2014 Football Preview: a new era

Bison hungry for success

Buffalo in ‘line’ for new roles

Swimmers bring youth and talent to table

Cross Country teams gear into shape

Howard Lake, Loretto advance to final 32; Delano out

BHM welcomes 35 new faculty members

Journal-Press Internet Sports & School -August 21, 2014
Rob LaPlante

Journal-Press Sports Editor Rob LaPlante may be reached
by phone at 763-682-1221 or click here to email him

2014 Football Preview: a new era

Rookie head coach creates buzz around Bison football

Viking purple to Bison purple; Bouman era begins

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Todd Bouman is no stranger when it comes to tossing a football. He's also no stranger when it comes to jumping over bars, jumping into sand, or jumping out of gyms.

The first-year head coach of the Buffalo football team has quite the track record when it comes to sports. Prior to his 14-year NFL career, Bouman was a star athlete in high school where he earned all-state honors in football, basketball and track and field as a 1991 graduate of Russell-Tyler-Ruthton.

His freshman year in college, he went on to play quarterback at what was then a Division-II school at South Dakota State University. After his freshman season, he elected to transfer in 1992 to St. Cloud State University. Not because it was a better football school, but with the intent on being able to do what he couldn't do at SDSU - play basketball.

"At that time, I couldn't choose and I wanted to play both," said Bouman, who originally followed his older brother's footsteps attending SDSU. Both Shane and Troy Bouman played basketball and football in college, but Todd only played football as a Jackrabbit. "When (St. Cloud) recruited me out of high school, they told me I could play both."

Bouman graduated from SCSU in 2008 with a sports sociology degree. He still ranks among the top statistical leaders in both football and basketball for the Huskies. From there he signed as an undrafted free agent in 1997 with the Minnesota Vikings. His career later had stops in New Orleans, Green Bay, St. Louis, Baltimore and Jacksonville.

The ability to be a multi-sport athlete at the high school level is something Bouman said helped him become a professional athlete, and is something he is stressing some of his current and future players to do.

"This day and age, a lot of people think you need to pick one sport or the other," he said. "I want kids to play as many sports they can possibly play. When I played in high school there were guys that were good basketball players. I feel like they could have been great basketball players, because had they played football it would have got them a little more physical."

 After his playing days, Bouman had a brief stint with the Bison in 2007 as a volunteer assistant football and basketball coach under Gerard Rohl and Nick Guida. From there he spent the past few seasons in his former hometown of Pipestone, where he was an assistant football coach under his brother Troy.

After Rohl stepped down after 22 years in the position, Bouman was offered the head coaching job and accepted the position last April 19.

Senior captain Taylor Spier said he was really excited when first hearing of the news. As a former NFL quarterback, Spier said he's already picked up a few new tricks.

"It's nice, he knows a lot more than what I've learned the last couple years," said Spier, who ranked third in the conference last season with 1,026 passing yards and 10 touchdowns. "When you're back in the pocket, knowing which guy you're already going to before you even snap the ball is pretty nice."

Spier is one of three captains who said they have already seen a difference in culture the first couple weeks in practice.

"Everyone kind of knows who he is, so more people want to come out and be a part of it," Spier said.

As a rookie head coach, Bouman said it's nice having an experienced quarterback like Spier in the mix.

"It's definitely nice, and I've been pleased with all our quarterbacks," said Bouman, who also has taken over the quarterback coaching duties. "The way they've all been jumping in the huddle, taking command, calling plays and making things go in practice. It's been very refreshing and very encouraging."

The quarterback position has been in good hands the past few seasons at BHS. In 2012, former Bison Jason Senger won the Quarterback of the Year honor in the Mississippi 8. With a few more improvements and a few more wins, Spier could potentially win the same honor.

"My goal is just to be the best leader I can be," Spier said.


Bison hungry for success

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

It shouldn't take long for Buffalo rookie head coach Todd Bouman to get a feel for what his team is made of.

For the second consecutive year, the Bison football squad opens the regular season schedule with a date against perennial conference powers St. Michael-Albertville and Rogers. The Knights are the defending Class 6-5A section champions. Buffalo lost 21-3 at home last year in the opening game against STMA. The Knights would later end Buffalo's season with a 42-14 playoff win in the Section 6-5A semifinal game.

If a date with the defending section champs isn't a good enough test, the Bison's home opener the following week comes against last year's conference champion Rogers Royals. Week two last year also came against the Rogers and resulted in one of the worst blowout losses in school history. The Royals defeated Buffalo 61-7, and proceeded to go a perfect 8-0 in the conference to clinch their fourth straight Mississippi 8 title.

