Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.
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ELLENDALE, N.D.—Two of the best running backs in the state of North Dakota will go against each other on Friday, Sept. 22, as defending Class 1A state champion and top-ranked Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm will host Fargo Oak Grove at 7 p.m. And the forecast calls for rain. "You can expect a lot of grinding it out in this game," Oak Grove coach Melvin Whitney said. To go along with the backfield matchup between Oak Grove senior Ben Hoggarth and E-E-K senior Clayton Grueneich is the fact both teams are 4-0.
Perham, Minn. Perham 6-foot-4, 290-pound offensive and defensive lineman Logan Richter sat in the back row with his sister, mom and dad, as University of Minnesota football coach P.J. Fleck spoke at TCF Bank Stadium.
LAMOURE, N.D.—LaMoure-Litchville-Marion's volleyball team was a point away from losing to Central Cass on Saturday in the Valley City Optimist Tournament. Loboes coach Laurie Good called a timeout, as the team trailed 14-11 in the deciding third set. This is where the back-to-back Class B state champions know what they're doing. Senior Anna Holen looked at everyone in the huddle and said, "OK, let's do our thing."
MOORHEAD—Moorhead boys soccer coach Ben Patrie calls senior forward Abdifatah Ibrahim a game changer. "He's super, super dynamic," Patrie said. "There's a lot of guys with skill on this team, but not that many guys who can change a game with that level of skill. When he's one-on-one we expect him to beat a guy at least nine out of 10. When his mentality is on, he will score goals."
FARGO—It was rainy, it was muddy and Fargo North was across the field. It was exactly how Fargo South's football team likes it. "We always say it's Bruin weather," South senior running back and linebacker Victor Isaak said. "We love the rain, and we love playing in those tough conditions. We always try to stay focused no matter what the conditions are." South continued its recent dominance over North in the rivalry, holding off the Spartans 14-6 on Friday, Sept. 15, in Eastern Dakota Conference play. It was South's 16th win over North in the past 17 games.
Underwood, Minn. For the first two nights after being told his mom was dead, Underwood (Minn.) senior offensive and defensive lineman Kade Laney didn't sleep at his house. It wasn't until the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Laney climbed into his own bed that reality set in. His mom was not coming up the stairs to pray with him and say goodnight like she had done every night he slept in his home. "That's probably the one thing I miss the most," Laney said. "It was just coming upstairs, going to bed and realizing she wasn't coming that it hit me."
MOORHEAD—Concordia linebacker Alex Berg has never forgiven himself for dropping an interception that would have sealed a win for the Cobbers in last year's game against then No. 4-ranked St. Thomas. On Saturday, against No. 15 Wisconsin-Whitewater, there was a Berg again with a chance to seal an upset for Concordia. On fourth-and-goal from the Concordia 1-yard line with 28.2 seconds remaining, Berg knew a quarterback sneak was coming. Wisconsin-Whitewater's big offensive line averaged more than 300 pounds per player.
MOORHEAD—It took three quarters and Sauk Rapids-Rice turning up the volume on the alarm clock, but Moorhead's football team woke up in the fourth quarter of Friday's home opener. Before each fourth quarter, Moorhead breaks their huddle yelling "pride." The Spuds took it to the field. "That fourth quarter we were just playing with pride," said Moorhead senior quarterback and defensive back Jack Stetz. The Spuds put up 21 unanswered points in the fourth to leave Jim Gotta Stadium with a 28-7 win.
Fargo There was a comfortable deniability for Fargo Oak Grove junior Joseph Akiri. He was fully aware of what the terrorist group Boko Haram was doing to the people of his native Abuja, Nigeria. He heard the bombs, but he never felt them. On April 14, 2014, the fire came to his doorstep. "It was like nothing I've ever heard before," Akiri said.
FARGO—Fargo North senior Chandler Ibach was in tears after North's 21-18 victory over Williston on Friday, Sept. 1. He wasn't in tears because the Spartans were 2-0 for the first time since 2005, after going 7-20 in the previous three seasons. He wasn't in tears because he hauled in a 76-yard touchdown pass with 1 minute, 26 seconds to go, which proved to be the winner.