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Tom Mix, Published August 19 2012

High school football preview: Oak Grove

The Fargo Oak Grove football team featured a new coach for the third consecutive year last fall.

Bobby Bauer and his coaching staff spent the season installing new schemes on offense, defense and special teams, and the Grovers responded by posting a 2-6 record, an improvement from the squad’s 0-9 mark the previous year.

Oak Grove also transitioned down to North Dakota Division 1A last fall, joining a competitive Region 1.

Last season’s roster featured six returning seniors, including quarterback and defensive back Michael Rustvang.

The Grovers also had plenty of underclassmen see varsity time, and that once again will be the case this fall when Oak Grove enters the season with a roster that only has two seniors.

The 2011 season was the Grovers’ opportunity to learn and gain experience.

There is no change at head coach this fall, and for the first time in a couple years the program can establish some continuity.

“For us the biggest thing is having that year under the belt, and the kids having knowledge of the offensive, defensive and special teams schemes we have been running,” Bauer said of the Grovers. “I definitely feel like we are miles ahead at this point in the season compared to where we were at this point last season.”


Outlook

New starts are a thing of the past for the Oak Grove football team.

This fall, introductions won’t be necessary. There’ll be no new philosophies for players to learn.

Instead, it will be focused on the Grovers taking what they learned a year ago and improve on their execution.

“As a staff, the kids have a lot better grasp of our systems,” Bauer said. “Just knowing all the kids too is a really big thing for us and knowing what to expect out of those kids once it is game time.”

The Grovers also return to their on-campus football field after playing home games the last two seasons at Concordia College. Oak Grove opens its season with three straight home games.

Oak Grove’s offense will continue to be the Wing-T. Senior Jordan Funfar returns and will be the team’s primary target at wide receiver. Junior Coulton Dangerfield will anchor the Grovers backfield as the team’s featured running back.

“The type of offense we run, the Wing-T set, is an offense where things really have to happen at precise times,” Bauer said. “Having that season under the belt, having those kids returning and having played with each other before should be to our advantage.”


Players to watch

> Jordan Funfar, Sr., WR/LB

> Hunter Gossett, Sr., OL/DL

> Coulton Dangerfield, Jr., RB/LB