"That's who is on the schedule. You can't pick and choose," said Bouman, when asked about the early season test. "Obviously they're big powerhouses in our conference. We'll find out right away when the season starts what this team is made of."

Bouman was hired at the end of last school year to help jumpstart the team after four straight losing seasons under the departed Gerard Rohl. The Bison have failed to put a winning season together since 2009 when they finished 8-2 overall and tied with both Rogers and STMA as co-conference champs each with 6-1 records.

Despite having a 3-7 overall record in 2013, the Bison will have several key players to replace. Buffalo graduated Mississippi 8 Secondary Player of the Year, Levi Bean. Bean had a highlight game last season against Big Lake in which he scored a receiving touchdown and created three turnovers on the defensive side of the ball.

Also gone is all-conference tailback Hunter Thompson, who had a breakout senior year scoring 14 total touchdowns, including a 120 yard, three score performance in Buffalo's 43-20 playoff win at Willmar last Oct. 22. He and starting running back Joseph Johnson got the bulk of the touches offensively. Johnson had a bit of a disappointing year, but put together a highlight run of 98 yards for a score for the Bison's lone points in the 61-7 loss at Rogers.

While Bean and Thompson's combined 21 touchdowns will be difficult to replace, senior captain Jonny Senger looks to have an increased role in the offense and his rough and tumble mentality could produce a big year scoring wise for the rugged tailback/linebacker.

"I've been looking forward to this point all summer," said Senger, who averaged 6.2 yards per carry last season and led the team with 25 solo tackles. "The workouts are all done. Now I'm ready to hit someone, and get this team all fired up,"

Senger looks to be an instrumental part offensively and defensively as does fellow senior captain Zach Dahl. Dahl is the leading returning wide receiver hauling in 11 catches for 111 yards and defensively forced three turnovers as a defensive back.

Dahl's role will likely pick up offensively with a new playbook in place. Senior captain Taylor Spier is coming off an all-conference honorable mention season at quarterback, and with his ability to throw the ball and a head coach who once was an NFL quarterback, Dahl's excited what this year may have in store.

"It's been exciting getting some new concepts here," Dahl said. "We have some young guys that are learning quickly. We're just trying to plug them into the right spots. If they get on the same page as the other guys, we'll have a good team."  

Some familiar faces returning who made an impact a year ago are senior Wyatt Brings, who came on strong towards the end of last season, both as a rushing and receiving threat. He had a career best 61 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns in a 47-8 win at Duluth East. He followed that up with 75 yards rushing in Buffalo's 43-20 playoff upset on Oct. 22 at Willmar.

Junior Gavin Welch is Spier's primary backup at quarterback and also plays defensive back. Senior Bo Bauman is also a secondary player who can play Tight End. Some of the varsity newcomers include junior wide receiver/cornerback Matt Montplaisir, who showed his tremendous speed and leaping ability during the track and field season last spring. Juniors Tyler and Zach Wurm also look to have increased roles on both sides of the ball. Senior Luke Folkerds will once again handle kicking duties.

With positions, faces, and game plans relatively new compared to years past, Bouman is not ready to reveal his deck of cards. Senger and

"Those opening games are going to be tough, but those teams haven't seen anything what we're about to do," Senger said. "We'll be a surprise and they (STMA-Rogers) are not going to see it coming. It could end up in a win."

Thursday's kickoff will be at 7 p.m. at STMA Middle School West.



Mark these dates on your calendar for other notable matchups. The following is a list of the top five games you won't want to miss.


5. Buffalo at STMA: The Mississippi 8 often gets overlooked each weekend when it comes to exposure from major media outlets. But the lights will shine bright when Buffalo rookie head coach and ex-NFL and Vikings quarterback Todd Bouman makes his coaching debut on Thursday, Aug. 28 in St. Michael.


4. STMA at Monticello: Always a defensive battle when these two neighboring schools meet. The Magic defeated STMA for the first time in school history since joining the Mississippi 8 with a 24-10 win in October of 2012. The Knights have since won two straight matchups, but the games have been decided by scores of 10-0 and 14-7. This year's showdown is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 12 in Monticello.   


