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Bismarck Demons linebacker Brennan Fetch

TOM STROMME/Tribune Fargo Davies' Connor Camrud (42) gets wrapped up after a carry by Bismarck's Dexter Werner (81), left, and Brennan Fetch (45).

The Bismarck High School football coaching staff doesn’t think much of Brennan Fetch’s player evaluation skills. But, boy, do they like the way the guy plays football.

Fetch is the middle linebacker on  a Demons defensive unit that’s yielded a mere nine points and 151 yards per contest over the past 19 games.

“We wasn’t going to come out as a junior,” Bismarck defensive coordinator Dale Colby said.

BHS, 11-1 as state AAA champions last year and 7-0 as the top-ranked team this season has been ultra-stingy against the run. Bismarck’s defense has surrendered just 66 rushing yards per game. During the same period, the Demons are a plus 33 (13 turnovers, 46 takeaways in the giveaway-takeaway ratio.

In their seven games this season, the Bismarck defenders have scored 28 points and given up 38.

Thus the Demons boast the  West Region’s most efficient offense (43.0 points per game) and defense (5.4) going into Thursday’s showdown at Minot.

Top-ranked BHS is the only unbeaten in the state’s Class AAA ranks. Minot, 6-1, is ranked fourth. Game time is 7 p.m. at Duane Carlson Stadium.

All this with a middle linebacker who was ready to leave football behind after his sophomore year.

Fetch, a 5-foot-6, 185-pound senior, could see the handwriting on the wall in the summer of 2011.

With Layne Johs at tailback, he could see he wouldn’t be playing much offense. And with eight full-time defensive starters returning, there weren’t many job openings there, either.

“I don’t think he ever pictured himself as the type of defensive player that we pictured him being,” Demons head coach Mark Gibson said.

With a little prodding, Fetch reported for preseason practice in 2011 and became a proud full-time member of the linebacker corps.

Fetch said the only defensive statistic he worries about is points surrendered. His reasoning is the defense’s first and foremost task is to keep the other team out of the end zone.

“We take pride in holding the other team to the lowest score possible,” he said. “We’re proud of (yardage and turnover statistics), too, but our goal is to keep the opponent’s offense from scoring.”

It will take a supreme effort to keep Minot off the scoreboard. The Magicians average 31.7 points per game and are second in the region in rushing.

Quarterback Alex Yanosko, a 6-1, 198-pound junior, is second in the region in three different categories — rushing, total offense and scoring. He trails Johs in rushing and scoring and is second to Century quarterback Jared Fischer in total offense. Magicians tailback Brady Lampert, a 5-10, 176-pound junior, is the region’s No. 3 rusher.

Fetch said the trick is to keep Yanosko from getting to the outside where he can create total chaos.

“We want to make sure we contain all of their outside runs ... and tackle well,” Fetch observed. “(Yanosko) is just a really good athlete. He finds the open field and takes advantage of it. He’s a big-time player. He makes things happen.”

Yanosko has five 100-yard rushing games, including a 172-yard performance in last week’s 34-23 victory at Dickinson. Lampert has cracked the century barrier three times.

“(Lampert) is a hard runner, so you’ve got to tackle low and hold on,” Fetch said.

With a 1,758 to 426 rush-pass ratio, Minot is obviously a run-first team. Fetch said that’s the way he likes it.

“I look forward to running teams because, as a linebacker, you’re in on a lot,” he said.

To Fetch the priorities are obvious.

“We have to stop the run and contain the quarterback,” he said.

Fetch said in a game with Minot there are two certainties.

“Minot is very physical and they’re a big team. If we’re not prepared they’ll come out and hit us,” he noted.

Bismarck’s showdown with Minot is one of two regional games on tap today on the penultimate week of the regular season. Third-rated Century plays host to Mandan at 7 p.m. in the other. On Friday, Jamestown visits Williston. Dickinson plays host to second-ranked Fargo South on Friday in a nonregional contest.

As the season dwindles away, Fetch said the intensity increases week by week.

“When you look at it, it’s gone by really fast. You know you want to leave it all on the field,” he said.

The regular season wraps up on Wednesday, Oct. 17, with Dickinson at Mandan, Bismarck at Williston, Minot at Jamestown and Fargo North at Century.

Larson has surgery

Minot linebacker Kolton Larson, a two-time all-state pick, has experienced a setback in his recovery from a foot injury.

Larson, a junior, broke a bone in his left foot in the second game of the season and hasn’t played since.

“Kolton had surgery on his foot a couple weeks ago.  He is out for quite awhile.  We certainly miss him — on both sides of the ball,” Magicians coach Barry Holmen said.

Larson figures in Minot’s offensive plans as a running back.

“It has been a next-man-up mentality around here since game 2,” Holmen added. 

CLASS AAA FOOTBALL

WEST REGION

                               Region          Overall

Team W L W L

Bismarck 4 0 7 0

Century 4 1 5 2

Minot 3 1 6 1

Dickinson 2 3 3 4

Mandan 1 3 2 5

Jamestown 1 3 1 6

Williston 0 4 1 6

Thursday, Oct. 4

Bismarck 41, Mandan 6

Friday, Oct. 5

Century 63, Williston 0

Minot 34, Dickinson 23

Grand Forks Central 16, Jamestown 14

Thursday, Oct. 11

Mandan at Century, 7 p.m.

Bismarck at Minot, 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 12

Fargo South at Dickinson

Jamestown at Williston

Wednesday, Oct. 17

Dickinson at Mandan, 7 p.m.

Bismarck at Williston, 7 p.m.

Fargo North at Century, 7 p.m.

