FARGO — Fargo South's football team enters this season with a chip on its shoulder. Leading rusher Danny Lahai tore his medial collateral ligament in his knee with one more game remaining in the regular season. The Bruins lost the game 33-14 to Davies, closed the regular season with a 47-7 loss to West Fargo Sheyenne and bowed out of the playoffs with a 45-13 loss to Bismarck Century.
"He was having a terrific season," South coach Tyler Kosel said. "When he went down, that took the wind out of our sails. It hurt. We're lucky he's back though."
Lahai finished the regular season second in rushing in the Eastern Dakota Conference last season, despite missing the last game of the season and part of another. He rushed for 993 yards and eight touchdowns. He led the EDC in all-purpose yards with 1,156.
"He's had a tremendous summer," Kosel said. "We're expecting another great year from him. Got some weapons around him too."
One weapon Kosel is very excited about is junior Sibomana Enock. The plan is to essentially never have Enock leave the field. He will play quarterback, running back, slot receiver, safety, linebacker and he's even going to punt.
"He's going to be one that is going to be on a lot of schools' radars," Kosel said. "We're going to use him as much as we can in different spots. He has speed and he's a very physical player. He's a 22-foot long jumper. He's our best all-around athlete."
South is going to use Enock and junior Peyton Kessel to replace quarterback Wyatt Hanson. Hanson led the EDC with 1,420 yards in the regular season last year. He threw 14 touchdowns as well.
The big weapons for the quarterbacks is seniors Jamal Spiyee and Bless Flomo, both of which have offers from Minnesota State Moorhead and have looks from other colleges. Those two will have to make up for the loss of tight end Dawson Weisenberger, who headed to North Dakota State for football.
Flomo was second in the EDC with 571 receiving yards in the regular season last year. Spiyee had four interceptions on defense last season, returning one for a touchdown. Both Flomo and Spiyee will be in a South secondary that returns four defensive backs.
"They've had a great offseason on the camp circuit," Kosel said. "We've done a lot more with our kids this summer going to team camps. They're just tremendous kids. They have great athletic ability. Jamal is big on both sides of the ball and Bless will make big plays when the ball is thrown his way. We just gotta get them the football."
Defensively, the Bruins return their big defensive backs and a majority of their linebackers. Junior Isaiah Gates is fresh off a state wrestling title at 220 pounds. He started on the defensive line as a sophomore and will play on both lines this season, as the Bruins have to replace their entire offensive line.
The Bruins are ready to put last season behind them.
"Last year was used as motivation," Kosel said. "We felt we underachieved last year and we return a lot of guys."