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


Class 1A

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Coach: Brian Dokken (5th year)
2013 record: 10-2 (Class 2A state
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.



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

Class 9-man

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.




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 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

Assistant coach for Shanley girls basketball under head coach Barb Metcalf.

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

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

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

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 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.


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.



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





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.



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 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 (Week 13)

Eli Beachy and the Yellowjackets will play for a share of the HOL title Thursday against Barnesville. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Barnesville hops back in the rankings with Pelican Rapids dropping out on the boys side.

Girls side stays the same, but Hawley is inching closer to Pelican Rapids.



1. Battle Lake (23-0)

This week: At Frazee Thursday

Battle Lake is the only remaining undefeated team in the state. The Battlers beat a 16-6 Hillcrest Lutheran Academy team 68-57 and a 16-6 West Central Area team 55-40.

A win over their fifth Class 2A team would cap a perfect regular season for the Battlers.


2. Perham (17-7)

This week: At Barnesville Thursday

Perham’s hopes for a share of the HOL title all depends on a win over Barnesville on Thursday. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

The Heart O’ Lakes Conference comes down to Thursday. The winner of Perham and Barnesville will be sharing the conference championship with Hawley.


3. Barnesville (18-4)

This week: Host Perham Thursday, at Norman County East-Ulen-Hitterdal Friday

Barnesville answered a bad loss to Breckenridge with five straight wins. With the Trojans, Perham, Hawley and Pelican Rapids all in the same subsection, you can flip a coin to pick what team will head to the section championship.


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

This week: Host Breckenridge Friday

The Warriors have two losses. One to a team from South Dakota and another to Battle Lake 71-32 on Jan. 7.

They won’t escape Battle Lake in the postseason. In order to get to a section championship, the Warriors will have to figure out the Battlers.


5. Fertile-Beltrami (20-5)

This week: Host Kittson County Central Thursday

Falcons look set for a subsection title matchup with Northern Freeze, which beat them 70-59 earlier in the season.

If the Falcons get by Northern Freeze, they’d most likely have to take on a Red Lake team they fell to 61-55 earlier in the season.




1. Fergus Falls (22-0)

This week: Host Brainerd Thursday, host Moorhead Saturday

Fergus Falls has a couple of Class 4A teams this week to test their undefeated record.


2. Ada-Borup (21-0)

This week: At Crookston Thursday

The Cougars took on the No. 9-ranked team in Class 1A in Win-E-Mac and beat them 53-36. They are nearly beating teams on average by 34 points a game.

A big test looms Monday (Feb. 24) against Pelican Rapids.


3. Pelican Rapids (18-2)

This week: At Barnesville Friday, at Park Rapids Saturday

Lincoln Haiby (10) and company will have to overcome a bruising loss to Hawley. Photo by Chris Murphy/Forum

The Vikings had their seven-game winning streak snapped in a 61-36 drubbing by Hawley. That goes down as the Vikings only section loss and makes the southwest subsection of 8AA extremely interesting.


4. Hawley (15-6)

This week: At Breckenridge Friday

Hawley coach Bill Gottenborg did what he does best. He adjusted and found a defensive scheme.

After losing to Pelican Rapids 59-37 on Jan. 14, the Nuggets topped the No. 5-ranked team in Class 2A 61-36. These two teams could meet with a chance to play in the section title on the line.


5. Verndale (20-3)

This week: At Sebeka Friday

The Pirates knocked off Browerville 78-70 on Feb. 18, redeeming their 76-72 loss to the Pirates in the season opener. That evens up the north subsection of Section 5A, as these two teams should meet in the subsection championship.

Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or 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 (Week 12)

Tyler Ukkelberg (33) had 15 points and 15 rebounds in an 81-71 win over Pelican Rapids last week. Battlers are 20-0 and look tough. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Thanks to the carousel that is the Heart O’ Lakes Conference, Pelican Rapids swaps with Barnesville in the boys rankings. Battle Lake continues to prove itself worthy of the top spot.

On the girls side, Verndale and Hawley swap spots at the bottom of the top five and Fergus Falls wins its biggest game of the season.



