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Ottertail Central, Ada-Borup-NCW play for section football title after both lost a teammate in car accidents

FargoOn Friday, at the Fargodome, No. 5-ranked Ottertail Central and No. 7 ranked Ada-Borup-Norman County West will play a football game for the Minnesota Class 1A, Section 6 championship.One team will win, but both teams share a loss. It's not a...

Carter Peterson
Carter Peterson

Fargo

On Friday, at the Fargodome, No. 5-ranked Ottertail Central and No. 7 ranked Ada-Borup-Norman County West will play a football game for the Minnesota Class 1A, Section 6 championship.

One team will win, but both teams share a loss. It's not a mark in the loss column that can be ever be overcome. There is no victory that cures this.

"Ironically, here we are playing each other and both in the last school year have lost a football player to a car accident," A-B-NCW coach Paul Tinjum said.

Tinjum heard his phone ring after midnight last October. It was senior running back Nick Hagan. Tinjum knew any phone call after midnight was not good. Hours previous, a drunk driver ran a stop sign and crashed into the car of Hagan's best friend, Carter Peterson, at the intersection of Minnesota Highway 9 and County Road 39 in Borup. Peterson was driving home from dropping off his girlfriend in Hawley, Minn.

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Hagan was trying to find the words to tell Tinjum that Peterson was dead.

"There wasn't a bad bone in the kid's body," Tinjum said. "You can talk about any teenager you've known for any amount of time and you could probably say something bad about them, but Carter you couldn't."

OTC football coach Eric Olson was teaching in Battle Lake, Minn., the day before Easter break in April when he had received a message that a boy had been in a car accident. His hope was it wasn't a boy from the area. At 9 a.m., he received another call that it was.

It was a foggy morning when OTC football player Jacob Quam left at around 6 a.m. to work out in the weight room at Henning High School. According to Minnesota State Patrol, a Sara Lee Bread truck crossed the centerline on Highway 210 near Vining, Minn., and collided with Quam's Chevy Impala head on, killing Quam.

"It wasn't real," Olson said. "You can't believe ever that something is going to happen like that. It didn't set in. It wasn't real."

Instead of starting at guard on the offensive line and a defensive tackle Friday, Peterson died at 16 years old on Oct. 16, 2016. Instead of being lined up in front of Peterson as a tackle on the offensive line and a defensive end, nearly six months to the day, on April 13, Quam died at 16 years old.

Tinjum emailed Olson as soon as he heard the news about Quam, telling him how sorry he was and that they had gone through the same thing.

"That shows me that that group of coaches they just don't look out for themselves," Olson said. "They went through the something similar. It was very kind of them to do that."

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The Cougars have Peterson's jersey framed in their locker room. Most of the players wear socks with his initials and jersey number on them. His No. 63 is on their helmets. The team planted a tree outside the house he grew up in.

"Before every game I mention that Carter is proud of them and watching them," Tinjum said. "There's not a week that goes by that someone doesn't talk about him. He's still playing."

The Bulldogs bring Quam's No. 75 jersey with them to the locker room and on the field for warm ups. His No. 75 is on tape, shoes, helmets. Before each game they take a knee, put a hand on a teammate and have a moment of silence for him.

Quam loved to hunt and two people whose name were inseparable from Quam's were junior linemen Adam Lange and Travis Arndt. Lange and Arndt went hunting recently and brought back a bird banded with the No. 33. That was Quam's basketball number.

"I don't think there can ever be a silver lining with something like this," Olson said. "One thing the kids have learned is that you can't take things for granted. We're here now, at this time. Enjoy the moment and the experience."

Carter Peterson
Jacob Quam

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
Murphy has covered sports in Chicago, Minnesota and North Dakota since 2009, working for The Forum since 2012. Contact: cmurphy@forumcomm.com or 701-241-5548
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