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BHS looks to build another contender
BHS looks to build another contender
Bismarck High’s soccer team has some big boots to fill this fall.
Based on prior history, head coach Andy Foss and the Demons will figure it out.
Having won two of the last three state titles, BHS has plenty of championship DNA banked.
“One of the good things about last season was because of how of our games went, we were able to get a lot of kids some varsity experience. That wasn’t the case after we won it 2015,” Foss said. “This year, we have a number of kids who got some quality time and we’re expecting those kids to take another step forward now that they’re in more central roles on our team.”
En route to their 2017 title, the Demons were prolific, scoring a whopping 67 goals and allowing just 12 in 18 matches, 15 ending in wins. A trio of skilled all-staters graduated – Dane Allen, Tresor Mugwaneza and Merci Ndaberewe – and a handful of other key contributors will need to be replaced, which is no small task.
“That senior class was pretty special. You don’t necessarily replace kids that good,” Foss said. “We’re probably going to do things differently, we’re going to have to find other ways to win, but we really like the group of kids we have.”
Senior captains Caden Evanson and Abdoul Sow are a good place to start. Evanson is a field-general midfielder willing and able of doing the dirty work, while Sow will be a target man up top.
“We’re expecting Caden and Abdoul to be good senior leaders for us out there to show the younger players what it means to play Bismarck High soccer,” Foss said.
Junior Mason Stotz is certainly capable of doing that as well. Stotz netted 10 goals last season and is one of the top all-around players in the state.
“Mason is such a versatile player, we can put him anywhere and he’s going to be really good,” Foss said. “If we’re having a problem in a certain area, we can plug him in there and he’ll fix it.”
Michael Matthews was a contributor last year on the wing in support of the big three on top. This year, Matthews, a junior, will be a focal point of the Demons’ attack.
“Michael is a very dynamic player with an unbelievable shot,” Foss said. “We’re going to be looking to him to score goals, but we’d also like to find ways to get him on the ball and allow him to create with his play-making ability.”
The Demons have a new goalie, but Foss has total faith in Easton Ford, who backed up Zach Schmidt one year ago.
“Zac and Easton were 1-A and 1-B last season. If anything had happened to Zac we all had total faith in Easton,” Foss said. “Easton is very technically sound as a goalkeeper. He’s a good shot-stopper and we can play the ball back to him and he can distribute because of how good he is with his feet.”
The Demons were picked second in the West Region behind Century, who received five of six first-place votes in the preseason coaches’ poll.
Coach Ryan Okerson’s Patriots return several key players including ace-scorers Logan Brown and Fabian Lunell.
“I think you have to look at Century as the team to beat in the West, if not the state,” Foss said. “They return a lot of firepower and they have some younger kids coming up that are very good too.”
Minot always is a factor and Foss believes the pairing of Mandan and St. Mary’s makes for a quality side.
“When you combine the players St. Mary’s had with the young players Mandan had to go along with the coaching, they’re definitely a sleeper over there,” Foss said.
The two-day East/West Crossover begins on Friday in Jamestown. BHS and Century both play Fargo North and Fargo South. On Saturday, Mandan takes on Grand Forks Red River and Fargo Davies. Legacy faces West Fargo and Grand Forks Central.
West Region play commences next week, including a big one early as the Demons travel to Mandan to face the new combo Braves at 7:30 p.m.
- DAVE SELVIG Bismarck Tribune