Checking in with Fargo Davies football

FARGO – The varsity football program at Fargo Davies High School is one that has been on the rise for a while now and Eagles are off to a fast start this fall.

Quickly here is a progression of the Davies program since I started on the North Dakota prep sports beat in 2012.

- In the fall of 2012 the Eagles missed a chance at the playoffs losing to Devils Lake in the final game of the regular season. It was Davies’ third year as a varsity program.

- In the fall of 2013 the Davies turned a corner as a program earning a share of the Eastern Dakota Conference championship and finishing 6-4 overall after losing to Bismarck Century in the ND Class 3A quarterfinals.

The calendar flipping to 2014 has meant big things for the Eagles so far. This fall, Davies is off to 4-0 start and is ranked No. 3 in Class 3A. The Eagles opened with a win over Bismarck Century, its first ever win against a Bismarck school in program history.

Offensively, Davies is on par with Bismarck and Fargo South – the teams above them in the state poll.

The offense, thus, far has been led by the trio of Aidan Hartness, Tristan Hartness and Ty Jochim.

Aidan Hartness – a 6-foot-3, 197-pound quarterback – is off to a torrid pace throwing the ball. He is 30 of 62 passing (48.4 completion percentage) for 634 yards and 10 touchdowns. Aidan Hartness has only thrown one interception this season – a stat that I’m sure head coach Jason Thielges is pleased with. His stats say he is the best quarterback in the EDC and he may be the best in the state.

Eight of Aidan’s touchdown passes have been caught by his twin brother Tristan. Tristan Hartness has caught a total of 17 passes for 482 yards making him the top receiver in the conference. He has caught at least three passes in all four of Davies games and has two three-touchdown receiving games this fall.

Fargo Davies senior wide receiver Tristan Hartness (19) has caught 17 passes for 482 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Forum file photo

The passing game is potent, but Davies running game hasn’t disappointed this fall either. Junior running back Ty Jochim has rushed for 603 yards on 66 carries. He has scored three touchdowns and when you look at the stats Jochim has gone step for step with the state’s top running back – South’s James Johannesson.

Johannesson, a University of Minnesota football commit, leads the EDC in rushing with 625 yards and has scored 10 touchdowns.

Jochim actually has a better yards per carry average (9.1 yards) than Johannesson (8.6) through four games this season.

Davies plays South at home on Oct. 18 and that one should be a good one.

The Eagles will be looking for win No. 5 at 7 p.m. tonight when it hosts Grand Forks Central.

Shanley-Oak Grove boys soccer stands to gain plenty with win tonight

FARGO – This journalist did a little math today and it appears that the Fargo Shanley-Oak Grove boys soccer team has a chance to do some big things tonight at Sid Cichy Stadium.

The Deacons (12-1-2, 7-1-2 Eastern Dakota Conference) play Grand Forks Red River at 7 p.m. tonight is conference match that should be highly contested.

A lot is at stake for Shanley-Oak Grove. The Deacons currently reside atop the EDC standings and with a victory over the Roughriders would clinch both the EDC championship and the East Region’s No. 1 seed for the upcoming state tournament set for Oct. 9-11 at Cushman Field in Grand Forks.

Shanley-Oak Grove defeated Red River 3-2 earlier this season at Cushman Field.

Here is how the math works out in relation to the standings as they sit prior to Thursday’s conference matches (Please note wins in EDC play are worth two points and ties are worth one point):

1st Place (Fargo Shanley-Oak Grove, 7-1-2 EDC, 16 points in conference standings): A win Thursday vs. GFRR would give the Deacons 18 points. Following Thursday, Deacons have one remaining conference match (at Fargo Davies on Sept. 30).

2nd Place (Grand Forks Red River, 6-2-1 EDC, 13 points in conference standings): If GFRR were to take the loss at Sid Cichy tonight the Roughriders would stay at 13 points and with two conference matches remaining on its schedule, the best the Riders could finish with is 17 points.

3rd Place (West Fargo, 5-2-3 EDC, 13 points in conference standings): The Packers have two conference matches remaining and nonconference contest vs. Moorhead next week. The best the Packers could finish with is 17 points.

4th Place (Grand Forks Central, 4-3-1 EDC, 9 points in conference standings): The Knights have four conference matches remaining and the best they could finish with is 17 points.

5th Place (Fargo South, 2-3-3 EDC, 7 points in conference standings): The Bruins have four conference matches remaining and the best they could finish with is 15 points.

6th Place (Fargo North, 2-7-1 EDC, 5 points in the conference standings): The Spartans have two remaining conference matches on their schedule and the best they can finish with is 9 points. Given that Central and South play each other twice in the next two weeks, North cannot make up the points needed to make the postseason.

