HS football preview: Sept. 11
This week, the North Dakota high school football scene offers several intriguing games. Here’s a glance at the action.
TGU (2-1) at Surrey (3-0), 6 p.m.
The Mustangs have racked up 132 points through the first three games of their season. TGU’s offense is also a force to be reckoned with — the Titans have amassed 114 points this year.
During the early stages of the campaign, Surrey head coach Mark Kennedy has emphasized the importance of speed in 9-man action.
“We just tell them, ‘Hey, man, play fast,'” he said. “‘Give 100%, 100% of the time, and you give us a chance. You give yourself a chance. If you give yourself a chance, you give the team a chance. This is a team game.'”
The number 54 seems to sprinkle a bit of magic into TGU’s results. In both of their wins, the Titans have lit up the scoreboard with 54 points (54-6 against Trenton, 54-20 against Lewis & Clark/Berthold).
Now, TGU must face a tough test on the road.
“We’ve always kind of embraced that,” Titans head coach Ben Wollenzien said. “Road warriors. We embraced that attitude a long, long time ago in the playoffs.”
On the other side of the coin, Surrey is gearing up for its first home game of the season. The Mustangs possess a healthy amount of respect for the Titans’ approach.
“They’re a big, strong team,” Surrey junior offensive/defensive lineman Jagger Dickman said. “They’ve got a lot of tradition and a lot of speed. They’re determined. They’re going to come ready to fight.”
While leading the young Mustangs, Kennedy has learned to keep things light.
“The young guys, they’re jokesters,” he said. “I love it. I love being out here with these kids. We want football to be fun, and they’ve really taken on that fun. Don’t get us wrong. We have serious moments. We have moments where we forget about football and we have to talk about life. We’ve got to prepare them for not only football, but for life after football.”
South Prairie (0-2) at Nedrose (1-2), 7 p.m.
The Cardinals are coming off their first win of the season, a 42-8 triumph over Garrison/Max. The Royals will look to spoil Nedrose’s homecoming game.
“South Prairie brings some challenges to the game,” Nedrose head coach Tommy Weidler said. “They’re coached really well. They’ve got some guys that move out there and run around. They do some things defensively with the (linebackers) blitzing.”
This particular Class A Region 3 matchup showcases a battle between two talented seniors. South Prairie defensive lineman Cooper Bohl will go toe-to-toe with Nedrose quarterback Ethan Miller. Indeed, Friday night lights present the culmination of a week of preparation.
“Monday through Thursday are just as important, if not more important,” Weidler said. “We have to win Monday through Thursday, so we can win Friday. All those guys are coming to practice. It doesn’t matter if they’re on our scout team or our varsity guys. They’re all there and trying to put the work in to get that win on Friday.”
Harvey/Wells County (2-1) at Carrington (1-2), 7 p.m.
The two teams the Hornets have defeated — Bismarck Shiloh Christian and Rugby — earned playoff berths last season. Junior wide receiver/cornerback Madden Thorson is one of several dual threats for Harvey/Wells County.
“We’re getting better each day,” Hornets head coach Bret Dockter said. “Last year, we played a bunch of sophomores. They’re starting to grow up into juniors. They’re maturing, growing and understanding the process. That’s been good for us.”
The Cardinals hope to rebound after enduring a current two-game losing streak. Still, Dockter expects a tough challenge.
“We know that they’re our rivals, so they’re going to give us a heck of a game,” he said. “We’ve got some nagging injuries here and there that we’ve got to play through. Some sprained ankles, all football stuff. We’ve just got to get in there, take care of ourselves and let the chips fall where they might.”
Other local Class A games include: Bishop Ryan at Tioga, 7 p.m.; Garrison/Max at Velva, 7 p.m.; Des Lacs/Burlington at Kenmare/B/BC, 7 p.m.; Rugby at Langdon A/E/M, 7 p.m.; Bottineau at Grafton, 7 p.m.; Westhope/Newburg/Glenburn at Park River/Fordville-Lankin, 7 p.m.
Other local 9-man games include: Parshall/White Shield at MLS, 7 p.m.; St. John at Benson County, 7 p.m.; Central McLean at Trenton, 7 p.m.; Ray/Powers Lake at Divide County, 7 p.m.
In Class A: Stanley at Valley City, 7 p.m.
In 6-man: Drayton at Drake-Anamoose, 5 p.m.
Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.