1. Battle Lake (20-0)

This week: At Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Thursday, at West Central Area Saturday

Battle Lake showed exactly why they are 20-0 in their 81-71 win over Pelican Rapids, the Class 1A team’s fourth win over a Class 2A team.

The Battlers have four guys that can jump out of the building seen in 11 blocks between Tyler Ukkelberg, Dan Marso, Petric VanErp and Tony Ukkelberg. That length and jumping ability was also seen in the fact they won the rebound battle 40-29.

They can bomb from the outside, as they hit eight 3-pointers from four different guys and they have a post presence in Nick Trosdahl, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds. This all against a 15-5 Pelican Rapids team that had won five straight.

16-5 Hillcrest Lutheran Academy and 14-5 West Central Area won’t be easy, but, at this point, it’s hard to bet against Battle Lake.


2. Perham (14-6)

This week: Host Frazee Tuesday, at Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Friday, at Little Falls Saturday

Hawley’s Dillon Omberg (4) nailed four free throws in the final 10 seconds to get Hawley the season sweep of Perham. Perham is 2-3 versus the top three teams in the HOL. Photo by Bob Williams/Perham Focus

Perham is 10-3 in section play with the hardest schedule of any team in the Heart O’ Lakes Conference.

The Yellowjackets fell to a team that is becoming a thorn in a lot of sides in the HOL in Hawley. The Nuggets are 10-9 overall, but 7-3 in conference and tied with Barnesville and Pelican Rapids for the conference lead with Perham behind them at 6-3.

Perham is 0-2 against Hawley, 1-0 against Barnesville and 1-1 against Pelican Rapids.

At this point, flip a coin to see what team will make it out of the HOL and the southwest subsection of Section 8AA.


3. Pelican Rapids (15-5)

This week: At Hawley Tuesday, Host Breckenridge Friday

Ryan Bruggeman’s 36 points was not enough for Pelican Rapids against Battle Lake on Saturday. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Pelican Rapids picked up revenge on Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, knocked off East Grand Forks before falling to Battle Lake last week. Won’t get any easier with Hawley Tuesday.

Pelican gets the nod over Barnesville for their 10-4 record in section play and Barnesville falling to Breckenridge, but the Trojans aren’t going anywhere just yet. Just like everything in the HOL, this could all change with one game.


4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (16-1)

This week: Host Sisseton (S.D.) Tuesday, host Ortonville Thursday, at Brandon-Evansville Friday

Senior forward Carter Thiel is leading the Warriors on an incredible season. Problem is they’ll have to top a Battle Lake team that beat them 71-32 in their only loss just to get a chance to play in a section title game.


5. Fertile-Beltrami (16-4)

This week: At Norman County West Tuesday, at Fosston Thursday

The Falcons had won six straight before losing to 18-1 Cavalier (N.D.). The Falcons look set for a subsection title matchup with Northern Freeze, which beat them 70-59 earlier in the season.

If the Falcons get by Northern Freeze, they’d most likely have to take on a Red Lake team they fell to 61-55 earlier in the season.


Knocking on the door

Barnesville (15-4): This should really be knocking on the revolving door thanks to the HOL. Barnesville falls due to a loss to 7-12 Breckenridge and because the above teams seem to be guaranteed a spot in their subsection title games.

At this point, it’s hard to guarantee the Trojans win their first playoff game. Pelican Rapids and Perham seem like a better bet….for now.




1. Fergus Falls (18-0)

This week: At Sartell-St. Stephen Tuesday, host Fergus Falls Invitational Thursday

The Otters have plenty to smile about after a 10-point win over No. 7-ranked Thief River Falls. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum

Fergus Falls had their toughest matchup of the season against Thief River Falls (ranked No. 7 in Class 3A) and still won by 10, opening the second half on a 17-4 run to take a 40-27 lead and winning 50-40.

Bailey Strand and Anna Monke had 16 each, Kristen Traiser had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Otters. Don’t see any team beating the Otters in the regular season.


2. Ada-Borup (18-0)

This week: At Win-E-Mac Thursday

The Cougars are beating teams on average by 34 points. They get 17-1 Win-E-Mac, which is ranked No. 9 in Class 1A, Thursday.