7th Place (Fargo Davies, 0-8-1 EDC, 1 point in the conference standings): The Eagles have three remaining conference matches on their schedule and the best they can finish with is 7 points. The Eagles are mathematically eliminated from the postseason.


Stroup’s D-I volleyball commitment signifies another local standout hitting it big

FARGO – Wednesday night Fargo South standout outside hitter/setter Emily Stroup announced she had verbally committed to play volleyball at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) of the South Eastern Conference.

Stroup, who was an all-state selection last fall as a sophomore, was on the radar for several NCAA Division I programs including the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State.

The news of Stroup’s commitment also continues a string of signings and commitments to Division I volleyball programs locally in the last three years.

I made mention of this in the story that appeared in The Forum’s Thursday edition, but Stroup became the sixth player from The Forum’s coverage area to commit or sign with a D-I volleyball program in the three-year period I eluded to in the story.

The others: 2013 Fargo North graduate Kira Larson (Nebraska), 2013 Kindred graduate Kellie Schmit (UND), 2014 Central Cass grads Faith Dooley (UND) and Dallas Goettle (NDSU) and Fargo Shanley senior Alivia Fraase (UND).

Kira Larson, a former all-state player at Fargo North, is a red-shirt freshman at Nebraska. Forum file photo

Larson redshirted with the Cornhuskers last fall and has three kills in five matches played this season. Nebraska – of the Big Ten conference – is 7-3 and is preparing to begin conference play soon.

Dooley has started 16 matches for UND this fall and has posted 143 kills and a .285 hitting percentage. The former Squirrels standout also is averaging 1.4 blocks and 2.5 kills per set.  UND is 12-5 this season and lost a nonconference match to NDSU earlier this season.

Faith Dooley (right, No. 13), a former all-state volleyball standout at Central Cass High School, has started 16 matches at UND this fall.

Goettle is on the NDSU roster, but has yet to appear in a match this season.

Schmit transferred to Division II Northern State (Aberdeen, S.D.) after one year at UND. The former Vikings standout has played in two matches this season.

Volleyball continues to be a growing sport across the nation and the talent, at the prep level, certainly seems to be of high quality in the state of North Dakota. As a result, is drawing the interest of D-I programs.

Looking ahead to winter … girls hockey in Fargo will have a new look

FARGO – I know it seems early to be discussing any sort of winter sports on the prep beat, but I figured it would be worth noting that upcoming girls hockey season in Fargo is going to have a new look to it come November.

Last March, the North Dakota High School Activities Association’s Board of Directors approved the dissolution of the co-ops that existed between Fargo South, Fargo Davies and Fargo Shanley  in girls hockey and approved a co-op application between South, Shanley and Fargo North.

So here is the aftermath:

1. Two girls hockey teams will remain in Fargo.

2. Fargo Davies will sponsor its own girls hockey team that will be coached by Josh Issertell, who had been the head coach of the South-Davies co-op team the last two seasons.

3. The South-North-Shanley co-op team will be coached by Kris Dougherty, who has served as North’s head coach the last five seasons.

Fargo South activities director Michael Beaton said the move was a result of Fargo Davies having enough numbers to support its own girls hockey program.

As a result, South looked to its one-time crosstown rival to form a new girls hockey co-op that also includes several athletes from Fargo Shanley High School.

“It made sense,” Beaton said of the co-op with North. “It still means there will be two hockey teams in Fargo and every athlete that wants to participate will have an opportunity.”

I’ll probably follow up on this as we get closer to the season, but until then I’ll continue to keep tabs on the fall sports as some (girls golf and boys tennis) are approaching postseason tournaments.

Fundraiser for Shanley AD Randy Nelson set for Sunday

FARGO – Tonight the prep football season enters Week 4 and I’ll be at Sid Cichy Stadium covering  the Class 2A, East Region matchup between Fargo Shanley and Grafton.

The Deacons and Spoliers both are 2-1 overall and 1-0 in region play.

The game also officially kicks off a weekend of events organized to help fundraising efforts for Fargo Shanley activities director Randy Nelson.

Nelson, who has been the AD at Shanley since 2007, is battling small cell carcinoma cancer and has already gone several treatments of chemotherapy.

Game officials at tonight’s game will be using pink whistles and Superintendent of Fargo Catholic Schools Michael Smith also said other festivities to support Nelson will be conducted throughout the contest.

Nelson is well known not only in the Shanley and Fargo-Moorhead communities, but also throughout the state of North Dakota and surrounding regions. Support for Nelson has not been in short supply and he has remained active at the school working a reduced schedule.

I wrote a feature story last month on Nelson that detailed his fight with cancer and the enormous amount well wishes, prayers and support he has received since the diagnosis.

