NEW SALEM, N.D. - The Holsteins are certainly not new to the football playoffs. New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin has either been in the Dakota Bowl, or at least had a chance of getting there for the past seven years. One of their seniors that has enjoyed every post-season run is Braden Zuroff.
Zuroff plays for three different teams in three different sports. In the winter, he's in uniform for Bearcats in basketball. Spring, it's baseball with the Miners. And in the fall, he's a Holstein on the football field. Zuroff comes from a family of four: two boys and two girls. They're all involved in athletics and it was easy for him to fall for something, and that seems to be football.
"Oh yeah for sure, my dad, he loves football and everything. So when we were younger, just playing in the front yard, my brother and I with him and, I don't know, it just kind of got me excited when I got old enough to play, and I liked it," says Zuroff.
He liked it, and he became pretty good at it.
Head Coach of the Holsteins, Steve Kleinjan, said, "I just think that he's put himself in a position this year particularly as, more-so as a leader, as someone who's stepped him game up considerably, and you know his performance this year has been just outstanding."
"Braden is an awesome guy,” added senior wide receiver Tayt Wolding. “I mean, if you're having a bad day, he'll pick your head up, and I mean he's just such a leader on the football field, on and off."
With his senior year as a Holstein coming to an end and with the playoffs beginning this weekend, four years can feel like a blur.
"I guess, it doesn't seem like it was that long ago since we started first practice this year, but it's all gone by really fast, and I haven't realized we've already played eight games, but it sure flew by,” Zuroff says. "You know come out on top, I guess. That's the ultimate goal, for us to come out on top would be a big thing, that would be a nice way to end my high school career."
With graduation on the horizon, so is attending college. His destination is undecided, but he knows he wants to continue playing football.
"I'm just, I'll probably focus more on that once the season is over with. Right now, I kind of want to major in some sort of engineering, and I'm not set on that, but that's kind of what I'm thinking," said Zuroff.
Hoisting that Dakota Bowl trophy with the Holsteins is the other thing he's thinking about.
After earning a bye, Zuroff and the Holsteins host Surrey in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday.