BROOKINGS, S.D. — The national spotlight was aimed at Brookings, S.D., on Oct. 26 when ESPN’s “College GameDay” set up camp to preview the Division I FCS football showdown between No.1-ranked North Dakota State and No. 3 South Dakota State for the Dakota Marker.
It marked the first time the ESPN crew visited the campus of a Missouri Valley Football Conference team other than NDSU. “GameDay,” a popular three-hour college football preview show, came to downtown Fargo in 2013 and 2014.
SDSU fans came out in droves for the “GameDay” show. But it was the Bison football team that spoiled the party later that day in front of a record crowd of 19,371 fans at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.
The Bison claimed a 23-16 victory after running back Adam Cofield scored on a fourth-down, 71-yard touchdown run with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
RedHawks fall short of a championship
Leading by two runs and needing six outs to win the finale of the best-of-5 American Association North Division championship series, the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, an independent professional baseball franchise, surrendered four runs in the eighth inning and lost 9-7 to the St. Paul Saints.
The RedHawks won the first two games on their home field at Newman Outdoor Field before losing the next two in St. Paul.
“Our goal was to play 110 games this year and win the last one, and it didn’t happen,” said RedHawks first-year manager Jim Bennett.
The RedHawks were seeking their first playoff series win since 2010 when they were Northern League champions. St. Paul went on to win the league championship.
Shanley girls golf team plays for Don Johnson
There were times while the Fargo Shanley girls golfers were winning an East Region championship in Wahpeton, N.D., they couldn’t help but think of their former coach Don Johnson.
Johnson was back at his home in Fargo, still coping with the news he received one month earlier that he may have only weeks to live. The 77-year-old Johnson, who had coached golf at Shanley since 1987, was diagnosed with the worst stage of leukemia.
“It has been a motivation for our team,” said Shanley senior Julia Wold. “I think we are still his team.”
Johnson passed away a few weeks later. But his golfers will always remember his constant advice to forget the bad shots and focus on the next one.
“I just think of him telling me to stay positive and keep my head up,” said Shanley junior Greta McArthur, who was a co-medalist at the region tournament.
Verndale’s Mahlen wins 400th football game
Verndale (Minn.) head football coach Mike Mahlen became the first coach in state high school history to win 400 games. After 51 years of coaching, with a career that dates back to 1969 when he took over the head job as a 20-year-old, the 71-year-old Mahlen has no plans of quitting.
“Everybody asks me when I’m going to retire,” said Mahlen, who is one of three active coaches in Minnesota who have been coaching for at least 50 years. “When I get sick of going to practice, then I’ll retire. If I’m blessed enough to keep coaching, I’ll keep coaching as long as I can. It helps keep a guy young.”
Mayville State pitcher reaches the big leagues
Nick Anderson, who played baseball at Mayville State (N.D.) University, was an ace relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays in their Major League Baseball wildcard playoff win over Oakland.
The 29-year-old struck out four Oakland batters in the eighth and ninth innings to preserve a 5-1 win. Anderson made some life changes after he was charged with second-degree assault during a college bar fight while playing baseball at St. Cloud State. He eventually ended up at Mayville State.
“It was delightful … it really was,” longtime Mayville State baseball coach Scott Berry said of watching Anderson play on ESPN. “You really want good things to happen to people … especially to those people you know.”
Worthy of mentioning
In front of 18,923 fans in the Fargodome, NDSU’s football team rolled to a 38-7 win over rival North Dakota. It was the first game between the two schools since 2015.
St. Thomas University, “involuntarily removed” from the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, a Division III league, earlier in the year, was invited to join the Division I Summit League.