Some of the nine-teams are already half way done with the season believe it or not. We’ve learned a little to this point. Here are a few of the things we now know.
- Bismarck is the real deal. The only thing better than their shiny smooth offense is their shut-down defense. Riley Plant and company have allowed just 13 points this season and 321 total yards through three games.
- Other defending champs are a little shaky… Grafton and Napoleon-Gackle Streeter both suffered their first loss last week while Stanley-Powers Lake used a second half comeback to defeat Velva by one.
- Class AA is a mess. One-loss teams blanket the landscape making it hard to sift through. Grafton Lost to Shanley, Shanley lost to Davies, Central Cass lost to Beulah, Bottineau lost to St.Mary’s, St. Mary’s lost to Wahpeton, Lisbon lost to St. Mary’s, Kindred lost to Lisbon, Trinity lost to Valley City, Valley City lost to Wahpeton, Carrington lost to Trinity. You figure it out.
Bismarck has the number one offense and number one defense entering the game against their top rival. Bismarck beat Century in the title game last year 21-3. Century hasn’t beaten Bismarck since 2010. Each time these two lace it up on the same field there is a sense of fierce competition. Century struggled last week in their 20-13 win over Dickinson and had to hold off West Fargo the week prior in a 29-15 win. Century will need Jared Fischer to find Drew Wiseman in the passing game and get the same production from Ryan Gesellchen that they got from him last week (132 yards and 3TDs).
Bismarck has been absolutely suffocating on defense, pair that with Layne Johs and his 514 yards and 7TDs this year on offense and the Demons are downright scary. Even though this is a rivalry game and the proverbial records have been thrown out, Bismarck will make a statement that will be heard from Dickinson to Fargo. Demons win by 24.
It’s in the Cards
St. Mary's have been the comeback kids. Trent Bohan has led them to two come from behind victories this year over Bottineau and Lisbon. This week they’ll face a wounded animal as they meet Carrington coming off of an overtime loss.
Carrington came into the season as my number one team, but in a season defined by unpredictability in Class AA, the Cardinals dropped an overtime game to Trinity last week 25-24. This week look for Cole Hendrickson to add to his three passing touchdowns and Casey Murphy will add to his total of five rushing TDs in two weeks. I expect Carrington to hold off St. Mary’s for a tough 2 point victory.
Defense or Offense?
Last week was Cole Hecker’s turn to carry the Heart River offensive explosion. He scored three touchdowns on the team’s way to an unexpected blowout versus Grant County-Flasher in a battle of unbeaten. Seth Ewoniuk will more than pick up any slack if they shut down Hecker. Ewoniuk is the little back with huge running totals. Hazen’s defense prides themselves on discipline. They’re coming off of back to back shutouts and would like nothing better than to temper the Heart River attack. I’m going out on a limb and picking Hazen’s defense to shut down the explosive Heart River offense.
Last week Jamestown broke their 13 game losing streak by beating Mandan in overtime and collected their first road win since 2009. Dickinson started the season on the right foot with a 44-0 shutout over Dawson but have not played good enough defense since to win a game. However last week Dickinson played good red zone defense and kept Century to just 13 points even though they yielded too many rushing yards. They’ll need that kind of defense to hold Matt Grounds and Jamestown from winning their second straight. I think Dylan Skabo and company will win their second of the year defeating the Jamestown Blue Jays by 10.