Worner to enter NDSCS hall of fame

Mike Bellmore, Features Editor

When Max Reinke called Brad Worner in Devils Lake a few weeks ago, Worner figured it was probably about a reunion.

Reinke is Director of Alumni at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, and Worner was a former football star at the school.

But Reinke wasn’t talking about a reunion. He wanted to tell Worner the school’s football team he played on in 1971 was being inducted into the Wahpeton Science Athletic Wildcat Hall of Fame.

“Heck, I thought he was talking about a reunion,” Worner laughed.

What makes the 1971 team significant  is the fact it was the last two-year school to win a North Dakota College Athletic Conference (NDCAC) championship in what was largely a conference comprised of four-year schools.

Bismarck Junior College also played in that league before dropping its football program in the 1980s.

Worner was one of the co-captains of that team and played  guard.  The other co-captain was Gary Williams, a linebacker and all-conference selection.

The 1971 team carved out a 7-2 record, Worner said, and shared the conference championship.

The final four Wahpeton Science teams in the 1930s were powerhouses in the NDCAC, losing only one conference game over a four-year span.

Team hall of fame charter members were the 1936 through 1939 teams and now the 1971 team.

Al Grage was the head coach in 1971 and he was assisted by Marlyn Frederickson, Cliff “it’s going to rain” Hermes, Marv Mortenson, Lynn Schmidt and Ralph Morben.

“It was a good team,” added Worner. “I think Jeff Hilgeman was our quarterback.”

Other former NDSCS standouts going into the Letterwinners Hall of Fame include  Mark Todd Cameron of Wahpeton, Michael Cannon, Jennifer Cooley, Joseph Randall and  Mark Kotke.

Wahpeton Science got out of the four-year NDCAC shortly after Worner’s team departed and began playing strictly a junior college schedule.

Adding significance to next weekend’s festivities for Worner is the fact Wahpeton Science is where he met his eventual wife, Barb, who is from nearby Fairmont, N.D.

The football field on campus has also been re-done and refurbished.

NDSCS is currently 1-2 on the season and play Saturday in Glen Elyn, Ill. against College of DuPage.

Hall of fame festivities will take part during homecoming on Oct. 2 when the Wildcats play Dakota College at Bottineau.