Minot at Jamestown

End of regular season

WEST REGION STATISTICS

TEAM OFFENSE

Team Pts. Rush Pass Total

Bismarck 43.0 303.3 89.1 392.4

Minot 31.3 251.1 60.9 312.0

Century 28.3 145.7 184.6 330.3

Dickinson 25.6 195.4 82.4 277.8

Mandan 14.0 102.9 123.1 226.0

Jamestown 9.5 82.6 108.4 191.0

Williston 4.0 63.1 48.6 111.7

TEAM DEFENSE

Team Pts. Rush Pass Total

Bismarck 5.4 42.0 80.1 122.1

Minot 12.4 100.4 93.1 193.5

Century 17.0 143.9 93.4 237.3

Dickinson 22.4 152.6 103.7 256.3

Mandan 23.4 100.4 101.1 232.8

Jamestown 30.9 232.0 112.3 344.3

Williston 32.0 195.9 85.4 281.3

n NOTE: Scoring, rushing, passing and total yardage calculated for West Region teams on a per-game basis.

INDIVIDUAL OFFENSE

Rushing: 1. Layne Johs, B, 115-1,161. 2. Alex Yanosko, Min, 139-796. 3. Brady Lampert, Min, 123-680. 4. Michael Cherwinski, D, 70-550. 5. Anthony Cook, J, 142-447. 6. Ricardo Galindo, B, 41-389. 7. Matt Ziemann, Man,72-326. 8. Ben Kraft, C, 52-264. 9. Dylan Skabo, D, 54-262. 10. Ryan Gesellchen, C, 55-242.

Passing yards:  1. Jared Fischer, C, 78-118-3, 1,209 yards. 2. Ross Effertz, Man, 59-135-4, 836. 3. Matt Grounds, J, 44-92-11, 729. 4. Ben Jolliffe, B, 40-71-1, 624. 5. Dylan Skabo, D, 37-83-6, 533. 6. Alex Yanosko, Min, 35-83-4, 415. 7. Jayden Ferguson, W, 21-53-6, 195. 8. Markus Noeske, W, 14-52-2, 110. 9. Tyler Rudolph, C, 3-4-0, 74. 10. Mac Rohr, D, 6-11-0, 44.

Touchdown passes: 1. Jared Fischer, C, 11. 2. (tie) Matt Grounds, J; Ben Jolliffe, B, and Dylan Skabo, D, 7. 5. Ross Effertz, Man, 6. 6. Alex Yanosko, Min, 4. 7. Tyler Rudolph, C, 1.

Receiving yards: 1. Drew Wiseman, C, 26-653. 2. Daniel Peterson, Man, 17-378. 3. Sean Lindberg, J, 12-276. 4. Nathan Schmidt, Man, 17-243. 5. Taren Staudinger, D, 12-233. 6. Jordan Krieg, D, 17-227. 7. C.J. Soulis, J, 13-222.  8. Nick Kottre, B, 9-181. 9. Brett Adam, B, 8-167. 10. Marc Wagner, J, 7-162.

Total offense: 1. Jared Fischer, C, 1,301 yards. 2. Alex Yanosko, Min, 1,211. 3. Layne Johs, B, 1,161. 4. Ross Effertz, Man, 870. 5. Dylan Skabo, D, 795. 6. Matt Grounds, J, 764. 7. Brady Lampert, Min, 680. 8. Ben Jolliffe, B, 649. 9. Michael Cherwinski, D, 550. 10. Anthony Cook, J, 447.

Scoring: 1. Layne Johs, B, 116. 2. Alex Yanosko, Min, 86. 3. Drew Wiseman, C, 60. 4. Brady Lampert, Min, 42. 5. (tie) Michael Cherwinski, D, and Josh Seibel, B, 36. 7. Ben Love, Min, 35. 8. Dominic Neameyer, C, 32. 9. (tie) Ricardo Galindo, B; Ryan Gesellchen, C; Tony Kostelecky, D, and Dylan Skabo, D, 30.

Field goals: 1. Ben Love, Min, 6. 2. Dominic Neameyer, C, 3. 3. Tony Kostelecky, D, 2.

EAST REGION

                               Region          Overall

Team W L W L

Fargo South 5 0 6 1

G.F. Red River 3 1 6 1

West Fargo 3 1 4 3

Fargo North 2 3 2 5

Devils Lake 1 3 3 4

Fargo Davies 1 3 2 5

G.F. Central 0 4 1 6

Friday, Oct. 5

G.F. Central 16, Jamestown 14

G.F. Red River 35, Devils Lake 0

Fargo South 47, Fargo Davies 12

West Fargo 24, Fargo North 0

Thursday, Oct. 11

Fargo Davies at G.F. Central

G.F. Red River at Fargo North

Friday, Oct. 12

Fargo South at Dickinson

Devils Lake at West Fargo

Wednesday, Oct. 17

Fargo North at Century

Devils Lake at Fargo Davies

Fargo South at G.F. Red River

West Fargo at G.F. Central

End of regular season

EAST REGION STATISTICS

Offense: 1. Fargo South, 43.3 points scored per game. 2. Grand Forks Red River, 28.6. 3. West Fargo, 25.7. 4. Devils Lake, 14.7. 5. Grand Forks Central 10.9. 6. Fargo Davies, 10.4. 7. Fargo North, 9.9.

Defense:  1. Grand Forks Red River, 7.4  points allowed per game. 2. West Fargo, 14.3. 3. Fargo South, 18.1. 4. Fargo North, 24.7. 5. Devils Lake 25.9. 6. (tie) Fargo Davies and Grand Forks Central, 30.4.

—Compiled by Steve Thomas

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Sports Reporter