Heath Hotzler, Published October 02 2008
Bruins are unanimous No. 1 pickThe Bruins are back. Well, Fargo South’s football team never really went anywhere.
However, the team’s demoralizing 40-6 loss to Edina in the season opener in late August likely had some predicting the demise of the Bruin dynasty.
Not so fast.
South, which has captured three of the last four North Dakota Class 3A football titles, has won three in a row since its debacle in Edina.
Following West Fargo’s loss to Wahpeton last Friday, the Bruins became the unanimous pick by the state’s sportswriters and sportscasters as the top Class 3A team in North Dakota.
“I think this is the type of team that should show improvement from week to week,” South coach Kevin Feeney said. “We were kind of young and green early in the season.”
A big reason for the turnaround has been an increased focus on effort, Feeney said.
For those that witnessed the Edina game, it was clear that South faded as the game got out of hand.
Feeney’s coaching staff had a simple message after Week 1: Work hard every down or we’ll find another player who will.
“I would think that the kids think we are pretty high tempo all the time,” Feeney said. “But I think they saw from the coaches’ eyes the sense of urgency they had to have. We were definitely willing to sacrifice talent for effort.”
On offense, the Bruins have been sparked by a rejuvenated running game.
Senior halfback Brandon Jemison and junior wingback Sam Callahan have provided big-play threats.
Senior fullback Lucas Seltvedt has also helped soften up the defense up the middle. He finished with 101 yards on seven carries a week ago in a win against Grand Forks Central.
South has looked like their usual dominant selves, averaged 44 points per game against North Dakota competition.
“Anytime you have a third back in the Wing-T who can do all aspects of the game it makes you tough to defend,” Feeney said of Callahan.
The Bruins have been able to get pressure in the backfield on defense with its linemen, creating more hurried throws and poor decisions from opposing quarterbacks.
Danny Luecke, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound senior, anchors the defensive line.
Feeney said linebacker Kyle Kingsley has been reminiscent of former Bruin standouts Joey Dawson, Matt Dockter and Bobby Stroup.
“We feel like we’re on pace,” Feeney said. “I think it’s kind of those things as coaches that everyday we look a little better on film. We’re definitely a work in progress. We all think our best football is ahead of us.”
Feeney said the teams in Class 3A football are closer to each other than they have been in years.
“I think it’s close from top to bottom in both leagues one to seven,” he said. “I think there are a lot of good teams. It’s going to come down to whoever executes at the end of the year and who is healthy.
“The key for us is that we need to keep getting through each week.”
Readers can reach Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com