Mandan can lineup three running backs behind quarterback Dane Carlson.
“You get a little different look from each of those athletes,” said head coach Todd Sheldon. “Then, you get the opportunity to rest them and play them in different spots.”
Austin Frey, Dawar Kermee and Garret Schafbauer are racking up the yards and pushing defenses to the limit.
“What we see is the ability to specialize a little more in some cases,” Sheldon said. “Then, to really give them the opportunity to showcase themselves in other cases.”
Each has their own unique style.
“Kind of shifty,” Schafbauer said, “but I can lower my shoulder if I need to.”
“I like to run hard and aggressive,” Frey said. “That’s how I would like to describe it.”
“Strong, power mostly,” Kermee said.
Austin Frey is the No. 1 back. Frey was an all-state performer last year. He also squats more than 400 pounds.
“It helps my legs keep pumping when I have that first contact,” Frey said. “I can break a few tackles because of it I think.”
Behind Frey is Dawar Kermee, who goes by Shaq. His rise through the ranks is surprising because he only started seriously playing football last year.
“Going to the camps and actually focusing and getting stuff done that I need to do that has to do with football and sports mostly,” Kermee said.
If either of those two workhorses gets tired, Garret Schafbauer is the No. 3 guy. Schafbauer, who battles extreme migraine headaches, primarily plays junior varsity, but has shined when he has gotten snaps at the varsity level.
“I’ve been working hard lately,” Schafbauer said. “I want to see more reps, but I like it.”
Mandan hopes rotating the backs will give them an advantage in the fourth quarter when the defense is tired.
“You really get a chance to be strategic about rest and then about placement when they are out on the field,” Sheldon said.
Right now, Mandan is tied with Bismarck and Legacy for the second spot in the WDA. So a win tonight would go a long way as they try to make it back to the playoffs for the second consecutive season.