Fargo Post 2 falls to Idaho Falls in World Series championship

SHELBY, N.C. — Fargo Post 2’s bid for its first American Legion baseball World Series championship fell short Wednesday, Aug. 21, with a 5-3 loss to Idaho Falls Post 56 at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium.
Post 2, which reached its first title game in its 91-year history, held a 2-1 lead when Tuesday night’s rain-suspended game resumed on Wednesday morning. But Idaho Falls scored three runs in the second inning and added another in the third inning.
Post 2 loaded the bases twice — once in the third inning and again in the sixth inning — but failed to score. Post 2 scored one run in the seventh inning but stranded runners on first and second to end the game.
Post 2 finishes the season with a 54-8 record, two of those losses coming against Idaho Falls at the World Series. Post 2 lost to Idaho Falls 7-3 in the opening round.
“Being here was quite surreal … getting an opportunity to win a championship was unbelievable,” said Post 2 coach Luke Rustad. “I hope our kids look at themselves and realize that Fargo Post 2 can compete with anybody in the nation. We are just that type of baseball program. This is something that isn’t just talked about but can be achieved.”
The two starting pitchers, Post 2’s Blake Anderson and Idaho Falls’ Randon Hostert, did not return to the mound Wednesday, being replaced by Colton Frey and Andrew Gregersen, respectively.
Hostert is a 6-foot-6 righthander who was drafted in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Texas Rangers. Rustad said the rain suspension may have affected his team a little bit.
“Our guys were on a big emotional high going against a big, quality pitcher,” Rustad said. “Sometimes that’s not easy to do ramping it back up the next day. But for the most part, I thought our guys were ready.”
Idaho Falls loaded the bases in the second inning with a Nick Layland single and walks to Brady Owens and Bruer Webster. Alex Cortez followed with a groundball deep in the hole at shortstop for a single and Tavyn Lords brought home two more with a single to right center.
Post 2 loaded the bases in the top of the third, but a lineout to shortstop forced a double play.
With a runner on first in the bottom of the third, Idaho Falls’ Jaxon Sorenson lined a double over the head of the right fielder, putting two runners in scoring position for Nick Layland, who hit one deep enough to center to bring in one run on a sacrifice fly.
“We gave them too many free bases,” Rustad said, referring to Idaho Falls scoring in the second and third innings. “That’s what did us in.”
An error and two walks loaded the bases for Post 2 in the top of the sixth, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. Gregersen battled Zach Kluvers to a full count before he popped out in foul territory to the second baseman.
In the top of the seventh, Post 2 put two on and Brandt Kolpack singled to bring home Cole Hage. Gregersen got a key strikeout and a ground ball from second baseman Bruer Webster to first baseman Randon Hostert to seal the victory.
On Tuesday night in the top of the first, Fargo worked very difficult counts and got the scoring started. Zach Sandy fouled off two tough pitches already in an 0-2 count before forcing a difficult play at short, reaching on an error. A groundout moved him over to second and a single by Cole Hage on a 1-2 count put runners on the corners. After an out, Brayden Koenig grounded one the opposite way through the hole for an RBI single. Kolpack followed with a single of his own to make 2-0. All four runners to reach base in the inning had two strikes on them.
Idaho Falls had three batters reach in the bottom of the frame, and just like Fargo, all three did so down to their last strike. Webster led off with a single and Alex Cortez did the same. A wild pitch moved both over and Hostert brought a run home with a hard-hit ball that forced an error. Anderson settled down and got a key strikeout and flyout to end the frame.
Three pitches into the top of the second inning, the rain came, forcing a delay and suspension.
Post 2 was playing in its fourth World Series, the first in 27 years. Post 2 played in the World Series in 1969, 1989, 1992. Post 2’s appearance in the title game marked the first time a team from North Dakota reached a World Series championship game. It marked the first time a team from Idaho won a World Series championship.
“This group is a very special group,” Rustad said of his team. “They are baseball players through and through. They are extremely hard workers, not to mention, a very talented group. I just hope that they will remember this experience forever.”

