ASHLEY, N.D. — When you look at the South Border Mustangs, you see a tightly knitted group bonded by football. That bond is formed by a group of seniors that have been through ups and downs that date back before donning the black and blue.

“We’ve been playing together for our entire lives, so the chemistry is there, and we want to do it for each other,” senior Daniel Schumacher says.

“A lot of those guys have been three or four year starter for us,” head coach Evan Mellmer adds. “They had that taste of success, then they’ve had that sour taste of when it goes south in the playoffs. That just brough them in more and more hungry to get the job done this year and see what they can do.”

South Border currently sits at the top of the region with a 6-0 record, and this week’s matchup against the reigning state champion Holsteins has been on the team’s radar all season long.

“It’s just another week,” senior Connor Kosiak says. “That’s all it is. It’s just another team. Just another game. Deep down, we’ve all been looking for this game since last year and we’re ready to go and just excited to play them.”

“Every single time we play New Salem it’s a lot of fun,” Schumacher adds. “They like to hit. We like to hit, and that’s what football’s all about. So, we love doing that and then the gameplan is to do what we always do. We’re going to bring it and we’re going to hit hard and hopefully it’ll be enough to win.

Blank: With an opportunity to potentially secure the Region 4 title, the message to the team is to play their game, and not let the moment get too big.

“They’ve wanted this their whole life,” Mellmer says. “This is the reason that they played football. They’ve already played it out in their head. Now, on Friday, we just have to go out and make it happen on the field. There’s no pressure unless you put pressure on yourself.”

History is on the line for the Mustangs. By winning the region title, it will be their first in program history. While it would mean a lot to the team, it would also mean lot to the communities of Ashley and Wishek.

“You look up in the gym walls and you don’t see that banner up there,” Kosiak says. “It would be great to put that in there because I feel every kid’s dream is to look up there and know I’ve been a part of that.”

“For our team, it’s really huge, but it’s really big for our community too,” Schumacher adds. “We haven’t ever won a region title, so that’s what we’re going for and in practice, we always think about it. We want that region title and that’s our first goal of the season is to get that region title.”

“To finally get over that hurdle and win one would mean a lot to the communities and everyone that’s put that jersey on,” Meller says. “We’re proud to wear that South border on our chest and it’s not just about the guys here on the field.”