Across the line

Krueger, Sowitch unite to strengthen trenches for MSU football

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot High's Logan Krueger (74) recovers a fumble in the Class A state semifinal game against Century this past fall in Bismarck.

Hand on the ground and down in a stance, they listen in as the quarterback goes through his cadence. Logan Krueger and Chris Sowitch wait patiently for the ball to be snapped. They stare intensely across the line of scrimmage, sizing up the man in front of them and prepare to strike.

A shared experience, but Minot natives Krueger and Sowitch have never lined up opposite of each other and locked eyes. That will change soon enough, as the two homegrown linemen both signed their national letters of intent Wednesday to play collegiate football for Minot State University.

“No, we have never played together,” Bishop Ryan senior Sowitch said. “We were hoping that the MonDak (Badlands) Bowl would be our first. But, we are sure going to play in one of the bowl games together (this year) and see how that goes. That coaching staff is excited about us two.”

Both are eager to share the field for the first time.

“I have gotten to know Sowitch in the past year or so and he is a good guy,” Krueger said. “He is a great competitor. He is big, strong and we should be able to do some damage in the trenches.”

Alex Eisen/MDN Bishop Ryan's Chris Sowitch (74) makes a tackle in a Class B football game against Kenmare this past season at Herb Parker Stadium.

Krueger, a soon to be Minot High School graduate, anchored the Class AAA Magicians’ offensive and defensive lines to a Dakota Bowl appearance this past fall. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound lineman wrapped up 46 tackles (24 solo), broke through for 3.5 sacks and forced two fumbles his senior season.

But, Krueger will be remembered most for one play on a frigid cold night in late October.

Dropping back into coverage, Krueger caught West Fargo Sheyenne quarterback Parker Sander completely off guard. Sander threw the ball right into Krueger’s awaiting arms and he was off to the races.

Krueger rumbled 85 yards to turn his first career interception into a pick-six, and effectively landed the dagger in Minot’s 66-37 state quarterfinal win over the Mustangs.

“(Krueger) was a highly sought-after prospect as a lineman,” MHS head football coach Barry Holmen said. “I think (MSU) should be really excited to have a big local body like him. He is the one that maybe projects to play earlier, but I don’t know. That’s their call. It’s a different level of football. He is going to have to continue to work hard in the weight room. He has great feet being a good shot putter and discus thrower.”

MSU head coach Mike Aldrich added: “Logan (Krueger) is going to be a difference maker for us on the defensive line. Highly competitive, strong, great person.”

While defensive line is likely his landing spot, Krueger is keeping his options open to possibly play alongside Sowitch on the offensive line.

“They are going to see where I’m best at,” he said. “They can see me at both, but whatever gets me on the field faster is what I will play.”

Sowitch, 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, jumped on the Minot State bandwagon right away.

“One of our priorities in this class was to build our offensive line,” Aldrich said. “Chris (Sowitch) was our first commitment and first signee and from right here in Minot. Getting him was very important and we’re excited to see what he can do in the future.”

Playing both ways for the Lions, Sowitch was a key cog in getting Ryan to the Class A playoffs.

He was an unmovable force on offense and difficult to hold back on defense, where his season stat totals look very similar to Krueger’s with 47 tackles (25 solo), half a sack and two forced fumbles and recoveries. Sowitch also led the Lions with 12 tackles for a loss.

“I got to give a lot of credit to Mason Kramer for pushing every day, making me better and getting me ready to play football in college,” Sowitch said. “It’s going to be a little bit different and more competitive. But, I’m ready to get after it and I’m excited… I just want to make an impact on the program. Give it my all, that’s all I want to do.”

Kramer, a 2014 Bishop Ryan graduate, played a season on the defensive line at St. Cloud State before moving back to Minot to be closer to his family and eventually became a trusted mentor to Sowitch.

Getting to this point takes a lot of helping hands.

“Keep working. Keep striving. And if you have any questions, then go to your coaches,” Sowitch said would be his advice to younger players.

With pen to paper and the signings complete, one imminent battle Krueger and Sowitch will face against each other is what number they will wear. Both wore No. 74 in high school, and that number is currently being occupied by MSU sophomore lineman Cade Hernandez.

It’s one of many challenges they are ready to take on together, whether they ended up on opposite sides of the line or right next to each other. Both just want to make a difference at the next level.

“We are some big boys, local kids,” Krueger said. “We can definitely pancake block some kids.”

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.