Bison name starting quarterback

By Eric Peterson and Dom Izzo
Forum News Service

FARGO — North Dakota State will go with youth under center.
Bison head coach Matt Entz named redshirt freshman Trey Lance as the starting quarterback Monday, Aug. 19, for the team’s season opener Aug. 31 against Butler University at Target Field in Minneapolis.
The 6-foot-3, 221-pound redshirt freshman was in competition with junior FBS transfer Zeb Noland and sophomore Noah Sanders for the starting spot. Lance played in two games last season, using the new NCAA rule that allows players to play in up to four games and keep their redshirt. Lance threw and completed one pass, and rushed for two touchdowns in his game action against North Alabama and South Dakota.
“At the end of the day I thought Trey had an outstanding fall camp up to this point, has continued to improve every day,” Entz said. “My challenge to the (quarterback) room was to continue to develop one another. Iron sharpens iron.”
Entz said Noland is the clear No. 2 on the quarterback depth chart ahead of Sanders. Noland played in five games for Iowa State last season, completing 70 of 110 passes for 772 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
“All three of these quarterbacks can help us win football games and probably will help us win football games in 2019,” Entz said.
Entz said now that the competition for the starting quarterback spot has been decided, the team can focus on Butler.
“It takes away the uncertainty that was probably there,” Entz said. “It was a white elephant in the room. Everyone was waiting for it do be one way or the other.”
Lance was a highly touted recruit out of Marshall, Minn., in 2018. He was the first player to commit to NDSU for the 2018 class. He was a three-year starter at Marshall High School, twice leading the Tigers to the Minnesota 4A state football tournament. Marshall lost in the state semifinals to Benilde-St. Margaret’s in 2016 at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Lance dressed for all 15 games for the Bison last season, traveling on the road with the team, much like former Bison quarterback Easton Stick did as a true freshman in 2014 to learn from Carson Wentz. Stick is now a rookie quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers. Wentz is entering his fourth season as the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles.
“Being able to spend time with (Stick) last year was one of the coolest things for me,” Lance said. “I don’t think I would be anywhere near where I am today without all the extra help that he gave me that he didn’t need to.”
Lance’s one completion last season went for 12 yards. He also rushed for 82 yards and two touchdowns on eight attempts in his two games. Lance said making every road trip and preparing for all 15 games last season was helpful, even though he saw limited game action.
“Now, I know what to expect,” Lance said.
Lance added he’s focused on improving with the regular season set to start in less than two weeks.
“I’m getting better every day still,” Lance said. “There’s no way I have arrived or anything like that.”
Noland came to Fargo last January after transferring from Iowa State. He was a sophomore last season and had a 360-yard, two-touchdown performance against Oklahoma for the Cyclones. He’s the most seasoned of the Bison quarterbacks on the roster as a junior.
“Nothing’s going to change,” Lance said. “We’re going to compete every day just like we have been. We’re going to win and lose games as a room, collectively. I might be on the field, but I need those guys. I need Noah and I need Zeb to get me through this, help us win games.”
Lance said he is excited to make his first collegiate start at Target Field.
“It’s going to be huge,” Lance said. “I’m a Minnesota guy so it’ll be pretty fun to have a lot of family there.”