3. St. Francis at Chisago Lakes: The two highest scoring teams in the Mississippi 8 Red Division last year went toe-to-toe that resulted in a 52-50 slugfest with the Wildcats coming out on top. Chisago Lakes is the defending champ of the Red Division going 7-1 a year ago and St. Francis finished third going 4-4. The Wildcats were hit hard to graduation losing all-conference quarterback Mitch Berg and conference MVP Josh Parks, who rushed for over 1,000 yards and double digit scores. The Fighting Saints also lost an electrifying back in Max Gust, but University of North Dakota recruit John Santiago is primed to have a big year for the Saints. The two collide on Wednesday, Oct. 15 in Lindstrom. 


2. Cambridge-Isanti at St. Francis: Should be a great rematch of last year's 37-31 Bluejackets victory over the Fighting Saints in the Section 7-5A quarterfinals. It also pits two of the Mississippi 8's most talented quarterbacks in C-I senior Johnny Solberg and St. Francis junior Hunter Trautman. Friday Night Lights should be hopping on Friday, Sept. 19 in St. Francis.


1. Rogers at STMA: It would be hard to duplicate the two memorable tilts these two rivals put on a year ago. The first game came down to a failed 2-point conversion try in overtime by STMA that allowed Rogers to clinch its fourth straight Mississippi 8 title in a thrilling 38-37 Royals win. The second game resulted in a 21-7 Knights victory in the Section 6-5A championship game. STMA and Rogers have arguably two of the most electrifying players in the conference in senior quarterback Jackson Greenwaldt of STMA and senior running back Gunnar Bloom of the Royals. This year's showdown is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 15 and once again could have conference and playoff implications on the line.


Buffalo in ‘line’ for new roles

Junior lineman leads revamped offensive, defensive lines

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

It’s fair to say that most would think the Buffalo football team would be flying under the radar if they were to win a conference title in 2014.

Don’t tell that to junior lineman Adam Treptau. A year removed from a 3-7 overall record, Treptau is excited about some of the coaching changes that have taken place, and thinks the purple is in line for a big year.

“My team goal is to win conference,” said Treptau, who helped the Bison earn a 43-20 upset in the Section 6-5A quarterfinal playoff game last October over Willmar. The Bison rushed for a season-high 347 yards and scored five rushing touchdowns in the win.

Playing the position he does, Treptau already knows what it means to fly under the radar. Outside of teammates and coaches, a lineman rarely gets the accolades and glory they rightfully deserve.

Whether it’s run protection, or pass protection, Treptau has already earned the respect from his peers around the league as being one of the top linemen. As a freshman, he was named to the Mississippi 8 All-Conference Team. Last year he was an honorable mention.

“I was getting double and triple teamed a lot last year,” he said. “This year, there are a lot of new schemes and a lot of different changes going on. I’m pretty excited.”

Six-foot-two, 225-pound senior Tim Pearson, and 6-foot, 210-pound senior Luke Aguirre are other returning lineman that look to add both speed and size to the front units.

“Some of the younger guys that haven’t got a lot of playing time the last couple years have really stepped up,” Pearson said. “The top linemen every year usually stay on top, but those younger guys are trying to take our spots, which pushes us even more, and makes everybody better as a whole.”

Seniors Sean Dugan and Dylan Westrum, and junior Robert Sahli are a few of the new linemen fighting for spots from voids lost from last year’s starters: Jackson Flesher, Jackson Piechowski, Jesse Sullivan and Joseph Parker. Aguirre, Treptau and Pearson are the lone players with extensive varsity playing time. Even with new faces in the mix, Treptau said the outlook is positive the first couple weeks of camp, especially with a new system in place.

“In years past, if we had a big line, we were a phenomenal team. If we had a small line, we were a horrible team. That’s how the Wing-T system is,” Treptau said.

With a total new philosophy, Treptau says everybody is going to have to learn on the fly. With his strength and athletic ability, he says the new schemes should help his game and expectations for himself are as high as ever.

“I’m going for all-conference,” Treptau said. “If I get second-team all-state, that would be nuts. Who knows, if I keep working hard, we’ll see what happens.”

Besides a new head coach, one of the big changes this season is the switch of line coaches. Jake Klingelhutz will move from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator and the defensive line coach. Moving from offensive coordinator to offensive line coach is Scott Palmer. Head coach Todd Bouman is now taking the role as offensive coordinator, as well as quarterbacks coach.

Bouman also added to the staff Nick Guida to coach the wide receivers and Troy Holland will take linebacker duties. Chad Anderson will take over as defensive backs coach and Josh Ortmann will work with running backs.

Pearson said he’s excited about all the changes, especially getting to play for a former NFL athlete.

“Todd (Bouman) looks a little hard core when you first see him,” Pearson said. “But once you get to know him, he’s a nice guy. He likes to mess around with us, but when it’s go time, we all know when to turn that switch on.”

