Co-head coaches set to lead MLS football this year

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN Co-head coach Cody Beck explains a play to the offense during a practice. The Mavericks will host Ray/Powers Lake on Friday in Mohall.

MOHALL — Cody Beck and Boyd Southam are faced with a unique challenge on the gridiron this season. Both football coaches have assisted the Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood Mavericks in the past, but now they will work together as co-head coaches.

The coaches will share offensive responsibilities. Beck will take care of the skill positions, while Southam will assist with the offensive line.

Southam previously served as the defensive coordinator, so he brings necessary acumen to the game’s other side. The experienced coach took time to recognize one of the Mavericks’ greatest assets –something that can’t be taught.

“Team speed is going to be our main advantage this year,” Southam said. “You never know who’s going to be getting the ball. It will go to five, six different guys. We don’t have any burners who are going to win state in the 100-meter dash or anything, but I think these guys have been hungry to prove themselves in a lot of different positions.”

Last season, MLS finished 6-3 overall and fell to Shiloh Christian in the second round of the 9-man playoffs.

The Mavericks will have to compensate for the loss of do-everything standout Isaac Undlin, who moved on to Minnesota State Moorhead.

Undlin played both tight end and linebacker. He posted a staggering 29 receptions for 578 yards and 11 touchdowns in his senior campaign.

The current senior core has stepped up in his absence.

“Even when we want to take it easy on them at times, they’re asking to run more,” Beck said. “We’ll be almost done with the running, and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, one more.’ It’s not very often that you have high school kids who are asking for extra conditioning and want to work that hard.”

Beck said the first player to ask for extra reps is senior tight end/linebacker Henry Savelkoul. Savelkoul serves as a leader on the field, always barking out instructions and offering encouragement to his teammates.

“No one wants to lose,” he said. “The biggest thing is discipline. We have to stay disciplined and we can’t lose focus. We’ve got to come out every day and make each other better. No one gets a day off.”

Another senior leader is running back/defensive back Adam Southam, who will be asked to carry the load on the ground this season.

He played sparingly as a sophomore and earned significant time on defense last season.

“I always dreamed about being a senior and playing on the football team,” Adam said. “It’s crazy that it’s actually happening. It’s amazing.”

Both of those seniors contribute on both ends of the ball. Senior Nate Beha will occasionally play linebacker, but his main responsibility is QB1.

Beha threw for 13 touchdowns and nearly 115 yards per game last season. He also eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark.

“I’m in the best shape of my life,” Beha said. “I worked a lot over the summer. I’m just feeling really good about everything. I love this team.”

The 5-foot-9 quarterback grew up in Hawaii and had an itch to play football. However, he didn’t start until he entered seventh grade.

“I put 100 percent effort into everything I do,” Beha said. “It has really worked out. A lot of people told me I couldn’t do it. But it’s words, you know? It isn’t going to stop your work ethic.”

Key juniors include running back/linebacker Stetson Helwig, fullback/linebacker Bryden Santos and tight end/linebacker Corbin Hall. Ryan Feland and Lucas Undlin, are also in the mix as wide receiver/defensive back combo threats.

“We’ll be able to really spread the ball around,” Beck said. “We’ll keep teams honest all the time.”

The Mavericks will host Ray/Powers Lake on Friday. That will serve as a revenge game, as the Outlaws won the region title last year.

MLS finished second after earning first place the previous two seasons.

“They’re raring to go,” Boyd said. “I think you will see some kids emerge who barely got the ball at all last year. That’s going to be fun for the whole team.”

Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.