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Forum staff reports, Published January 01 2011

Six to watch for in 2011: A look at some sports story lines that will gain some steam in the upcoming year

Back to the future

The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks reunite with several old independent baseball rivals in the American Association this summer. Fans can catch the former perennial Northern League power St. Paul Saints at Newman Outdoor Field on May 16-18. F-M moved from the Northern League after last season.

Perham perfection

Whether it’s the pollsters or area basketball fans, Perham could be the school to keep tabs on in 2011.

The boys (6-0) haven’t surprised too many. They were ranked to open the season and have lived up to that billing.

The girls are coming off two consecutive 20-plus win seasons and a third one is looking like a good possibility. The girls didn’t grab the early attention (as they were unranked to start the season), but after a 8-0 start they are also hard to ignore.

Always a bridesmaid?

Is this the year the Fargo Force junior hockey team finally wins it?

A seven-game winless stretch earlier in the year had some thinking making the playoffs would be nice. But a recent hot streak has people focused on more.

With NCAA Division I goaltender commits in Zane Gothberg (North Dakota) and Ryan Massa (Nebraska-Omaha), the Force have a strong chance of winning close games.

Quarterback shuffle

Establishing stability at quarterback could put North Dakota State in position to compete for a Division I FCS national championship next season. Brock Jensen and Jose Mohler were both in and out of the starting lineup last fall due to injury.

Dante Perez and Esley Thorton, who redshirted last season, are players who could also figure in the QB mix. It’s worth watching how it all shakes out starting with spring ball.

Dragons looking for a new leader

By the end of January we should know who the next head football coach at Minnesota State Moorhead.

It will be interesting to see who MSUM athletic director Doug Peters pegs for the job for a program that has had just one winning season since 2000.

Cobbers-Dragons on the gridiron

We should know by summer if MSUM and Concordia will renew their football rivalry, a series that was halted in 2007 due to a scheduling conflict. Both schools have already set aside their first dates for the 2012 season to play each other.

Now it’s just a matter of getting the right sponsor or sponsors to make the game happen. The guess here is it will happen, barring any unforeseen snags. Stay tuned.