Outlining strengths and weaknesses on the eve of the Tri City North Stars’ semipro football debut in Grand Forks wasn’t easy for head coach James Kern.
There’s still a lot to learn about his new undertaking.
“It looks like our team is coming together,” Kern said. “We’ll find out (today). We have some guys who are hungry. They’re going to give 110 percent. We have a gritty group of guys willing to work hard and get better. We’ll know a lot more about the details Saturday night.”
The North Stars will kick off their inaugural season at 4 p.m. today at Cushman Field against the Rapid City Raptors in a Midwest Premiere Football League matchup.
The game will be played by NFL rules and officiated by a set of MPFL refs.
“(Rapid City) is an established team that has been around a long time,” Kern said. “They’re already 2-0 and won by large margins. I’m excited to show what we’ve got.”
Taking snaps for the North Stars in the opener will be Duane Aamot of Fairbanks, Alaska, who played at Mayville State.
Aamot is expected to split time at quarterback with Josh Hance, who Kern says has a military background.
Other players Kern expects to make an immediate impact are defensive tackle Titus Cole, running back/safety Wade Steier and offensive tackle Raheem White.
Steier played collegiately at Black Hills State, while White was a former MPFL all star with the Brainerd Lumberjacks.
Kern said the team roster is around 45 players, with about 15 new players.
“Those new guys will get limited minutes to get their feet wet,” Kern said.
Through the first four games of the season, the roster can expand to 62 players to still be eligible for the playoffs.
The game begins at 4 p.m., although fans are encouraged to come at 3 p.m. Former Minnesota Viking great Chuck Foreman will be in attendance and signing autographs.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. All in attendance are eligible for a raffle drawing for an ATV after the game.
“Practices are a little different than a game, so I’m excited to see who takes it to another level,” Kern said.