for Detroit Lakes shuffles the boys rankings, while the girls rankings stay the same.

Here’s the top area boys and girls basketball teams in Minnesota for the week of Feb. 11.

 

BOYS

1. Battle Lake (22-1)

Last week: 69-24 win at home against Underwood; 91-31 win at home against Bertha-Hewitt

Next up: at Henning, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; host Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Petric VanErp stood tall with Battle Lake losing leading scorer Tony Ukkelberg for a few games, but Ukkelberg is back. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Leading scorer Tony Ukkelberg is back after a flu and the Battlers won by 45 and 60 points.

They’ve won 14 straight and have a date with Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Tuesday. Currently, 6A belongs to the Battlers, seeing as they beat Hillcrest – a team they will most likely see in the section championship game – by 20 earlier in the season.

Another double-digit beating of the Comets and the Battlers become almost a lock to go to state.

 

2. Hawley (18-3)

Last week: 58-44 win at Barnesville; 70-48 win at Fargo Civic Center vs. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy; 65-35 win at home over Verndale

Next up: host Perham, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; at Pelican Rapids, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

It looks like Hawley will enter the Class 2A playoffs having not lost to a Class 2A team all season and winners of 13 straight unless Perham has something to say about that.

Less than 30 known players in Minnesota high school basketball history have scored more than 2,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds in their career. Hawley’s Ben Ellefson will be joining that club soon.

It’s been 15 years since Hawley won a section title in boys basketball. No reason that streak shouldn’t be snapped.

 

3. Moorhead (18-5)

Last week: 65-59 win at home over Thief River Falls; 92-60 win at Willmar

Next week: at Alexandria, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; host Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Junior Matt Bye (left) has been one of the leaders for the Spuds this season. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Spuds close out the season against the top two teams in 8AAA and can’t afford a loss.

The Spuds have won nine straight and look to head into the playoffs rolling. One shadow over everything is the 11-point loss to St. Michael-Albertville earlier in the season.

If the Spuds make the section championship game, it’ll most likely be St. Michael-Albertville they’ll have to overcome.

St. Michael-Albertville beat the Spuds twice last season, including a loss in the Spuds’ first playoff game.

 

4. Detroit Lakes (20-3)

Last week: 53-45 win at home over Perham; 69-36 win at Park Rapids; 51-49 win at Fargo Civic Center over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton; 54-46 loss at Thief River Falls

Next up: at Grand Rapids, 5 p.m., Saturday; at Moorhead, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

If DL’s leading scorer Christian Hedstrom is out for a long period of time, a lot more will be asked of Ryan Cihak (right). Photo by Dave Walls/Forum

DL is a different team without leading scorer Christian Hedstrom. Hedstrom hit his head on the floor when he fell going up for a layup against D-G-F on Saturday and the Lakers were not the same.

D-G-F is going to be a team to be reckoned with in Class 2A next season, but that is no excuse for a 20-3 Class 3A team to struggle against the Rebels.

It’s obvious it was the loss of Hedstrom. When he left, it was 41-30 Lakers and D-G-F came storming back, even taking a lead with less than three minutes to go.

Hedstrom missed the game against TRF and the Lakers lost 54-46 to a team they beat 78-58 earlier in the season.

DL coach Robb Flint on Hedstrom’s current condition:

“He has a concussion and is still feeling effects so he can’t start his recovery until he is symptom free. We are least a week away from him being able to play. Hope to have him back by playoffs.”

 

5. Hillcrest Lutheran Academy (17-3)

Last week: 70-48 loss to Hawley at Fargo Civic Center; 84-60 win at home over Ortonville

Next up: host Underwood, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Wheaton-Herman-Norcross, Monday, 7:30 p.m.; at Battle Lake, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

Can definitely excuse the Comets loss to Hawley, seeing as Hawley is one of the better Class 2A teams in the state, but it would have been nice to see a bit more fight out of the Comets.

They led 2-0 and then Hawley answered with a 20-0 run and the game was over.

Comets need to put that one behind them, as they have bigger fish to fry with Battle Lake on Tuesday. The Comets could make 6A a lot more interesting if they overcome a 20-point loss earlier in the season to the Battlers.

If not, 6A belongs to Battle Lake.

 

GIRLS

1. Ada-Borup (20-0)

Last week: 83-17 win at home over Park Christian; 72-24 win at Waubun

Next week: host Lake Park-Audubon, Thursday, 6 p.m.; at Hawley, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

There is just one remaining undefeated girls basketball team in Minnesota and that’s Ada-Borup.

It’s in large part to the Cougar defense. They’ve given up more than 40 points just six times in 20 wins and are averaging 32.8 points against.

It means nothing in the long run, but the Cougars would love to knock off Class 2A Hawley.

 

2. Hawley (17-2)

Last week:54-44 win at home over Barnesville; 46-38 win at Fergus Falls

Next up: vs. Brandon-Evansville at Concordia-Moorhead, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.; host Ada-Borup, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.

And Hawley would love to beat Ada-Borup.

You put two coaches like Bill Gottenborg and David Smart against one another and it’ll be a battle.

It may be Class 2A vs. Class 1A and essentially not mean much standings-wise, but it matters in regards to area dominance.

Hawley has won three straight since losing to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton. Nuggets are looking pretty comfortable in 8AA.

 

3. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (19-2)

Last week: 91-48 win at home over Ortonville

Next up: host Underwood, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Hillcrest Lutheran Academy, Monday, 6 p.m.

Wheaton is 10-0 in section play and their 85.7 QRF ranking is second to Ada-Borup’s 93.8 in 6A.

The two seemed destined for a date in the section championship game.

 

4. Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (12-6)

Last week: 53-37 win over Hankinson (N.D.)

Next week: at Pelican Rapids, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; at Crookston, Saturday, 2:30 p.m.; host Breckenridge, Monday, 7:30 p.m.

D-G-F has a huge stretch coming up. After handing Hawley its only loss in Class 2A, the Rebels responded with a 59-55 loss to Breckenridge and a 57-51 loss to Moorhead before beating Hankinson.

Breckenridge and Pelican Rapids are teams that stand in D-G-F’s way of a rematch with Hawley in the sub-section championship and if D-G-F were to knock off Hawley again, the Rebels would most likely play Crookston.

These next three games are big tests for the Rebels.

 

5. Detroit Lakes (14-6)

Last week: 54-41 loss at home to Alexandria; 61-28 win at home to Little Falls

Next up: host Bemidji, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; host Staples-Motley, Tuesday, 7:15 p.m.

Kyley Foster (left) and the Lakers just suffered a tough loss to Alexandria. The Lakers are currently limping into the playoffs. Photo by Brian Basham/DL Newspapers

Not a good loss to Alexandria for DL. The Lakers beat Alexandria 56-49 to open the season and lost to the Cardinals by 13 at home now at the end of the regular season.

The first Alexandria win was what DL hung its hat on with Alex in first in 8AAA. Now, the road gets tougher for DL with Alex (15-4), Thief River Falls (17-2) and Albany (16-4) all ahead of the Lakers.


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.