Ada-Borup beat Mahnomen 55-20 and didn’t have a player score more than Haley Gehrtz’s 11. The Cougars beat Climax-Fisher 70-16 and didn’t have a player score more than Lexi Merkens’ 14 and beat Hillsboro-Central Valley 70-58 and had five girls in double digits in scoring.


3. Pelican Rapids (17-1)

This week: Host Hawley Thursday

Sophomore Mackenzie Korf (ball) had 32 points against Little Falls, including career point No. 1,000. Photo by Chris Murphy/Forum

So much focus is on sophomore guard Mackenzie Korf and for good reason. She had 32 points 11 assists and six steals Saturday versus Little Falls and her final jumper gave her 1,000 points for her career.

What’s overlooked is Grace Forsgren and Lincoln Haiby. Forsgren had 17 points, six rebounds and three assists against Little Falls and Lincoln Haiby had 17 points and 10 rebounds in a 73-59 win over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.

The Vikings become a more complete team with every game.


4. Hawley (13-6)

This week: At Pelican Rapids Thursday, at Concordia College (Moorhead) vs. Brandon-Evansville Saturday

The Nuggets are rolling. They’ve won seven straight and are 10-2 in section play, but there’s no hiding from Pelican Rapids. The Nuggets will have to top them to escape the southwest subsection of Section 8AA.

The Nuggets lost to Pelican Rapids 59-37 on Jan. 14. They head to Pelican Rapids Thursday.


5. Verndale (16-3)

This week: Host Bertha-Hewitt Tuesday, host New York Mills Thursday, at Wadena-Deer Creek Saturday

Verndale was close to dropping out of the rankings after a 65-51 loss to West Central Area and a 61-58 win in overtime against Henning, but the Pirates are 7-2 in section play and are most likely two games away from a trip to state.

The Pirates will most likely see Browerville in the Section 5A North championship. They lost the previous meeting 76-72 in the season opener. If they can get by Browerville then they are in the section title game with Isle and one win away from a trip to state.


Knocking on the door

Barnesville (14-3): Barnesville has a 58-56 loss to Frazee, a 49-34 loss to Pelican Rapids and a 53-44 loss to Hawley on the resume. The Trojans are 1-1 against Hawley and 0-1 against Pelican Rapids. Those will be the teams they need to overcome in section play to get to the section championship.


Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or 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 (Week 11)

Dan Marso (ball) is one of many options Battle Lakes has. The Battlers are 18-0 and show no signs of slowing down. Photo by Eric Morken/Echo Press

No change in the boys rankings with Battle Lake standing tall at No. 1.

On the girls side, Hawley reenters the rankings at No. 5 and Verndale jumps up a spot with Barnesville falling out.



1. Battle Lake (18-0)

This week: Host Henning Friday, At Concordia College (Moorhead) vs Pelican Rapids Saturday

Battle Lake beat a 10-6 C-G-B team 94-59, Brandon-Evansville 67-25 and Underwood 83-46. It’s almost getting too easy for the Battlers.

The Battlers are one of two remaining undefeated teams in the state and their 40.5 average points against is the best in Minnesota.

It’s a big week for the Battlers with 12-7 Henning and Class 2A Pelican Rapids (14-4).


2. Perham (14-5)

This week: Host Hawley Friday

Nick Bahls had 20 points in a win for Class 2A Perham over Class 3A Detroit Lakes on Saturday. Photo by Bob Williams/Perham Focus

Perham blew a big lead over Fergus Falls, but it’s hard to fault the Class 2A Yellowjackets for losing to the Class 3A Otters by three. Perham answered with a 51-36 win over Breckenridge and a 63-49 over Class 3A Detroit Lakes (12-6).

Perham is 10-2 in section play and 6-2 in the Heart O’ Lakes Conference, tied with Barnesville for the top spot. 


3. Barnesville (13-3)

This week: At Breckenridge Thursday, host Rothsay Friday, at Frazee Saturday

Leading scorer Michael Strand (right) is back for Barnesville. The Trojans have won 10 in a row, seven of which came without Strand. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Two points is what separates Barnesville from Perham, as the Yellowjackets won 66-64 in overtime in the only meeting. The Feb. 20 rematch could have the HOL conference on the line.

