2016 Dakota Bowl Recap

National Sports

Friday was the day all high school football players dream to get to.
Four new state champions were crowned.

Thousands headed to the Fargo Dome on Friday for the 2016 high school state football championships. The all day event started with the Class A match-up of Des Lacs Burlington and Ellendale. The Lakers passes for a total of 365 yards, but the Thunder proved to be too much. A 21 point second quarter and 377 yards rushing compared to DLB’s 13 put the final score at 42-20 as the Lakers made their second appearance in the Dakota Bowl, their last time being in 1993.

(James Johnson, DLB Head Coach) “I tip my hat to EEK they’re a, they’re a quality football team and they certainly deserve to be state champs but yet I’m very, very proud of my team, the kids battled all year and I couldn’t be more proud of that bunch.”

Next on tap, of 47 9 man teams, New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin and Thompson remained. The Holsteins out-passed the Tommies 213-162 yards, but Thompson showed why they were ranked #1. New Salem’s defense could not stop the rush. The Tommies had 476 rushing yards, running their way to a 54-20 victory.
New Salem’s Coach Steve Kleinjan was named the 9 man coach of the year.

(Steve Kleinjan- Holstein Head Coach) “The coach of the year thing is a tribute to my assistant coaches who do a tremendous job, and to the players who do an amazing job. You’re only as good as the people around you, and you don’t get these kind of honors if you don’t have very special people working with you. And I’ve got some great, great coaches and a great group of players.”

And while this is New Salem’s second showing in the state championship in 30 years, it was Glen Ullin’s first trip.

(Bailey Morman) “It’ll sink in in about a week I’m sure. But it’s great. it’s the first time, no one knows what it feels like before. I’ll let them know what it feels like later.”

While the Holsteins weren’t projected to win that game, in AA St. Mary’s has posted a perfect season so far, sat atop the polls, and had to get through Kindred to reach their goal of a state championship. The Saints ran away with the game. 388 rushing yards for 6 touchdowns. Kurt Dickhut ran for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns while Cole Spies rushed for 2 T-Ds and added 6 points in receiving too. Spies was named the Senior Athlete of the Year while Coach Dan Smrekar was named the AA coach of the year.

For the night cap, it was Century and Bismarck High. Two familiar foes and facing each other for the third time in 6 years. The Demons held the best rush in the WDA and possibly the state, but it was no match for the Century senior line. By shutting down the run game for the second time this year, Jakob Olson stepped in to do the rest. Last year it was Feeney and Gieger, but this year is was Olson and Little. Kade Lynch lead the receiving corps with 112 yards while Olson threw for 200 yards en route to a 27-12 victory to make Century back-to-back state champions.

Jamie Council, KX Sports.

Coach Ron Wingenbach was also named the Coach of the Year for 3A football.

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