I’m going to put my limited prognostic skills to test and pick this year’s 9-man Region 5 football final standings. With the new, two-year North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA), football alignment Region 5 was significantly changed. Instead of seven teams in Region 5 there are now eight teams.
By Sheldon Christenson
All of the other five regions have seven teams. We lost Bowman as they were bumped up to Class A 11-man and we gained Shiloh and Central Mclean. Shiloh went undefeated in Region 3 last season and lost in the 9-man state semi-finals. Central Mclean was also in Region 3 and had an overall record of 2-6.
Based on enrollment Shiloh was to have been moved to Class A 11-man. Killdeer was to move from 11-man to 9-man but opted to stay in 11-man. For that to happen a team on the Class A list must opt to go 9-man. Being on the bottom, Shiloh had first choice and jumped at staying 9-man. If they had not opted to stay 9-man the next team to consider it would have been Bowman. Central Mclean could have been moved to region four or six.
Rules are rules but in my opinion it would have been better for competition and travel if Bowman remained 9-man and Shiloh moving to 11-man. Not to mention keeping the Night Hawk/Bulldog rivalry alive for at least two more years.
Here I go with my prediction and the teams are evaluated on the order I think they will finish.
1. Shiloh: Definitely a consensus prediction to finish in first in the region based on last year’s performance and losing only five players to graduation. They have a roster of 36 players with 17 being upper classmen.
2. Mott/Regent/New England: A new co-op this year as New England’s co-op with Trinity was discontinued. Although Mott/Regent graduated Brady Weigh and three others the addition of New England should be a big plus. The NDHSAA web site has them with a roster of 35 which includes 20 upper classmen. They return second team all-state running back in Josh Wallace.
3.Hettinger/Scranton: They graduated 11 seniors and only have three this season but one is all-state running back Isaiah Kludt. The challenge to this team is developing young linemen to open holes for the running backs and playing sound defense. They also don’t have the team depth as the numbers are down to 25.
4. New Salem/Glen Ullin: Went deep in the playoffs last year but lost some key players in Shane Forster, Nathan Wolf, and Bailey Morman along with seven others, but return quarterback Evan Henke.
5.Richardton/Taylor: Graduated 13 players including star quarterback Brendan Butterfield, but return 13 upper classmen and traditionally is a competitive team.
6.Central Mclean: Unknown team other than they had an overall 2-6 record last season.
7. Grant County: Only 23 on their roster with 15 of them sophomores and freshmen. They went 3-5 overall last season.
8. Beach: Low numbers also with only 18, but that includes eight seniors. They were 1-6 overall last season.
Final note, I feel confident on first and second place. Third through fifth could finish in any order along with sixth through eighth.