The switch turns on for real when the Bison hit the field at 7 p.m. on Thursday, August 28 at arch-rival St. Michael-Albertville. The Knights are the defending Section 6-5A champions, which included a 42-14 pounding at STMA in the section semifinals last October.

Both Treptau and Pearson said they are ready for the challenge.

“No matter what sport it is, I always look forward to playing either St. Michael or Rogers,” Pearson said. “They’re always packed games with loud crowds. It just pumps us up even more.”

“We’re really jacked for that upcoming game with St. Michael,” Treptau said. “We’ve completely changed the playbook, so they don’t know what to expect at all. We have a lot of momentum going into that game.”


Swimmers bring youth and talent to table

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

The Buffalo girls' swimming and diving squad is hoping an Iowa road trip to kick off the season is a rallying point to land a few girls to the finish line at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

After opening-week practices at the Buffalo Community Middle School Pool, the Bison traveled for week two of practice for a two-day stay from Aug. 18-20 in Mason City, Iowa.

Head coach Melissa Miller said this is something new to the team. The trip was made possible thanks to a surplus of fundraising money, as well assistant coach Rachel Busch's Iowa ties - Busch is a 2008 graduate of Mason City High School.

"We stayed at a Girl Scout Camp there and worked out at the outdoor pool in Mason City," Miller said. "The girls have been kind of asking for it and Busch and I have been working on it the last couple years to make it work. It consisted of lots of dry-land and team building opportunities that we were really looking forward to."

Even though the Bison failed to send any swimmers to state in 2013, the year will forever be remembered as the season they dedicated to fallen teammate Emma Rodelius, who died tragically in a car accident the summer prior to her senior year.

As much as they miss and love their former teammate, Miller said it will be nice to go into this season with a fresh start.

"It's nice coming in without a big tragedy distracting us," Miller said. "I think we really learned a lot from that last year. They learned the importance of what a team means and working together. It was really hard to deal with, but it really helped us overall."

While the season on paper didn't result in any state participants, the overall year was still a success. Buffalo finished in a three-way tie with Big Lake and Monticello for second place in the Mississippi 8 standings at 4-2. St. Michael-Albertville won the conference a third year in a row going a perfect 6-0. The Bison finished 9-3 overall in dual meets, highlighted by a 94-88 conference victory over arch-rival Monticello.

"Monticello is always a good meet," said Lauren Kaminski, who is one of three senior captains, along with Sarah Kolling and Kenzie Laumann. "It's always a close one with them."

Kaminski, senior Taylor Susa and junior Mika Bordak just missed qualifying for the 2013 state tournament. Susa was third at sections in the 100 butterfly, Bordak was fifth in the 100 breaststroke and Kaminski finished fourth in the 100 backstroke. All three girls along with junior Ashlee Hale teamed for a fourth-place finish at sections in the 200 freestyle relay.

Only the top relay and top two individual times advance to state. Finishing in the top four each of the last two years in the backstroke, but not getting to state has been a difficult pill to swallow Kaminski said.

"I did break my personal best under 101 in the 100 backstroke," said Kaminski, on her section time of 1:00.97. "But it was a little frustrating to get so close two years in a row."

One of the players who burst onto the scene as a seventh grader last season was Jordan McGinty. Kaminski gave her young teammate high praise early on in the season.

"Honestly, I think she'll break a few of the school records," said Kaminski, on McGinty. "She literally does everything. She reminds me of Emily DeVore."

DeVore graduated in 2012 and currently has her name posted on five pool school records.

Miller has high expectations this season, particularly from a trio of middle school swimmers. McGinty participated this summer in the Central Zone Championships in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, through her club swim team. Miller also has high hopes from seventh-grader Kennedy Stromberg and freshman Tianna Kosek.

"McGinty is a phenomenal talent," Miller said. "Stromberg is new and Kosek was injured last year, so we're excited what both of them can contribute to the varsity team."

With a talented mix of older and newer swimmers, Miller's goal is to make a run at conference and sections, with the hopes of returning some swimmers or divers to state.

"Missing out last year was really hard. We were so close in so many events," she said. "It's a bunch of seniors coming back that are hungry. I think they are all fired up and ready to get state back on the schedule this year."

The schedule officially kicks off with a 6 p.m. dual meet on Thursday, Aug. 28 at Elk River.



Under the new guidance of first-year diving head coach Shannon (Barclay) Doyle, who replaces Tanner Bauman, the Bison return a pair of divers who showed last season they have the potential to reach the state tournament.

