By STEVE THOMAS
True, a third straight state football title, which would have been a first in school history, eluded Bismarck a fortnight ago.
However, BHS fared much better in the meeting room than it did on the Fargodome field against Fargo South.
The Demons were the big winners in the all-state voting, which was conducted Dakota Bowl weekend.
Six BHS players — Jaden Friedt, Ricardo Galindo, Stanley Jones, Zach Scalzo, Thomas Sease and Jon Tharaldsen — were named to the AAA all-state first team.
Friedt and Scalzo are offensive linemen, Jones and Sease are defensive linemen, Galindo is a tailback and Tharaldsen is a wide receiver.
Additionally, Demons quarterback Hayden Gibson earned second-team support from the voting coaches.
Sease and Friedt were first-team repeaters. BHS coach Mark Gibson said each player elevated his game as a senior.
“We depend on these kids a lot for leadership and also look for them to take their game to a different level. I think they did that,” Gibson said.
The teams that made the AAA playoff semifinals fared well, indeed, in the coaches’ voting. Champion Fargo South boasted six all-staters, all first-teamers. Minot came away with four first-team and three second-team selections. Century placed two men on the first team and five on the second.
Century coach Ron Wingenbach said he felt some of his second-team picks were viable first-team candidates.
“Would have we liked more (on the first team)? Yes, but it is what it is. I think our kids are very deserving wherever they landed and we’re certainly proud of them.”
Defensive lineman Grant Gall and defensive back Aaron Doan represented Century on the first team. Second-team honorees were Jacob Barth, Drew Lingle, Dalton Feeney, Michael Dukart and Dominic Neameyer.
Minot’s first-team representatives were quarterback Ben Bolinske, linebacker Zach Danelson, tight end Jacob Holmen and linebacker Kolton Larson.
Bolinske and Larson reached all-state status via strange routes.
For Bolinske, it was a case of an all-state quarterback replacing an all-state quarterback. Bolinske, a sophomore, took over for returning all-stater Alex Yanosko, who was injured in the first half of Minot’s first game. Yanosko never returned and Bolinske turned in a strong year.
“To be fair, I think we recognized (Bolinske) had the potential to be very good,” Minot coach Barry Holmen said. “Our perception was based on his freshman football season. He was really good last year at the freshman level. ... But certainly we were delighted that he has already blossomed into a pretty special athlete.”
Larson, a senior, is a three-time all-stater. He earned first-team plaudits as a freshman and sophomore, but had most of his junior year wiped out by a foot injury. He came back with fangs bared as a senior, earning senior athlete of the year recognition.
Holmen said Larson traveled a long road back.
“I would say (the recovery) took longer than we thought it would,” Holmen said. “... Clearly he was not 100 percent at the beginning of the year. Maybe halfway through the season he he had regained his running ability and that was what was holding him back. ... He was better than the years before, but it took awhile.”
Bismarck’s defensive linemen, Sease and Jones, were foregone conclusions, according to coach Gibson.
“When it came to voting ... there wasn’t even a debate. Those were the first two (defensive linemen) off the board,” Gibson said. “I don’t remember coaching two better defensive kids. We’re going to miss those two kids tremendously next year.
“Those four linemen (Friedt, Scalzo, Jones and Sease) were the best at their positions and I think they carried us,” Gibson added.
Gibson said Tharaldsen, a first-year starter at wide receiver, made huge strides to attain elite status.
“With his physical ability we envisioned a great year for him . ... Last year he was a subvarsity fullback,” Gibson said. “There’s a lot more to him when you consider where he could eventually get to, and that’s scary.”
Wingenbach said it would have been hard at the end of the 2012 season to envision Dukart as a first-team all-state pick. But the big senior simply made it happen due, in large part, to a thirst for hard work.
“Dukart was our most consistent lineman. Day in and day out, we knew what we were going to get,” Wingenbach said. “He worked and worked and worked and it paid off for him.”
Wingenbach said the common trait his all-state players shared was the ability to rise to the occasion in big games.
“If you look at that list, those kids played their best football at the end of October and into November and it’s rewarding as a coaching staff to see that recognized,” Wingenbach said.
