Offense is off to fast start for Firebirds

Devils Lake opened the football season with good news-bad news results. In a game of extremes, the Firebirds scored a 56-30 win at Valley City on Friday. Since Devils Lake joined the Class AA ranks in 2007, the 30 points matched the highest total...

Devils Lake opened the football season with good news-bad news results.

In a game of extremes, the Firebirds scored a 56-30 win at Valley City on Friday. Since Devils Lake joined the Class AA ranks in 2007, the 30 points matched the highest total Devils Lake has allowed in a regular-season game. On the other hand, the 56 points were just two shy of matching Devils Lake's highest regular-season point total in a game in AA.

"On offense, everything clicked," Devils Lake coach Jay Schneider said. "Defensively, we were kind of tentative. We have to make better tackles, with better form. And, to Valley City's credit, they're a good offensive team.

"I think it came down to our depth on the line. We were able to rotate guys, with some of the linemen only playing one way. On a hot night, that really helped.''

The Firebirds got big yardage from a pair of 5-foot-8 running backs.


Kole Jenson rushed 18 times for 162 yards, with four touchdowns and 327 all-purpose yards. Sam Desai added 93 rushing yards. Beau Eriksson was 5-of-11 passing for 126 yards and three touchdowns.

"Kole wasn't our feature back last year," Schneider said. "He'll get more carries, more of the spotlight, this year. He's a shifty runner who makes guys miss tackles, and he has good speed in the open field.

"And our blockers did a nice job, controlling the line, opening holes and giving Beau time to throw. It was a good offensive game to build on."

The Firebirds' starting offensive line consists of John Traynor, Tanner Paine, Conner Swiontek, Jacob Lagasse and Lawrence Hegland.

New-look Knights quarterback

Braydon Gourneau is bringing a new look to the Dakota Prairie football team's quarterback position.

The previous two Knights quarterbacks, Seth Nichols and Tyler Luehring, both were all-state selections. While both were threats to run the ball, they were pass-first quarterbacks. Gourneau, on the other hand, has been dominant as a runner for the 2-0 Knights.

Gourneau opened the season rushing for 301 yards against Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page, and followed that with 252 yards on the ground against Midway-Minto. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior also was 6-of-11 passing for 135 yards against Midway-Minto.


"We're running the same offense, out of the spread," Dakota Prairie coach Garrett Magner said. "Braydon is basically another halfback for us. He's more of a running-back type, shorter and more solidly put together than Seth and Tyler were.

"With Tyler and Seth, they did more scrambling on passing plays to get their rushing yards. With Braydon, we're calling more running plays. He's our best all-around football player. I want him with the ball."

Burros win

early showdown

Hillsboro opened its Region 2 9-man football schedule with a key win.

The Burros are 3-0, including a 22-20 road win at Wyndmere-Lidgerwood last Friday. In a matchup between two of the top teams in the region, Alex McLean rushed for 118 yards and Brandon Otto rushed for 57 and passed for 72 to spark the Burros' offense.

"To go there and beat them is a real confidence builder," Hillsboro coach Scott Olsen said. "I told the kids before that game that it could be the potential region championship game, even though it was the first week of the season. Most preseason polls I saw had us two at the top of the region. We both had a lot of guys returning from last year.

"But it was only the second game of the year. There are plenty of areas where we have to improve. We have to keep getting better."


Delayed start for Norman Co. West

Norman County West's football season opener has been delayed by a week.

Norman County West was scheduled to play Climax-Fisher today. But, due to low numbers, NCW has forfeited the game. Norman County West has only 14 players on its roster, and five are ineligible to play this week.

The forfeit "is a one-game thing," NCW coach Dan Jorgensen said. "We just can't play it. We have a couple of kids out for two weeks for disciplinary reasons, and three are out for academic reasons. Those three will be back for the second week.

"We have a low number of boys in high school. We have 45 percent of the boys in our school playing. Last year, we played with 16. We're hoping we can pick up a few more kids once school begins next week. We'll do whatever we can to play the rest of our games."

As for Climax-Fisher, the Knights will still open their season today. Climax-Fisher will play at Clearbrook-Gonvick in a 7 p.m. game that originally was scheduled for Oct. 12. Whether Climax-Fisher will fill the now-open Oct. 12 date is yet to be determined.

What's in a name?

Grygla-Goodridge or Goodridge-Grygla?


That's been a debate going on in the two communities as they prepare this winter for their first season as a boys basketball co-op. There were discussions at several public meetings. There was consideration for an alternative name that didn't include the name of either town.

In the end, however, Goodridge-Grygla will be the name of all the sports in the co-op. And the decision was based on?

The flip of a coin.

"There wasn't an easy way of doing it," said Vern Johnson, the paired sports coordinator of the two schools. "The feedback we got from the communities was that they wanted the towns' names in the title. We thought of different ways of doing it. But we finally decided that a coin flip was the fairest way to decide the order."


Two area runners are in the top 10 in Minnesota's Class A cross country preseason poll. Brendan Skime of Thief River Falls is ranked 10th in the boys division, while Victoria Alexander of Lake of the Woods is ranked eighth in the girls poll. . . . Larimore's Chris Arvin won the 100, 200 and 400 at the North Dakota Region 2 track meet last spring. He showed that speed on the football field, running for touchdowns covering 53, 67 and 74 yards in a 27-12 win against Northern Cass last week. He finished with 228 rushing yards on just 11 carries. . . . Harvey beat North Star 2-0 on Saturday in the championship match of the Bottineau volleyball tournament.

DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to .

What To Read Next
Get Local