Junior Rachel Bertram is the most experienced diver on this year's squad. A strong finish last season resulted in a fifth-place finish at the Section 8AA Meet with a score of 336.90. A pair of youngsters also made quite a splash as first-year varsity divers in freshman Alex Zeiss and sophomore Lauren McHenry.

Zeiss finished eighth at sections with a score of 315.80. Doyle is very familiar with both McHenry and Zeiss, as she was their assistant coach last winter on the Bison gymnastics squad.

"It definitely helps," Doyle said. "Having that natural ability of knowing where your body is and having that body control helps so much in diving. Having that gymnastics background already puts you at another level."

Doyle qualified for state as both a diver and gymnast over her high school career. She graduated from Austin High School in 2007 and went on to have a successful college career at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. She currently is a second-year math teacher at Buffalo High School.

"I was working in Wisconsin when I first got a job," said Doyle, who taught two years of math at Prairie du Chien prior to her and her husband Erik moving to Buffalo. "I wanted to come back to Minnesota and go a little further north from where I was at."

Losing only Brianna Porter and Paige Yager to graduation, a lot of familiar faces are back in the mix. As a new coach, Doyle said the girls have been good listeners the early weeks of practice.

 "There might be other opinions they were told in the past, so that's kind of hard when you step into a new position," Doyle said. "So far things have been going well. The girls have been listening to what I say and trying what I do."


Cross Country teams gear into shape

Graham eyes third state berth; middle schoolers jumpstart girls 

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

There are a lot of familiar faces on board for both the boys and girls cross country teams this season at Buffalo High School.

One face that has been a regular contributor to the boy’s program the past few seasons is senior Frank Graham. Graham has qualified for state each of the last two years, but has yet to earn all-state honors, which requires a top-25 finish.

“Frank’s obviously our number one,” said Bison co-head coach Dave Knutsen. “His goal is to run a little more up front this year with some of the bigger boys - the Wayzata kids and the Edina kids. He wants to be in the next pack up.”

The Bison sent only two runners from both squads to last year’s Class AA state meet in St. Olaf. After finishing 72nd overall (16:38.4) as a sophomore, Graham improved on both his place and time as a junior finishing 35th overall in 16:19.2.

“He’s put in a lot of summer miles,” Knutsen said. “His goal this year is top 25 at state.”

Departed senior Michael Wegter was the only other runner last year to qualify for state, where he finished in 64th place in 16:41.4.

Both Knutsen and head coach Jill Hanson have high hopes not only for Graham, but for the entire boys’ squad.

Buffalo returns all but Wegter off their top regular finishers a year ago. Graham leads the way and not too far behind is junior Jacob Kluver.

Kluver just missed making it to state as a sophomore, and this year his number one goal is to potentially join Graham down in Northfield in late October.

“It’s going to be an interesting season this year,” Kluver said. “Last year I ran 85 summer miles and this year I ran about 400. I’m pushing this year to try and run with Frank instead of with the middle guys.”

Kluver also participated in the Hanover 5K and placed fifth overall in a time of 16:52.35. While the top finishes in the summer races are nice, Knutsen is quick to point out the cross country season is a total different animal.

“I like that they’re racing and competing,” Knutsen said. “But road racing is a lot different than cross country racing. The surface is much different. But it’s always good to see your kids do well. That Hanover race was probably a fun one to watch. You won’t see that many local races with that type of power.”

Other regular top finishers to last year’s boys’ squad that finished fifth at sections, but only nine points out of sending the entire team to state are returning seniors: Ethan Hosey, Clayton Decker, Joe Slicer and Andrew Christensen.

Decker has run over 250 summer miles and with six of the seven top scorers returning, Knutsen has high hopes for the boys squad.

“Our section didn’t get any weaker,” Knutsen said. “I think we can be in it. One and two we are very strong, three through six is where the battle is going to be. We have a lot of seniors, so hopefully they can make that move and step up.”

The Bison boys get the season underway at 10 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 29 in the St. Olaf Invite.



Unlike years past, the girls’ squad has a new attitude when it comes to running. Co-head coach Jill Hanson has found a spark with some talented middle school runners, along with a core group that is hungry to win.

The Bison failed to send any runners to state in 2013, and finished in the bottom of the pack in most of their races.

A late-season change to the lineup added a couple middle school girls and Buffalo started to show some spunk in the last couple meets, including a seventh-place finish at the Section 2AA Meet in Buffalo.

