It’s mid-tern time in the football season and there are a few teams on the honor roll that I didn’t expect. Larimore has surprised me in class A with four wins to start their season as PJ Peterson has passed and run his way to an impressive first half.
Now we’ll take a look at some of the other big matchups:
1. New Rockford-Sheyenne (4-0) at Hillsboro (4-0)
Last week’s home win over Cavalier put New Rockford-Sheyenne on the map. Ethan Haley will keep the Rockets passing game going with Javan Arroyo on the receiving end. Haley is also versatile enough to grind it out in the running game and allowing Seth Gilliss to take some snaps at quarterback.
Hillsboro’s defense seems to be pretty stout this year. They’ve only given up 46 points in four games and have put up some solid offense under senior quarterback Brendan Dufner.
Last season these two teams went to overtime before Hillsboro took the game by a score of 28-26. This season the tables will turn and the Rockets will inch out a victory in the end giving Hillsboro their first loss of the year.
2. Maple Valley – Enderlin (4-0) at Linton HMB (2-2)
It was one of 300 wins in Coach Imdieke’s career but it might have been the most memorable. Last fall’s semi-final matchup against Maple Valley-Enderlin was an amazing come from behind victory for Linton HMB to earn a spot in the Dakota Bowl. The Lions trailed 20-0 and came back to win 21-20 in the postseason. Linton HMB also won a one-point game in the regular season. This year Linton HMB has dropped two games (Mobridge-Pollock SD and Oakes) to start their season but they’ve come back strong with two wins in a row. Last week Linton HMB beat down Fargo Oak Grove 52-0 behind a powerful performance from Mike Oien at running back. The Falcons of Maple Valley have been consistent earning a spot in the class A power rankings. Last year they got a surprise win in the playoffs against Harvey-Wells County and earned more respect with a win over Oakes. This season Maple Valley has kept up their winning ways with two shutouts. They are one of only four unbeaten teams left in Class A.
I say Maple Valley/Enderlin gets revenge in another one-point battle.
3. Fargo Shanley (3-1) at Wahpeton (4-0)
Last season Wahpeton came into this game at 4-0 looking to take command of the east region and left Fargo with a 4-1 mark losing 37-6. This season Wahpeton hosts the game for their homecoming. They enter at 4-0 again with a strong running game and a bend but don’t break defense that is improving. Wahpeton needs to play even better defense against the upstart Shanley Deacons. Shanley has shown they can win with sophomores running the offense. Chase Montplaisir and Danny Stasch have made it look easy over the past month with stellar play. At the beginning of the season we wondered who would run the ball for the Deacons and would sophomore QB Montplaisir be able to throw the ball? Last week Stasch ran for 160 yards and Montplaisir has helped put up 42 and 43 points over the last two weeks. I look for the Deacons to spoil Wahpeton’s winning ways. Shanley wins by two scores.
4. Fargo South (3-1) at Devils Lake (2-2)
Fargo South went through a rebuilding year last year after losing much of their roster to the newly built Fargo Davies, but it seems that Head Coach Troy Mattern and the Bruins are back to a championship caliber team this year. Hard work in the offseason has made the Bruins a physically tough team and great execution on the field has made them tough to beat. Zach Kellen has been a steady influence at quarterback but it’s been Zach Reich’s feet that have carried this team to a three-win start. Their only loss to date was a contest against Faribault in August. Zach Reich started out the year as a workhorse with 29 carries for 149 yards against a tough Century defense. Since then they’ve ridden Reich to two other victories. The last two weeks South has piled up 128 points against Fargo North and Grand Forks Central. The test gets tougher this week as they face Devils Lake who has dropped back to back games against Bismarck and Fargo North respectively. Nate Mertens and Austin Schall have been standouts for the Firebirds but depth has been an issue for the team.
I expect Fargo South to roar to a win again winning by as many as four touchdowns.