Barnesville has won 10 in row, seven without its leading scorer Michael Strand. Strand is back and helped lead the Trojans over Hawley in overtime.


4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (15-1)

This week: At Hancock Friday

The Warriors are 15-1 overall and 10-1 in their section. It looks like Section 6A South will come down to W-H-N and Battle Lake.

Wheaton has not been to state since 1921 and will have to overcome a 71-32 loss to Battle Lake earlier in the season to get there.


5. Fertile-Beltrami (15-3)

This week: At Waubun Friday, at Grand Forks Showcase Saturday

Fertile-Beltrami is 10-2 in section play and winners of five straight, including a 73-62 win over Ada-Borup (11-6) Monday in which five Falcons scored in double digits, including Charlie Duckstad’s double-double.

Two of the three losses are to Northern Freeze, which sits atop Section 8A West, 70-59 and Red Lake, which sits atop Section 8A East, 61-55. No escaping those two come postseason.




1. Fergus Falls (16-0)

This week: Host Rocori Thursday, host Thief River Falls Saturday

Fergus Falls looks pretty unstoppable currently. With options everywhere, including Kathryn Sawtell (right) off the bench. Photo by Darren Gibbins/Forum.

Outside of a 62-51 win over Alexandria, no team has come within 20 points of Fergus Falls this season. Add Staples-Motley (77-48) and St. Cloud Apollo (75-20) as the latest to fall to the Otters.

Biggest challenge for the Otters comes Saturday against Thief River Falls (17-1). It will be No. 1 vs. No. 7 in Class 3A.


2. Ada-Borup (15-0)

This week: Host Hillsboro-Central Valley (N.D.) Thursday, host Mahnomen Friday

Ada-Borup is rolling behind Monica Vega, Haley Gehrtz and Haley Poehler. The Cougars are beating teams on average by more than 34 points, they are deep and they play defense.

The Cougars have 12-2 Hillsboro-Central Valley and 2-14 Mahnomen next.


3. Pelican Rapids (15-1)

This week: At Perham Tuesday, host Frazee Friday

Mackenzie Korf and Lincoln Haiby are all over the place for the Vikings. Korf had 19 points and 10 assists and Haiby had 14 points and eight rebounds in a 54-41 win over Perham.

Korf then had 26 points, 12 assists and six steals in a 79-59 win over Frazee and Haiby added 11 rebounds.


4. Verndale (15-2)

This week: Host West Central Area Thursday, at Henning Friday

Verndale is 7-2 in section play and the Pirates two losses are by a combined nine points.

The Pirates have never been to state and will need to get by Borwerville if they want a chance to. Tough week with 10-4 West Central Area and 10-7 Henning on the schedule.


5. Hawley (11-6)

This week: Host Menahga Tuesday, host Ashby Thursday

Hawley returns to the rankings after knocking off Barnesville 53-44. The Nuggets have won five straight and are 9-2 in section play.

Four of Hawley’s six losses are to teams ranked in the AP top 10. The Class 2A Nuggets lost to Thief River Falls (No. 7 in Class 3A) 53-46, Ada-Borup (No. 3 in Class 1A) 53-43, Pelican Rapids (No. 6 in Class 2A) 59-37 and Fergus Falls (No. 1 in Class 3A) 68-27.

Outside of those four loss, the Nuggets lost to Barnesvlle 50-46 in the second game of the season and to Class 3A Detroit Lakes 51-24.


Knocking on the door

Detroit Lakes (12-4) – The Lakers have won eight in a row. Problem is they are 2-4 in section and are looking up at 15-1 Albany, 12-3 Alexandria, 17-1 Thief River Falls and 16-0 Fergus Falls in Section 8AAA.



Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or 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 (Week 10)

Perham got revenge for a loss earlier in the season to Pelican Rapids. Photo by Bob Williams/Perham Focus

Barnesville and Perham knocked Pelican Rapids out of the boys rankings, while Battle Lake stands tall at No. 1.

On the girls side, Fergus Falls, Ada-Borup and Pelican Rapids have set up camp at the top three spots in the rankings.