“We added Amanda Montplaisir and Erica O’Borsky to the squad late last season and this year they will likely be our top two runners,” Hanson said. “We have an influx of young girls on the squad and for the first time in a number of years, we are talking about competing for the conference.”

Montplaisir, a freshman, and O’Borsky, an eighth grader, were moved up from the middle school squad late in the season and right away put up some of the team’s top scores at the Shakopee Invite. Hanson expects them along with eighth-grader Areefa Seepersaud to be regular scorers. Senior Shyanne Lambrecht is one of the few upperclassmen to return this season. Hanson said Lambrecht and junior Jill Golden and sophomore Leighton McAlpin add a new dimension the cross country team’s been lacking in recent years.

“They are all hockey players, so they all bring that competitive nature,” Hanson said. “We’ve always had a nice group of girls, but now we have a few that bring us that competitive edge.”

Lambrecht said she’s already noticed a huge difference in team attitude from this point of the season a year ago.

“Our training and mile times have already exceeded what we did at the halfway point of the season last year,” said Lambrecht, one of three senior captains on this year’s girls’ squad. “Summer miles are the big thing in cross country and our girls have been really good with that, so far.”

Like the boys’ squad, only two top seniors will be replaced. Hayley Downing failed to qualify for state her senior season, but was the last girl to qualify for state in 2012. Alicia Berkenes also was a top scorer for the Bison last season.

Lambrecht said her main goal this season is to help lead a young, but talented squad.

“I love cross country a lot because it’s more team. We do it all together and we all know how we feel,” Lambrecht said. “Cross Country hurts. But you just have to push through that pain, and that’s something I’m going to have to push through, too.”


Howard Lake, Loretto advance to final 32; Delano out

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Three of the 32 teams still standing in the Class C amateur baseball state tournament reside from the North Star League.

Region 12 top-seed and the state’s No. 1 ranked Maple Lake Lakers received a first-round bye and will take on the Sobieski Skis of Region 8 this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Mini Met in Jordan. The Skis advanced to the second round after defeating Hanska 2-0 on Sunday, Aug. 17 in Belle Plaine.

Also advancing from the NSL were the Howard Lake Orphans and Loretto Larks. The Larks defeated the St. Benedict Saints of Region 3 in a 1-0 thriller that ended with a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 10th inning off the bat of catcher Jake Steinbach.

Loretto starting pitcher Ryan Tapani pitched 10-innings of shutout ball to earn the win last Saturday, Aug. 16 in Jordan. Tapani fanned 11 to lead the Larks into round two this Friday, Aug. 22 when they take on Region 2 top-seed New Ulm at 5 p.m. in Jordan.

Howard Lake also advanced to round two via shutout. Staff-ace Adam Koch pitched eight innings of shutout ball to lead the Orphans to a 5-0 victory over the Montevideo Spartans of Region 9.

The Orphans scored twice in the first inning when leadoff hitter Dan Wackler and Luke Gagnon both walked and came around to score. After a shaky start, Montevideo starter Eldon Evans would pitch six straight scoreless innings, but an insurance run in the eighth and two more in the ninth iced the win.

“We were fortunate to get off to a good start and score two early runs,” said Howard Lake skipper Mike Gagnon. “Evans is a very good pitcher for Montevideo, and Koch has been our ace all season. Now we get a strong Waconia team.”

The Waconia Lakers, the top seed in Region 7 are currently 26-6 overall and were the state runner-up in 2011. The Lakers and Orphans playoff game is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23 in Belle Plaine.

Gagnon said Howard Lake will once again give the ball to Koch, who improved to 9-1 on the season with last Saturday’s win. With the opening two rounds only scheduling one game a week, team’s can throw their staff ace in back-to-back games, clearly an advantage to the team with a true horse.

“I have mixed feelings on the format,” Gagnon said. “I think there are too many teams. It should be a smaller amount of teams, and then a double elimination format. In this format, you are facing everyone’s ace.”

Delano Athletics skipper Steve Eilen echoes some of the same statements as Gagnon when it comes to pitching.

“You have drafted pitchers, which makes things tough,” Eilen said. “That’s the fun of it. It’s tough to get to state and when you get there, teams don’t know you and you don’t know them.”

Ironically, it was Delano’s drafted pitcher Kyle Messner of the Hutchinson Huskies who suffered the loss that ended the Athletics’ season in a 3-2 loss to the Luverne Redbirds of Region 13.

