News and Notes
- Ben Love from Minot High has a soccer game at 5 in Mandan, he would be eligable to play in the football game in Bismarck at 7 if he chooses. I imagine Ben will be late for the football game.
- Hankinson used seven different formations to keep Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter guessing last week. Hankinson is just 3-5 on the year and beat previously unbeaten Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter 6-0 last Friday.
- Grafton has a lot of their players on the basketball, hockey and baseball teams which all finished second in state last year. They hope that the football season changes their fortunes from bridesmaid to bride as they got out to a 7-0 start this season.
- Brandon Valley leads all teams in the state in pass attempts but it was Trevor Crow’s running that powered them with five touchdowns last week. Crow ran for 162 yards and 5TDs. The Lynx scored on their first five possession and were up 35-0 in the first quarter.
- The Lincoln vs. Mitchell game was suspended due to lighting last Friday in Mitchell. The game lasted until just after midnight when Mitchell scored twice in the last two minutes to beat Lincoln 50-49. There were no turnovers the entire game. This was the first time all year Lincoln quarterback Alex Schultz didn’t pass for at least three touchdowns in a game (He had two).
SOUTH DAKOTA GAMES OF THE WEEK
1. Yankton (5-2) at Mitchell (6-1)
While Yankton holds the worse overall record after successive losses to a pair of Sioux Falls teams, the Bucks resume their quest for the ESD this week in Mitchell, a team that scored a huge victory last week in a late-night special against Sioux Falls Lincoln.
Yankton has implemented a shotgun spread this season, which Washington silenced last week, but did find success in the second half when they got running back Brady Knodel going from a fullback position. This led to Yankton actually outplaying the Warriors in the second half last week, even though they still lost the game. Mitchell has used the otherworldly speed of running backs named Greenway, and quarterback Brent Havlik has turned into a great counter weapon when defenses key the Greenways too much. This could be a trap game for Mitchell, coming off that huge emotional victory with a very hungry Yankton squad coming to town.
THE PICK: This game will be much closer than people think. If Mitchell keeps their turnovers down like they did last week they’ll win the game. Kernels by 6.
2. Herreid/Selby (4-2) at Sully Buttes (6-0)
Sully Buttes is coming off a narrow victory against a rival team in Gettysburg/Hoven, and has a Herreid/Selby team coming into Onida that has dropped two of their last four. The Chargers are on a mission to finally make the dome for the first time since 1990. They’ve had good teams in the recent past, though they’ve always come up just short of getting to that final game. This season, quarterback Conner Uhlir leads the charge, while Herman Kleinsasser is the main target for the Chargers. Last week he scored all 32 poings for Sully Buttes. On the other sideline, Cooper Schaefbauer and Derek Dumdie carry the load on the ground, while Nick Larson can keep opponents honest in the passing game, but they’ll need to learn to tighten their defense very quickly against Sully Buttes.
THE PICK: Sully Buttes somehow still has a perfect record and they should keep in intact for one more week. Chargers by 15.
WEST RIVER GAME OF THE WEEK
3. Belle Fourche (5-1) at Spearfish (3-4)
Though the Spearfish Spartans’ record is only 3-4, keep in mind that four of their seven games have been against class 11AA teams. They’re 2-1 against their class 11A opposition this season, the only loss being a five-point loss on opening night to St. Thomas More who is an 11B team. In fact their four losses have been by a combined 19 points. Quarterback Brandon Kemp has kept the Spartan engine running with his leadership and arm. But Belle Fourche will be a test for Spearfish much like St. Thomas More was. Even though they were tied with a lowly Douglas squad in the fourth quarter, running back Austin Kudlock led the comeback win in Box Elder last week. The Broncs use a power game on both sides of the ball, and rely mostly on the running game, but can throw when they want to as well with quarterback Chris Dschaak. If Spearfish can get their running game going in front of their home crowd and control the clock they’ve got an excellent chance of winning this game.
THE PICK: Don’t look at the records, Spearfish wins this one.
