K-Heart Sports – 08/25/22

K-HEART SPORTS – 08/25/22 – 0700
MINOT, ND – The second Class 11B and Class 9B football polls have the same teams in the top four. The polls are voted on by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Class 11B Football Poll
Team (First Place Votes)                    Record    Points    Last Week
1. Kindred (11)                                     1-0           66        1
2. Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich (4)  1-0           61        2
3. Hillsboror-Central Valley                   1-0          40         3
4. Central Cass                                    1-0          35         4
5. Velva-Garrison-Drake/Anamoose    1-0            8        RV
Others receiving votes: Shiloh Christian (1-0), Dickinson Trinity (1-0), Beulah (1-0), Thompson (1-0)
Class 9B Football Poll
Team (First Place Votes)            Record    Points    Last Week
1. LaMoure-Litchville-Marion (15)  1-0          75         1
2. Cavalier                                      1-0          54         2
3. New Salem-Almont                    1-0          43         3
4. MayPort-C-G                              1-0          30         4
5. North Border                              1-0            8         RV
Others receiving votes: North Prairie (1-0), South Border (1-0), North Star (1-0), Divide County (0-0), Nelson County (1-0)
MINOT, ND – The Northwoods League, a collegiate summer baseball league, is expanding to Minot. The ownership team, Minot Baseball LLC, held an introductory press conference on Wednesday. The team has signed a 10-year lease with the Minot Park Board and will use Corbett Field as its home. They will begin play in the summer of 2023.
The teams general manager, Monica Blake, has been involved in the Bismarck Larks organization for the past four years. She is the only active female owner in the Northwoods League. Blake announced a “Name Your Team” contest at the press conference. Submissions will be accepted through September 2nd. The top names will be announced on September 12th. Voting on those names will be through September 23rd with the winning team name announced on October 20th. Blake says the grand prize will include two season tickets for life, plus several other prizes will be given. Official #NameYourTeam Contest for the Minot NWL Baseball Team! : Minot Northwoods League
The Northwoods League was established in 1994 and features two dozen teams.
FARGO, N.D. (NDSU) – North Dakota State has three players on the preseason watch list for the Reese’s Senior Bowl, widely regarded as the top college football all-star game each year. NDSU tight end Noah Gindorff, fullback Hunter Luepke and offensive tackle Cody Mauch are among the prospects announced Wednesday. An important step in the NFL draft process, the Reese’s Senior Bowl attracted more than 900 NFL personnel last year and represented 40 percent of the entire NFL draft including 45 of the top 100 selections. North Dakota State has had 11 players selected to the Senior Bowl, including eventual NFL draft picks Stacy Robinson (1985), Lamar Gordon (2002), Billy Turner (2014), Joe Haeg (2016), Carson Wentz (2016), Jabril Cox (2021), Dillon Radunz (2021) and Christian Watson (2022). The Reese’s Senior Bowl is the longest continual-running all-star game. The 74th annual game will be played at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, in Mobile, Ala.
HOUSTON (AP) — Jose Altuve hit a leadoff homer and Trey Mancini added a two-run shot to back up another quality start by Framber Valdez, and the Houston Astros held on for a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night. The Twins lost their fifth in a row. Valdez (13-4) allowed two hits and one run with eight strikeouts in seven innings for his 21st consecutive quality start. That moved him past Mike Scott (20) for the longest streak in franchise history. It’s the longest such streak in the Majors since Jacob deGrom made 26 in a row from May 18, 2018-April 3, 2019.
The Twins’ hitters struggled for a second straight game., managing just two hits in the first eight innings a night after being no-hit by Justin Verlander through six innings of a 4-2 loss. Down 5-1, Minnesota tried to rally in the ninth. Gio Urshela singled and scored on a double by Luis Arráez that was misplayed for an error by left fielder Mauricio Dubón. Rafael Montero then walked pinch-hitter Nick Gordon before the Twins scored another run when pinch-hitter Jake Cave reached on a grounder to second that Altuve couldn’t handle. But Max Kepler lined into a double play and pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez grounded out to end it.
Minnesota’s Chris Archer (2-6, 4.02 ERA) opposes Luis Garcia (10-8, 4.09) when the series wraps up tonight.
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — As Kirk Cousins enters his fifth year with the Minnesota Vikings, he’s working with his fifth different play-caller. For a quarterback long at his best when his surroundings in both the facility and the pocket are stable, this carousel of offensive coordinators has not been ideal. The systems themselves haven’t changed all that drastically, though, and new head coach Kevin O’Connell has brought the welcomed perspective of a former quarterback and a big slice of the offense the Los Angeles Rams used to win the Super Bowl last season. Above all else, Cousins still has Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen running hard-to-guard routes up and down the field and Dalvin Cook behind him waiting for a handoff.
“We’re all learning this together, but we’ve also played some meaningful snaps together too and we’ve got banked reps and some good memories on these fields together, so that’s kind of a comforting thing,” Cousins said. From the new staff to the well-regarded scheme to the returning skill-position stars, Cousins has about as favorable of a situation as he’s had in his 11-year NFL career to build on the unfulfilled resume that includes a 59-59-2 record as a starter and only one playoff win.
With the Vikings having signed Cousins to a third salary-cap-gobbling contract this spring because new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was hesitant to start over at this vital position and give up the certainty of his high-floor ability. Instead, Minnesota is banking on O’Connell and his staff to get a more consistently higher level of performance out of a well-proven player who has yet to cross that intangible threshold into the league’s top tier. As long as he’s got a trio like Jefferson, Thielen and Cook healthy and at his disposal, Cousins ought to have a fighting chance to find that next gear. “We’ve been working with each other for two years now, so that connection is always growing every single practice, every single play,” said Jefferson, whose 3,016 receiving yards are the most in NFL history for a player’s first two seasons.