Hankey primed to man middle linebacker spot for the Bison

FARGO — North Dakota State linebacker Jackson Hankey walked off the artificial turf at Team Makers Athletic Fields at a recent practice and shed his shoulder pads. He always envisioned this is where his football career would lead.
“I’ve always been a Bison fan,” said Hankey, from Park River, N.D. “My goal since as long as I can remember was to play for NDSU. I never really wanted to play anywhere else. To see that kind of come to reality is a bit surreal at times.”
The current reality for the 6-foot-1, 220-pound sophomore is he’s risen to the top of the depth chart at middle linebacker for the Bison, entering his third season in the program.
Hankey played in 14 games during his redshirt freshman season last fall, finishing with 27 total tackles. Now, he’s expected to be a key player in the heart of the Bison defense.
“He’s definitely established himself and I’m really pleased,” Bison head coach Matt Entz said. “He’s good around our team. He does a great job of leading by example. He gets guys going and he’s critical to our success this season.”
Hankey was a multiple-sport standout at Park River High School, graduating in 2017. He was a four-year starter on the football team, playing on two North Dakota Class 1A state championship teams. Hankey was also a six-year letter winner in baseball.
He was a walk-on who committed to NDSU after the 2017 signing day class was announced.
While Hankey is on track to be the starter at what NDSU calls its “mike” linebacker for the season opener Aug. 31 against Butler at Target Field in Minneapolis, his focus hasn’t changed.
“Regardless of where your name is on the depth chart, everybody has to come out and prove themselves every day. Nobody’s spot is too safe,” Hankey said. “I’ve got the same mindset I’ve had every camp since I was a (true) freshman.”
Hankey has played behind the likes of middle linebackers Nick DeLuca and Dan Marlette since he joined the Bison program. DeLuca is now in the NFL and Marlette was the senior starter on last season’s Division I FCS national championship team. Hankey said former Bison linebacker Levi Jordheim also helped in his development.
“I owe a lot of gratitude to those guys. Nick, he was here when I was a (true) freshman. He certainly didn’t have to take time out of his day to teach me the things that he did. He really gave back to the program in that way,” Hankey said. “I can’t say enough about what Dan Marlette taught me, about what Levi Jordheim taught me. Those guys always took the time when I asked a question.”
Bison linebackers coach Grant Olson likes the leadership Hankey has shown in fall camp. Olson added Hankey is a strong, physical player who is really good at defeating blocks. Olson also played middle linebacker for the Bison from 2010-2013.
“I think the biggest thing that he does so well is he makes other people around him better,” Olson said. “He gets everybody on the same page.”
Hankey likes the direction he’s received from Olson, who is in his first season as linebackers coach at NDSU. Olson was also a student assistant coach for NDSU in 2014.
“I think he’s a really intelligent guy,” said Hankey, who remembers watching Olson when he was a player for the Bison. “He’s well spoken and he’s a good teacher and he’s very blunt and honest and forward. I appreciate that type of communication.”
Olson said Hankey fits the NDSU “mike” linebacker mold, which Olson describes as “tough, competitive leaders who play their tail off.”
“I think he’s just the next guy in a long line,” Olson said.

UND senior overcame endless adversity to play DI football

GRAND FORKS — UND senior running back Teddy Sherva wasn’t supposed to be in America.
Born in a Ghana refugee camp in 1998, Teddy was living in Liberia in 2005 when his grandmother applied for her son — not her grandson — to flee civil war in Africa to join her in the United States.
At the embassy in Liberia, Teddy’s father begged to bring his 7-year-old son with him.
“She didn’t have enough money to send for me,” Teddy said. “By the grace of God, my dad said he had a son and somehow I was able to come. I was not supposed to be here. I got lucky.”
That’s only the beginning of trying times for Teddy, who’s met adversity at every turn.
His story, however, is about resilience and hope, and how one young man overcame a mountain of challenges to become a respected leader of a Division I football program.
Born Teddy Dweh to Patricia and Tarley Dweh, Teddy is an only child, and when he and his dad fled Liberia, his mother stayed behind. He hasn’t seen her since.
“I think about her every day,” Teddy said. “Everything I do is for her. My goal is to bring her to America once I’m done with school. Africa isn’t the place you want your mom to be. She lives by herself. It’s sad because she’s struggling to this day.”
Teddy talks to his mom about once a month through the international messaging app WhatsApp, although it’s difficult to sync schedules. She lives in Monrovia, the capital city and most populous of Liberia.
Liberia has had two major civil wars since 1989, the first of which is said to have killed about 250,000 people.
“It’s not a stable government,” Teddy said. “It’s really sad because Liberia is never going to get better because everyone is thinking about themself.”
After flying with his dad to Minnesota in February of 2005, Teddy didn’t know what he was getting into.
“Imagine, I was in shorts and a T-shirt,” Teddy said. “I had pizza for the first time and didn’t like it.”
Once in Minnesota, more challenges awaited. Teddy’s father slipped into alcoholism.
“Since he brought me to America, he hasn’t really been in my life,” Teddy said, “which is sad, but I’m happy he brought me here. If not, I would still be in Liberia struggling.
“I was the male of the house at 8 years old. I had to take care of my grandma and my own father who was drinking every day. It was tough growing up.”
When Teddy was graduating from Anoka High School in 2015, he called his dad who agreed to come to his graduation. He bragged up his father and told his friends his dad was coming.
“I thought it was a big deal; he promised he’d be there,” Teddy said.
Instead, his dad got drunk and didn’t show up.
“He let me down; he let my friends down,” Teddy said. “He had his demons, but I made him seem like a good guy. That really broke my heart. I don’t like talking about him. It brings back emotion and pain.”
The two haven’t spoken in about a year.
“I still love him and respect him; he brought me into this world,” Teddy said. “I want him to be in a sober house. I want him to change his life, but you can’t want something for someone who doesn’t want to be saved.”
Now, Teddy wants to help people like his father. He’s going to school to become a substance abuse counselor.
“I’m trying to make a difference,” he said.
With his mother in Liberia and his father out of his life, Teddy was adopted by a fifth grade teacher.
Bryan Sherva, now 51, was 38 and had three kids of his own. He worked with English Language Learners at Oxbow Creek Elementary School and learned from a coworker Teddy needed a place to live.
“I brought up the prospect of adoption and all three of my kids said yes,” Bryan said. “My oldest son (Bryan Jr.) always had a room to himself and he was ready to put up bunkbeds.
“When Teddy moved in, toward the end of the school year, my daughter had a birthday party and he joined right in and wanted to be part of something bigger. That meant a lot to him.
“He was a calming presence and a great listener. He’s the most humble kid you’ll ever meet. He’s always been a kind-hearted, sweet kid. He’s one of the nicest young men. I’ve heard that for years from anyone who has met him.”
After two weeks with Bryan, Teddy’s grandmother called Bryan to tell him “he’s your son now.”
Bryan kept Teddy’s adoption out of the court system. For health insurance, he and Teddy’s grandmother would go to the bank once a year and sign a document to say he was the acting guardian.
Teddy said Bryan taught him the relationship a father and a son should have.
“He showed me love,” Teddy said. “I never had that love from a male father figure. He was reading to me on the couch. You’re supposed to do that by first and second grade. They had to teach me how to spell things correctly.
“The first time I heard ‘I love you’ from a male father was Bryan. My (birth) father never said that to me to this day. Bryan is my best friend. He took a chance on a kid from Liberia. To this day, I’m so grateful to have him in my life.”

