EYE on South West ND Sports

The Hettinger/Scranton (HS) Babe Ruth team finished their rain-delayed game with Lemmon with 17-8 loss.

Posted August 1, 2013



The Hettinger/Scranton (HS) Babe Ruth team finished their rain-delayed game with Lemmon with 17-8 loss.  Since it was only the first loss for the H/S team, a second game was played and H/S came out on top 19-13 to win their District tournament.  They then had the opportunity to play Beulah in the Regional in a best two out of three format with the winner advancing to the state tournament.

Beulah won two straight with winning scores of 14-4 and 15-1.  Nolan Dix, who coaches the H/S team along with Randy Burwick, informed me that Beulah’s team is very experience with many 15 year olds and about five of them who also play legion ball.  H/S is very young and only loses one player, albeit their best player, Brandon Pierce.  The age range in Babe Ruth is 13-15.

Hopefully they can play more games next year, and develop another pitcher or two.  With those returning being a year older, they have an excellent chance to improve on their record.

The Highway 21 team finished their Legion season by losing both games in their Sectional tournament.  They lost to Washburn, 15-5, and to Hazen, 11-5.  The Highway 21 team was made up of players from Hettinger, Scranton, New England, Killdeer, Mott and Dickinson.

I found the following from the archives of the Bismarck tribune and reported by Michael Weber.  Hettinger was playing 11-man football for the 2004 season.

“No matter what happens in the Class A playoffs, it’s been a very good year for football at Hettinger High School.  After going a collective 5-21 over the last three years, the Black Devils are 5-4 and back in the playoffs for the first time since 2000.

“It was a real struggle for us the last few years, but we really turned things around,” said Hettinger coach Randy Burwick, whose team will host Velva-Sawyer Saturday in an opening-round playoff game. “We came in determined to have a winning season and get to the playoffs and we went from finishing next to last in (Region 4) last year to finishing second (behind Killdeer). It’s a tribute to the players and all the hard work they put into it.”

Going into the season, Burwick knew he had a marquee player in wide receiver-defensive end Dusty Vliem, a 6-3, 195-pound senior who is having another stellar season with 45 receptions for 531 yards on offense and 60 tackles and six quarterback sacks on defense. However, other players have stepped up, including senior wide receiver-cornerback Wade Parker, who is second on the team in receptions (26) and receiving yards (411) and first in the region in interceptions (7). He also leads the Black Devils in return yardage.

“Wade’s emerged as one of our leaders,” Burwick said. “He’s one of those kids who goes all out in whatever he does. For our football team to be successful, our seniors had to step up and take charge and Wade has certainly done his part.

Parker, like all of Hettinger’s seniors, is having the time of his life after struggling through some lean years.

“It’s been a lot of fun and lot different than it was the last few years,” Parker said. “We’ve won five games, we beat teams we hadn’t beaten in awhile and we’re in the playoffs. It’s been a season that’s meant a lot to the seniors.”

Vliem and Parker are key elements in a potent Black Devils’ passing attack that has gone to the air 228 times.

Quarterback Mike Fried, who passed for more than 1,000 yards last season, is 123-for-216 for 1,626 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the running game – which is by committee – has produced 900 yards, but it’s about 500 more than Hettinger had all of last season.

“I think that’s been a real key for us,” Burwick said, referring to the running game. “We knew we had a kid who could throw the ball and kids who could catch it, but we knew that we also needed to run the ball. We don’t have a feature back like a lot of teams do, but we have a number of kids who get the job done.”

Grant Miller leads the Black Devils with 227 yards rushing (46 carries). Four others have at least 125 yards.

Burwick said the biggest surprise this season has been the play of a young offensive line, which consists of center Stephen Dragoo, guards Trevor Wolff and Steven Nash and tackles Justin Milliren, Darwin Manor and Josh Wolff. They’ve allowed only seven sacks all season.

“That’s an impressive statistic,” Burwick said. “A big reason why (Fried) has been so effective is he’s getting lots of time to throw. And these kids have come a long way in their run blocking.”

An improved defense is led by Manor, a tackle who has 115 tackles and four sacks. Linebacker Derrick Stecker has 102 stops to his credit and tackle Alan Timm has 90 and three sacks.

“We returned a lot of starters from last year’s team and that experience is showing up on both sides of the ball,” Burwick said.

Of Hettinger’s five victories, none were bigger than the ones over Washburn on Oct. 8 and Bowman County on Sept. 10.

“Washburn and Bowman (County) have gotten the best of us over the years, so beating both of those teams did a lot for our confidence,” Burwick said. “And both were come-from-behind wins. It’s just been an exciting season for us. We’ve accomplished a lot of our goals and now we’re hoping find some success in the playoffs.”

See you at the games.