Harry's Hypnosis- Reporter announces his North Dakota gridiron picks
By Harry Lipsiea
It's about that time of the year when I completely embarrass myself. Every year during each sports season, I like to make picks for the state playoffs. To be completely honest, I don't think I have ever been close to picking anything sports related correctly and I'm not thinking that's going to change anytime soon.
With nothing to lose, however, I will give you my expert (yeah right) picks of who will play in the semifinals and championship games for each football class in North Dakota. Here they are:
9-Man: To be honest, the North Dakota 9-nine man scene looks strangely similar to last season. In the East, Cavalier is the team to beat without question. The Tornades return a lot from last year's state championship squad.
Led by senior runningback Brock Robbins, the team has cruised to an undefeated record this season. Other teams in the east to keep an eye include Region 1 favorites Lamoure-LM, Richland and Hankinson. In Region 2, Hatton-Northwood, Thompson and North Star all boast solid squads. But at the end of the day, the Tornadoes are the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing.
The west side of the state has featured excellent competition all season long. T-G-U (Towner Granville Upham), Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn have beaten each other up this season in Region 3. While I think all three teams could make it to state, I personally look for a Region 4 squad to advance to Fargo this November.
While Richardton-Taylor and Grant County-Flasher have salty squads, it's Funnon Barker's Skyhawks over at Bismarck Shiloh Christian that I look to be the favorite to meet up with Cavalier in the state title game.
East: Cavalier vs. North Star
West: Shiloh Christian vs. Grant County-Flasher
Dakota Bowl showdown: Cavalier vs. Shiloh Christian
Class A: I will keep this short. Once again, I think it will be a repeat state champion in Class A. On the east side, Region 1 features an excellent core of teams. Oakes, Carrington and Linton-HMB and Hillsboro-Central Valley are all well-coached teams with tradition on their side. Larimore and Park River-Fordville-Lankin, the top two teams in Region 2, will be in the hunt for a spot in the semi-finals. I think Oakes will earn a spot in the title game.
After watching the state title game a season ago, I believed Hazen would repeat as champions. Nothing has changed my mind so far. Killdeer is excellent and will give them a tough test during the regular season and in the semi-finals, but I think the Bison will again wear the Class A crown.
East: Oakes vs. Carrington
West: Killdeer vs. Hazen
Dakota Bowl showdown: Oakes vs. Hazen
Class AA: This is a little more of a shot in the dark, but I am going to have to go by what I have seen and read on this one. In the east it is simple: Fargo Shanley. Rod Oksendahl. I don't think the Deacons will have much of a challenge until the state title game.
The west is fairly similar. Minot Ryan may give Bismarck St. Mary's a game in the regular season, but it will be the Saints rolling into the state title game to face the Deacons.
In a rematch of a double-overtime game that took place earlier this season, I see Bismarck St. Mary's walking away with another very slim, hard-fought loss to stay undefeated and win the state title for the second straight season.
Semi 1: Fargo Shanley vs. Minot Ryan
Semi 2: Grafton vs. St. Mary's
Dakota Bowl Showdown: Fargo Shanley vs. St. Mary's
Champion: St. Mary's
Class AAA: I'm throwing my upset special out there for AAA. Will it happen? Probably not. I think West Fargo will upset Fargo South in the semi-finals to qualify for the state title game. The Bruins are the more flashy, exciting team and by all accounts should make it back to the Dakota Bowl. Something keeps telling me that the Packers will find a way to upset them.
In the west, I know Bismarck Century and Minot have decent teams, but it's all Bismarck in the WDA. The Demons will have no problem punching their ticket to the Dakota Bowls.
Semi 1:Fargo South vs. West Fargo
Semi 2: Bismarck Century vs. Bismarck
Dakota Bowl Showdown: West Fargo vs. Bismarck