Heart River, Beach locked in playoffsHeart River head coach Dave Hendrickson knows his team has a long road ahead of them before the season is over.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Heart River head coach Dave Hendrickson knows his team has a long road ahead of them before the season is over.
The No. 3-ranked Cougars host New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin at 7 p.m. on Friday in a Class 1A, Region 4 game.
Though Heart River has already sealed a playoff berth, the team isn’t looking past the Holsteins.
“Our players aren’t looking past this one,” Hendrickson said. “We haven’t lost a home game in two years. It’s a big game for us.”
Since the 29-27 loss against Killdeer on Sept. 28, the Cougars have earned back-to-back wins over region opponents. Heart River now has to rely on outside help to nab a home-playoff game — not a position Hendrickson and the rest of the Cougars wanted to be in.
“With that (47-0) win against Richardton-Taylor-Hebron, it did assure us a playoff game,” Hendrickson said. “Consequently, we can depend on ourselves for home-field advantage. We have to depend on some other people. It is what it is. Our mindset right now is we are going to go on the road.”
Hendrickson didn’t compare the loss against Killdeer as a lesson learned, but more of a wake-up.
“Against good teams, you can’t get down 14 points and expect to get back,” he said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen again.”
The seventh-year head coach made the comparison to the 2010 Green Bay Packers winning three straight road games and eventually winning the Super Bowl.
“It’s not impossible,” Hendrickson said.
The Cougars have been ranked in the Class 1A coaches poll the entire season. The highest position Heart River held was No. 2. Hendrickson wants his players to talk about being ranked and making the playoffs.
“Our players have done a good job,” Hendrickson said. “We talk about playoffs, we talk about ranks. We talk about that stuff two out of the four nights during the week. They handle it extremely well.”
Killdeer can lock up a home playoff game with a win over RTH, while Hazen can do the same with a win over Grant County-Flasher.
In 9-man, Region 4, Beach came into the season with optimism. The optimism turned into reality after defeating Shiloh Christian 16-12 last Friday.
Though Beach defeated then No. 5-ranked Shiloh, head coach Mike Zier wants to finish out the season with a win.
“The first thing we want to do is beat Bowman County. That guarantees us the third spot and a trip to Cando more than likely,” Zier said. “More importantly we’ll be in a tie for second in the region. That’s really great. To be honest, that’s pretty unexpected.”
The Buccaneers have rattled off three straight wins after losing to current No. 1-ranked Divide Country on Sept. 14. Zier’s expectations haven’t been exceeded this season. He knew his team could be in this position.
“I wouldn’t say it exceeded my expectations, but I thought if everything came together, this is how good we could play,” Zier said. “The kids have really stepped up. It’s a credit to our seniors and basically all the kids.”
Bowman County cross country taking shape
Bowman County boys and girls cross country teams head coach Jon Jahner said it has been an interesting season thus far.
“It’s kind of been a rollercoaster,” Jahner said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but that’s what cross country training is about when you don’t have a whole lot of summer miles in. You expect some bumps in the road.”
The two experienced runners the Bulldogs have looked to this season are seniors Colter Braaten and Michael Palczewski.
“They’re both great kids,” Jahner said. “We don’t have to worry with their off-the-field antics. They are both great leaders and good role models.”
Each senior has taken their bumps and bruises this season.
“Colter has been dinged up,” Jahner said. “He’s had a bad ankle, so he’s a little bit behind as far as the running is concern.
“Michael is just a phenomenal athlete. He’s just a good runner. He’s had his struggles this year. It hasn’t come as easy to him as it had in the past. Last year, he trained himself pretty hard to become a sprinter, so he’s bulked up a little bit from last year.”
For the Bowman County girls, it was pretty much a fresh start as the team has one senior and the rest are sophomores and eighth-graders.
“We lost most of our girls from last year,” Jahner said. “That’s a bad thing, because you lose some leadership. But it’s a good thing, because we got a fresh start in the girls program.”
However two solid contributors all season have been sophomore Ashlee Edwards and eighth-grader Mikayla Bartholomay.
“As an eighth-grader, she’s got excellent leadership skills and she kind of a rock for us,” Jahner said. “She runs usually No. 2 on our team.”
“She (Ashlee) sprints for us and she came out for cross country. She does a great job.”