Magicians look to end football season victorious
At 1-5, the Minot Magicians will look to finish the 2020 campaign on a high note as they host the winless Williston Coyotes in the season finale, scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 21. While both clubs will not be vying for playoff consideration, Minot head coach Chauncy Hendershot says performing well in this matchup will go a long way towards building momentum heading into the offseason.
“We are thankful for the contributions that have been made by our senior class, and we have an opportunity to catapult ourselves into a productive season next year for our returning players, and that is very important,” Hendershot tells the Minot Daily News.
In order to conclude matters on a positive note and secure its second victory of the season, Minot must find away to slow down Williston’s explosive senior running back J.J. Williams. While Williston has struggled this year as a team, Williams has shown flashes of brilliance as coach Hendershot is well aware of. In the first two games of the season, Williams reached the endzone in back-to-back weeks, scoring on touchdown runs of 92 and 15 yards against Bismarck High and Bismarck Legacy respectively. According to Hendershot, one of the keys for his defensive unit will be maintaining gap integrity when the ball is in Williams’ hands.
“He might be the fastest kid out there when he takes the field,” Hendershot says of Williams. “So we really have to make sure we take good angles on him and rally to the football if he gets to the second level of the defense.”
One of the players who will be assigned with slowing down Williston’s speedster halfback will be sophomore defensive lineman Kaydn Tumbow. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Tumbow brings high intensity and effort into every game according to his head coach. Further, Hendershot is excited at upside Tumbow possesses as he approaches his final two years of varsity football. Ashton Hillman, a 5-foot-9 senior who is a two-year starter at outside linebacker, will also be expected to provide the Minot defense with run support in the season finale.
Unfortunately, the Magicians will be without the services of senior linebacker and leading rusher Chase Burke, who is unavailable for the game. For the year, Burke has compiled 515 rushing yards through six games. Another key absence from the Minot lineup will be senior outside linebacker Tristen Zietz, who will miss the game due to injury.
As a result, junior tailback Hunter Ruzicka will be expected to carry more of the offensive workload against the Coyotes. The Magicians’ head coach feels Ruzicka will be up to the task as he has already helped the club in a variety of ways in 2020.
“Hunter has played well this year, and he has been our swiss army knife tool throughout the season. He’s had time as a slot receiver, running back, as well as kickoff and punt return du1ties, so I’m confident in his abilities going into this game,” Hendershot added. “This whole team has a ‘next man up’ mentality, and I expect all of our guys to step up to meet this challenge.”
As the Minot football mentor closes out his rookie campaign with the Magicians, Hendershot says that in order to put his stamp on the program moving forward, he is looking to build a community of multi-sport athletes who possess an urgency to compete in virtually every aspect of life.
“No matter what season it is, if it’s wrestling, swimming, baseball or just in the weight room, I want to build this program around players who are comfortable working in a competitive environment,” the Magician coach adds. “We were in alot of tight ballgames this year, and finding ways to win is going to be very important for us going forward.”