Wolves open football season at Heart River
By Neal A. Shipman
After two years of playing football at the Class A level, the Watford City Wolves will be moving back to the ranks of Class AA this year.
And the move in classification is going to mean that the Wolves will be seeing a mix of teams that they played years ago as well as new teams.
This year, the Wolves will be traveling to Belfield to take on their nemesis, the Heart River Cougars, in their season opener at 8 p.m. CST on Friday.
But after that game, Watford City will be seeing some old and new competition. New opponents, as a result of moving up a class, will be Bismarck Century, Bismarck St. Mary’s, Griggs County Central and Beulah, while some of the familiar opponents of years past will be Stanley, Bishop Ryan, Turtle Mountain Community and Dickinson Trinity.
“We’re going to be returning a good nucleus of players that started or played a lot last season,” states Fred Fridley, Wolves head coach. “We have good size up front in the offensive and defensive lines which will be our strong point entering the season.”
But in the areas of linebacker and running backs, is where Fridley sees the lack of experience.
“We do have good balance and speed with our running backs,” states Fridley. “We are just a little short on experience.”
Returning to Fridley’s roster are seniors Brandon Allex, Andrew Sampsel, Mitchell Liebel and Derek Severson and juniors Dalton Wright, Daniel Marmon, Beau Heiser, Logan Fettig, Jaryn Homiston and Keegan Thompson.
Last Friday, the Wolves took on the Williston Coyotes in a scrimmage and Fridley says that the players were able to see their strengths and weaknesses.
“Our defense showed that they will be a strong unit and are ahead of the offense at this point in the season,” stated Fridley. “On offense, we need to protect the passer better and pick up blitzes when we see them. Our quarterbacks did throw the ball well when they had time.”
As for Friday’s upcoming game against Heart River, Fridley says the game will be a good contest for the Wolves.
“We lost to Heart River the last two years, and they lost many of their key players,” states Fridley. “But they return some good linemen and it will be a good test for us. Our mental toughness must be better than a year ago, and if that happens, we will become a very good football team.”