Devils Lake, Four Winds potential rebound week? 3 games to watch during upcoming weekend

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – The halfway point is finally here for many football teams. 

With three or four games now in each team’s back pocket, the stretch run is set to get underway. With that said, what crop of games should eager spectators keep their eyes on this week? Well, let’s find out. 

Here are three games to watch during the upcoming weekend of high school football action (Sept. 15-16).

Here are three games to watch this week: 

1. Devils Lake (1-2, 1-2) vs. Fargo South (2-1, 1-0)

Venue: Devils Lake High School 

Time: 7:00 p.m. CDT (Sept. 16) 

The Firebirds and Bruins share similarities regarding their recent trajectory at this season’s juncture. While one team might have a better record than the other, each team is coming off a stinker of a performance on Sept. 9. For Fargo South, it was a 49-0 shutout loss to Shanley at Shanley High School. The Firebirds, meanwhile, made a road trek to Valley City Friday evening, only to be on the wrong end of a 53-7 score once the dust settled. 

A new week presents a fresh set of opportunities. The Bruins have a chance to expand upon their record and close out a stretch that saw them play three of their first four games on the road. For the Firebirds, it is the opposite – Devils Lake’s Friday evening contest against Fargo South will finish a stretch that saw the team play three of its first four games at Roller Field. 

Should the Firebirds wish to create any offensive rhythm, it will be up to Devils Lake’s two-pronged rushing attack in Colton Schneider and Beau Brodina. The duo has combined for 466 rushing yards (260 for Schneider and 206 for Brodina) and five rushing touchdowns (two for Schneider and three for Brodina). 

2. Nelson County (3-1, 0-1) vs. North Border (2-2, 0-0)

Venue: McVille 

Time: 7:00 p.m. CDT (Sept. 16) 

Yes, you read that correctly. After going undefeated during the 2021 regular season, the Chargers finally dropped a game during the regular season this time around (30-20 @ Cavalier on Sept. 9). 

North Star vs. Nelson County Football 9/2/22

Losing one measly game doesn’t mean Nelson County will founder from here on out, though. Despite throwing three interceptions in the game, quarterback Jaxon Baumgarn still threw for 304 yards (12-20) and two touchdowns. Zachary Gibson proved that the passing connection was still there via his 113 receiving yards and receiving touchdown on five receptions. 

The question for North Border will be a simple one. Can Tj Cosley sling the ball just enough to keep up with Nelson County’s air onslaught? Cosley threw for 119 passing yards (8-13) and two touchdowns (one interception) in North Border’s 48-38 win over North Star on Sept. 9. 

3. Midway/Minto (0-3, 0-1) vs. Four Winds (2-2, 0-1)

Four Winds vs. New Rockford-Sheyenne Football (9/8/22)

Venue: Midway High School 

Time: 6:00 p.m. CDT (Sept. 16)

Four Winds did not have a pleasant time on the football field last weekend. A dozen penalties would have been the first indicator. The second indicator came from a 42-14 defeat against New Rockford-Sheyenne in Fort Totten. 

When speaking of adversity, Four Winds has battled against it but has not come out ahead of it. Such a statement adds up when looking at the Indians’ season up to this point. A 56-22 win against Dunseith to open the season on Aug. 20 was followed by a gut-punch of a comeback defeat against Nelson County on Aug. 26. Then came a 50-6 drubbing of a victory against Larimore on Sept. 2. Then, of course, came the New Rockford-Sheyenne contest on Sept. 8. 

Win, loss, win and, you guessed it, loss. 

“I mean, it’s almost just like the Nelson County game where you just have to be focused for an entire game,” Four Winds co-head coach Travis Mertens said after the game. “You can’t let the mistakes and the bad plays…them scoring touchdowns, you can’t let it get to you. You [have] to be able to bounce back. Adversity. Adversity is the word I was looking for. We need to find some adversity when things get tough.” 

There might be some good news for the Indians, however. Facing off against a transitioning Midway/Minto team that has allowed 28, 59 and 74 points on the defensive side might be what Four Winds needs to tackle adversity a little bit better.

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com), Instagram (johnbcranesports) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.