Yaggie thrives with a chance in TRF backfield

Aaron Yaggie has made the most of an opportunity to get into the offensive backfield of the Thief River Falls football team. When starting running back Matt Lindquist was injured in a game against Roseau, Yaggie rushed for 51 yards in the second ...

Aaron Yaggie has made the most of an opportunity to get into the offensive backfield of the Thief River Falls football team.

When starting running back Matt Lindquist was injured in a game against Roseau, Yaggie rushed for 51 yards in the second half. He followed that with a 128-yard, 1-touchdown game against East Grand Forks Senior High, then rushed for 252 yards and four touchdowns Friday against Detroit Lakes.

"In practice, Aaron isn't a kid who stands out," Thief River Falls coach Jeff Mumm said. "But in game situations, he's been getting the job done.

"He won't blow away anybody with his speed. He knows how to read his blockers and he makes great cuts. He can stop on a dime and has quick acceleration."

Mumm said his preference is that players start only one way, and Yaggie is one of the team's better defensive backs. "We didn't need him on offense; we were happy with our rotation at running back," Mumm said.


Lindquist was back in the lineup against Detroit Lakes -- at a linebacker spot.

"Right now," Mumm said, "Aaron has proven that he belongs in the offensive backfield."

Cougars count on depth

Griggs County Central lost one of its top runners last Saturday when Leah Oien suffered a torn muscle late in the Class B East Region girls cross country meet.

A year ago, that would have been a big loss to the Cougars. But GCC coach Rick Anderson is hoping for a top-five finish and a team trophy at the state Class B meet, which will be held Saturday in Valley City.

"Leah's questionable for state, which could hurt our depth," Anderson said. "But we still feel we can get in the top five. Last year, we basically relied on five girls. We have a couple of new girls out this year; we're much better at our No. 6 and No. 7 spots. When one girl goes down, it's not quite as devastating to us."

Griggs County Central finished five points shy of a top-five finish and a team trophy at the 2008 state meet, placing sixth.

The Cougars are led by Taylor Palmer and Maggie Moen. Palmer has been a top-10 finisher at the state meet each of the past three seasons, Anderson said, while Moen has achieved that the past two seasons. "They're a nice one-two combination," Anderson said. "Maggie and Taylor always have been big-race runners. We hope that will continue."


The depth showed at the regional. The Cougars won their second straight region title. Palmer led the way for GCC, finishing second. Moen placed seventh, one spot behind teammate Brittany Liljenquist.

Stronger East showing?

East Region champion Rugby is the top-ranked team in the North Dakota Class B cross country boys coaches poll. But the Panthers will try to buck the trend of 2008, when West Region runners dominated the state meet.

In last season's state meet, the top East individual runner was Lisbon's Anthony Finstad, who placed sixth. Only two of the top 14 runners were from the East Region. New Town won the team title, with Rugby second. Among the top East runners heading into Saturday's state meet in Valley City are Anthony Askew of Cavalier, Adam Monson of Hatton-Northwood-Thompson, Dylan Yoder of Rugby and East Region champion Bridger Belzer of North Star.

"The West has the top three runners," North Star coach Pat Belzer said. "After that, it's more even. Guys like Bridger and Anthony have been very consistent. Dylan, Adam and (Carrington's) Easton Page have been a little inconsistent, but they have the ability to be right up near the top, too."

As for the team race, "If Rugby doesn't win, I'd be real surprised," Griggs County Central coach Rick Anderson said. "They won't have the top individuals, but they go eight or nine deep with really good kids."

St. John closes strong

St. John finished the 9-man football regular season by scoring 62 points in back-to-back games -- the Woodchucks' highest point totals of the season.


As a result, St. John finished second in Region 4 and got a first-round bye in the playoffs. St. John is at Central McLean in a second-round game Saturday.

"We treated our last games like playoff games," St. John coach Cory Davis said. "We had to win at least one of them to get into the playoffs. We won both, so we wound up with the second seed."

Davis said a young line, anchored by second-year starting center Coy Garrison, opened the way for big rushing games by quarterback Tyler Bryant and running back Mitch Slater.

"We have almost all underclassmen starting on the line -- they've gained some experience and confidence," Davis said. "Tyler and Mitch have done a good job. They've been breaking tackles and making big plays. But they've also gotten some room to run from our line."

Laymon leads Ponies

Keaton Laymon has been a big defensive playmaker for Warren-Alvarado-Oslo.

The junior middle linebacker, a third-year starter, ranks high in several defensive categories in the small-school division of the Northern Plains Conference.

He's second in sacks (five), one of six players tied for second in fumble recoveries (third) and is tied for third in tackles (50). All the players who are tied or ahead of Laymon have played one more game than the W-A-O standout.


"Keaton's speed is average," Ponies coach Tony Gullikson said. "But he's an aggressive kid and he's got a nose for the ball. He's always around it.

"And our scheme helps him. We've played a lot more 6-2 fronts this year, tying up the linemen and freeing our linebackers to roam and make tackles."

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

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