My limited prognostic skills took a beating last year as Shiloh was the only team who finished where I had picked them to finish.
by SHELDON CHRISTENS | For the Record
My limited prognostic skills took a beating last year as Shiloh was the only team who finished where I had picked them to finish. Shiloh’s pick was really a no brainer as they were the consensus pick to win Region 4. Here is what I had predicted and how they actually finished:
My 2014 Pre-Season Picks
Final 2014 Finish
The way I figure it is that the odds are in my favor to do better for my 2015 picks. Number one is that there are fewer teams in Region 5, seven versus nine. The number of 9-man regions went from four to six for 2015-16. Well, here is my prognosis listed in the order on how I feel they will finish.
1.Hettinger-Scranton; Losing only two seniors on a roster of 24. They return their entire backfield and should have a powerful running game with Braxon Yates handing off to Tanner Sanford, Brandon Pierce and Isaiah Kludt. That should open up their passing game when needed. Colby Steeke and Nevan Weaver will anchor the line play. Weaver sustained a late season-ending knee injury but hopefully will be ready to go by next August.
2.New Salem-Glen Ullin: They are the new team on the block and previously were in “A” 11-man. They did have a common opponent with the Nighthawks this season in Heart River. Heart River downed the Nighthawks in a non-region game, 34-14, while defeating New Salem-Glen Ullin, 44-18. They had five seniors on their roster of 26 and finished 4th in their region which was good enough to make the playoffs. They were eliminated in the first round by Rugby, 49-2. They should have an experienced team returning although their quarterback did graduate.
3.Mott-Regent: Only losing three seniors on a roster of 26, and had nine juniors. Probably their two most dangerous players are sophomore Brady Weigh and freshman Joshua Wallace. This team could surprise a few teams.
4.Richardton-Taylor-Hebron: Graduation will hurt this team the most as they will lose 11 seniors on a roster of 32. Most of the seniors were starters including two dangerous running backs in Jaden Schmidt and Cory Rebel, and their quarterback. They did finish in 2nd place behind Shiloh and advanced to the second round of the 9-man playoffs.
5.Grant County: Losing six seniors on a roster of 17. Lack of depth on the roster will hurt them but they do return a prolific runner in Andrew Schafer and their quarterback Peyton Gabrielson. If teams can bottle up Schafer, Grant Co. will have problems.
6.Bowman: Losing seven seniors on a roster of 24. Could finish higher. This team was much improved over the past few years, but they did lose some good talent in Bondon Scott, Kyle McGee, Chandler Bratten and Sterling Quintanilla. They do have some promising young players.
7.Beach: Will lose eight seniors on a roster of 25. Numbers were up from last year but half the roster was sophomores and freshmen.
Of course situations may change. New personnel moving in and current personnel moving out of town, injuries, younger players maturing and contributing and players who decide not to play next year.
My bias may be showing by selecting the Nighthawks first, but if they return everyone I feel they should be a strong contender. New Salem-Glen Ullin is the biggest unknown and Mott-Regent could be the dark horse and finish higher. I believe the fourth and final playoff spot will be a dog fight among the other four teams.