MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This crisp fall weather is creating the perfect backdrop for some high school football.
WCCO-TV’s High School Sports Rally is heading way out west Friday to highlight two unique football programs.
The match-up is between Ada-Borup and Ulen-Hitterdal. They’re near the North Dakota border. The programs are unique because each team puts just nine players on the field.
Ada, a town of about 1,700, is clean and neat. It speaks to the pride in how they do things, and in the fall, one of the things they take pride in happens on Friday nights: The Ada-Borup football team wins football games.
At the local supermarket, the meat cutter, Dave Dahl, is also the team’s public address announcer. He knows a 9-Man team with a big senior class, 17 of them, will play another unbeaten team in Ulen-Hitterdal.
“Football, I wouldn’t say it’s the life, but they definitely show up for the games,” Dahl said.
“Ulen and Ada, we’ve gone back to since I was in third grade probably,” said Ada-Broup captain Brian Blasey. “They know us, we know them, we’re good friends and we hang out. But when it comes to playing on the field, we have no friends and no mercy.”
There’s another storyline other than the fact that it’s a battle of two unbeaten teams. The head coach at Ada-Borup, he used to be the head coach at, you guessed it, Ulen-Hitterdal.
That’s right, Nathan Brager was on the other sideline until three years ago.
“I used to coach at Ulen-Hitterdal. My last year there the freshman over there, I started four or five of them, they’re starting seniors now,” Brager said.
It gets even better. Kelly Anderson was the boys basketball coach at Ulen-Hitterdal, that’s right, the boys basketball coach, until this year, when she took the athletic director position at, you guessed it, Ada-Borup.
“Their starting quarterback, Troy Peterson, their big guy in the middle, I coached them in basketball,” Anderson said. “So I know them very well.”
Storylines aside, this is about a sports-minded group of seniors making a run for Ada-Borup.
“We’ve been playing together ever since we were in sixth grade. We’ve built a lot of chemistry over the years and it shows on the field,” said Ada-Borup captain Jace Hennen.
This a good time to be a student athlete at Ada-Borup. They’re winning games and there’s still more to look forward to this fall: Deer hunting season is just around the corner.
“Oh yeah, that’s definitely a big thing around here. Oh yeah,” Blasey said.