Sickler, Harris, Schweitzer take the field one last time in their respected standout careersDickinson Trinity’s Brandon Sickler and Killdeer’s Tate Harris know each other well.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Dickinson Trinity’s Brandon Sickler and Killdeer’s Tate Harris know each other well.
The two live 35 miles away, play basketball in the same district and are standouts on the football field.
Though Sickler plays football in Class 2A and Harris plays in Class A, the two will take the football field one last time as teammates for the North Dakota 11-man West team in the 2012 Shrine Bowl that begins at 3 p.m. MDT today at Fargo Shanley High School.
“It’s a great feeling to be chosen by the coaches to come and represent the west side of the state,” Sickler said. “It’s a great opportunity to play one last game and meet other kids around the state.”
Despite Trinity and Killdeer not playing in the same division, the teams are building a tradition of playing each other to open up the season the last three years.
Sickler, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound two-time all-state defensive back, plans on pursuing a business degree at the University of North Dakota. Harris, a 6-foot, 250-pound all-state offensive lineman, is going to Sheridan (Wyo.) College for rodeo.
Harris said it’s always a goal to end each season on a win. The Cowboys lost 20-0 to Stanley-Powers Lake in the first round of the Class A playoffs. However, Harris more importantly wanted to leave behind a legacy for the Killdeer football program.
“I wanted to go out with a bang,” he said. “I wanted to leave something in Killdeer for everyone to remember. I didn’t want to be one of the kids that played for Killdeer. I wanted to be one of the kids that meant something to the Killdeer football squad.”
Lou Dobitz, Killdeer’s head football coach, said Harris represents the Cowboys extremely well and was a good mentor to the younger players on the team.
“He worked hard during skill time and hopefully the younger kids learned from him as he did that,” Dobitz said. “During games, he didn’t want to leave the field. He wanted to stay out there, even if he was really gassed. Part of that was being a senior, you don’t want to miss any minutes, but he really didn’t.”
Sickler’s senior season at Trinity didn’t turn out like he had hoped with a barrage of injuries plaguing the team. But he was able to take away many positive memories.
“It was great playing with the group of guys that we had at Trinity,” Sickler said. “It was a fun season.”
Randy Gordon, Trinity’s head coach, is proud of the work ethic and leadership qualities Sickler has shown throughout the years.
“It’s always a good honor to have someone to represent our school at an all-star game like this,” Gordon said. “Brandon certainly deserves it. He’s been a second-team all-stater for two years now. He was a team captain last year. He’s definitely earned that.”
Harris, who chose rodeo over football, said playing with some of the best players in state has been quite an experience.
“It’s been kind of eye-opening,” Harris said. “If I chose to play college football, it would have shown me what it’s like. It’s pretty humbling playing with some of these guys, because they are going to play at D-I colleges.”
Schweitzer dropping back to pass
McCahen Schweitzer has followed in a long-line of quarterbacks in a pass-happy Mott-Regent offense.
Former Minot State four-year starter Jon Meier holds almost every Wildfire passing record except one: passing percentage.
Schweitzer holds that mark at a stunning 65.3-percent career completion rate.
In the three years that Schweitzer attempted and completed passes for the Wildfire, he accumulated 4,047 yards, 47 touchdowns and threw 15 interceptions. He had 292 completions on 449 attempts.
Schweitzer said being named to the 9-man West team for the Shrine Bowl is an honor.
“It always makes you feel pretty good when you get an honor like this,” he said. “It means that people think you are good at what you do. It’s a good feeling.”
The 5-10, 140-pound quarterback threw to many talented receivers during his time at Mott-Regent. Most notably was last season with Chad Mosbrucker, who is playing football for Dickinson State University in the fall and was on North Dakota’s Badlands Bowl team in June.
“Chad was definitely fun to throw to,” Schweitzer said. “He’s not here this weekend, but there are other players that will step up and fill that hole. All these players are here for a reason.”
Schweitzer, who is attending Minnesota State Moorhead in the fall, said that he feels comfortable throwing to a number of receivers.
“It’s a lot of fun playing with guys that have so many skills,” he said. “We have a lot of good wide receivers here. They are all quick and they all know what to do.”
Schweitzer said the offense put into place for the West at the Shrine Bowl is comparable to the scheme run by the Wildfire during the regular season.
“The offense that we are running this weekend is a lot like ours in Mott-Regent,” he said. “Everyone has to learn it, so we all have to be on the same page.”
Schweitzer hopes to relish the moment of playing his final competitive football game and make a few friends along the way.
“It’s one last time you can put on the pads,” he said. “Even though it’s with different teammates, it’s a lot of fun. There will be a lot of memories.”