Enderlin Eagles set for first season as their own football team in over a decade
The Eagles, led by first-year head coach Eric Bergstedt, had previously been in a co-op program with Maple Valley.
ENDERLIN, N.D. — For the first time in over 10 years, the Enderlin football team is going into it alone as the Eagles prepare for their first solo season after co-oping with Maple Valley.
“We’re branching out on our own after about 11 or 12 years with a co-op with Maple Valley,” said Eagles head coach Eric Bergstedt. “It’s pretty amazing. For a school our size to be able to do that, I think, is unique. We’re certainly the only team in our region that is its own team without a co-op. So, we’re pretty proud of that. The question was always if we did that, would the kids come out? And so far they certainly have.”
Twenty-two players have come out for the Eagles — whose helmets have their mascot on them for the first time since 2004 according to a social media post by Enderlin Area Schools — for 2022. With the Eagles on their helmets and wearing their school colors, Bergstedt said the Enderlin team has had a boost of positivity.
“I think the kids, especially, have a little extra bounce in their step,” he said. “With the new uniforms, that’s always fun with getting your own colors back.”
While the Eagles have some experienced players returning, more than half of the team is new to the sport.
“We have 13 new players out of 22,” Bergstedt said. “We’re excited and yet, obviously, there’s some challenges that come with becoming your own team and we’re definitely seeing those challenges. But, we’re making progress and the beginning of the season goes incredibly fast as it is.”
Among those returning is three-year starter at quarterback, senior Trey Wall.
“He’s kind of the core of our offense,” Bergstedt said of Wall. “He’s making the reads and the calls and all of that stuff. He does a good job for us.”
The 6-foot, 5-inch Caden Amerman will take on the tight end position this year with juniors Brenan Bartholomay and Ayden Glarum joining him on the offensive line.
Some of the newcomers this season include athletes from other sports such as 6-foot-6 senior running back Carson Bartholomy at wide receiver, who plays basketball, and Kashden Wadeson who wrestles. Anthony Wendel will join Wadeson in the backfield as a running back.
Also in a new position is Bergstedt as he prepares for his first year in the head coach spot. However, he is far from new to football.
“I’ve been an assistant coach for 10 years and this is my first year as a head coach. I was an assistant with the co-op and I’ve moved into the head-coaching role,” he said. “Then we’ve got two new assistant coaches. So a little inexperienced on our side, too, so we’re in it together.
“You’re always worried about the thing you don’t know you were supposed to have done already. But other than that, the nuts and bolts of it are kind of the same other than being in charge of all the different aspects.”
Last week, the Eagles had a chance to gain some on-field experience, though, with a scrimmage against the Lisbon Broncos.
“That was eye-opening to kind of get guys seeing what it’s like when you’re not going against your own JV,” Bergstedt said. “They had some very talented kids and I’m excited to see what it brings.
Despite their inexperience, Bergstedt is hopeful the Eagles can make a push into the postseason.
“We’ve talked with the kids, if we’re not in the running for a playoff spot, we’re going to be a little disappointed,” he said. “Even as young as we are and inexperienced, we feel the kids that have come out are a high enough quality of athlete and, combine that with the kids we have returning, we can be a challenge to just about anybody on our schedule.”
The Eagles open up their season at 7 p.m. Friday as they host Tri-State: Fairmount-Campbell-Tintah-Rosholt at Hendrickson Field.
“It’ll be a good challenge for us,” Bergstedt said. “It’s a good matchup for us in terms of we are somewhat familiar with their style and kind of know what to expect. We’re excited and the kids are excited about actually getting out and playing that first game.”