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Tom Mix, Published November 07 2013

Brooks provides spark for Bruins' offense


Several years ago, Troy Mattern got a tip that Ty Brooks would be a future star on the Fargo South football team.

The prediction was made by one of Mattern’s sixth-grade science students at Carl Ben Eielson Middle School. The student’s name was Ty Brooks, and the bold hypothesis he made about his prep career back in the science lab has become a reality.

Brooks, a 5-foot-10 junior running back and defensive back, has been a two-way standout for the Bruins in his first full season as a starter.

“Ty is just a talented athlete,” said Mattern, who is head coach of the Bruins. “He can do athletic things on offense, defense and special teams. Ty is that all-around kid you want in your program because you can put him in the game in any situation and you know he is going to be successful.”

South (7-3) plays No. 2-ranked Minot (9-1) in the North Dakota Class 3A football semifinals at 7 p.m. today at the Fargodome.

The No. 4-ranked Bruins bring plenty of big-play firepower to any matchup, and Brooks is capable of swinging a game’s momentum anytime he is on the field.

“I pride myself on being a playmaker, and the spark the team needs sometimes, but there are a lot of other players on the team capable of making big plays,” said Brooks, who has posted 660 all-purpose yards this fall. “I like being a factor.”

Brooks has scored eight touchdowns and is fourth on the team in scoring. He returned an interception 90 yards for a touchdown in the first game of the season, and also has returned a kickoff 90 yards for a score this fall.

Defensively, Brooks has made 20 tackles – four for a loss – and is tied with Dallas Raftevold for the team lead in interceptions with three.

Brooks packs plenty of punch on offense as well, catching 11 passes for 249 yards and rushing for 162 yards on 20 attempts.

“They use me on offense to take the load off of James (Johannesson) a little,” Brooks said. “I like playing offense and defense equally. I just like to contribute.”

Johannesson, who leads the Bruins with 2,122 yards rushing, said having Brooks in the backfield adds another dimension to South’s running game.

“Ty is a big factor in our running game, and it really helps when he comes in,” Johannesson said. “I run the ball a lot, and when I get winded, he comes in and he always ends up getting a lot of yards. He has that breakaway speed that teams might not always expect.”

“Ty is an excellent complement to what we can do offensively with James,” Mattern added. “He is our edge guy with speed, which frees us up to do things up the middle with James.”

Even injures have not slowed Brooks down this fall.

A broken knuckle in his left hand earlier this season limited Brooks’ versatility, but a cast allowed him to keep doing what he does best: contribute.

“It made me mad because I could only contribute on one side of the ball,” Brooks said. “It didn’t bug me too much because I could still hit.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562