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Bachmeier's promotion on NDSU depth chart makes Kindred a D1 kind of football town

FARGO--The list of North Dakota cities and towns that have contributed players to the North Dakota State football program in the Division I era consists of the usual suspects: Dickinson, Fargo, Bismarck, Cavalier, Velva, West Fargo and Wahpeton.

North Dakota State’s Eric Bachmeier runs a drill during Bison football practice Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, in the Fargodome.Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Kindred's Eric Bachmeier advances against Shanley Friday, Sept. 16, 2011, in Kindred, N.D. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO-The list of North Dakota cities and towns that have contributed players to the North Dakota State football program in the Division I era consists of the usual suspects: Dickinson, Fargo, Bismarck, Cavalier, Velva, West Fargo and Wahpeton.

This season, you can add Kindred to the list.

The community located nearly 30 miles southwest of Fargo has two players on the two-deep depth chart beginning with starting right guard Jack Plankers, a senior who is going on his third season of seeing regular duty. He's joined by sophomore Eric Bachmeier, who has worked himself into becoming the backup strong safety.

"Jack and I coming out of a small town, we always worked hard together," Bachmeier said. "I think we had that sense of work ethic, worked really hard so it's a pretty cool deal."

When it comes to football on a statewide level, Kindred has been one of those programs that has fielded good teams over the years-but not to the point yet of having won a state title. Plankers and Bachmeier played under former head coach Cody Kittelson, an ex-Bison linebacker who Bachmeier said instilled in the players the needed tools to be successful.

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Bachmeier was a four-year starter in high school and was mostly known as the Vikings quarterback. He scored 72 touchdowns in his career and led Kindred to a state semifinal appearance in 2011 and the quarterfinals in 2013.

In track and field, he was on three Class B state champion relay teams.

But once he got to NDSU, it was the old story: start at the bottom as a redshirt in 2014 and work your way up.

"He did some nice things on special teams last year that enabled him to get noticed," said NDSU head coach Chris Klieman. "And then the game slowed down for him in the spring-he knew the assignments of both the safety positions. I envision him playing some on defense."

About the only hitch on Bachmeier right now, Klieman said, is experience. It's something starting free safety Tre Dempsey got as a freshman and has now parlayed his first two years into a secondary leader as a junior. Last year, as a true freshman, strong safety Robbie Grimsley endured some rough moments early in the season as a true freshman and developed into a solid starter.

"It took a lot of learning, college football is definitely different than high school," Bachmeier said. "It's more physical and more mental as well. You have to learn the whole playbook. That was the challenge for me-being more physical and knowing the playbook, knowing what both safeties have to do. It was a lot of hard work but a lot of fun also."

Plankers has overcome a couple of injuries to play in 37 career games. He's on pace this year to start every game for the first time, yet another reason all college football eyes in Kindred will be on NDSU.

Plankers actually has a Leonard, N.D., address, which is about opposite of Bachmeier. He's from inner-city Kindred, so to speak.

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"I live smack dab in the middle of Kindred," he said with a laugh. "Two and a half blocks from the high school."

A high school that has a place in history now with Bison football.

North Dakota State’s Eric Bachmeier runs a drill during Bison football practice Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, in the Fargodome.Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
North Dakota State’s Eric Bachmeier runs a drill during Bison football practice Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2016, in the Fargodome.Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Related Topics: CHRIS KLIEMAN
Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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