Aune making blocks for Raiders
A majority of Lane Aune's varsity time on the football field was spent on the offensive line.
After a pair of tough seasons in 11-man, the Richardton-Taylor-Hebron football team moved back to 9-man.
With the transition of football classes, Aune changed positions from guard to fullback, but more importantly the tides of fortune for the Raiders also shifted.
"Playing against the talent level in 11-man definitely helped us out this year," Aune said. "It's a different talent level from 11-man to 9-man. There are still some really great players out here."
RTH head coach Travis Olson said Aune has been willing to do whatever the team needed to win.
"We moved him to the offensive line a couple years ago when we were 11-man, because it was a situation where we needed to have him on the field," Olson said. "We had a fullback at the time that had been starting for us for a couple years, but we needed both guys on the field. We always had anticipated him moving back to fullback and Lane has always been excited about doing that.
"He did whatever we asked him to do the offensive line and did a nice job. I talked to Lane this year, because we are kind of thin on the offensive line. If something would happen where we'd need an offensive lineman, I talked to him about moving back. Of course, he absolutely agreed with whatever would help out the team."
However, Aune hasn't forgotten his roots and the importance of making a key block for the Raiders.
This season RTH has rushed for a total of 2,980 yards and 36 touchdowns. The main running backs Aune blocks for have combined for 1,938 yards and 25 TDs.
"Playing offensive line really helped with my blocking," said Aune, who rushed for 496 yards and three TDs. "I take a lot of pride in my blocking and paving the way for my running backs. We have three or four guys that can step in, make some moves and make people miss."
The Raiders' leading rusher this season was Denver Colgrove, who finished with 850 yards on 83 carries and 13 TDs. Colgrove said it great to have Aune as the lead blocker.
"He's very good at blocking after coming from the line," Colgrove said. "He can run the ball extremely well too. It helps to have him to be able to run behind, know that he can get carries too and we'll be in good shape."
The Raiders' past two seasons had an overall record of 7-11. RTH didn't make the playoffs either year.
In the first year returned to 9-man, the Raiders finished the regular season with a 7-2 record. RTH's only two losses came against two of the top five teams in the 9-man football poll -- Shiloh Christian and Grant County-Flasher. The Raiders nabbed the No. 3 spot in Region 4 and have a first-round playoff game against Divide County at 1 p.m. Saturday in Crosby.
The biggest asset the Maroons had throughout the years is a winning tradition. In the past three seasons, Divide County has an overall record of 30-4 and made it to the state championship game last year. The Maroons lost 40-22 to New Rockford-Sheyenne in the state title game.
"Other than not hosting a home playoff game, we are right where we want to be right now," Olson said. "They are a team that wins a lot of football games. Their program has been a great program for years and years."
Aune added: "It's a brand new season. There are 16 teams playing for a state championship. Our goal at the end of the week is to be 1-0 and go from there."