State of bliss
Lisbon, N.D. - The deer population in the greater Lisbon area can breathe easier today. People here have their sights set on a bigger prize - a North Dakota high school football championship. "It will be a hard game to get into," said Lisbon resi...
Lisbon, N.D. - The deer population in the greater Lisbon area can breathe easier today.
People here have their sights set on a bigger prize - a North Dakota high school football championship.
"It will be a hard game to get into," said Lisbon resident Wayne Bunt, referring to today's contest between the Lisbon Broncos and the Harvey Hornets.
Bunt said many have told him they will be at the Class 1A championship game at the Fargodome instead of going deer hunting, though Bunt will be doing neither. He has to work.
The Fargodome serves as home for each of the state's four football title games - 9-man, 1A, 2A and 3A - and plays host to the schools and their fans through Saturday.
Lisbon won its only state football title back in 1992. The Broncos last reached the finals in 2004, when the team lost to Cavalier.
The prospect of another crown has many giddy with expectation, particularly the players.
"You can hardly keep 'em in their seats," said head football coach Robert Bubach, who also teaches at the high school.
Senior Justin Reinke admits tackling school work has taken a backseat lately to thoughts of the gridiron.
"Making it to the state tournament, it can't get much better than that," he said.
Students hung around Harvey High School well into the evening this week, though T-shirts and banners were getting more attention than textbooks.
"Every one of the classes -freshman, sophomore, junior, senior girls - are putting together some kind of T-shirt to wear at the dome on Friday," said Connie Schneider, a high school secretary and cheerleader advisor.
"If you drive down Main Street, most of the community windows and storefronts have 'Good luck Hornets,' 'Congratulations Hornets,' written all over them," she said.
The Hornets buzzed to six state finals in the past, taking home the championship trophy once, in 1998, when Schneider's son, Nathan, played as a senior.
Harvey enters today's game with a perfect 11-0 record this season. The Broncos are 11-1 entering the title showdown.
Lisbon High School has about 215 students.
Counting players and managers, the football team numbered more than 50 students.
The girls' volleyball team had about 46 students while the Lisbon cross-country team, which placed third in state, was comprised of just over a dozen students.
Toss in band and other activities and more than 80 percent of the student body took part in some kind of extra- or co-curricular activity this fall, said Patrick Adair, a school counselor and Lisbon's athletic director.
A football championship would be the topper, he said.
"It's every kid's dream to be part of a state tournament. It's a big deal for everybody," Adair said.
The same was true in 1992, according to Joe Howell, coach of that year's championship Broncos.
"The parents and the community of Lisbon are whacko about this team just like they were then," said Howell, who still teaches at the school.
The Broncos shut out two playoff opponents on their way to the 1992 title.
The big game was scoreless until overtime.
Watford City scored first in overtime with a touchdown, but missed the extra point, Howell said.
"Our quarterback, Mike McKinnon, threw the tying touchdown pass to a kid by the name of Stuart Hanson and we won the game 7-6," Howell said. "It was a hoot."
Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter vs. Mott-Regent, 11 a.m.
Lisbon vs. Harvey,
20 minutes after 9-man game
Fargo Oak Grove vs. Devils Lake, 5 p.m.
Fargo South vs. Bismarck,
20 minutes after 2A game
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555 State of bliss Dave Olson 20071109