A little different test: Hettinger-Scranton practices 11-man defense, prepares for Heart River

Hettinger-Scranton's preparation for its game on Friday is a little different than most weeks. The Night Hawks football team is practicing two different styles of play -- a 9-man offense and 11-man defense. Hettinger-Scranton, a 9-man football te...

Brandon Pierce
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Hettinger-Scranton junior linebacker Brandon Pierce carries the ball after an interception against Beach during a 9-man, Region 4 game on Aug. 30 in Hettinger.

Hettinger-Scranton’s preparation for its game on Friday is a little different than most weeks.
The Night Hawks football team is practicing two different styles of play - a 9-man offense and 11-man defense.
Hettinger-Scranton, a 9-man football team, is traveling to play 11-man Class 1A opponent Heart River at 7 p.m. Friday in Belfield.
“11-man is a big adjustment for us and (Heart River) is a very good football team,” Hettinger-Scranton head coach Randy Burwick said. “They didn’t lose a lot of guys from last year. They started 0-2 and they are going to be hungry for a win. We know Heart River is a very good football team and we are going to have to play very well.”
The Night Hawks (2-1, 2-1 in Region 4) are coming off an easier week as they played a total of one quarter against Beach on Sept. 2 after the game was delayed on Aug. 30 due to inclement weather.
Hettinger-Scranton then won by forfeit against Trenton-Trinity Christian on Friday. Despite the players receiving an ample amount of time to rest, Burwick still would have liked to have played the game against Tigers. The Night Hawks have averaged 22 points per game and allowed 27.3.
“It’s good that we got some kids a little extra rest and the biggest thing is that it has given us some extra time to work on some of our weaknesses,” he said. “We’ve done that and improved on a lot of those things.”
Despite the game against Heart River having no effects on the standings, the Night Hawks aren’t going to take it easy.
Hettinger-Scranton wants to leave Belfield with a victory.
“By no means do we think we are going there to just play a football game. We want to win,” Burwick said. “The biggest thing is we want to see if our work in practice has paid off to get ourselves better.”
Though this will be the only time Hettinger-Scranton plays 11-man football this season, the team is going to take every advantage as more defensive players will see time.
“We are putting in our 11-man defense and getting some guys on the field, which is also a benefit, because there are going to be kids that get some extra reps this week and get a lot of playing time,” Burwick said. “That will help us out in the long run.”
Bowman County brimming with confidence

A win can change the mentality of a team.
For the Bowman County football team, winning has changed the mentality of a town.
The Bulldogs have equalled the number of wins in two weeks as they did in the previous two years.
“It’s been quite a long time since we’ve won a game this early in the season,” Bowman County head coach Greg Yale said about the team’s 36-28 win over Mott-Regent on Friday. “Last year, we did win one but it was at the very end of the season, and the year before that we didn’t win any. Most of these kids haven’t been a part of a lot wins, especially early in the season. To get one early opens the potential for hope and excitement for the future. Our kids are really excited about continuing to condition and all those things. Obviously, after a loss, it makes it harder and harder to come back.
“It’s the talk of the town now. People are talking about football and they are excited. It has just rejuvenated the interest in the program and opens the eyes that we might win more than one game.”
Yale said there was a different feeling entering practice Monday as the team was ready to get back to work in preparation for one of the best teams in 9-man football.
The Bulldogs host No. 2-ranked Shiloh Christian at 7 p.m. Friday. Yale knows its going to take a solid effort to compete with the Skyhawks.
“It would probably be Herculean,” he said with a laugh. “(Shiloh Christian) is a very good football team. We all know it. They pretty much manhandled us last year and they pretty much have their whole team back this year. The one thing that I will say is that we don’t have the same team we do this year as we did last year. The kids are hoping to be in the game and if you are in the game, then at the end you might have a chance. We have great respect for Shiloh and their program.”
Hazen begins title defense with 2-0 start

Over the last three years, the Hazen football team has lost a total of three games.
In two of those three years, the Bison finished the Class 1A season as the state champions.
Hazen has started this season with back-to-back wins, including a 14-6 season-opening victory over Beulah in the Coal Bowl.
“I felt pretty good about the Beulah game,” Hazen head coach Rick Philion said. “I think we had a little bit of a letdown last Friday when we played Southern McLean.”
Though the Bison are on a 21-game win streak, Philion doesn’t believe the team is playing to its full potential quite yet.
However, he has seen a solid showing at times for everyone on the field. The Bison travel to Central McLean at 6 p.m. Friday.
“We had good leaders last year that showed the players what it took to play at the varsity level,” he said. “We have a good group of seniors right now that have taken reins and helped the kids move in the right direction. They are real receptive to learning. They are just a little young yet.”

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