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MHS quartet finish football careers with win

Robert Brewer/MDN Left to right: Bailey McCarty, Braeden McCarty, Jacob Theis, and Zach Melaas. This group of four Minot varsity football players, who have played competitively as teammates for the past 10 years, closed out their football careers together in a matchup against the Williston Coyotes on Wednesday night.

Wednesday evening’s contest against Williston wrapped up the 2020 Minot football season, and it was the final game for the Minot Magicians’ senior class. The ballgame also held a special meaning for certain a group of four Minot players.

Bailey McCarty, Braeden McCarty, Zach Melaas and Jacob Theis, all senior starters for the Magicians, have been playing competitive tackle football together as teammates for the past 10 years. After sharing a decade of memories on the gridiron, the quartet took the field for the final time as teammates in Minot’s contest against Williston. According to cornerback Jacob Theis, he feels fortunate to have been a part of such a unique bond. “It really blows my mind that we all walked onto the field together 10 years ago, and now we have a chance to walk off the field for the last time together,” Theis told The Minot Daily News before the game.

With all four players being Minot natives, the group explains their bond began simply because of living in the same general vicinity. Eventually, it was a shared passion for the game of football that led these close neighbors to want to take the gridiron together. Inside linebacker Braedon McCarty, whose brother Bailey is among the four players, states that playing alongside Melaas and Theis feels like and extension of his family. “You just don’t find a bond like this with any other sport,” McCarty added. “We have a love for the game, and it’s really like I have two extra brothers with me everytime I take the field.”

Among the many highlights the group has experienced together, the 2020 season marked the first year in which all four players became starters at the varsity level. Individually, Bailey McCarty, a lineman, and Theis say their fondest memories came during their sixth grade year while playing for the YMCA Bears together. For Melaas, also a lineman, he says his favorite memory with the group came in a game against Williston last season when Braedon McCarty tipped a Coyote pass that Melaas caught off the deflection, leading to his first and only career interception.

Meanwhile Braedon McCarty, also a varsity baseball player for Minot High who aspires to compete collegiately on the diamond, feels each year he played football with the group was its own individual highlight. “I love how none of us quit, and we kept pushing eachother every day to get better. The passion we all have for football really is amazing.”

Moving forward, Theis, also a golfer for Minot High, plans to attend North Dakota State University, and Melaas plans to study business at the University of North Dakota. As for brothers Bailey and Braedon McCarty, Bailey plans to attend Bismarck State and study heating and air conditioning technology while Braedon wants to focus on livestock management, but is undecided on a university. With the young men headed in different career paths, they collectively admit having played in their final game against Williston was a bittersweet pill to swallow.

“It’s really sad that it’s all come to an end because after 10 years of playing together, it feels like it all went by so fast,” Theis said. “I think we all feel that same emotion, and I will definitely be crying on the field when the game is over, I will openly admit that.”

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