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Beulah won't sneak up on anybody this year

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Nathan Battest runs the ball during the Class AA championship game at the Fargdome last season.

The Beulah Miners weren’t sure they belonged back in Class AA last season, but they proved by the end of the year that they most definitely did.

 The Miners rolled through the regular season and into the playoffs where they advanced to the state championship game before losing to Hillsboro-Central Valley.

 “Last year was more of an unknown going back to Double A,” said coach Jim Dooley, who is entering his ninth season as Miners head coach. “We thought we’d be all right but we were going in unsure. There wasn’t an indication what we had until the St. Mary’s game. We led that game for 25 seconds but we were able to come back.”

 Junior quarterback Trey Brandt (6-0, 170) is poised to lead the offense when he gets back from injury. A summer foot injury may cause him to miss the start of the year.

 Brandt threw for 357 yards and six touchdowns but missed the playoffs. He was all-region honorable mention.

 Dooley is trying several bodies at the position in Brandt’s absence, including sophomore Jack Koppelsohn and junior Amari Gilmore.

 Senior running back and defensive back Nathan Battest (5-10, 165) is the Miners’ top threat. A second-team all-stater, Battest ran for 1,272 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. Battest ran for 124 yards in the title game loss. On defense, Battest made 57 tackles and intercepted four passes.

 Junior running back and linebacker Trapper Skalsky (5-11, 170) was a second-team all-stater after rushing for 513 yards and nine touchdowns. He was a whirlwind on defense with 110 tackles.

 Junior running back and linebacker Zayne Phelps (5-8, 165) is another key returnee. He ran for 400 yards and seven touchdowns and made 36 tackles.

 Seniors Jacob Klaudt (6-0, 220) and Aaron Ripplinger (6-0, 200) made an impact on defense last season and will again.

 Klaudt, a defensive lineman, made 69 tackles and seven tackles-for-loss and was named first-team all-state. Ripplinger is an all-region linebacker who made 85 tackles, four tackles-for-loss and intercepted two passes.

The frontline talent is there. It’s the depth -- especially along the lines -- that concerns Dooley.

 “We were young but we do have a lot back. But our concern is depth,” Dooley said. “Defensively we feel good about our secondary and linebackers. On the defensive line, we have two or three starters back, but we rotated a lot of guys. Nice to be able to spell some guys if you can.”

 In Dooley’s perfect world, he’d be 10 deep along the lines of scrimmage. He believes he has six or seven sure things at this time.

Beulah was originally scheduled to begin its season against Valley City today. Due to an outbreak of positive coronavirus tests, that game was canceled. Instead, the Miners will play a nonconference game against Watford City. 

This season the Miners won’t sneak up on anybody.

"This year we have more expectations,” Dooley said.

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