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Volk wants to transfer his success as a player to Blackduck's program

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After serving a year as an assistant coach at Blackduck, Jeff Volk has made the move to the head coaching position this fall.

As a player Volk has experienced success.

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"I was part of three conference championships," Volk said of his four-year playing career at Valley City State.

At Blackduck Volk also has become involved with youth basketball and youth baseball.

"I love sports," he said.

The Drakes could not muster a victory last fall. Many of the players return, however, and the coach believes the extra year of experience will be an asset.

"The guys are a year older and with that comes some experience," he said. "We coaches are going to stress the fundamentals of football and get the guys playing smarter. In the end we hope this makes us a more competitive team and brings us some wins."

The roster features six seniors including captains Lucas Krabbenhoft (quarterback) and Alex Goodwin (offensive tackle).

"These two captains have the responsibility of keeping the team on task in practice and in games," Volk said. "They are our emotional leaders and the experienced ones who can show the younger guys the ropes as far as what to expect and what is expected of them."

The season opened last week with a 55-8 loss at Fertile-Beltrami and Friday the Drakes will host Pillager. After games at Lake of the Woods and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley-Laporte, Blackduck will entertain Cass Lake-Bena on Sept. 30.

The regular season will conclude with a test at Pine River-Backus (Oct. 7) and home games with Red Lake County Central (Oct. 14) and Bagley (Oct. 19).

"We've gotten away from (fundamental football) the last few years," Volk said. "We need to block well, we need to tackle well and we need to execute. Football is a mental game as well as a physical game.

"We are stressing commitment, hard work and attitude," the coach continued. "We're looking forward to an exciting season."

Assisting Volk this year will be Tom Liapis and Rick Olhava.

A cast of 14 returning varsity players will lead the Kelliher-Northome football team this fall.

"We have 31 players on the roster and 14 played varsity last year," said K-N coach Derrick Gross who is beginning his seventh year on the Mustangs sidelines. "Of the 17 new team members 14 are freshmen.

"Although we are short on upperclassmen the ones we do have are experienced and several have starting experience," Gross said.

Among that list are seniors Lance Pink, Joe Schuh, Scott Pierson and Jeff Roosdett. The experience in the junior class includes Keith Schaughnessy and Caleb Schneider while sophomore Mark Geerdes is back along with freshmen Migizi Wagner and Nathan Anderson.

Pink, Cyril Weidenborner, Geerdes and Anderson will be the captains.

"The captains are the team leaders on and off the field," Gross said. "They work closely with the coaching staff to set team goals, manage problems within the team and they are expected to set the tone mentally and physically for every practice and every game."

K-N opened the season last week against Isle and Friday it will head to Cromwell. McGregor comes to Kelliher Sept. 17 and on Sept. 23 the Mustangs will celebrate Homecoming against Hill City.

The rest of the campaign includes games at Floodwood (Sept. 30), Remer (Oct. 7) and Nevis (Oct. 19) plus a home game against Onamia (Oct. 14).

The Panthers open the fall with two of the tougher opponents on their schedule. Last week they lost 43-0 to Warren-Alvarado-Oslo and Friday they travel to Bagley.

On paper the schedule becomes easier as the season continues and CL-B coach Ricky Wuori is hoping that his team can collect a few victories by season's end.

"During the past few years we haven't been breaking down any walls in terms of wins but we are making progress," Wuori said.

Cass Lake-Bena defeated Blackduck last year for its only victory and the goal this fall is to win at least three games.

"We want to get better each game and finish with at least three wins," Wuori said. "Obviously, we would like to win more than three games but we don't want to set the bar so high that our goal can't be reached."

Wuori also can follow the program's progress by looking at the game scores.

"We are more competitive now than we have been in the past," the coach said. "The kids take pride in building a better program and trying to beat down the concept that every team wants to schedule Cass Lake-Bena for its Homecoming.

"The program is improving and the kids are buying into the system," the coach added.

Among those kids are returning senior starters Caleb Fisher, Ben Ruzek, Wes Moe, Craig Brodeur, Justin Washington and Jake Ellis.

The juniors who played last year include Anthony Swanholm, Chance Tsuji and Jordan Collins.

Wuori and his coaching staff worked with 19 players during the early season but another half dozen joined the team at the start of school.

"Transportation during the summer can be a problem for the kids wanting to be in football," Wuori said. "And some kids didn't want their summer to end before school started."

The coach believes that defense will be a team strength along with a passing game which features Fisher as the quarterback and some tall receivers.

"But overall we aren't physically large and we don't have as many kids in the program as we would like," Wuori said. "The kids we do have are very coachable and are chomping at the bit to go to work.

"Against Warren we gave up three touchdowns on interceptions and another on a blocked punt. A fumble led to another score. We basically handed them the win.

"But the kids looked at the game from a positive standpoint and were ready to go to work and fix those mistakes."

The Flyers will shoot for their second win of the fall Friday when they host Cass Lake-Bena. Bagley is coming off a 35-6 win over Frazee.

Other home games will be Sept. 23 against Pine River, Oct. 7 against Fosston and Oct. 14 against Walker-Hackensack-Akeley-Laporte.

Road games are Sept. 16 at Pillager, Sept. 30 at Lake of the Woods and Oct. 19 at Blackduck.

Bagley has 13 seniors on the roster including Tyler George (tailback), Austin Bellefy (tailback), Allen DeShane (wide receiver), Tim Conger (tailback), Tever Willberg (offensive line), Nick Neeland (quarterback), Tommy Ubert (runningback), Kris Skersick (fullblack), John Mendez (offensive line), Cody Loy (offensive line), Chase Netland (receiver), Tanner Andreson (offensive line) and Kaine Lundmark (tight end).

The juniors include Jesse Dukek (quarterback), Torrey Swenson (runningback), Kyler LaVine (tailback), Lucas Thompson (wide receiver), Mason Clough (tailback), Chance Halvorson (offensive line), Brandon Keena (offensive line), Zach Thoma (offensive line), Kody Anderson (offensive line), Ryan Holm (offensive line), Chris Clark (offensive line), Aaron Leintz (guard) and Jacob Powell (offensive line).

Completing the roster are sophomores Travis Torkelson (quarterback), Logan Thorson (runningback), Taylor McCollum (runningback), Tristan Frederick (fullback), Coalton Waggoner (halfback), Kyle Nelson (offensive line), Shane Teigland (offensive line) and Jake Skansberg (wide receiver).

The Warriors have only three games listed on their early schedule. On Sept. 16 they will play at Crosby-Ironton and on Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 they will face West Lutheran in a home-and-home, the latter game scheduled for Red Lake.

The Warriors list nine seniors on the roster including Travis Graumen, Lakota Chaboyea, Sheldon Mmason, Brett King, Terrell Jones, Zach Head, Dominick Lussier, Deon Jones and Travis Owens.

The junior class is represented by Jalen Skinaway, Joey McNeil and Kyle Head while the sophomores include Frank Lasley, Marcus Beaulieu and Isiah Barrett.

Y pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

The Warriors have only three games listed on their early schedule. On Sept. 16 they will play at Crosby-Ironton and on Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 they will face West Lutheran in a home-and-home, the latter game scheduled for Red Lake.

The Warriors list nine seniors on the roster including Travis Graumen, Lakota Chaboyea, Sheldon Mmason, Brett King, Terrell Jones, Zach Head, Dominick Lussier, Deon Jones and Travis Owens.

The junior class is represented by Jalen Skinaway, Joey McNeil and Kyle Head while the sophomores include Frank Lasley, Marcus Beaulieu and Isiah Barrett.

pmiller@bemidjipioneer.com

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Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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