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Tom Mix, Published August 26 2013

Fargo Oak Grove football preview

The 2012 Fargo Oak Grove football team returned to its home field on the banks of the Red River for the first time since the fall of 2008.

The homecoming was a bright spot during a winless season for the Grovers under second-year head coach Bobby Bauer.

Defensive coordinator Derek Bakken was named head coach following the Grovers’ 0-8 campaign.

“By the end of the year we only had about 18 kids out for the team last year,” Bakken said. “That is what made it the toughest.”

The Grovers were shut out twice during the season and gave up an average of 32 points per game.

Adding to the Grovers’ woes was the fact the team only featured two seniors.

“We were a young team last year,” Bakken said. “We only had two seniors on the team last year. We had a lot of freshmen and sophomores getting playing time.”

Outlook

There are plenty of new things about Oak Grove this fall. For starters, the Grovers have moved down a division and will be entering their first year of playing North Dakota

9-man football.

On top of playing a new brand of football, Oak Grove also welcomes a new head coach in Derek Bakken, who served as the Grovers’ defensive coordinator the last two seasons. Bakken, who is from Drake, N.D., played

9-man football.

“Hopefully we can make the transition from 11-man to 9-man smoothly,” Bakken said. “Even though it is still blocking and tackling, a lot of things change in regards to technique and game planning.

“Going to 9-man is exciting for the kids,” Bakken added. “It’s a different brand of football and Oak Grove has never played 9-man.”

Numbers shouldn’t be an issue for the Grovers this fall.

“We have 32 kids on the roster this year,” Bakken said. “On top of that we have 11 seniors. That’s the first time we have had that many seniors on the team since the co-op with Moorhead Park Christian. We now have depth and experience.”

The Grovers’ senior class has a 2-23 record the last three seasons. During that time they’ve had three different head coaches and played in three different divisions (2A in 2010 and 1A in 2011 and 2012).

“Getting the kids acclimated to the 9-man game and getting our coaches acclimated to the teams in our region will be key,” Bakken said. “We’ll be going to frying pan into the fire playing in Region 1, 9-man. We’ll be learning. Yes we have depth. Yes we have experience, but it is different.”

Players to watch

Nick Card, Sr., WR/S

Coulton Dangerfield, Sr., RB/LB

David Peterson, Sr., OL/DL

Collin Asheim, Sr., RB/DB

Nels Eide, Sr., OL/DL

Tucker Schoenfish, Sr., WR/DB

Christian Adams, Jr., QB