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Tri City North Stars lineman Nathan Foster and safety Kyle Struecker bring down Stallions running back DeMarcus Bethany Saturday afternoon during the North Stars debut performance at Cushman Field. Photo by Kile Brewer/Grand Forks Herald

SEMI-PRO FOOTBALL: Tri City triumphs 30-16 over Stallions

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SEMI-PRO FOOTBALL: Tri City triumphs 30-16 over Stallions
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

Grand Forks’ foray into semipro football Saturday afternoon saw a mixture of the typical minor league quirks, as well as an enjoyable summer game.


First, the Tri City North Stars franchise opener came against a last-minute unexpected opponent. Due to changes in the league schedule because of the weather, Tri City coach J.J. Kern said, the North Stars played the Sioux Falls Stallions.

In front of what the organization announced as just under 700 paid fans, Tri City won its first ever game with a 30-16 triumph over the Stallions at Cushman Field.

The crowd, which included Minnesota Viking legend Chuck Foreman, resembled a local high school football gathering.

“I thought things went awesome,” Kern said. “We had a crowd that was loud. What we did for our first game, I’m so proud of these guys. I’m looking forward to growing this thing in the area.”

Defense shines

The North Stars’ defense was the story, as they recovered two fumbles and intercepted Sioux Falls quarterback Marquese Brooks — who possesses more of a fullback build than a quarterback physique — four times.

Brooks did finish with 215 passing yards, including 29-yard and 34-yard scoring strikes to Stephan Fry.

Tri City, which is a representation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and Crookston, scored twice on long defensive touchdowns to thwart drives. Robin Reese recovered a fumble and returned it 95 yards, while Sean Trottier picked off a pass and ran it back 80 yards.

Trottier, a 25-year-old who never played college football, was playing in his first football game in two years.

“I came back for the love of the game and the camaraderie,” said Trottier, who had a second diving interception in the red zone for the North Stars. “I’ve been playing the game since I was a little kid, but I didn’t have the opportunity to play in college. I’m glad I was given this opportunity.”

Big rush duo

Offensively, the North Stars were led by the running back duo of T.J. Deen and Deangelo Brackins — a tandem Deen dubbed Thunder and Lightning.

Deen, presumably the thunder, scored the franchise’s first points with a 5-yard scamper in the first quarter. The former North Dakota State and Augsburg running back finished with 33 yards on eight carries.

Brackins, who is 6-foot and 225 pounds, had 72 yards on 11 carries and capped the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to push the lead out of reach.

Tri City quarterback Duane Aamot, who played at Mayville State, finished with 51 passing yards, including a touchdown toss to Sharmba Moore from 9 yards out.

“I saw a lot of dedication and that was the most important thing,” said Deen, who drives from Minneapolis for the games. “Our offensive players were ready go and Brackins is a flat-out stud; you heard it here first. He was making all the plays.”


Tri City North Stars 30,

Sioux Falls Stallions 16

Sioux Falls                                0      8    8    0—16

Tri City                                      6    12    6    6—30

TC ­— T.J. Deen 5 run; pass failed

TC ­— Robin Reese 95 fumble return; pass failed

SF ­— Stephan Fry 29 pass from Marquese Brooks; Jason Hulstein run

TC ­— Sharmba Moore 9 pass from Duane Aamot; kick failed

TC — Sean Trottier 80 interception return; kick failed

SF — Fry 34 pass from Brooks; Fry pass from Brooks

TC — Deangelo Brackins 2 run; pass failed

Individual leaders

RUSHING — TC: Aamot 4-27, Wade Steier 9-43, Deen 8-33, Brackins 11-72; SF: DeMarcus Bethany 4-40

PASSING — TC: Aamot 3-7-1, 51 yards; SF: B rooks 12-23-4, 215 yards

RECEIVING — TC: Tyler Jones 1-38; SF: Fry 3-64, Weston Peterson 4-51, Marlon Lobban 2-43

Tom Miller
Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 10 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 
(701) 780-1121