In Wisconsin, two ‘Sheps’ connect through their Bison football roots

FARGO — When the University School of Milwaukee high school assistant football coach Michael Sheppard went looking for a player to give his team a motivational boost, he turned to a fellow “Shep” alum from North Dakota State — Green Bay Packers wide receiver Darrius Shepherd.
The latter is making the most of training camp with the Packers. Shepherd has two touchdown catches through two preseason games for Green Bay.
“He went from a tryout to the story of the camp,” Sheppard said. “It’s a tribute to his dedication, to his preparation, everything he’s done on the field and how he prepares.”
Those attributes also described Sheppard in his playing days at NDSU, which ended in 2003. He was known for his high intensity on defense as an outside linebacker and safety and jaw-dropping tackles on kickoff coverage. Last season, when NDSU kickoff coverage man extraordinaire Jaxon Brown was talking about former players who he looked up to, he made note of Sheppard.
That, despite the players being almost two decades apart.
Sheppard never lost sight of his NDSU roots and that’s how he connected with Shepherd, who finished his Bison career last season as one of the all-time receiving leaders. The two “Sheps” met at the NCAA Division I FCS national title game in Frisco, Texas, when former Bison players are part of the NDSU Friday practice, the day before the championship game.
Shepherd was a major factor in the 38-24 Bison win over Eastern Washington, catching a 78-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Easton Stick in the third quarter.
Embed: ShepherdStick
“We stayed in contact, social media friends,” Sheppard said. “We share some family history, with him losing a parent and me losing a parent.”
Sheppard spent 15 years in the financial service business before recently launching his own endeavor. His assistant coaching gig is more of a way of giving back to the game and a way to stay involved in football.
When he heard about Shepherd signing with the Packers, he made mention to him that if it ever worked out he would like to have the wide receiver speak to his players. Earlier this week, Shepherd had a day off from the practice.
“It was his rest day, he got done with treatment and I picked him up,” Sheppard said. “We connected for a bit and he talked to the team.”
The message was something out of former Bison head coach Chris Klieman’s playbook.
“He talked about winning the day,” Sheppard said. “Doing the little things and understanding what you’re supposed to do so you can play a lot of football. He told my players to be sure to know the playbook and listen to your coaches. Be the player that is the self-starter and his other point was leadership is everything when it comes to a football team. There is only so much a coach can do.”
Sheppard is the defensive coordinator for the University School. He was a student assistant for one year with NDSU following his playing career after not making the final cut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coaching never left his blood, which, Sheppard said, was instilled by his NDSU coaches like Gus Bradley.
Bradley, a former Bison assistant, is an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Chargers.
“Gus Bradley was a father to me,” Sheppard said. “I got to a point four years ago that career-wise I could take that time out of work and give back. I took advantage of that.”
He is also a track coach at the school.
“It’s great in helping develop the minds of young men and women,” Sheppard said. “Especially for a person of color. At the high school level, there is a limited amount of diversity. To have a diverse coaching staff is important and for someone who is not at the school, they ask me questions about business and life. I’m no different then I was as a player. I’m relentlessly positive. I don’t yell at kids, I yell for kids.”
And earlier this week, he got a Green Bay Packers receiver and a fellow Bison “Shep” to help spread his message.

