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Vikings looking for repeat state trip

Front (L to R): Patrick Sorum, Devin Schell, Jed Hanson, Taylor Budke, Cris Molina, Carlos Gutierrez, Travis Haugen and Patrick Coleman. Middle: David Backstrom, Eric Gilbertson, Casey Bruggeman, Marshall Ohe, Cody Anderson, Tanner Grahn, Devon Hensch, Andrew Buck and Eddie Ramos. Back: Brian Franco, Nathan Sillerud, Sean Sapa, Tyler Lynnes, Jed Evenson, Luke Halbakken, Tucker Forsgren, Ryan Huseby, Ian Johnson and Hunter Gray

The 2010 journey to the Class 2A state playoffs will pay off in dividends for the 2011 version of the Pelican Rapids Vikings.

The Vikings (7-5 last year) claimed the 8-2A championship, before falling to Ottertail Central in the state quarterfinals.

But a good majority of this year's Vikings are back on the field and had that state taste, so they are not going to want to give the section title back to anyone.

"Last year's team surprised a lot of people when it came together in the post season and we earned the section championship," said Pelican Rapids head coach Dave Haugen. "This is a team which has the potential to be back in the championship game again this year and is definitely a goal."

There will be 24 returning letterwinners from last year's team, including five offensive starters and six defensive starters.

The skill positions have a good amount of experience returning, including junior quarterback Devin Schell, who took over the position from senior Casey Bruggeman, who was injured during the season.

Schell is a good athlete with the ability to run, as well getting comfortable throwing the ball out of the pocket.

"The experience Devin gained should help become more comfortable in the position this year," Haugen said.

Bruggeman will still be a vital component of the offense and defense at running back and strong safety.

"Casey is one of the best strong safeties who has ever played at Pelican Rapids and will be a key to our success defensively," Haugen said. "After playing QB for most of the last year, he will get moved around quite a bit this year and will be versatile."

The Vikings' linebacking corp. will be anchored by senior Luke Halbakken and junior Tucker Forsgren on the outside.

Halbakken led the team with four blocked kicks last year, while Forsgren was the sack leader with six.

"Luke is an excellent defensive player who was second on the team in sacks and in tackles for loss," the Pelican Rapids coach said. "Tucker worked very hard in the offseason to become bigger and stronger. Look for him to be a real impact player on both sides of the ball."

The duo also will be reliable targets at split end for Schell.

Having a consistent kicker is also a rare weapon to have and the Vikings have just that in senior Cris Molina, who was 22-26 on extra point kicks in 2010 and 7-8 on field goals, with a long of 35 yards.

"Molina makes us a threat to score every time we're inside the opponents' 30-yard-line," Haugen stated.

The offensive line will still have four new starters, so adjustments will be made early, while depth is still a concern in the interior of the defense.

Haugen is also hoping big things from fullback/linebacker Tanner Grahn and center/linebacker Marshall Ohe.

The Heart O'Lakes Conference did lose West Central and Wadena-Deer Creek, while gaining Hawley and Roseau.

Pelican Rapids


9/2 7:00 PM @ Perham

9/9 7:00 PM Breckenridge

9/16 7:00 PM Hawley

9/23 7:00 PM @ Warroad

9/30 7:00 PM @ Staples-Motley

10/7 7:00 PM East Grand Forks

10/14 7:00 PM @ Roseau

10/20 8:00 PM Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton

# Name Pos Grade

3 Tucker Forsgren WR 11

4 Devin Schell QB 11

5 Casey Bruggeman RB 12

6 Ryan Bruggeman QB 10

7 Devon Hensch QB 11

10 Jed Hanson WR 12

11 Patrick Coleman WR 11

14 Travis Haugen WR 10

17 Tanner Budke RB 11

18 Cris Molina WR 12

19 Luke Halbakken WR 12

20 Carlos Gutierrez RB 11

21 Taylor Budke RB 12

22 Patrick Sorum RB 12

30 AJ Wroe RB 10

32 Cody Tullar RB 12

34 Charles Taylor RB 10

35 Nic Ramage FB 11

41 Tanner Grahn FB 11

46 Arturo Saavedra RB 11

50 Marshall Ohe OL 11

51 Andrew Buck OL 11

54 Jed Evenson OL 12

57 Sean Sapa OL 11

59 Felix Barragan OL 11

60 David Backstrom OL 11

61 Cody Anderson OL 12

62 Brian Franco OL 10

63 Muhamed Corbo OL 11

65 Kody Kuhlman OL 12

66 Roberto Pantoja OL 12

67 Ryan Huseby OL 12

71 Anwar Sharmake OL 12

72 Eric Gilbertson OL 11

73 Hunter Gray OL 10

74 Eddie Ramos OL 10

76 Ian Johnson OL 11

82 Nathan Sillerud WR 10

84 Tyler Lynnes WR 12

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.