Errors put Delano in an early 2-0 hole. Matt Arens left the game after five innings trailing by two, but Kevin Jaunich would tie the score 2-2 in the eighth inning on a 2-RBI double that scored Adam Schleper and Hunter Hart. Messner was cruising along pitching three innings of shutout ball until Luverne’s Joey Slieter led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a leadoff double. The Redbirds would sacrifice Slieter to third and leadoff hitter Skyler Wenninger would get the walk-off single to end the season for the A’s.

Delano (17-12 overall) was making its first state tournament appearance since 2004. Eilen and Kevin and Adam Jaunich are the only A’s players that were part of the last state tournament team in Delano.

“Luverne is a tough team. They made a deep run last year and knocked Maple Lake off,” Eilen said. “For us, it was a good year. For the vast majority of our team, it was the first time at state.”


Howard Lake 5, Montevideo 0

(Friday, Aug. 15 at Belle Plaine)

Howard Lake 200 000 012 - 5   9   1

Montevideo    000 000 000 - 0   4   2


Howard Lake AB  R  H  BI  BB  SO  SB  E

Wackler, SS    4    1   1    0     1     0     0     0

Gagnon, 2B     2    2   0    0     2     1     0     0

Schreifels, 1B  4    1   1    0     1     0     0     0

Stueven, LF     4    0   1    1     1     0     0     0

Mix, DH4    1   1    1     0     2     0     0

Boger, CF        4    0   2    2     0     1     0     0

Hardie, 3B       4    0   2    0     1     1     0     1

Dockdorf, PR   0    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Donovan, C      5    0   1    1     0     0     0     0

Steffer, PR       0    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Streich, RF       2    0   0    0     2     2     1     0

Koch, P0    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Totals  33   5   9    5     7     9     1     1

2B - Wackler.

Pitching          IP   H  R   ER BB  K  DEC

Koch     8    4   0    0     4     7      W

Hardie  1    0   0    0     0     2      H

Totals    9    4   0    0     4     9      1-0        

Montevideo    AB  R  H  BI  BB  SO  SB  E

Christnsn, SS  4    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Evans, P           2    0   1    0     1     1     0     0

Ca Vien, C       4    0   0    0     0     1     0     0

Schlagel, 1B    3    0   1    0     0     1     0     0

Ja Bednr, PR   1    0   0    0     0     0     0     0 

Co Vien, RF     4    0   1    0     0     0     0     0

Holmgren, 3B  4    0   1    0     0     2     0     0

Lindemn, LF    2    0   0    0     2     1     0     0

Jo Bednar, 2B 3    0   0    0     1     0     0     0

Tebest, CF       2    0   0    0     0     2     0     1

Kuno, PH          1    0   0    0     0     1     0     0

Hoehne, PH     1    0   0    0     0     1     0     0

Adelman, P      0    0   0    0     0     0     0     1

Totals  31   0   4    0     4     9     0     2

2B - Schlagel.

Pitching          IP   H  R   ER BB  K  DEC

Evans 7.1  7   3    3     5     7     L

Musser           0.2  1   2    2     2     1     ND

Adelman1   1   0    0     0     1     ND

Totals    9    9   5    5     7     9     0-1


Loretto 1, St. Benedict 0, 10 inn.

(Saturday, Aug. 16 at Jordan)

St. Benedict   000 000 000 0 - 0   4   0

Loretto000 000 000 1 - 1   7   1


St. Benedict   AB  R  H  BI  BB  SO  SB  E

J Heitkp, CF    3    0   0    0     1     0     0     0

Eischens, DH  4    0   2    0     0     0     0     0

Hynes, PR        0    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Pauly, SS         4    0   0    0     0     3     0     0

Hartman, RF    4    0   1    0     0     1     0     0

Oakes, P          4    0   0    0     0     3     0     0

Huss, 1B          3    0   1    0     1     0     0     1

Weiers, 2B       4    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

B Heitkp, 3B    3    0   0    0     0     2     0     0

Reisgraf, C      3    0   0    0     0     2     0     0

Totals  32   0   4    0     2    11    0     1

Pitching          IP   H  R   ER BB  K  DEC

Oakes   9    7   1    1     2     7      L

Totals    9    7   1    1     2     7     0-1

LorettoAB  R  H  BI  BB  SO  SB  E

Scanlon, CF     3    0   0    0     0     1     0     0

K Koch, SS      3    0   0    0     0     1     0     1

Ty Maher, RF   3    0   1    0     1     1     0     0

Tapani, P         3    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

LStnbach, PH  1    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Schaust, 1B     4    0   1    0     0     0     0     0

Dobszski, PR  0    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Schutte, DH     4    0   2    0     0     1     0     0

Hanson, 2B      4    0   0    0     0     3     0     0

JSteinbach, C  4    1   1    1     0     0     0     0

Koch Jr., 3B     0    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Totals  31   1   7    1     2     7     0     1

2B - Tyler Maher, Schaust; HR - Jake Steinbach.

