2023 Week 8 (North Dakota)
This recap will be a bit briefer than most. Primarily because of some personal tragedy in my life. And though I’m not sure how many do read these recaps of mine, I’ve let them get a bit further behind. For Week 8, I was in North Dakota and managed to see four games over the weekend.
My week started in eastern North Dakota and had a decision on which Thursday game to attend. There was one in Grafton and another in Carrington. It wasn’t until Friday that I realized I could’ve seen games in Minnesota as well.
But in the end, I chose the game in Carrington. It’s a town I had been in many times in the past. Located at the intersection, actually a traffic circle, of ND200 and US281.
I was in Carrington a few times in the past, so had made a game here a priority in the past. So, couldn’t really pass up a Thursday game.
On Wednesday, I arrived in town. And without a lot of options, went with the Pizza Ranch for dinner.
It’s a very small Pizza Ranch. One of the smallest I’ve come across. And with the older decor. Though Vermillion, South Dakota was small, it was brand new attached to the hotel. This one was attached to a gas station plaza.
It was better than other Pizza Ranches have been in the past.
On Thursday, my lunch was at the Prairie Inn Restaurant located near the aforementioned traffic circle. They had an “Express Line”, which is a buffet with just one dinner option. On Thursday, it was loaded mac and cheese. With chicken and bacon in it.
I had gotten the photo for the game on Wednesday when I had stopped at Pizza Ranch. And made my way over to the school at about 530pm. Cardinal Stadium is new with new lighting.
Both teams were the Cardinals. Langdon/Edmore/Munich was a three-team co-op. While Carrington had lasted as a bigger small town in endless prairie of eastern North Dakota. The two teams were near identical looks, too. Just one at home and one away. Only the CHS stepped initials on the side of the helmet differentiated the look enough.
#41 – Carrington v. Langdon/Edmore/Munich
I’m surprised that I had forgotten to make a start of game tweet as I had in the past. What I had done, though, was make two preview tweets.
Carrington was 6-2 heading into the game. With a 6-1 league record. While Langdon/Edmore/Munich were undefeated. A win by Carrington would create a tie atop the league, and a tie-breaker to Carrington. Though both would be headed to the playoffs as the top two teams in their league.
I made my way onto the field and got to take in the moment. It’s a nice stadium. It is 11-man. But like many of the smaller schools, the fans circled the field in their vehicles along the visitor sideline. Including one that can only be described as incredible: The Luxury Dump.
A lot of thought went into the design. Creating a floor that, when raised, would act as steps and keep the two sofas level. As well as a place for the space heater.
Both teams were maroon helmets, while L-E-M had white jerseys with maroon numbers, and Carrington have maroon jerseys with white numbers. L-E-M had maroon pants and Carrington had black. Both had Arizona Cardinal themed helmet logos except for the small CHS for Carrington.
The game was brisk, as L-E-M ran away with it and won comfortably, 50-8.
The next day, I was back at Prairie Inn Restuarant and again got the Express Line. This time, it was chicken fried steak. It wasn’t as good as the steaks were some type of frozen premade steaks that were overly salted. The salad bar portion was good again, however.
It was then to decide my weekend. And I settled on heading to Minot for the two Saturday games for the 6-man championship. Leaving me to decide on a Friday night game. And though I had seen them already this season, I had quickly settled on Velva. Which would be on the way to Minot and be very close for the drive to Minot for the 1pm kickoff of the consolation game.
I headed west on ND200 and US52 and followed that to where US52 branches north toward Fessenden. Then through Harvey and the two towns of Anamoose and Drake. I got into town around 5pm and found my way to the park where Velva plays.
Velva has a co-op with two other schools: Garrison and Drake-Anamoose. Drake-Anamoose is a consolidation east of Velva along US52 while Garrison is southwest of Velva. Until recently, Drake-Anamoose had made a go of it as a 6-man team until 2021. Before joining with the already established co-op of Velva and Garrison.
And though North Dakota tends to lump all the names of a co-op together (such as Linton/Hazleton-Moffit-Braddock/Strasburg/Zeeland), Velva plays as Velva. Simply assimilating more and more schools into them but only playing in Velva and as the Velva Aggies.
Velva are the defending Class 11B champions, and their field was recently renamed for their longtime coach who had retired.
#42 – Velva/Garrison/Drake-Anamoose v. Ray/Powers Lake
Velva is a great place to see a game. Located in a park, it’s surrounded by trees and the Souris River. Including a pedestrian bridge to get across to the RV park and other ball fields southwest of the City Park.
For the game, as the same for Thursday, it started close with Ray/Powers Lake getting a TD, but Velva would run away with it. A huge halftime lead would hold up through the second half. Velva was up 52-7 after 24 minutes, and a continuously running clock would end the game, 52-7 after 48 minutes.
After the game, I stayed in Velva. I got some chicken from the Cenex in town that still had some left though their kitchen was closed. It was decent, but cheaply priced for being leftovers in the cold case. Iheaded over to Minot in the morning. It was a short drive, as Minot is less than a half hour from Velva. Even with the construction along US52. After getting into town, I passed on lunch. As two games on the sideline didn’t sound fun with a full stomach.
Minot High School is located centrally in town. On the side of a hill and the campus sits along that hillside. The top row of the stands sits level with the parking lot. While the far sideline sits above the tops of even more school buildings to the west.
Both the stadium and field are named for Duane Carlson individually. Either on purpose or by accident. These were the 6-man state championship games. A doubleheader featuring #3 v. #4 and then the #1 v. #2 game.
At 2pm, the Third Place Game started between the Drayton Bombers and the Trenton Tigers. Drayton is from far northeastern North Dakota, towards Pembina, while Trenton is from just south of US2 near the Montana border.
I decided to get something to eat, after passing the concessions, and got two sausages with mustard and a blue gatorade.
#43 – Drayton v. Trenton
I had seen Drayton before when they played at Alexander in 2020. This was my first time seeing Trenton.
The game started close, but Trenton slowly figured out the Drayton defense. Trenton would end up winning, 48-23.
There was a rough half hour or so before the second game would start. Featuring the Center-Stanton Wildcats. Which I had seen in my second game this season. After Velva, it was the second team I had seen twice this year.
#44 – Center-Stanton v. Parshall/North Shore Plaza
This was a somewhat close game until it wasn’t. Center-Stanton were the favorites, but Parshall/North Shore Plaza weren’t going to roll over. After a punishing sack, the Parshall/NSP quarterback jumped up, slamming the football to the turf and ripping off his helmet. As he walked off the field, he tossed his helmet. Both actions resulted in flags and his early exit from the game. With their backup now thrust behind center, the team struggled. And couldn’t score again. It was 14-12 after one. And the final was Center-Stanton 62, Parshall/North Shore Plaza 12. Unlike other states, North Dakota doesn’t end six-man games early. Though there was a quick running clock for the game.
I was still in Minot on early Tuesday morning, that I had gotten a phone call. I had been expecting this call for a while. My mother had cancer and had contracted Covid where she was a patient.
It’s with that, that I abbreviated my trip. I never did write the article for the Minot games.
I headed home. And have been home since. And honestly time has passed faster, and slower, than it feels possible.
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
51 New Teams
20 New Stadiums
1,544 different teams
488 different stadiums
1,418 total games
I will be home. But won’t do much.
For photos from this game, and others this weekend, click HERE.
For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/