4. Tri-Valley (6-0) at Dakota Valley (5-1)
Dakota Valley was handed their first loss of their season last week in Dell Rapids, but they’ll need every bit of the defensive performance of that game this week, when Tri-Valley comes to the southeastern tip of South Dakota. The preparation will be different this time though – While both Dell Rapids last week and Tri-Valley this week run a similar double wing offense, Dell Rapids relies on speed on both sides of the ball, while Tri-Valley uses power and precision on the line to give their backs space to operate. The Mustangs have been doing this to perfection so far this year, and their defensive line has had the ability to plug running lanes for opposing running backs. Dakota Valley will need to pass the ball more effectively in this game to loosen up those running lanes, while still getting great defense to win this game. Hopefully for the Panthers the wind won’t deter their passing attack as much as it did last week.
THE PICK: Tri-Valley bags their third 11A victory of the year in a hard fought road win.
NORTH DAKOTA GAMES OF THE WEEK
1. Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter (7-1) at Wyndmere-Lidgerwood (8-0)
The winner of this game will win the region and get the number one seed going into the playoffs. Napoloeon/Gackle-Streeter is limping into this game with after losing their first game of the year to Hankinson 6-0. “My quarterback saw that the Napoleon D was stacked in tight expecting us to run the ball. So he made the call and hit the hot route receiver and he went in for the score,” said Hankinson coach Jason Monilaws about the winning score against Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter. Napoleon only got in the redzone only once against Hankinson and got intercepted in the endzone last week. The Imperials will have to be at their best take on #1 Wyndmere-Lidgerwood.
Adam Bell, Jeff Illies and Luis Vasquez have been powering the Warrior offense all year to 39.5 points per game. The Warriors are defending their title without the aid of a senior heavy roster. Just four seniors are listed on their roster as they begin their march toward repeating as state champs.
THE PICK: Wyndmere-Lidgerwood keeps improving while Napoleon/Gackle-Streeter continues to struggle. Warriors win by a few scores.
2. Lisbon (5-2) at Fargo Shanley (4-3)
Shanley had many of their players banged up in their loss last week to Valley City. The Deacons are back home where they haven’t lost since September 2 against Fargo North. They will try to get their team healthy and get their backups ready to play as they take on Lisbon. The Broncos of Lisbon have peeled off three straight wins since they lost to Grafton in the middle of September. In each of their four games their offense has produced more points. I like the direction that Lisbon is headed and they need these next two games against Shanley and Wahpeton to secure a playoff spot.
THE PICK: Lisbon gets an important road win against a banged up Shanley offense.
3. Century (6-1) at Mandan (7-0)
Century hasn’t lost since their battle against Bismarck earlier this year. At the beginning of the season there were a chorus of coaches singing the praises of Century and the bruising line. Everyone seemed to be picking the Patriots to win the west. So just because of one close loss to Bismarck doesn’t mean that we can assume that Mandan will march all over Century. Century actually has allowed fewer points this year than Mandan and will use their size advantage to their fullest running Ben Kraft against the Braves. A win for Century means a potential three way tie for the WDA.
The schedule makers weren’t kind to Mandan putting back to back games against Bismarck and Century. That’s an easy way to get a team beat up. But Mandan has passed all their tests this year and they’re starting to get that championship look in their eye. Devin Coyle has been a steady leader proving to be the top quarterback in the state and Seth Westby gets after it on both sides of the ball.
THE PICK: I like Mandan in a close one.
4. Minot (5-2) at Bismarck (6-1) *LIVE* on Midco Sports Network Thur. 7pm
This game features some of the brightest up and coming stars in North Dakota. Junior Layne Johs has been nothing short of spectacular for the Demons and sophomores Alex Yonosko and Kolton Larson have been rising stars for Minot. Another reason to watch this game is seeing Dustin Adams the big tackle for Minot in action. Adams is the top recruit in North Dakota and has committed to Hawaii to play college football next year.
Bismarck played toe-to-toe with Mandan last week and decided to go for a two point conversion for the win and failed. I like their decision to go big or go home. Plus the wind makes any kick tricky and isn’t a sure thing anyway. Bismarck’s defense continues to be the star of this team. They’ve yielded just 59 points this year in seven games.
THE PICK: Minot is a year away from competing for a title, Bismarck will be focused and win by a couple of scores.