High school football: Bearcats solidify their No. 1 ranking
When was the last time Stephen-Argyle lost a regular-season football game by as many as 29 points? Mark Kroulik had a quick answer. "Never," the Stephen-Argyle coach said. So Friday night was a first, when Kittson County Central, ranked No. 1 in ...
When was the last time Stephen-Argyle lost a regular-season football game by as many as 29 points?
Mark Kroulik had a quick answer. "Never," the Stephen-Argyle coach said. So Friday night was a first, when Kittson County Central, ranked No. 1 in last week's Minnesota 9-man high school football poll, beat No. 2 Stephen-Argyle 41-12.
The 5-0 Bearcats figure to retain their No. 1 state ranking. Stephen-Argyle dropped to 3-1. The loss is only the fifth regular-season defeat the Storm have suffered since Stephen and Argyle consolidated prior to the 1996-97 school year.
The game also marked the second straight time Kittson County Central has defeated the perennial state-power Storm.
"For the immediate time, it's a game that gives us first place in conference standings," KCC coach Terry Ogorek said. "That's pretty big to the kids. And it will help when section seeding time comes.
"I'd be a liar if I said we were used to (beating Stephen-Argyle). It gives us a good measuring stick of where we're at."
Where the Bearcats are at now is in the role of team to beat in the section.
The outcome was another streak-stopper for the Bearcats, as it marked the first time Stephen-Argyle has lost a regular-season game since going 5-2 in 2000.
Last season, Kittson County Central beat the Storm 7-0 in the Section 8 9-man championship game. That KCC victory snapped Stephen-Argyle's run of consecutive state championships at five, consecutive section championships at 12 and consecutive games won at 76.
Ogorek said he wasn't surprised that his team won Friday. The 29-point margin, however, "was unexpected. I was looking for a hard-fought, defensive battle, not unlike the last few games we'd played against each other," Ogorek said. "I thought points would be at a premium. But I think the diversity of our offense worked in our favor. We were able to keep them off balance."
Kittson County Central racked up 431 yards in total offense against the Storm. Trevor Austin led the way, completing 15 of 27 passes for 293 yards. Favorite receiver Brady Diamond had eight catches, good for 182 yards. The 138 rushing yards was led by Alex Chaput, who gained 77 on 16 carries.
"Austin is an outstanding high school quarterback," Kroulik said. "He was throwing lasers; he was the No. 1 factor in the game, no doubt about it. And they stretch the field and spread out your defense with their speed.
"At this point, I don't know who in our section will touch them."
The outcome also indicates a continued shift in power in Section 8 9-man. After years of opponents chasing Stephen-Argyle, Kittson County Central now appears to be the team to beat.
"I suppose it would make us favorites," Ogorek said. "It's something that's pretty different for us. It's been Stephen-Argyle in that role for so many years.
"I guess we're not the sleeper any more."
DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to