UND hopes to break cycle

GRAND FORKS — A year ago, the University of North Dakota had a special teams situation that would make any college football coach squeamish.
The Fighting Hawks started freshmen at kicker, punter and long snapper.
In order to avoid facing that situation every four-year cycle, UND needed to bring in competition among the specialists.
That increased depth, with the help of increased roster size, has been on display during the Fighting Hawks’ 2019 fall camp.
“Our issue over the years has been sheer numbers,” UND special teams coach Shawn Kostich said. “The last three seasons we’ve had four specialists. This year, we’re at five and there’s potential we’ll get to six.”
UND will likely still start the now-sophomore class of kicker Brady Leach, punter Cade Peterson and long snapper Ross Hinders.
But the Hawks are developing depth and future competition for playing time.
Leach, a Moorhead native, was 8-for-12 on field goals. After starting the season 0-for-2 against Mississippi Valley State, Leach finished the year connecting on his last five attempts including a 3-for-3 showing in the season finale against Northern Arizona in which he drilled his season long of 43 yards.
Brady Leach kick
Leach’s issues existed more in a lack of touchbacks on kickoffs and in extra points, where he missed one in four straight games and ended the year 35-for-39.
Of Leach’s eight touchbacks in 2018, all eight came in the final five games of the year.
“We have to get more kicks in the end zone,” Kostich said. “Last year, Brady didn’t have a consistent step pattern. Throughout the spring, we worked with him on getting comfortable with that.”
This year, Leach will be backed up by true freshman Brady Stevens.
Peterson also improved as 2018 unfolded. He had an overall average of 38.8 yards per punt but finished the year with three straight games of 40-yards per punt or better.
This year, he’s being pushed by Wayzata’s Reid Sanders, who was discovered while UND was recruiting high school teammate, tight end Billy Riviere.
“As soon as he came with us, lots of kick coaches said we got a good one,” Kostich said. “He’s got lots to work on, don’t get me wrong but today was his best performance so far and at some point he could challenge Cade.”
At punt and kick returner, UND will be mostly new after the graduation of John Santiago, who handled 80 percent of punts last year and almost 50 percent of kicks.
Kostich said Mikey Griebel is the front-runner for the punt return job, while the kick return job is unsettled. True freshman Luke Skokna, sophomore Cam McKinney, true freshman Chrysten Cochran and senior Evan Holm are among a large group of possible kick returners.

