Area prep notebook: Goodridge-Grygla takes first victory over Storm in stride
John Wilebski was happy to see his Goodridge-Grygla football team take a milestone victory in stride. The Blue Devils had never beaten perennial Minnesota 9-man power Stephen-Argyle since the Stephen-Argyle consolidation was formed in 1996 -- unt...
John Wilebski was happy to see his Goodridge-Grygla football team take a milestone victory in stride.
The Blue Devils had never beaten perennial Minnesota 9-man power Stephen-Argyle since the Stephen-Argyle consolidation was formed in 1996 -- until last Saturday.
Goodridge-Grygla closed the regular season by handing the defending state champion Storm, ranked first in last week's state poll, a 39-14 defeat. The win left Goodridge-Grygla with an 8-0 record and the No. 1 seed in the Section 8 9-man playoffs, which open Saturday.
"The kids were pretty happy with the win," Wilebski said. "But they were their same old selves after the game.
"Having the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, I don't know if that matters much. But the confidence level went up for our guys. When you've never beaten a team, and they have all the tradition that Stephen-Argyle does, it gets kind of old for your kids."
Dillon Olson was the big gun for Goodridge-Grygla. The senior running back rushed for a career-high 355 yards on 37 carries and scored all six G-G touchdowns.
"Our line played well," Wilebski said. "And Dillon ran hard. He broke a lot of tackles."
While the win is a confidence booster, Wilebski is aware of history. Kittson County Central handed Stephen-Argyle a 41-12 regular-season defeat last season; at playoff time, the Storm beat Kittson County Central 20-12 in the section championship game.
"We can build off the win," Wilebski said. "But even before we played them, we were talking about not getting too high or too low. Or too cocky if we won. We expect to play them again, especially after how it went last year."
North Star's road warriors
North Star's football odyssey is looking like a commercial -- make the playoffs, tour North Dakota.
The Bearcats played a first-round game last Saturday at Mohall, an approximately 280-mile round trip. A victory there advanced North Star into the second round, with North Star traveling to Mott-Regent for a game this Saturday. That's approximately a 540-mile round trip.
That adds up to 820 miles in eight days. North Star had a total of approximately 500 road miles during its four regular-season road trips.
"It's the North Dakota playoffs," North Star coach Bryan Haugen said. "You get a lower seed and you travel, sometimes a great distance.
"You want to be in the tournament. But you have to make the trips. Somebody has to; nobody wants to ride in those real comfortable yellow school buses. It does get tough. It's a bumpy ride. It's cramped. You can't get up and walk around in the bus. It's tough on the legs."
To alleviate the travel discomforts, North Star -- the No. 3 seed out of Region 4 -- will leave Friday and spend the night in a motel.
The long distances also generally mean a matchup with teams that are unfamiliar with each other. Haugen said teams have an idea of what other teams will do, but the unknown is the skill level of the athletes.
"The nice thing for us is we're coming off a win," Haugen said. "There's more of an excitement for our kids. It's been awhile since we've won a football playoff game here."
Haugen said that, according to his research, it has been more than 10 years since any Cando-related co-op team won a playoff game prior to Saturday.
Tough task for East boys
Adam Monson won the Class B East Region boys cross country meet last Saturday. But he won't go into Saturday's state meet in Jamestown as a favorite.
West Region runners have dominated the meet for a long time.
No East Region runner has won the B boys title since Bryan Trautman of Griggs County Central won his second consecutive state championship in 1998. Of late, New Town has dominated, as its runners have won the last six boys state meets.
Monson, a senior running for Hatton-Northwood-Thompson, finished 10th at state last season. North Star's Bridger Belzer was the top East Region runner, finishing fourth. He, too, is returning to state.
"It's been a while since we've had a champion from the East," said veteran Hatton-Northwood-Thompson coach John Hutchison. "The West has some talented kids. And they seem to run a lot against the Bismarck runners. That has to help them. You know you have to step up and improve your times against that competition.
"I think Adam and Bridger both should be in the top 10. If they can finish in the top four, that would be an outstanding race for them. If they stay relaxed and run their race, they could make it interesting."
In the B girls division, Griggs County Central's Taylor Palmer was ranked first in the final state coaches' poll. But Benson County's Alyssa Anderson won the East Region, beating defending state champion Chandra Yankton of Rugby by almost 13 seconds, with Palmer finishing third.
"I think Alyssa is the favorite, because of the way she ran last spring in track (winning the 1,600 and 3,200 at the state meet) and by how she's running this season," Hutchison said. "She goes out strong and, for the most part, has been able to maintain or build on her leads."
Tough draw for Rams
Roseau will be making its third consecutive trip to the Minnesota Class A girls dual tennis tournament, which begins Wednesday in Minneapolis. Rams coach Jack Swanson hopes that experience pays off against quarterfinal opponent Rochester Lourdes, a perennial state title contender.
"They (Lourdes) have an outstanding tradition,'' Swanson said. "If we had played Rochester Lourdes in the past, it would have been over before it started.
"But our kids have been there before. They know what the state tournament is all about. They won't be as intimidated going against Lourdes.''
Roseau has seven players back who saw regular playing time last season. The strength of the lineup is in singles. Abby Ness at No. 1 and Taylor McFarlane at No. 2 are back at their positions from a year ago, and Brittany Tangen has moved up from No. 4 to No. 3.
Overall, Swanson said, "We aren't what I'd call overpowering players. They're just good athletes who go out and always compete.
"They're not the aggressive types of players. They'll wait for opponents to make mistakes and react to things. They're patient and wait for opportunities.''
North Star setter Brittany Held registered the 1,000th assist of her volleyball career Monday. Held had 21 assists in the match, giving her 1,019 in her career.
DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to email@example.com .