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Bison football seniors prepare for final game

Twenty-one seniors will take part in their last game for North Dakota State today. The stories on how they got to Fargo are numerous. Running back Pat Paschall, for instance, transferred from Georgia Southern to Dodge City Community College (Kan....

Twenty-one seniors will take part in their last game for North Dakota State today. The stories on how they got to Fargo are numerous.

Running back Pat Paschall, for instance, transferred from Georgia Southern to Dodge City Community College (Kan.), but did not play a

JC game because of a technicality with league rules. Yet, the Bison took him and it turned out to be a valuable move for both parties.

Twelve came as true freshmen in the fall of 2005. Defensive end Lorenzo Riley played basketball for NDSU for four years, then gave football a shot this year. Shamen Washington was part of the 2004 class, but got a medical hardship and stuck it out until today despite knee injuries.

Then there's defensive tackle Yuen Taufete'e, who's spent the last two years in a foreign climate. He's a native of Pago Pago, American Samoa, an island in the southern Pacific Ocean.

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"The winter was different," he said with a smile. "But that's been about the only thing with North Dakota."

Taufete'e has been a backup the last two years after transferring from Butte-Glenn (Calif.) Community College. It was a quick ascension in the sport that he only took up when he was a sophomore in high school.

Rugby was the sport of choice as a kid. Samoans aren't known to shy away from physical activity.

"The reason they like those sports is the contact," Taufete'e said. "One of my friends told me to try out for football, I went out, it was fun so I went for it."

He said he may take up rugby again after college. As for football for the Bison seniors, it appears only Paschall and offensive lineman Keith Buckman have legitimate shots at pro football.

Six seniors won't play today. Injured are linebackers Tyler Henry and Matt Kittelson, kicker Shawn Bibeau, cornerback Richard Bowman and tight end Thor Brown. Cornerback Courtney Mitchell is a student assistant coach.

"It's been a good experience for me," Taufete'e said. "It's a different level but the only thing different was the weather."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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