K-Heart Sports – 09/28/23


MINOT, ND – The Class A Football poll is the same as last week, while there are changes in 9-Man. The polls are voted on by the North Dakota AP Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association.
Class A Football Poll
Team (First Place Votes)                      Record    Points    Last Week
1. Velva-Drake/Anamose-Garrison (13)  6-0          80           1
2. Kindred (3)                                           5-0          71           2
3. Dickinson Trinity (2)                             6-0          52           3
4. Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich            6-0          42           4
5. Central Cass                                        5-1          17          RV
Others receiving votes: Shiloh Christian (5-1)
9-Man Football Poll
Team (First Place Votes)                     Record    Points    Last Week
1. Sargent County (10)                            6-0          76           2
2. South Border (7)                                  6-0          69           3
3. New Rockford-Sheyenne-Maddock     5-0          44           4
4. Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn (1)        6-0          33           5
5. New Salem-Almont                              5-1          28           1
Others receiving votes: North Prairie (5-1), Alexander (6-0)
JAMESTOWN, N. D. (MSU) – The Minot State men’s hockey team won its 14th straight against in-state foe Jamestown on Wednesday night, and now the Beavers are ready for their home debut. Freshman Walker Jerome scored his first collegiate goal, which proved to be the game-winner, as Minot State skated to a 3-1 win over the host Jimmies. Jerome’s goal came midway through the second period and broke a 1-1 tie, and the Beavers never looked back. Reece Henry added a third-period goal helping ice the win for Minot State, and Joey Moffatt scored in the first period for an early 1-0 Beaver lead. Logan Rands, Ryan Monias, Trenton Curtis, Sheldon Howard, and Troy Hamilton each added an assist in the victory, while Riley Wallace made 25 saves in goal in his start this season for the win. Minot State (3-0-0 overall) now makes its home debut at the Maysa Arena on Friday hosting Liberty at 7:30 pm for a special Build the Dam evening. The game is a black-out as fans are encouraged to wear black. Admission for the game is free, and prior to the game the Beavers will celebrate their 2022-23 ACHA National Championship with a special championship banner-raising ceremony.
IRVING, Texas (UND) – North Dakota defensive end Ben McNaboe has been selected as a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation’s William V. Campbell Trophy. He is one of 39 nominees from the FCS. McNaboe and Brock Mogensen (South Dakota), were the only players from the MVFC announced as semifinalists. The William V. Campbell Trophy (formerly the Draddy Trophy) is one of college football’s premier scholar-athlete awards. The impressive list of candidates boasts a stellar 3.65 average grade-point average, with more than half of the semifinalists having already earned their bachelor’s degrees. Celebrating its 34th year, the Campbell Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership. McNaboe is one of the total 201 semifinalists for the award among all NCAA divisions and the NAIA. There are 89 candidates from the Football Bowl Subdivision as well. Former winners of the award include Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow. McNaboe has appeared in 26 games on the defensive line for UND, starting the last 20 of them at defensive end. In his career, he has accumulated 60 total tackles, with 28 of them being solo stops. He has also accounted for 17.5 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks. He is a two-time recipient of the MVFC Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award (2021, 2022). The Rogers, Minn., native is working on his Master of Science in Kinesiology with a GPA of 3.909 and graduated with his bachelor’s degree this past summer.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Pinch-hitter Trevor Larnach broke an eighth-inning tie with an RBI double and the Minnesota Twins rallied to beat the Oakland Athletics 6-4 on Wednesday night. After Max Kepler opened the eighth with his fourth hit of the game, Larnach sent a 1-1 pitch from Dany Jiménez off the wall in right field that evaded a leaping Esteury Ruiz. Pinch-runner Andrew Stevenson scored from first. Designated hitter Ryan Jeffers, who hit a tying two-run homer in the sixth, followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Larnach and Minnesota won for the sixth time in seven games. Minnesota’s Dallas Keuchel (2-1) worked 1 2/3 innings of relief and earned the win. Griffin Jax stranded a pair of runners in the ninth and picked up his fourth save of the season. Pablo López went 4 1/3 innings in a planned shorter outing in his final start of the regular season. The 27-year-old right-hander will start the first game of the playoffs for the Twins. It was the 41st come-from-behind win of the season for the AL Central-champion Twins (85-73).