A Pulled Pork Feed, raffle and silent auction is being held 3-7 p.m. Sunday at Scheels Arena. Free will donations will be accepted at the door and proceeds from the event will go to Nelson’s family to help cover the cost of medical care, equipment and other expenses.

Online Donations are also being accepted. Here is that information:

To make an online gift go to: Click ‘Donate’ and give to the fund benefiting Randy Nelson.

Area sports officials in all sports including football, softball, baseball, basketball, volleyball and soccer have collected funds for Nelson and that sum will be presented at the game tonight.

Shanley High School Activities Director Randy Nelson Aug. 27, 2014 Dave Wallis / The Forum

Marsh leads the way for Davies, EDC team race will be tight

FARGO – Believe it or not the Eastern Dakota Conference girls golf season is winding down. The state tournament in Jamestown is set for Oct. 6-7 in Jamestown.

There have been seven meets played this fall and a total of eight 18-hole rounds recorded thus far.

Fargo Davies junior Jennifer Marsh leads the way in the East Region with an 18-hole average of 76.6 nearly five shots better than Wahpeton senior Savonnah Haselhorst (81.5).

Marsh has won five EDC golf meets this season and has scored a 79 or better in four of the six conference meets played.

In the state, Marsh trails only Katie Kasper of Bismarck, who holds an 18-hole average of 74.4.

Marsh tied for eighth at the state meet a year ago.

Fargo Davies has won three of the six conference meets this fall and holds the best team average in the conference at 367.0 – three shots better than Wahpeton (370.0).

The team race at the East Region meet later this month at Wahpeton’s Bois de Sioux golf course figures to be very tight with only 10 shots separating the scoring averages of the top four teams in the conference.

It would be wise not to overlook the fact that Wahpeton has played its home course tough this season. The Huskies won the regular season conference meet at Bois de Sioux and also have a team win at Rose Creek.

The conference season resumes Monday at 9 a.m. when the EDC teams gather at Village Green golf course for the second to last conference meet of the season.

Fargo Davies junior golfer Jennifer Marsh has posted a 76.6 scoring average through seven high school meets this season. Forum File Photo

Fallen hero Andrew Nelson’s legacy lives on in CC meet

FARGO – Today is September 11th, a date on the calendar forever changed following the events that occurred on this date 13 years ago in New York City, Washington D.C. and rural Pennsylvania.

It is a date that should never be forgotten and since then many servicemen and servicewomen have answered the call to protect the United States and its freedoms bestowed on its citizens. Many of those modern-day patriots have not returned home and today at Lindenwood Park one soldier who lost his life fighting for the United States will be honored.

His name is Andrew Nelson, a former Fargo Shanley High School graduate who was killed in action in 2007 while serving in Iraq as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Nelson ran cross country at Shanley and following his death the school organized an annual cross country meet in his honor.

The Andrew Nelson Metro Classic enters its seventh year this afternoon and will feature 15 boys and girls cross country teams from across the region.

I covered the event for the first time last fall. The organizers make note of Nelson and his contributions to the cross country community and his sacrifice for freedom. As a result, I think everyone – fans, athletes and coaches – walk away from that event every year with a little more appreciation and that is a good thing.

FORUM FILE PHOTO (2008): Suzanne Nelson, center, looks at a plaque honoring her son, Staff Sgt. Andrew Nelson, held by 2003 Fargo Shanley classmate Courtney Horner while Adam Tehle, background, embraces Nelson’s girlfriend, Kari Brantner at the conclusion of the all schools mass Thursday at Fargo Shanley High School/Sullivan Middle School. Nelson, 22, of Moorhead, died Aug. 29, 2007, while serving in Iraq with the 82 Airborne Division. David Samson / The Forum

Bruins’ Johannesson close to two school records

FARGO – Fargo South all-state running back James Johannesson has been a household name in North Dakota prep football for some time now and his numbers, quite frankly, speak for themselves.

Johannesson, a University of Minnesota commit, is approaching several Fargo South career records that will only further cement his place as one of the best players to ever play for the Bruins.

Last Friday, Johannesson rushed for 252 yards and five touchdowns in South’s 43-20 win against Bismarck Century. After that performance he is now seven points shy of breaking Catlin Solum’s career scoring record of 330 points. Solum played for South from 2004-2006 and also holds the school’s career touchdown record at 55.

Johannesson currently sits at 54 touchdowns in his career and needs two to surpass Solum.

Johannesson will likely break both records when South travels to play Grand Forks Red River at 7 p.m. Friday at Cushman Field.

Johannesson already holds the school record for career rushing yardage with 4,512 yards and counting. He also holds the career combine rushing and receiving yards record with 4,766.

Fargo South senior running back James Johannesson is closing in on the school records for career scoring and career touchdowns. David Samson / The Forum


Prep volleyball beginning to heat up in North Dakota

The volleyball nets are up in gyms across the state of North Dakota and the 2014 season should be one full of intrigue leading up to the postseason.

