Big one for Hi-Liners, BroncosTonight’s football game between the No. 4-ranked Lisbon Broncos and the Valley City Hi-Liners has taken on a whole new meaning this week. Following the record flooding that deluged both communities this past spring, the two cities and teams have come together to coin this year’s battle between the Broncos and the Hi-Liners as the first annual Sandbag Bowl.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
Tonight’s football game between the No. 4-ranked Lisbon Broncos and the Valley City Hi-Liners has taken on a whole new meaning this week.
Following the record flooding that deluged both communities this past spring, the two cities and teams have come together to coin this year’s battle between the Broncos and the Hi-Liners as the first annual Sandbag Bowl.
The annual game will signify the tireless efforts of community residents, volunteers and emergency service workers who fought the epic flood of 2009. The winning team will be awarded the traveling “Volunteer Trophy” in commemoration of those efforts.
Pat Adair, athletic director at Lisbon High School, and Al Cruchet, athletic Director at Valley City High School, have agreed to establish a set of by-laws on the manner of possession and exchange of the trophy from year to year.
Mayors Mary Lee Nielson, of Valley City, and Ross Cole, of Lisbon, will issue a proclamation endorsing the series between the two communities.
The game may have taken on a new meaning for the cities involved, but Valley City coach Scott Roehrich knows there’s plenty of other things riding on tonight’s outcome.
“We just want our kids to play hard, and if a win comes with it that’s great,” Roehrich said.
The Broncos (4-0) and the Hi-Liners (3-1) are both currently undefeated (2-0) in the Class AA East Region, and both are vying to get back into the playoffs. Valley City produced a record of 11-1 last season — ending in a loss to Watford City (40-20) in the state title game — while Lisbon finished last season at 9-3, losing to Linton-HMB 14-0 in the state Class A semifinals.
Valley City narrowly got past Lisbon a year ago by the final of 22-16, and Roehrich said tonight’s game should be another smash-mouth contest. The Hi-Liners’ only defeat thus far came in Week 1 against the Firebirds in Devils Lake (41-6).
“We’ve got to take care of the football. Turnovers and big plays will be a big part of the game,” Roehrich said. “We turned the ball over too much and gave up big plays in our loss against Devils Lake.
“Lisbon is a very physical team and we’ll need to be ready to be just as physical as they are Friday night.”
A big key for the Hi-Liners will be if they can find a way to stop Lisbon’s two-time, all-state running back Brandon Schell. Prior to the Broncos’ 28-25 victory over Fargo Oak Grove-Park Christian last week, Schell had already racked up 550 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in just three games.
“We’ve got to get a lot of people to the football, and we’ll need to tackle well to keep him from getting extra yards,” Roehrich said. “We’ll need a great effort from all 11 guys on defense.”
But the coach said the Hi-Liners’ three-back attack of Derek Kohler, Jordan Thomson and Shane Ost will be ready to help offset any positive yards gained by Schell. Another positive for Valley City will hopefully be the return of junior running back Jordan Aus, who is day-to-day with a dislocated shoulder.
Valley City already has victories over Carrington (18-6), Fargo Oak Grove-PC (34-0) and Kindred (34-0), and a win against the Broncos could be the ingredient needed for another deep playoff run by the Hi-Liners.
“Our goal is to stay in the top half of the league in order to play an extra game, and we’ll have to beat a few of these top teams in order to do that,” Roehrich said. “If we beat a few of these teams we’ll have a leg up on the rest.”
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com