BISMARCK, N.D. Nine-Man football started last Friday, AAA football begins this Friday, and the Bismarck Demons won’t play until Saturday.
When you ask any football team what their expectations are this season, “to win the state championship,” said Bismarck junior quarterback. “That’s what to want to do every single year.”
That’s usually the response you get. The Bismarck High Demons were three touchdowns shy of winning the state title last season. With a new year coming in hot, the Demons hope to do the same.
“Our biggest thing is when we step on, between the white lines is, we want to go hard, and we want to go 100 miles per hour, and let chips fall where they may,” Mark Gibson, Bismarck High head football coach said. “But the bottom line, we like our kids’ effort, and we’ve liked what they’ve done so far, and so, we’ve got a long way to go, but certainly to this point, they’ve been very pleasing.”
BHS has 25 returning seniors, all expected to take on that big leadership role. It’s something Coach Gibson has already seen.
"Seniors have been awesome. You know, that's the one thing we always talk to those guys about is. It's their football team. You know, we as coaches, we're usually around every year, but those kids, this is their team, this is their last chance, and it's their last chance to make a memory."
And the best memories are made with a deep run in the playoffs. “Yeah these guys, they’re a great bunch of guys you know, and I’m excited to be around them every day,” said senior fullback Jared Rath. “I look forward to coming to practice.”
Senior strong safety Kenny Windbauer adds, "we have a lot of returning starters, a lot of seniors, and our juniors have stepped up even from last year we had some sophomores that played, and I think they're going to do a lot of work for us this year."
"Well we got two returning starters from last year, and they'll pick up and help the younger guys that are really athletic and can really help me succeed this year,” said Madler.
Two returning receivers include Tate Doppler and Tanner Davis. Joe Jahner and Matt Charlie are the underclassman in the mix. But it’s not the run or pass-game positions Coach Gibson is worried about. "A big concern is up front on both sides, offense and defensive lines are two sports where we do not have a lot of depth. And if something were to happen, we'd probably have to go with a much younger kid than we wanted to."
With their season opener this week, their strategy is, of course, to take it one game at a time. "There's going to be a lot of tough opponents out in the west, and hopefully we'll be up there, and I think we'll be alright. I think we'll be pretty tough,” said Rath.
"We're going to have our hands full, but we're going to take them one at a time, see what happens, and we're just excited to play and get it going,” said Gibson.
Bismarck High opens its season at home on Saturday Aug. 26 against Fargo Davies.