Bison freshmen receivers in line to get redshirts pulled

FARGO — Almost two weeks into fall practice, it’s becoming apparent true freshmen receivers Braylon Henderson, D.J. Baptiste and Jake Lippe have a serious shot of having their redshirt removed at some point this season. The beauty for the North Dakota State coaching staff: They don’t have to make a decision for a while.
Now in its second year, the NCAA rule that allows players to play four games (mainly targeted at freshmen) without losing a year of eligibility has taken the edge off of fall camp evaluation of first-year players. At the least, it appears Henderson, Baptiste and Lippe will get their chances in NDSU’s four non-conference games, starting with the Aug. 31 opener against Butler at Target Field in Minneapolis.
“I think this year you’ll see us attempt to play more younger kids at an early stage so we know: Do we have them all year?” said head coach Matt Entz. “Do we need to keep them with the offense and defense as practice starts to unfold for game weeks?”
If the Bison were to go into game preparation right now, Entz said the top three receivers would probably be sophomores Phoenix Sproles and Christian Watson and senior Jimmy Kepouros. With NDSU taking at least seven receivers on its 65-man roster Missouri Valley Football Conference road trips — perhaps up to 10 for non-conference games against Butler and at Delaware — that leaves room for other players to crack the depth chart.
Enter Henderson from Wylie, Texas; Baptiste from Hutto, Texas; and Lippe from Port Washington, Wis.
They’re not the only true freshmen getting looks to play right away. Running back Kobe Johnson from Lawrenceville, Ga., has shown the speed to play right away, but the Bison are also pretty deep at that position. On defense, Entz mentioned linebacker Luke Weerts from Batavia, Ill., safety Julian Wlodarczyk from Naperville, Ill., and cornerback Terrell Hall from Winona, Minn. If all three play, it will most likely be on special teams.
“Just like every year, probably going to look at them to help us on special teams first,” Entz said, “and continue to coach them and continue to teach them the schematics of the offense and defense as we move forward.”
It won’t be easy. NDSU may have lost several key players from last year’s FCS national title team, but a good retention rate from the last few years doesn’t leave much room for true freshmen to crack the lineup.
Enter the four-game NCAA rule.
“It does take the pressure off,” Entz of decisions coaches had to make before that rule. “Maybe the lights are too bright for them on Saturday and they’re just not ready to do it from a maturity standpoint.”
One added luxury Entz has this year that former head coach Chris Klieman didn’t have last season is a fourth non-conference game. Because of the way the calendar falls, FCS teams are permitted 12 regular-season games this season.
Moreover, NDSU has a bye week following the nonconference games against Butler, the University of North Dakota, Delaware and UC Davis before Missouri Valley Football Conference play begins. It makes for a five-week, in-season evaluation period.
“You always hope to have opportunities to play these kids in situations where they’re still valuable reps,” Entz said. “You want to see them have the pressure of it being a valuable moment during a game. So I think it will be critical as we go through the next six weeks to identify what freshmen are going to play for the year and what freshmen are going to be a four-game limit.”

UND juggles defensive line

GRAND FORKS, (FNS) — When defensive line coach Jordan Gigli left the University of North Dakota for Northern Illinois after five years with the Fighting Hawks in the offseason, defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt shifted from coaching linebackers to the line in order to make the hire he wanted in now-linebackers coach Brett Holinka.
Schmidt wasn’t signing up for the easiest assignment as it turns out.
Along the defensive line, UND lost 2018 starters Tank Harris and Austin Cieslak to graduation, then lost promising youngsters Zeke Ott and Nick Honerlaw to injury. And just this week, expected defensive end starter Carl Engwall is no longer with the team.
All that movement means the line is the biggest defensive concern for the Fighting Hawks, as they build toward an Aug. 31 opener against Drake at the Alerus Center.
“Working on depth is the biggest thing,” Schmidt said. “I think we have some talented young guys, they just lack the experience and reps they need for us to play at a high level. It’s inconsistent right now, but there’s talent there.”
UND’s defensive line starts with one major proven standout in defensive end Mason Bennett, one of the program’s best defensive lineman in recent history.
Bennett, a 6-foot-4, 258-pound Winnipeg native, finished with 9.0 sacks in 2018 — two behind the school record.
But the experience level drops off from there significantly.
After losing 2018 seniors Tank Harris and Steve Greer at nose guard, the Fighting Hawks will turn to sophomore Jalen Morrison, a 6-2, 278-pound Woodbury, Minn. native.
Morrison played in seven games last season, registering two tackles.
“I think Jalen is making progress,” Schmidt said. “His body type and athleticism is exactly what we’re looking for there. He’s not at the level where I think he needs to be but it’s a process and every rep he’s getting better and better. He can stop the run and play physical but now I’d like to get more out of him in the pass game. That takes time for guys who didn’t play (nose) in high school.”
The battle for the No. 2 nose guard has come down to 6-0, 263-pound redshirt freshman Griffin Lickfeldt and true freshman Elijah Beach, who’s 6-2 and 267 pounds.
“Griffin has done some good things and improved,” Schmidt said. “Beach is what you want, too. He’s really strong. He’s one of the guys we’d like to bring along here and see if he can help our defense in 2019.”
UND brought in six defensive linemen in the 2019 recruiting class.
“We don’t need them to play 50 plays a game, but we can’t have a drop-off when we take out (the starters),” Schmidt said. “We have to have the next group of guys ready to go.”
With Engwall no longer the starter opposite of Bennett, UND turns to a competition between redshirt freshman Jaelen Johnson (6-2, 228), classmate Ryan Schoenfelder (6-4, 235) and sophomore Quintin Seguin (6-3, 241).
Converted fullback Graham DeVore is also expected to be in the rotation at end, as is true freshman Isaac Moore.
“Seguin has come along here,” Schmidt said. “He has more horsepower than he did last fall. The guy who has come the farthest is Schoenfelder. He’s put on 30 pounds since he stepped on campus. He’d be the next guy in line there.
“For us, we have to keep trusting in those next guys. You can’t wear down your top guys and expect they’ll be the same in October and November.”
Schimdt wants to keep Bennett around the same number of plays he played a year ago. Morrison, too, is expected to see the same amount of reps as 2018 starter Tank Harris.
“The key is in the pass game,” Schmidt said. “We lost a lot of production. Tank was a good pass rusher. Cieslak was a good player here. Now with Quintin, Jaelen, Jalen, Graham, Griffin and Schoenfelder … it’s their turn now to play at a high level and help our team win.”