1. Battle Lake (15-0)

This week: Host Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley Tuesday, at Brandon for Brandon-Evansville Thursday

Battle Lake rolled through the week with an 81-29 win over Rothsay and a 79-27 win over Parkers Prairie. Dan Marso picked up career point 1,000 against Rothsay and Tyler Ukkelberg got his 1,000th point against Parkers Prairie. The Battlers had four in double digits against Rothsay and three against Parkers Prairie, with no one scoring more than 23 in either game.

The Battlers are one of two remaining undefeated teams in the state. They have another test with 9-4 C-G-B Tuesday.


2. Perham (12-4)

This week: At Fergus Falls Tuesday, host Breckenridge Thursday, host Detroit Lakes Saturday

Eli Beachy (right) had the task of guarding Pelican Rapids leading scorer Ryan Bruggeman. Beachy held him to seven points in the first half. Photo by Bob Williams/Perham Focus

Perham took care of business, knocking off Pelican Rapids on the road 64-57, after losing at home to Pelican Rapids 56-55 earlier in the season.

Perham is at its best when everyone shows up in the box score. Tyler Glines had 18, Hunter Salathe had 17 and Nick Bahls had 16. Class 2A Perham has two Class 3A teams this week in Fergus Falls (9-7) and Detroit Lakes (10-5), along with Heart O’ Lakes Conference foe Breckenridge (3-10) this week.


3. Barnesville (12-3)

This week: At Hawley Thursday

Two points is what separates Barnesville from Perham, as the Yellowjackets won 66-64 in overtime in the only meeting. The Trojans have won nine in a row, including topping Pelican Rapids 58-55 in their latest win.

Even more impressive is they’ve played their last seven games without leading scorer Michael Strand. According to coach Todd Henrickson, Strand has been cleared to play and the Trojans are hoping to get him back Thursday for Hawley.


4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (13-1)

This week: At Rosholt (S.D.) Tuesday, at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley

The Warriors are 13-1 overall and 9-1 in their section. It looks like Section 6A South will come down to W-H-N and Battle Lake. Wheaton has not been to state since 1921.


5. Fertile-Beltrami (12-3)

This week: Host Mahnomen Tuesday, at Climax for Climax-Fisher Friday

Fertile-Beltrami is 8-2 in section play. Problem is the two losses are to Northern Freeze, which sits atop Section 8A West, 70-59 and Red Lake, which sits atop Section 8A East, 61-55. No escaping those two come postseason.




1. Fergus Falls (14-0)

This week: Host Staples-Motley Tuesday, host St. Cloud Apollo Friday

Outside of a 62-51 win over Alexandria, no team has come within 20 points of Fergus Falls this season. Add Hawley (68-27) and Willmar (67-44) as the latest to fall to the Otters.

Class 3A’s top-ranked Otters have the No. 6-ranked Class 2A team Tuesday and winless St. Cloud Apollo (0-13) Friday.


2. Ada-Borup (9-0)

This week: Host Red Lake Falls Tuesday, host Norman County West Thursday

Ada-Borup is rolling. The Cougars are beating teams on average by more than 35 points. They faced Lake Park-Audubon, who came in 9-3 overall and 7-1 in Section 6A, and the Cougars beat them by 53 to move to 8-0 in Section 6A.


3. Pelican Rapids (13-1)

This week: At Perham Tuesday, host Frazee Friday

Pelican Rapids sophomore guard Mackenzie Korf is averaging over 25 points a game to lead the 13-1 Vikings. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum

Vikings have battled the last few weeks, topping 5-5 Breckenridge 57-54 in overtime and 6-8 Crookston 59-57. Mackenzie Korf had 17 points and six assists and Lincoln Haiby added 17 points and 10 rebounds against Crookston.


4. Barnesville (11-2)

This week: Host Hawley Friday

Barnesville has won five straight and is 6-2 in Section 8AA


5. Verndale (12-2)

This week: Host Menahga Tuesday, host Ashby Thursday

Verndale is 6-2 in section. The two losses were by a combined nine points.

The Pirates have never been to state and will need to get by Borwerville if they want a chance to.


Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or 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 (Week 9)

The last time Perham and Pelican Rapids met, Ryan Bruggeman scored 28 points to lead the Vikings over the Yellowjackets 56-55. Photo by Bob Williams/Perham Focus

Barnesville and Wheaton-Herman-Norcross enter the boys rankings with a big rematch between Perham and Pelican Rapids coming Friday that could change a lot of things.

On the girls side, Fergus Falls and Ada-Borup continue to roll.



1. Battle Lake (13-0)

This week: Host Rothsay Tuesday, at Parkers Prairie Thursday

Battle Lake has passed all their tests, so far. The Battlers have knocked off Perham and Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. After Rothsay, Parkers Prairie could be a trap game with 8-3 Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley coming next Tuesday.


2. Pelican Rapids (10-2)

This week: At Barnesville Tuesday, host Perham Friday

The Vikings follow an 88-71 loss to 13-4 Crookston with a brutal week. They head to Barnesville to face a red-hot Trojans team that is 11-3 and have won eight straight before hosting 11-4 Perham, who has revenge on their minds for a 56-55 loss to Pelican Rapids earlier in the season.


3. Perham (11-4)

This week: At Pelican Rapids Friday

Perham has a bit of a tougher schedule than Pelican Rapids, but it’s hard to argue the fact the Vikings beat the Yellowjackets in their one meeting this year. Perham has a chance to change that Friday.


4. Wheaton-Herman-Norcross (12-1)

This week: Host Henning Friday

The Warriors are 12-1 and their one loss came to the best team in the area in Battle Lake. Problem is that loss was 71-32 and the sub-section title game in Class 6A will come down to those two.

Warriors will have to figure out a way to compete with Battle Lake if they want to make it to state.


5. Barnesville (11-3)

This week: Host Pelican Rapids Tuesday, at Breckenridge Friday

Barnesville finds itself in the same place as W-H-N. The Trojans have won eight straight and all three of their losses have come to teams ranked in these rankings.

A 72-56 loss to Pelican Rapids and a 66-64 loss to Perham in overtime are the big ones, seeing as the Trojans will have to go through those team in the section tournament.

Good news for the Trojans is those losses came eight wins ago. What better way to prove they are a different team than beating Pelican Rapids at home Tuesday.


Knocking on the door

Park Christian (12-3) – At 7-1 in section, the Falcons aren’t going anywhere in the rankings with the Heart O’ Lakes Conference beating up on each other. The Falcons will have to get by Ada-Borup in Section 6A North before attempting to head to state with a win over Battle Lake or Wheaton-Herman Norcross. It won’t be easy.

Fertile-Beltrami (10-3) - A loss to Northern Freeze for Fertile-Beltrami puts them at 7-2 in section and makes Section 8A West extremely interesting.




1. Fergus Falls (12-0)

This week: At Hawley Tuesday, at Willmar Saturday

Outside of a 62-51 win over Alexandria Friday, no team has come within 20 points of Fergus Falls this season. The Otters passed their first test, as Alexandria and Fergus Falls have played for the Class 3A, Section 8 title the last three seasons.

Brianna Rasmusson, Bailey Strand and Anna Monke continue to be tough to stop. Rasmusson had 13 points, nine assists and five rebounds, Monke had 12 points, five rebounds and five blocks and Strand had 19 points against Alexandria.


2. Ada-Borup (9-0)

This week: At Waubun Tuesday, host Lake Park-Audubon Thursday

Ada-Borup continues to roll, beating teams by, on average, more than 33 points a game. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum.

Ada-Borup has beaten teams on average of more than 33 points a game. The Cougars are 6-0 in section play, but have a big Section 6A North game with Lake Park-Audubon (9-3 overall, 7-1 in section) coming.


3. Pelican Rapids (12-1)

This week: At Crookston Friday

Vikings are 9-0 in Section 8AA and their one loss came to Class 3A Detroit Lakes by one. Mackenzie Korf came through with 23 points, nine assists and seven steals in an overtime win over Breckenridge.


4. Verndale  (10-1)

This week: Host Sebeka Tuesday, host Upsala Thursday, at Pillager Friday

Looks like it will come down to Browerville and Verndale for Section 5A North, who the Pirates lost to 76-72 in the first game of the season. They haven’t lost since.


