Fargo Davies boys basketball team posts video with 'mask up for' COVID-19 message

Fargo Davies forward Owen Hektner, left, said he wears a mask for his grandpa. Hektner, shown here playing last February before the coronavirus pandemic reached the area, and the Eagles posted a video on social media with a "mask up for" message with the goal to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Forum file photo

FARGO — “I mask up for my grandpa,” said Fargo Davies senior forward Owen Hektner during a video the Eagles boys basketball team posted earlier this week.

The 44-second video is a collection of reasons why players on the Davies team wear a mask. The message is intended to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community and around North Dakota.

“Not just for us to have a season, but for everything to get better,” said Hektner, whose grandpa is Del Kessler, a well-known former high school basketball coach.

In the Twitter post, the Davies team challenged other high school teams to unite in the common goal and “#maskupfor” others.

“We wanted to challenge teams around the state and then see where it goes from there just to make awareness,” Davies head coach Bart Manson said. “That’s really what we’re trying to do.”


Last Friday, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum announced winter high school sports seasons were going to be put on pause until Dec. 14. Burgum amended that decision late Wednesday night, Nov. 18, that teams would be allowed to start practicing Nov. 30, while competitions were still suspended until Dec. 14.

The Eagles posted their “mask up” video hours before Burgum changed his decision, but Manson said the message is still important.

“I’m super excited for the kids that they get a chance to come back and start to practice, but we now have an opportunity to try to make some changes in our numbers and relieve hospitals,” Manson said. “That is the biggest thing that we have to do.”

In the video, Davies players said grandparents, parents, essential workers, nurses, the community and teammates are among the reasons they are masking up during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“What a heartfelt message from the kids,” Manson said. “They all had different stories. They all had different things that they wanted to help the cause. It’s another example of how proud I am of these guys that I get to coach every day. I’m a super lucky guy because I get to go coach these wonderful kids every day.”

As of late Thursday night the “mask up” video posted on the team’s Twitter account had around 2,000 views.

“At least that shows a lot of people have seen it and hopefully they take that message to heart,” said Hektner, who has committed to play basketball at Minnesota State Moorhead. “Ever since earlier this year, you kind of got used to all the changes. You’ve just got to expect to be fluid, be ready for anything to happen. We’re just trying to do everything we can to be able to play.”


Davies was preparing to play in the Class A state semifinals last March when the event was suspended, and later canceled due to COVID-19. The Eagles had a 23-2 record heading into the game.

“Ever since earlier this year, you kind of got used to all the changes,” Hektner said. “You’ve just got to expect to be fluid, be ready for anything to happen. We’re just trying to do everything we can to be able to play. … This year, you can’t really take anything for granted. You’ve just got to be in the moment and focus on that.”

Manson said from the interactions he’s had with coaches and kids from around the state, they are “all trying to do the right things to play.”

Manson said this is a time to remain vigilant.

“If people let their guard down, like ‘Hey, we’ve won the fight now.’ And then in the ninth round you get knocked out because you put your hands down,” Manson said. “We can’t do that right now. We’ve got to dig in and we’ve got to fight to change some numbers so we can continue to play sports and not have another stoppage somewhere along the line.”

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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