RHP Sonny Gray (8-8, 2.80 ERA) will start the final home game of the regular season for Minnesota on this afternoon, with Oakland starting RHP Luis Medina (3-10, 5.64). Gray, who is second in the AL in ERA behind New York’s Gerrit Cole (2.63), will start the second game of the playoffs. Medina will be making his final start of his first season in the majors and hasn’t earned a win since July 18.
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The winless Minnesota Vikings have had trouble hanging onto the ball, with an NFL -high nine turnovers and a handful of costly drops. If the trend continues, certain players might well lose their grip on spots in the lineup, too. “That’s definitely what we’re going to fix one way or another,” coach Kevin O’Connell said earlier this week, comments as blunt and concise as he’s ever made in public about his team. “Either guys are going to do it, or we’re going to have to put other guys in the game that have ball security.”
Running back Alexander Mattison, fair or not, is under the most scrutiny because of the recent acquisition of the capable Cam Akers. O’Connell said Wednesday the Vikings are planning to incorporate Akers into the game plan Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, after he was inactive last week. Mattison, who lost a fumble in the previous game and another one that was reversed by a defensive penalty, dropped a wide-open pass in last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at the 12-yard line in the second quarter when he might’ve had enough space to turn and score. The Vikings settled for a field goal on that drive in the 28-24 defeat. Mattison also caught a break when his fumble in the fourth quarter was ruled a dead ball because of forward progress. “We need to end every snap with the football in our hands, and that’s going to be continued urgency and emphasis like it was last week, and we’re going to continue to do it differently and emphasize it in different ways until that value is received, because that is a losing formula, being where we are at in the turnover differential right now,” O’Connell said.
The Vikings are minus-7 in that vital statistic, tied with the Las Vegas Raiders for worst in the league. Seven of their giveaways have been fumbles. The worst part is they haven’t recovered any of their own. Tight end T.J. Hockenson lost one at the 17-yard line to halt a promising opening drive, when four Chargers surrounded him after a first down. As Hockenson tried to push forward, he dropped his right hand for balance against the turf, and safety Alohi Gilman ripped the ball out of his unprotected left arm. That’s the exact scenario O’Connell and the coaches had the Vikings working on last week, called a “see-two, split-two” exercise where the ball carrier practices holding on as two defenders converge. That’s one of “six or seven” drills for ball security the players have been put through. “We work different types of gauntlets where we incorporate punching different hammers — every piece of equipment you can find on the internet to work ball security,” O’Connell said. “If we didn’t have it before, we purchased it, and we will continue to do so and build drills to emphasize what we want to see out of our players.”
For all the trouble with fumbles, the drops against the Chargers actually hurt the Vikings more. Cornerback Akayleb Evans had a sure interception slip between his hands as he gracefully dived to try to deny a pass to Joshua Palmer. The ball bounced off his helmet and into the air to Palmer for a touchdown. Then there was Hockenson’s mishandle of a hard throw from Kirk Cousins into the end zone near the end of the game. The ball glanced off his hands and into the air for an interception. “That’s one of those that you sleep at night and you see the ball come at you, 1,000 different times,” Hockenson said. “It’s a tough one, but obviously I hold myself to a standard and I know I can make that.” Hockenson’s too important to be benched, but he realizes his ball security has to improve. “We do have a target on our backs. That’s just the facts of it,” he said. “These guys are going to go for the ball, and they’re not going to be thinking about much else because we’ve shown that we’re putting it on the ground on tape.”

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