5. Barnesville (8-2)

This week: At Ashby Tuesday, host East Grand Forks Thursday, host Crookston Saturday

Trojans are 4-2 in the section, including a 15-point loss to Pelican Rapids. Going to be hard to get by the Vikings come playoff time.


Knocking on the door

Lake Park-Audubon (9-3): LP-A is 7-1 in section with a chance to prove they are contenders with a game against Ada-Borup coming.


Chris Murphy can be reached at 701-241-5548 or 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 (Week 7)


Hawley’s win over Perham made it just the 3rd time in five seasons the Yellowjackets lost back-to-back games. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Hawley’s win over Perham proves to be the big factor in the shuffling of the boys rankings.

Barnesville drops and Verndale moves up on the girls sides



1. Battle Lake (10-0)

This week: Host Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Friday

Battle Lake destroyed Underwood 92-33 and rolled a 7-0 Wheaton-Herman-Norcross team 71-32.

Against previously undefeated W-H-N, Tyler Ukkelberg dropped 23 points, Dan Marso had 15 and Petric VanErp had 11. Doesn’t get much easier for the Battlers, as they will host 7-2 Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Friday.

Then again, they are making it look easy.


2. Pelican Rapids (8-1)

This week: Host Hawley Friday

The Vikings had no problem with an Ada-Borup team that had won five straight 79-53 on the road.

After two rough outings, Ryan Bruggeman dropped 24 in the win, 18 of which came in the first half. Vikings host a Hawley team that is fresh off a big win over Perham.


3. Park Christian (8-2)

This week: Host Bagley Friday, host Northern Freeze Saturday

Matt Moberg had 23 points and Hunter Nickel had 16 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks to lead the Falcons by Sacred Heart 73-39. When those two are doing that, teams don’t stand a chance against the Falcons.


4. Fertile-Beltrami (8-1)

This week: At Sacred Heart Thursday, host Northern Freeze Saturday

Fertile-Beltrami’s 8-1 start is the team’s best start since they went 8-1 in 2006 to open the season. The 2006 team finished 23-6, losing in the section championship 68-65 in overtime to Badger-Greenbush-Middle River.

The Falcons haven’t been to state since 2001.


5. Perham (8-4)

This week: At Frazee Friday

Hawley handed Perham their second straight loss Tuesday. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Counting this season, Perham’s longest losing streak in the last five seasons is two, which has happened three times. The third time came in Perham’s 63-47 loss to a 4-6 Hawley team Tuesday.




1. Fergus Falls (8-0)

This week: Host Sartell-St. Stephen Thursday, host Sauk Rapids-Rice Saturday

Brianna Rasmusson (left) was two rebounds away from a triple-double in Fergus Falls win over Detroit Lakes. Photo by Dave Wallis/Forum

Otters rolled Detroit Lakes 75-55. Brianna Rasmusson was two rebounds short of a triple-double with 15 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds. Bailey Strand had 26 points, while Anna Monke had 12 and Devonie Smith had 10.

2. Ada-Borup (6-0)

This week: Host Fosston Friday

Ada-Borup rolled Norman County West 74-16. Leave it to the Cougars to win 74-16 and their leader in points have 11 in Lexi Merkens. The Cougars spread the ball.


3. Pelican Rapids (9-0)

This week: Host Barnesville Thursday, at Detroit Lakes Friday

Mackenzie Korf had 39 points in a 71-59 win over Morris Area. Korf already broke the single-game school record for points with 41 this season. Seems as though she’s trying to beat herself, as she’s now averaging 29.11 points a game.


4. Verndale (8-1)

This week: At New York Mills Friday

The Pirates have won eight straight games after knocking off Bertha-Hewitt 65-51 and Henning 67-45. Jordyn Glenz had 22 points in the win over Henning.

Pirates get 6-2 New York Mills next.


5. Barnesville (6-1)

This week: At Pelican Rapids Thursday, host Waubun Saturday

Barnesville lost its first game of the season 58-56 to Frazee. No real time to dust themselves off, as they have Pelican Rapids next.



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