North Dakota Class AA
Beulah at Shanley – Saturday November 8 at 4:00 PM
Out of the 22 starting positions for Beulah, just five are filled by seniors. This young team has taken the arc you might think a young team would take, they started out the year with some bumps but have since winning six straight games. Head Coach Jim Dooley talks about the improvement,
“We have improved quite a bit; mainly because we started off behind everyone else. One specific area of improvement is in our pass coverage. We are much better there than we were in the first month of the season.”
They’ll need to be better than they were a couple of months ago with Shanley on the slate. Quarterback Casey Walcker (35-74 713 yds, 6 TD, 3 INT) and the rest of the backfield Tanner Erickson (929 yds, 11TD), Matthew Krizan (808 yds, 8 TD) and Cory Alt (608 yds, 5 TD) have supplied a multi-faceted attack for the Miners this year. The Line has done a great job this year with Tom Brinkmann, Alec Battest, Hayden Norton, Jacey Duttenhefner and Isaac Ripplinger.
But they must face a team that is clicking like no other in the class. Shanley has gotten a great year from their sophomore quarterback Matt Burd. He has managed the run game and led the team to 41.1 points per game. Their closest game was a 27 point win over Valley City in mid-October. All-State running back Danny Stasch is fully healthy, he’s coming off of a 190 yard 3-TD performance against Watford City in the first round of the playoffs. Tre Fort, Zach Burd and Alex Berg all provide punch in this powerful offense.
PREDICTION: Shanley will get the best of the young Beulah team with a strong running performance. Deacons win 34-12
Wahpeton at St. Mary’s – Saturday November 8 at 4:00 PM
This rematch of last year’s Dakota Bowl game will be very different than last time. Wahpeton brings some weapons but not nearly to the same level they did last year. Quarterback Carson Zarak hurt his ankle in the quarterfinals last week against Bishop Ryan but played through it. He will have to be full strength in order to upset the #1 defense in the class. Noah Krebs, Jackson Grad and company have been as strong as any defense I’ve seen in AA. Most of the points they’ve given up this year have been late in games that were already decided. Cole Gendreau (Fr) has done a great job when called on to pass the ball, but the Saints are a run-first team that can hurt you with multiple backs. Last week it was Noah Krebs running wild for 230 yards on 42 carries. Dillon Reiner has also been effective in the backfield this year.
PREDICTION: St. Mary’s will be able to control the line of scrimmage and limit Zarak’s effectiveness outside the pocket which means the Saints will earn a trip back to the Dakota Bowl to try to defend their title. Saints win 30-14