O’Connell’s first foray into game management, play calling and player leadership will be under just as much of the spotlight as the much-scrutinized quarterback. That all starts on Sept. 11 when the Vikings host rival and defending NFC North champion Green Bay. “They know I’m going to be honest with them,” O’Connell said. “They know I’m always going to stand out in front and lead and challenge our leadership and challenge our players to be right by my side as we attack every challenge that comes our way.”
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Christian Darrisaw walked off the Vikings practice field this week and immediately went to the weight room to ride an exercise bike. For the big, second-year left tackle, it’s a tactic to help his cardio endurance and to recover from the day’s practice. That he’s adding in extra work in August is a blessing for the 2021 first-round draft pick. Darrisaw’s first NFL season was hampered by injury, first to a core muscle that twice led to surgeries between his final college snap and his Minnesota debut. Later, he missed two games with an ankle injury. After a healthy offseason, Darrisaw is ready to meet the expectations that came with being the No. 23 overall pick out of Virginia Tech last year and the long-sought anchor at left tackle on the Vikings line.
“One hundred percent, night and day, just having a full offseason, able to get out here and get the live work against the whole of the defensive line,” Darrisaw said of the differences in his second season. Meeting his favorite NFL player might also add to Darrisaw’s development. Growing up in Maryland, Darrisaw became a fan of Trent Williams, who was a Pro Bowl left tackle with Washington. Mutual acquaintances introduced the two this year and they met in person when the San Francisco 49ers were in town last week for joint practices.
’That’s why I wear 71,” Darrisaw said. “It’s just like everyone knew he was my favorite player and like, ‘you need to get in contact with him.’ I get little things from him. Like, he watched the film from the first joint practice and some of the things I can correct, just like little bad habits I can break.” After practices, Williams would talk with Darrisaw and discuss techniques and tips for improvement. “I do see a lot of myself in him, especially the young Trent,” Williams said. “That’s how a lot of our conversations are, me just helping him morph into a more consistent professional. He took a huge leap from Year 1 to Year 2. And then just the little things.” The little things, Darrisaw says, include being tough on himself. Williams and Darrisaw are similar sized (the younger comes in at 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds). But the ability to dominate physically can lead to bad habits. “When I’m watching myself on film, be hard on myself because there may be some times I may get the job done and against a different pass rusher like a Nick Bosa, you can’t do that type of stuff because he’ll expose that,” Darrisaw said. “Even if the set’s not good and I won my rep, like, correct it. Even though I won, still be hard on myself. The little things really matter.”
Williams is a nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle, who was a first-team All-Pro last year in his second season with San Francisco. Over an 11-year career, he’s learned what it takes to elevate his game and Williams is hoping he can help Darrisaw avoid some of the same mistakes. “He’s such an athlete that he overlooks the technical part of the game because he can just wake up and win,” Williams said. “That’s how I got through college. That’s how I got through my first three or four years in the NFL. I still have bad habits going back to that. That’s all I’m working on him about, just letting him know what’s to come, what changes to make and what can help him in the future.”
The core muscle surgeries pushed back Darrisaw’s Minnesota debut. After missing training camp, he was inactive for the first three games. He made his offensive line debut in Week 5 and started a week later. He ended up starting 10 games. With a full offseason and training camp, Darrisaw is making an impression on Minnesota’s new coaching staff, who see the physical talent with a mind to match. “He’s not one of those guys that needs to be told every little thing, every little adjustment,” Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell said earlier in training camp. “He naturally sometimes just does things based upon the right play — the smart way to hit a block, how to pass off a stunt — just understanding how we want to execute in the screen game, the play pass game. I couldn’t be more excited about where he’s at right now.” Being healthy is a good start.
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Justin Jefferson has looked in training camp every bit the part of the best wide receiver in the league that he has stated his goal to be, and judging by age alone there’s clearly room for more ascension for the player nicknamed “Jet” by his teammates and fans. “I feel like my game can go up even more than what it has been,” Jefferson said. “It’s really just more focused on the team at this point. We’re trying to get back to that winning record. I hate losing. I’m a competitive person. I’ll be satisfied once we win the big goal.”
In other Vikings news:
– After lagging badly over head coach Mike Zimmer’s last two seasons, the defense will again be relying on a group of largely unproven cornerbacks next to veteran Patrick Peterson. Safety Harrison Smith and linebacker Eric Kendricks are still entrenched in their roles, though, and the arrival of Za’Darius Smith and the return of Danielle Hunter has given the Vikings a dangerous pair of outside pass rushers for new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell’s 3-4-based system. Hunter and Smith were each sidelined by major injuries last year, primed for an impactful comeback behind their 105 combined career sacks.
– The Vikings will have yet another new starting right guard — an almost unfathomable seventh in seven years. Over that span, they’ve given 12 different players at least one start at this problematic position including Oli Udoh (14) and Mason Cole (three) last season. Rookie Ed Ingram Jr., who was drafted in the second round out of LSU, has emerged as the front-runner ahead of veterans Jesse Davis and Chris Reed. Reed has also been in competition at center, where the Vikings have been pushing incumbent Garrett Bradbury. “I’ve showed myself that I can roll with the big boys, so I just want to keep proving to myself that I belong in that position,” Ingram said.
– The Vikings have a prime opportunity to take early control of the division, getting NFC North foes Green Bay, Detroit and Chicago as their first three home opponents and having their road game against New Orleans on Oct. 2 in a neutral venue in London. They’ll be in the elements in the last two weeks, though, at the Packers on Jan. 1 and at the Bears to finish the regular season on Jan. 8. November won’t be easy, either, with trips to Washington and Buffalo followed by home games against Dallas and New England — on Thanksgiving night.

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