Jimmies, Vikings for the 107th time

When it's the Jimmies and Vikings, not much else is needed to get ready to play. But if Valley City State needed any extra incentive, which they do not, they wouldn't have to dig hard. Atop the list for the 23rd-ranked and Vikings, is that they'v...

When it's the Jimmies and Vikings, not much else is needed to get ready to play.

But if Valley City State needed any extra incentive, which they do not, they wouldn't have to dig hard.

Atop the list for the 23rd-ranked and Vikings, is that they've lost to their chief rival five times in row, meaning no current Viking has ever held the Paint Bucket.

Additionally, although it's early, the Vikings have designs on playing beyond Nov. 5, their final scheduled game. And with their impressive start, it's not out of the realm of possibility, although VCSU coach Dennis McCulloch cautioned, "If we're still talking about this (playoffs) a month from now, then we'll be in business."

Still, with their 3-1 start - the only loss coming to No. 11 Morningside - there is a lot out there for the Vikings when the teams meet for the 107th time today at Lokken Field.


"It's a great rivalry, and it's a great rivalry for all the right reasons," McCulloch said. "We have a lot of respect for Jamestown College and their football program. It's a game a lot of people, not just the players, really get excited for."

Bud Etzold certainly agreed. But the Jamestown College coach is far more worried about the team wearing the purple helmets.

"If anybody is not impressed with them, then they're mildly unobservant," Etzold said. "The rivalry and all of those things are great, but once the time goes up on the clock and we kick the thing off, what we're looking at is a very, very good football team.

"We're going to have to play extremely well just to give ourselves a chance to win. I'm not saying that out of hyperbole, I honestly believe that. We have to play well. There's no two ways about it."

The Jimmies (1-1 DAC, 2-2 overall) are playing their second straight 3-1 opponent, but the Vikings résumé dwarfs Mayville State's.

The Vikings have won at Dickinson State (28-26) and beat South Dakota Mines by 12 (29-17) in Rapid City last weekend, a team the Jimmies also beat, but needed overtime to do so. As for DSU, the Jimmies lost at home 30-6 to the Hawks, although the score was deceiving.

"We've said all along we want to play good teams," Etzold said. "Well, this is a good team we're going to play."

Crunching numbers


Valley City State can run it and throw it. Senior running back A.J. Pfeifer, from nearby Buffalo, N.D., has ran for 404 yards on 77 carries. Tommy Zinke, son of Griggs Barnes County football coach Davy Zinke, is throwing for over 235 yards per game.

Their offensive line got nicked up early in the season, but McCulloch has been pleased with their play. Etzold quickly singled out their skill on the outside in receivers LeTheo Proctor (22-323 yards, 3 TDs), Bernardo Marte (14-146) and big tight end Ken Eliacin (13-188, 1 TD).

"Their skill guys have experience and talent. It's an impressive group," Etzold said.

Brad Lint played his best game of the season last week against Mayville State, completing 21 of 25 passes for 237 yards and three scores. Lance Johansen ran for over 100 yards and had three scores.

McCulloch calls Johansen and Matt Mithaugen, "The best running back tandem we've seen, then you throw (Max) Boe and their other receivers in there and you have a lot of people you have to worry about."

Prep work

Etzold raved about the Vikings' special teams and their general uniqueness in all facets.

"They are the most creative coaching staff we play against," Etzold said. "I don't know where they find the time to come up with it all."


And he wasn't just referencing the Vikings' sometimes unusual PAT and field goal alignments.

"There are teams that are fairly generic in what they do, not these guys," he said. "Valley is a tough team to prepare for because they do so much unique stuff in every phase of the game. It's kind of like cramming for a test. There's a lot of stuff to cover."

New turf

The Jimmies have played on a rug before, so there will be no adjustment there, but the new artificial surface the Vikings play on has already proved beneficial for the Vikings.

The old field was beat up and very hard, not the new stuff, though.

"It doesn't change what we do, but I think clearly just the softness of it has definitely taken some of the wear and tear off our players," he said. "I think our guys are fresher, they're not taking as much of a pounding in practice. It really has been a positive for us."

The project cost about $1 million and was completed in August.

The rivalry


This is the 107th meeting between the two schools, and the 58th game for the Paint Bucket, which has been held by the Jimmies without interruption since 2007.

The Vikings hold a narrow 28-27 lead since they started playing for the Paint Bucket in 1961.

"This game means a lot to our kids, we're not going to shy away from that, but you still have to stay focused and worry about the task at hand," McCulloch said. "They've had our number lately, so we know we're in for a very big challenge."

Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at

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