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By Dustin Monke, Published June 07 2009

Watford City standout killed: 18-year-old football player Jacob Quale dies at oil well site

DICKINSON, N.D. – Two storied North Dakota football coaches expressed deep sadness Saturday when speaking about the death of Watford City High School graduate and football standout Jacob Quale.

Longtime Watford City football coach Fred Fridley said Quale was the type of player who did what was asked of him and never complained.

“He was one that everybody liked,” Fridley said. “He wasn’t a showboat. He wasn’t a guy who thought he knew it all. He was just a team player. Every-thing a coach asked him to do, he did. He was a good kid to coach.”

Quale, 18, was killed Wednesday night in an accident at an oil well site in McKenzie County that authorities said Saturday was not work-related.

A Class 2A all-state inside linebacker his senior year at Watford City, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Quale helped the Wolves win their second state champi-onship in three years last fall.

When asked what Quale meant to the Wolves, Fridley called Quale “a key to your football team.”

Quale had enrolled at Dickinson State University for the fall semester and planned to play football for coach Hank Biesiot and the Blue Hawks.

Biesiot said he was excited to have Quale on board after signing him to a letter of intent in late April.

Biesiot called Quale’s death a tragedy.

“We take so many things for granted and youth is one of them,” Biesiot said. “It’s simply a tragedy, and you think only of his family at a time like this. He’d been a great kid to visit with through the whole (recruiting) process.”

Fridley helped turn Quale on to the idea of playing for DSU and told Biesiot that he was a player with potential.

“I told Hank if he stuck with the program at Dickinson, he was going to be a player for him because he loved the game,” Fridley said.

Fridley said Quale told him he was looking forward to playing in the Shrine Bowl all-star football game in July and said it “was going to be the highlight of his summer.”

The Associated Press reported that Saturday that three juveniles also were involved in the incident.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration Area Director Bruce Beelman says local law enforcement reported that the four people at the site where Quale died did not work there.

Beelman says he’s not sure what the group was doing at the well. He says local authorities told an OSHA employee that the accident involved the well’s pumping unit.

Funeral services for Quale are being held Monday at Watford City High School.


The Dickinson Press and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.