Day 1 of East-West Classic canceled

By Daily News Staff
sports@minotdailynews.com

JAMESTOWN — The first day of the East-West Classic girls golf meet at the Hillcrest Golf Course in Jamestown was canceled due to weather. The second and final day of the tournament will begin at 10 a.m. this morning. Bismarck Century defeated Minot High to win last year’s event. Century also won this year’s first event at the TMCHS Invite.

Knotek emerges during NDSU’s basketball tour of Puerto Rico

By Jeff Kolpack
Forum News Service

FARGO — One player has departed and one player emerged in games played in Puerto Rico and North Dakota State has the look of a men’s basketball team that could make some noise again this season.
The Bison took advantage of an NCAA-allowable foreign trip to set the stage after making a run through the Summit League tournament and reaching the NCAA Division I tournament last season. They did that with 6-foot-6 guard Jaxon Knotek on the bench, but that may not be the case this season.
Knotek, a sophomore from River Falls, Wis., averaged 17 points in three games, including 23 in a final-game 94-73 win over Guaynabo.
“Jaxon is extremely confident,” said Bison head coach Dave Richman. “He’s taken some great strides. Physically, he looks terrific, is really strong and shot extremely well. And just as important, he made some good strides defensively in understanding what we’re doing.”
NDSU may need him with Jordan Horn leaving the team. The junior guard did not accompany the team to Puerto Rico and will apparently transfer to another school. With NDSU having a deep bench, it appears playing time was an issue.
“We love and support Jordan and wish him nothing but the best as he continues to pursue his dreams on and off the court,” Richman said.
Horn played in 25 games last season averaging 4.4 points and 11.8 minutes per game. That was more than Knotek, who played sparingly in 11 games averaging 1.6 points.
Knotek took advantage of some top-of-the-line Bison players sitting out the Puerto Rico games. Guard Sam Griesel did not play after playing for the German U20 National Team in the European Championships this summer.
Griesel played in seven games in a nine-day stretch in a program that included two-a-day practices.
“He had so much mileage down the stretch,” Richman said.
Moreover, forward Rocky Kreuser and guard Tyree Eady did not play because of minor injuries, Richman said.
“I think the encouraging part from a coach’s perspective is we didn’t see much of a dropoff,” Richman said. “Guys took steps forward. In the grand scheme of things, it could help us build that depth and validate things.”
True freshmen Noah Christensen from Breckenridge, Minn., and Maleeck Harden-Hayes from Moorhead were able to play without endangering their eligibility status — should they redshirt this season. Both contributed.
Harden-Hayes had 11 points and Christensen eight rebounds in the opening game.
“At first glance, both look like basketball players — long and athletic,” Richman said. “Noah has a high level of skill. Maleeck is a big-time athlete with a great competitive motor and spirit.”
NDSU will take two weeks off before school and preseason workouts get going in full force.
“It’s vitally important for the kids to get away from everything for a week or two to recuperate,” Richman said. “We got better from each game on the court.”