North Star a tall order to defend

Defenses trying to match up with North Star face a tall task. Literally. The Bearcats play host to St. John on Tuesday in a matchup of two of the top teams in North Dakota's 9-man Region 4. The teams are even in the standings, with North Star, St...

Defenses trying to match up with North Star face a tall task. Literally.

The Bearcats play host to St. John on Tuesday in a matchup of two of the top teams in North Dakota's 9-man Region 4. The teams are even in the standings, with North Star, St. John and Wells County sharing the region lead with 4-1 records. But St. John, like all other opponents, will be looking up at North Star.

North Star uses five receivers who range in height from 6 feet 1 inch to 6-7.

"There aren't too many defensive backs who are as big as our receivers are," North Star quarterback Tanner Komrosky said. "Their height works to our advantage. You put the pass up high enough and you know they'll come down with it where defensive backs can't touch the ball."

Calvin Teubner, a 6-3 senior, leads the receivers with 56 catches for 782 yards and nine touchdowns, followed by 6-1 Jacob Hagler (37-548-5) and the only sub-six-footer in the group, Derek Henke (22-255-1). Other receivers in the mix include 6-1 Daniel Grande (10-88-3), 6-3 Josh Haugen (6-71-1) and 6-7 Grant Lindahl (3-30-2).


While height alone doesn't make a good receiver -- the ability to get open and catch the ball, plus the quarterback's accuracy all are key factors -- that size doesn't hurt.

"Not many teams at our level have defensive backs taller than 6 feet," North Star coach Bryan Haugen said. "It makes it tough to match up with us.

"I'm sure it has to worry teams -- how do you deal with all of this height. And we have a handbag full of things in our playbook to take advantage of our height."

Haugen said the height becomes a bigger factor as the field gets shorter. Many of the Bearcats' red-zone touchdowns have come on lob passes into the end zone. But, Komrosky said, size is a weapon all over the field -- slants, deep routes, end-zone lobs, whatever.

"Anywhere on the field, they can go up and get the ball," Komrosky said.

The senior quarterback's arm also is a factor in the passing game. He's completed 149 of 226 passes for 1,917 yards. Komrosky has thrown 22 touchdown passes while being intercepted only seven times.

"Tanner's the best high school quarterback I've ever dealt with," Bryan Haugen said. "He doesn't have a huge throwing arm, but he's so accurate. And he's smart. He studies football, knows what the defenses will do and what we should be doing.

"He and Calvin really have a sense with each other. Tanner's been throwing to Calvin for about nine years. They just know what each other will do. And you can throw it anywhere near Calvin and he gets it. He has exception hands, and he knows how to get open."


North Star and St. John both have locked up playoff berths. If North Star wins Tuesday's game, it gets the region's No. 1 seed in the playoffs. If St. John and Wells County, which plays 2-6 Tri-County, both win on Tuesday, Wells County gets the No. 1 seed, St. John will be second and North Star drops to the No. 4 seed.The concern for the Bearcats on Tuesday is the strong Woodchuck running game led by quarterback Tyler Bryant.

"They have a lot of big, strong, physical guys," Bryan Haugen said. "They're ball control. They'll run the ball to keep it out of our hands as much as possible."

In other area sports events to watch this week:


- Hillsboro at Central Valley, Thursday: Two high-powered offenses in North Dakota's 9-man Region 2 wrap up their season in a game that could impact seeding. This is a matchup of contrasting styles -- Zach Grothmann and Josh Mayo lead Hillsboro's ground-oriented offense, while Cody Waslien's passing has been an integral part of the Valiants' offense.

- Langdon-Munich at North Prairie, Friday: The regular-season title in North Dakota's Region 2A is on the line. North Prairie, with its stingy defense and an offense led by Michael Bonn and Jaden Pfeifer, is undefeated and gets the No. 1 seed with a win. A win by Langdon-Munich, with big-play back Jon Dinius, ties the Cardinals with North Prairie and gives LangdonMunich the No. 1 seed.

- Grygla-Goodridge at Stephen-Argyle, Saturday: These are two state-ranked teams, Stephen-Argyle at No. 5 and Grygla-Goodridge at No. 10 in the latest poll. Grygla-Goodridge will try to control the ball with its Dillon Olson-led ground game to beat the perennial power Storm.



- Griggs County Central at Park River/Fordville-Lankin, Thursday: Top teams in North Dakota's Class B Region 2 meet. Griggs County Central has locked up the No. 1 seed in the District 3 tournament, as has Park River/Fordville-Lankin in District 4.

Cross country

- N.D. Class B East Region meet: Some of North Dakota's best Class B runners will be the regional, to be held Saturday at Cooperstown. Griggs County Central is the top state-ranked team in the girls field, the Cougars being fourth in the latest poll. The boys division has four runners ranked in the latest individual state poll Dylan Yoder (fourth) of Rugby, Bridger Belzer (fifth) of North Star, Anthony Askew (seventh) of Cavalier and Adam Monson (eighth) of Hatton-Northwood-Thompson.

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