Pitching          IP   H  R   ER BB  K  DEC

Tapani10   4   0    0     2     11    W

Totals  10   4   0    0     2     11    1-0


Luverne 3, Delano 2

(Sunday, Aug. 17 at Jordan)

Delano000 000 020 - 2   6   2

Luverne          002 000 001 - 3  13  2


DelanoAB  R  H  BI  BB  SO  SB  E

JeAlthoff, RF    4    0   1    0     0     0     0     1

Jaunich, CF     5    0   1    2     0     0     0     0

JoAlthoff, 3B    2    0   1    0     1     0     1     1

Hanson, C        4    0   1    0     0     0     0     0

Berg, SS          4    0   0    0     0     3     0     0

Hayes, DH       4    0   0    0     0     1     0     0

Stevens, 1B     4    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Schleper, 2B    4    1   2    0     0     1     0     0

Dahl, LF           1    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Hart, PH           1    1   0    0     1     0     0     0

Arens, P           0    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Totals  33   2   6    2     2     6     1     1

2B - Jaunich.

Pitching          IP   H  R   ER BB  K  DEC

Arens    5    8   2    2     1     4      ND

Messner         3.2   5   1    1     0     2      L

Totals  8.2  13  3    3     1     6      0-1        

Luverne          AB  R  H  BI  BB  SO  SB  E

Weninger, SS  5    1   3    1     0     0     0     0

Beuning, CF    2    0   1    0     0     0     0     0 

Paquette, LF    4    1   1    0     0     1     0     0

Pick, 1B           4    0   2    1     0     1     0     0

Zeutnhorst, C   4    0   1    0     0     2     0     0

Fisher, 2B        4    0   2    0     0     1     0     1 

Slieter, RF        3    1   2    0     1     0     0     0

Fitzer, DH         3    0   1    0     0     0     0     0

Sandbult, 3B    4    0   0    0     0     1     0     1

Harberts, P      0    0   0    0     0     0     0     0

Totals  33   3  13   2     1     6     0     2

2B - Zeutenhorst, Slieter.

Pitching          IP   H  R   ER BB  K  DEC

Harberts         7.1   4   2    2     0     3      ND

Beuning          1.2   2   0    0     2     3      W

Totals    9    6   2    2     2     6     1-0


BHM welcomes 35 new faculty members

A record-high 35 new faculty members will join the Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose School District 877 for the 2014-15 school year. Members gathered for a breakfast and photo on Monday, Aug. 18 at the Buffalo High School Library. Pictured (front row, left-right): Barbara Swenson (BCMS-FACS); Karen Schultz (BCMS, BHS-School Nurse); Danielle Collins (NES-SPED); Deana Jagielo (BCMS-Math); Elizabeth Muellereile (BHS-French); Christina Helmbrecht (BHS-SPED Assessment); Kate Volk (MES-4th Grade); Taylor Peterson (BCMS-Math); Breanna Landrus (HES, TES-Social Worker); Jess Nickelsen (BHS-Spanish); Jamie Sue-Peterson (PES, DES, ECSE-Social Worker); (middle row, left-right): Kelly Munson (BCMS-ASD, DCD); Becca Mathies (NES-World Culture Specialist); Gary Wirkus (BHS-Agriculture Teacher); Katie Steege (NES-4th Grade); Megan Scherer (BHS-PE, Health); Amy Sparks (BHS-English); Marna McMurry (PES-Fifth Grade Quest); Danielle DesMarais (MES-Title 1); Megan Breyer (BCMS-FACS); Julie Neby (BCMS-Phy Ed); Danielle Iverson (BHS-SPED); Jana Kragerud (NES-SPED); Suzie Fenno (TES-Title 1); David Witeof (MES-3rd Grade); Olivia Hoff (PLC-English, Social Studies); Bridget Hanson (PES-Title 1); Jen Johnson (BHS-SPED); (back row, left-right): David Holler (BCMS-Counselor); Ben Broderick (PES-4th Grade, 5th Grade); Eric Kusch (MES-Phy Ed); Chris Frederiksen (BCMS-Math); Not pictured: Melanie Brisk (BCMS-Health); Michelle Lunacek (NES-Speech) and Kim Robinson (HES-5th Grade). (Photo by Rob LaPlante)