Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.
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Dawson-Boyd has a lot going its way as a Class A state quarterfinals football game against Browerville approaches. The Blackjacks have the confidence of the king as the defending state champions, for one. Two, it's going to play a team that runs a veer offense similar to that employed by Mahnomen, the team Dawson-Boyd dispatched in last year's state championship game. Third, the Blackjacks are coming off a decisive 42-21 win over a fierce rival, Minneota, in the Section 5A championship game last weekend.
It takes a lot for a team with a winning tradition to swallow a little pride after taking a serious beating from a nearby rival, regroup just one game into the season and battle back to earn a spot in a state tournament. But that's what the ACGC football team did, winning eight of nine games and a section championship after suffering a 34-0 beatdown against fellow state tournament team BOLD back on Aug. 31. "I think we've always thought we could get here," said Falcons quarterback and defensive back Dylan Hoerchler, who will lead the team against St.
Smart, composed, tough and athletic. Quick on the line, fast in the backfield, team-oriented and coached-up to the hilt. Even a few of those attributes will make you a pretty good football team. If, like BOLD, you've got them all, it's no surprise your outfit is undefeated, ranked No. 4 in the state and playing in the state quarterfinals this week. "This is just a great group to be around," said Warriors head coach Steve Solem. "I guess there are some similarities to our other teams but there's not a big star on this team.
ST. CLOUD -- The ACGC football team held the ball twice as long, ran twice as many plays and gained twice as many yards. And yet it took an improbable fourth down conversion and an improvised play call in the final 30 seconds of the game for the Falcons to turn back BBE 6-0 in the Section 4A championship game Saturday at Huskies Field. After having a 36-yard field goal erased by a penalty with about a minute left in the game, ACGC was facing fourth-and-22 from the Jaguars' 29 yard line.
Last season, the Dawson-Boyd football team entered the playoffs with few injuries and left a litter of teams in its wake as it marched to the Class A state championship, winning six postseason games by an average margin of 36 points per game. This season will be different.
Prep wrestling coaches throughout the area were stunned by the death of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa head coach Rich Vos on Tuesday. Two long-time area coaches, New London-Spicer's Jair Toedter and KMS's Wes Haglund, said they were saddened by the loss of a coach, husband and father who worked hard in the school and in the community. One of BBE's annual invitational tournaments served as the official start of the high school season for many area teams, said Toedter, who began his teaching and coaching career at BBE.
Homecoming week is among the best of the school year, five fun days filled with dancing, dress-up, coronations and, of course, the big game on Friday night. But Homecoming is more subdued this week at MACCRAY High School. The football team hasn't won a game yet but that's really a minor concern right now. Students are worrying daily about a classmate and friend who is fighting hard for his life in a Minneapolis hospital.
ACGC head football coach Terry Karlsgodt sighed as he recited the statistics, and even though he was talking on a telephone you could almost feel him shaking his head. "We threw the ball 15 times, we completed five, we were sacked four times and we threw five interceptions,"" Karlsgodt said. "Dismal." Karlsgodt was referring to the production of the Falcons' newly minted passing attack in last week's 34-0 season-opener loss to BOLD in Olivia. Historically, the Falcons have belied their high-flying nickname.
HANCOCK -- Hancock football coach Chad Christianson's team was scrimmaging Wheaton last week when the coach turned to his freshman defensive lineman. "What do you think, you want some of this?" Christianson said, pointing to the varsity teams on the field. "Yeah, I'll get in there and play," the lineman said. So in went the freshman, and not long after Wheaton tried to run one up the gut. The lineman grabbed the ball carrier and dropped him. Coach and player were pleased.
What was once new will be old again -- or, what was once old will be new again. Something like that. The old, single-division West Central Conference is back this season. Sort of. This season, the West Central Conference will not be divided into North and South divisions, as it had been for many years. Albany and New London-Spicer -- which begins its first season in the Wright County Conference -- have departed.