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February 2020: Reader Reply

What high school sports team is the most memorable to you and why?

I have been a Bismarck Demon football fan ever since my son played 12 years ago. For the last eight years, my wife and I have photographed their games. Every season has been memorable with this well-coached squad, but the 2018 season really stands out in my mind.

That team swept through all of their opponents during the regular season and the first two playoff games, earning a berth to the Dakota Bowl in Fargo. A chance to complete a perfect season was at hand, which would secure a North Dakota AAA football championship. Their opponent was the team from across town, the Bismarck Century Patriots. The Demons beat them during the regular season and it was no secret they wanted revenge. Was there any better place than the statewide televised championship game to even the score?

Everyone in sports knows you don’t talk about a perfect season until that season is in the books. But when I realized that the title game was Nov. 9, the same date in 1974 my high school football team in Ohio completed our perfect season, I wanted to reassure anyone who would listen that we would win. But I dared not offend the football gods, so I said nothing.

Anything could happen in this intensely fun rivalry. The players all knew each other, having played on the same youth football, basketball, hockey and baseball teams through the years. The parents knew each other, too. Many of us are “mixed” families. Two of my three sons were Demons, while the middle son attended Century.

What a great game it was destined to be. It was just like a feel-good movie, with the script calling for the outcome to be decided on the final play of the season. When a Patriot pass fell harmless to the ground in the end zone, securing a 21-16 victory, the perfect 13-0 season was realized. The Patriots would come back to win the title in 2019, but the 2018 season belonged to the perfect Demons.

Bill Prokopyk, member of Capital Electric Cooperative

My husband, Scott Hutzenbiler, and I were part of the 1977-78 Belfield Bantams basketball team, who made it to the BIG DANCE (Class B state basketball tournament). He was a player and I was a cheerleader. At the Region 8 basketball tournament held in Dickinson, we were down by 16 at halftime, but came back to beat the New Salem Holsteins (61-57) to advance to the state tourney!

We were considered the Cinderella team of the state tournament, as we were not picked to come out of Region 8. We defeated the New Rockford Rockets in the first round (75-57), the New Town Eagles the semifinal night (77-61), and played the Larimore Polar Bears for the championship game. Larimore defeated us (72-57).

Only eight teams a year get to experience the BIG DANCE, as they called it back then. Back in the late 1970s, VCRs were just coming out, and not many people owned one. Harold Hugelen (Trapper’s Kettle owner) was at the tournament, recorded the game, and gave us a copy of the tournament. To go back and watch the games with our children is something Scott and I will always cherish.

I wish every town could experience being a part of a state Class B basketball tournament. This experience was, and always will be, my favorite from my high school years.

Patty Hutzenbiler, member of Roughrider Electric Cooperative

The high school sports team that is the most memorable to me is my son’s senior year football team, the 2000 Hope-Page Wolverines. The team lost their first game, but then went on to win the rest of their games and eventually made it to the state football championship game.

That in itself was amazing for this small Class B school, but what was even more amazing was the fact that they had lost every game the previous year.  This team brought these two communities together and showed what can happen when a team works together and when communities work together.  The boys on the football team made many memories, and the memories and friendships we parents made will last forever.

Jan L. Moen, member of Cass County Electric Cooperative


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