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Jake Starcevic's position change has Thompson football unbeaten

An all-state wide receiver as a freshman, Starcevic's move to quarterback has only increased his value for 6-0 Tommies.

Thompson Grafton 2.jpg
Thompson quarterback Jake Starcevic looks downfield during a first-quarter run Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Thompson. Also shown are Thompson offensive lineman Jesse Hegg (55) and Grafton defenders Hayden Perez (3) and Chago Galvan (55).
Korrie Wenzel/Grand Forks Herald
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THOMPSON, N.D. — When the Thompson football program won North Dakota 9-man state championships in 2016 and 2018, Jake Starcevic was on the sideline as the waterboy.

When he was old enough to play varsity football, Starcevic became an all-state wide receiver as a freshman.

Now a sophomore, Starcevic has made another position change. He's gone from waterboy to all-state wide receiver to a dominant dual-threat quarterback.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Starcevic has led the Tommies to a 6-0 record and is coming off a win over Langdon-Edmore-Munich in which Starcevic ran and threw for more than 100 yards.

"I've been playing quarterback for my class the whole way up in elementary and junior high, and I did quarterback camps in the summer the past few summers," Starcevic said.

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Against Langdon-Edmore-Munich, Starcevic ran 24 times for 138 yards and two touchdowns. He was also 14-for-18 passing for 163 yards and a touchdown.

With a 6-0 start, the Tommies have eclipsed the six-win mark for the first time since 2019. After many years in 9-man football, Thompson was moved up to 11-man in 2019.

"We've got a little better each week," said Thompson first-year head coach Alex Starcevic, Jake's dad. "There's been some ups and downs but ultimately we're 6-0 and probably played our most complete game last Friday."

Alex Starcevic said he was encouraged by the play of his offensive line against Langdon-Edmore-Munich. The Tommies start seniors Cam Webber, Isaak McHugo, Jacob Brend, Trevin Applegren and sophomore Jesse Hegg on the offensive line.

"The boys up front took on a bit of a challenge," Alex Starcevic said. "They know we'll go as they go."

On the season, Jake Starcevic is 69-for-114 passing for 993 yards, eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. On the ground, he has 123 carries for 839 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Brody Gibson (230 rushing yards) and Reece Berberich (168 rushing yards) are the Tommies' other top options in the backfield, while Max Roller (14 catches, 315 yards, 3 TDs), Karter Peterson (15 catches, 223 yards, 2 TDs) and Thomas Schumacher (12 catches, 149 yards) are the top pass catchers.

Defensively, Starcevic, who rotates between safety and linebacker, is averaging 10 tackles per game and has a team-high three interceptions.

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Brend has 11 tackles for loss and three sacks, while Will Welke has 49 tackles and two sacks.

The Tommies wrap the regular season against Oak Grove, Bottineau and Hillsboro-Central Valley.

Bottineau is 6-0, while the Burros are 5-1.

"We've been fortunate to have the growth and progress we've had through the season," Jake Starcevic said. "Beating a team like Langdon, although they're not ranked, overall they're a good team, so that gives us some confidence. As long as we take it week by week, that Langdon game proved how our season can go if we can play like that every week."

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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