Velva football aims to rekindle last season’s success

Alex Eisen/MDN Velva Aggies running back Gage Florence (20) carries the ball in a Class A playoff game last season against Beulah.

VELVA — The reigning Class A Region 3 champion Velva Aggies looked unstoppable by winning their first 10 games last season by 11 points or more with an average margin of victory of 39.5 points per game.

Then, they ran into Langdon Area/Edmore/Munich’s brick wall in the state semifinals. After pitching six shutouts to reach the penultimate game, the eventual state runner-up Cardinals blanked the Aggies, 20-0.

“Our seniors have played in one quarterfinal and two semifinal games so far,” Velva head coach Larry Sandy said. “Their goals and the team’s goal is to get beyond that. Let’s get this thing to a state championship game. And when you get there, you might as well try to win the darn thing.”

Making amends for last season starts with retooling the roster. Gone and graduated are Second Team All-State players in quarterback Nicholas Effertz and lineman Garret Dove. Plus, a handful of wide receivers and running backs have also moved on.

In replacing Effertz, quarterback duties will likely be split between senior Seth Fahy and sophomore Jersey Selzler to start the season.

“Both have different skills they can bring to the attack,” Sandy said. “I really feel confident in their capabilities. You can expect as the year goes, if one of them isn’t at quarterback, then they are going to be at another place offensively – whether that be a running back or wide receiver. They are just talented enough that they need to be on the field.”

Sophomore Gage Florence is projected to get a large chunk of the carries at running back after a solid postseason a year ago.

First Team All-State defensive players Hayden Lee and Dakotah Aaseth will aid both sides of the ball. Lee will line up as a tight end and be flying around as the middle linebacker, while Aaseth provides a big 6-foot-3 body in the trenches on the offensive and defensive lines.

Other key players to watch: Senior Colton Frankl (RB/DB), junior Michael Thomas (RB/LB) and sophomore Bransyn Yanish (OL/LB).

“We have five seniors and two juniors and they will all play, but it’s the sophomores that need to step up and fill in some spots,” Sandy said. “Something we are going to work on throughout the year is developing some depth, especially at our lineman positions. We got to get kids ready to be the next man up in case of injuries.”

Velva opens the season Friday with a non-region road contest against Harvey/Wells Country. The Aggies beat them 16-0 last season.

The week following, Velva hosts Region 3 foe Des Lacs-Burlington. Last season, the Aggies handed DLB its only regional loss, 18-7.

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