Tonight, I’ll be at Fargo South High School covering the Fargo South-Fargo North matchup, which kicks off a full slate of matches in the Eastern Dakota Conference.

The South-North matchup is a meeting of two teams that bring back young talent from a year ago. The two teams split their regular season meetings with the Spartans winning a 3-2 match in the first meeting and the Bruins picking up a 3-1 decision in the other regular season match.

The Bruins (4-2) return junior all-state first team setter/right side Emily Stroup, junior all-conference outside hitter Maddie Erickson and senior middle blocker Anna Lawley. That trio will be expected to lead the Bruins this fall and help the team return to the state tournament.

Emily Stroup recorded her 1,000th career assist at the East-West Crossover Tournament in Bismarck over the weekend. David Samson / The Forum

The Spartans (4-2) bring back nine players that either started or saw a large amount of varsity rotations last fall.

Other matches across the Eastern Dakota Conference are:

1. Grand Forks Red River at East Grand Forks (Minn.)
2. Fargo Davies at Valley City, 7 p.m.
3. Devils Lake at Grand Forks Central, 7 p.m.
4. Wahpeton at West Fargo, 7 p.m.
5. West Fargo Sheyenne at Fargo Shanley, 7 p.m.

Fargo Shanley figures to be the favorites in the EDC after winning the East Region championship last year. The Deacons lost very little to graduation and most of its varsity lineup returns to the court including North Dakota commit Alivia Fraase.

Fraase, an all-state first team senior middle hitter, is a threat up front, but also plays standout defense for the Deacons. All-state second teamer senior middle hitter Somer Bucholz returns to the court as well as all-conference senior right side Lauren Sandy.

The Deacons 6-1 at the East-West Crossover tournament in Bismarck over the weekend losing to Bismarck Century … A few people may be penciling in that matchup at state tournament in Minot two months from now.

Davies lost a pair of all-state players in Katelyn Olson and Kinsey Papachek and head coach Missy Wilson said her team will need to fill those voids in regards to the lineup and leadership.

The city of West Fargo now has two prep teams with West Fargo Sheyenne joining the fold. Sheyenne was 5-1 at the East-West Crossover tournament and West Fargo was 2-4.



Fargo South to play its 500th football game tonight

The Fargo South football team is set to play its 500th game in program history at 8 p.m. tonight at South High School. The school’s football program dates back to 1967.

South, the defending North Dakota Class 3A state champion, play Mandan to open the season.

Former players in attendance will be recognized on the field prior to the game with special recognition of state and league record holders throughout the game.

Larry Quamme, a coach on South’s freshmen football team, will be recognized during the game as one of the original Bruins, who played in the school’s first game in 1967.

In its 47 seasons, South holds a 374-119-6 all-time record and has won 13 state championships.

The Bruins opened the 2013 season against the Braves and won 48-14.

Fargo South’s Ty Brooks. Nick Wagner / The Forum


1. Fargo Shanley vs. Bismarck St. Mary’s: The Deacons host defending Class 2A state champions Bismarck St. Mary’s at 7 p.m. tonight at Sid Cichy Stadium. The Saints handed the Deacons a 12-10 loss in the 2A semifinals last November and also defeated Shanley in the season opener. Shanley brings back plenty of talent so this one is going to be physical as the Saints aren’t likely to budge even with being on the road. INTERESTING FACT: St. Mary’s win over Shanley in the semifinals last fall was the Deacons first ever playoff loss at Sid Cichy Stadium.

2. Fargo Davies vs. Bismarck Century: The Eagles host the Patriots at 7 p.m. tonight and this matchup is another playoff rematch from a year ago. Davies locked up with Century in the Class 3A quarterfinals last November with the Patriots claiming a 31-28 victory. Both teams return their starting quarterback and this game should feature plenty of passing. Century’s quarterback is junior Dalton Feeney. Davies counters with senior Aidan Hartness, who is a threat to run and pass. INTERESTING FACT: Hartness rushed for 433 yards and 10 TDs last fall and also passed for over a 1,000 yards with 13 TDs – six of which went to his twin brother Tristan.

3. Minot vs. West Fargo: The Packers play Minot at 7 p.m. tonight and these two teams will likely be players in the state playoff picture later this season. The Magicians return junior quarterback Ben Bolinske, who saw plenty of time under center last fall stepping up the depth chart due to an injury to all-state first teamer Alex Yanosko. Minot made it as far as the 3A semifinals losing to South 38-28. West Fargo seniors Jacob Hoy and Sam Olsen proved last fall they can make plays on the offensive side of the ball and figure to be in Jay Gibson’s game plan as ball carriers in the backfield.