Along with Friedt and Sease, Fargo South running back James Johannesson and his teammate, defensive lineman Drew Fahrman were first-team repeaters.
Moving up from the 2012 second team were Dickinson wideout Dylan Skabo, Gall, Minot linebacker Zach Danelson, Grand Forks Red River quarterback Chad Bartosh, South offensive lineman Joe Mehrer and Fargo Davies offensive lineman Gunnar Kollman.
Returning to the second team for a second year were Dickinson’s Mitch Mehrer and Levi Jordheim, Fargo North’s Olaf Hanson and Hunter Slemmons, Minot’s Brady Lampert and Fargo Davies’ Chris Ennen.
OL: Jaden Friedt, 6-4, 255, sr., Bismarck. Gunnar Kollman, 6-0, 240, jr., Fargo Davies. Joe Mehrer, 6-2, 295, sr., Fargo South. Zach Scalzo, sr., 6-1, 290, sr., Bismarck. Kyle Trefethren, 6-2, 265, jr., Fargo South.
TE: Jacob Holmen, 6-2, 195, sr., Minot.
WR: Dylan Skabo, 5-10, 155, sr., Dickinson. Jon Tharaldsen, 6-2, 210, jr., Bismarck.
RB: Ricardo Galindo, 5-7, 160, sr., Bismarck. James Johannesson, 6-2, 210, jr., Fargo South.
QB: Chad Bartosh, 6-3, 175, sr., G.F. Red River. Ben Bolinske, 5-11, 161, soph., Minot.
DL: Drew Fahrman, 6-4, 250, sr., Fargo South. Grant Gall, 6-0, 280, sr., Century. Stanley Jones, 6-4, 220, sr., Bismarck. Thomas Sease, 6-2, 225, sr., Bismarck.
LB: Zach Danelson, 5-10, 195, jr., Minot. Dylan Hughes, 5-10, 180, sr., Fargo Davies. Kolton Larson, 6-2, 205, sr., Minot. Sam Olson, 5-11, 195, jr., West Fargo. Jake Robson, 6-5, 240, sr., G.F. Red River.
DB: Ty Brooks, 5-10, 165, jr., Fargo South.
Aaron Doan, 5-11, 175, sr., Century. Jordan Hjelseth, 5-10, 160, sr., Fargo Davies. Dallas Raftevold, 5-11, 175, sr., Fargo South.
Bismarck: Hayden Gibson (QB), 6-3, 210, jr.
Century: Jacob Barth (LB), 5-11, 215, sr. Michael Dukart (OL), 6-3, 245, sr. Dalton Feeney (QB), 6-2, 200, soph. Drew Lingle (DL), 6-3, 210, sr. Dominic Neameyer (K), 5-8, 150, sr.
Devils Lake: Austin Erickson (TE-LB), 6-3, 190, sr. Blake Prozinksi (RB-LB), 5-9, 165, sr.
Dickinson: Levi Jordheim (P), 6-2, 185, sr. Mitch Mehrer (OL-DL), 6-1, 205, sr. Aaron Sayler (OL-DL), 6-1, 270, sr.
Fargo Davies: Chris Ennen (OL-DL), 6-3, 220. sr. Aiden Hartness (QB), 6-3, 178, jr. Tristen Hartness (WR), 6-2, 180, jr.
Fargo North: Olaf Hanson (OL-DL), 6-3, 250, sr. Hunter Slemmons (OL-LB), 5-11, 200, sr.
Jamestown: Rob Bollinger (OL-DL), 6-3, 220, sr. Taylor Orr (RB), 6-0, 170, sr.
Mandan: Cameron Christopherson (DB), 5-7, 145, jr.
Minot: Tre Kinchen (WR), 5-8, 140, sr. Brady Lampert (RB), 5-11, 215, sr. Jordan Seideman (DB), 6-0, 166, sr.
West Fargo: Zach Larson (LB), 5-10, 180, jr. Pajtim Lika (OL-DL), 6-0, 275, sr. Zach Mohs (OL-DL), 6-1, 260, jr.
Williston: Hyrum Gentry (WR-DB), 6-3, 180, sr.