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HS football preview: Sept. 4

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN From left: Minot High School seniors Eli Wedar, Ashton Hillman, Jack Zarr, Ethan Johnson and Jacob Theis run together in between drills at a recent practice. The Magicians will face Jamestown at 8 p.m. this evening at Duane Carlson Stadium.

High school football is in full swing across North Dakota. Here’s a look at some of this week’s local contests.

Jamestown (1-0)

vs. Minot High (0-1), 8 p.m.

The Blue Jays fly into Minot after picking up a critical 28-21 victory over Dickinson last week. The Magicians fell to Mandan in a 33-14 contest.

As the Magi prepared for their senior night, head coach Chauncy Hendershot took time to look ahead while also reflecting on the past week’s learning experiences.

“It’s another chance to get out, string together some good plays and get in a little bit of a rhythm,” he said. “We had some moments last Friday night where things got going, we felt good and our kids were fighting. We also had moments where there were bad snaps, missed assignments and false starts. We just really made it very, very difficult for ourselves. Credit to Mandan. They’re a fantastic team.”

A plethora of multi-talented players comprise Jamestown’s roster. One of those athletes is sophomore Jackson Walters, who is listed as a quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker.

“They’ll fly around,” Hendershot said. “Up front, we have a tremendous amount of respect for their front seven and what they can do. They have some new faces, new athletes and very good athletes in different positions. We expect them to show up. It’s going to be a tough game.”

Ultimately, Hendershot is searching for steady presences throughout Minot’s roster.

“Consistency is the word we are looking for,” he said. “We have a lot of guys stepping up and filling those roles. We’ve got to stop saying that. They’ve just got to do it — do their job and be accountable for their jobs. That’s really what we stressed this week.”

During this unprecedented season, the home opener at Duane Carlson Stadium has the potential to elicit strong emotions from players and fans. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the old-fashioned game of football has united the Magi.

“We’re all just one big, happy family,” MHS senior wide receiver/defensive back Teagan Kinchen said. “We get through it together.”

Harvey Wells/

County (1-1) vs.

Rugby (2-0), 7 p.m.

Back in Week 1, the Hornets defeated Bismarck Shiloh Christian in a captivating 38-35 contest. The Panthers have allowed just 14 points in their first two games — six points to Nedrose, and eight to Des Lacs/Burlington.

“These kids have done a great job of picking right up from where we left off from last year and flying around the field on the defensive side,” Rugby head coach Travis Risovi said. “If they’re holding people under 10, 12 points a game like they have been so far, they give us a pretty good chance to win each night.”

Last week, Rugby senior running back Joel Matehs rushed for two touchdowns in Des Lacs. The defense held serve, and Risovi was quite pleased with the Panthers’ early efforts.

“It’s a very, very happy surprise for us,” he said. “Not that I didn’t think they could do it, but it’s just the fact that they’ve grown so much, so quickly.”

Still, Risovi is aware of the Hornets’ capability to make plays on the perimeter.

“Their skill position kids, they’re a handful,” he said.

Tonight’s game will designate Rugby’s senior night.

Nedrose (0-2) at Garrison/Max (0-2),

7 p.m.

The Troopers have scored 18 points this season, while the Cardinals have mustered 24. One team will begin region play with its first win of the season.

“A lot of things can happen in the region,” Nedrose head coach Tommy Weidler said. “The goal is to make the playoffs. We kind of think of this as the start to the real season. It’s all about being 1-0 after each week and trying to control what we can control.”

The Cardinals like to mix things up through the air and on the ground, so the Troopers will need to prepare for battle.

“They have a really good run game,” Garrison/Max head coach Justin Folk said. “They’re big. They’re physical. We’re going to have to really show a lot of heart. We have 14 guys. We’re going to have basically three subs. Even if they’re not quite ready to play, they’re going to have to.”

MLS (1-1) vs.

North Prairie (1-1)

at Rolette, 7 p.m.

Both teams will look to the ground game for offense in this showdown between two talented teams. North Prairie senior running back Xavier Mitchell leads the way for the Cougars, while senior running back Stetson Helwig and junior running back Corbin Hall provide threats for the Mavericks.

“We’ve got a lot of kids that are running really hard right now,” MLS co-head coach Cody Beck said. “Stetson has been carrying a big load. Gannon Hall has been doing a great job picking it up as well. He’s been getting big gains, too. It all kind of comes down to that offensive line creating holes and giving them space to run.”

Last season, Mitchell scored four touchdowns during a 38-6 victory over the Mavericks in Mohall. With much of the same casts and crew returning for both sides, the contest should make for a competitive 9-man matchup.

Beck and the Mavericks are prepared to adjust to the site change from Rolla.

“It doesn’t really matter where you’re playing,” he said. We’re traveling either way. They’re going to be a big, physical team. We just need to execute the whole game. It’s going to come down to playing a complete game and trying to contain their playmakers.”

Other local Class A games include:

Velva at South Prairie, 6 p.m.

Tioga at DLB, 7 p.m.

Kenmare/Bowbells/Burke Central vs. Bishop Ryan at Nedrose, 7 p.m.

Westhope/Newburg/Glenburn at Bottineau, 7 p.m.

Other local 9-man games include:

Surrey at Turtle Lake/Mercer, 7 p.m.

L&C/Berthold at TGU, 7 p.m.

Trenton at Ray/Powers Lake, 7 p.m.

Divide County at Parshall/White Shield, 7 p.m.

New Rockford/Sheyenne at St. John, 7 p.m.

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

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