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Blue Jay nation welcomes home Class A champions Monday evening

Jamestown High School welcomed home the Jamestown High School football team after they defeated Fargo North in the Class A Football State Championship game on Nov. 11, 2022.

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Several senior members of the Jamestown High School football team stand as they were announced to the All State Team during a pep rally Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, after winning the state title two years in a row. Coach Bill Nelson, sitting in center, was named Class A Coach of the Year.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN — Jamestown High School assistant football coach Shawn Frank got roasted Monday night

Frank, a former college football coach, has been coaching the Blue Jays' defense for five years and is well-known by his fellow coaches and his players for his no-nonsense, straight-edge coaching mentality.

At one point during the season, a senior linebacker, Colton Mewes, got himself into a situation that may have raised Frank's frustrations a little bit.

"We all thought Colton was going to die that day,” senior quarterback Payton Hochhalter said with a laugh.

As soon as Frank started talking, it was clear he would rather lose a limb than one of his Blue Jay football players.

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"I say this to our players all of the time but football is the ultimate team game," Frank said. "You’ve got to be tough physically. You’ve got to be tough mentally. You’ve got to be disciplined in your approach. It takes 11 guys pulling in the same direction. It takes a special person to play. It takes a lot of heart. It’s the greatest team sport on the planet. This group — they are special."

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Many of the players, like Aiden Heinle, wanted to have a photo with the trophy they worked so hard to obtain.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Jamestown High School Athletic Director, Jim Roaldson, hosted a welcome home event for the "special" group at Jerry Meyer Arena.

The event gave community members an opportunity to extend congratulations to the JHS football team for winning its second-straight Class A State Football title. The Jays topped Fargo North in the Class A championship on Nov. 11, 2022.

Roaldson started the event by recapping the Blue Jays season. The squad went 10-2 on the year and has gone 20-4 over the last two seasons. Jamestown has not lost a league game at Charlotte and Gordon Hansen Stadium in two seasons. The team was named the Class A West Region champion both in 2021 and 2022 and has earned a home-field advantage during the playoffs. No playoff games have been lost in the last two years.

Roaldson then recapped the 30th annual Dakota Bowl.

In the Class A state championship game, the Jays had produced 485 yards of total offense of 71 plays while Fargo North only managed 340 yards on 45 plays run. Fargo North was 0-1 on fourth-down conversions while Jamestown was 4-for-6. The Spartans' time of possession only clocked 11 minutes while the Jays' maintained possession for 33 of the 48 minutes.

Then Roaldson, a former Blue Jay quarterback himself, picked Hochhalter out of the crowd.

Hochhalter and Jackson Walters combined for 331 yards passing compared to the Spartans' 182 yards through the air. Hochhalter was responsible for 296 of the Jays' passing yards. The senior set a Dakota Bowl record for the most touchdowns had in a game with three passing, three rushing and one receiving.

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The senior quarterback wasn't the only one recognized as one of the best.

Aden Braun, Ethan Gall, Preston Gall, Hochhalter, Mewes, Walters, Tyson Jorissen and Bo Nelson were congratulated for earning all-WDA honors while Jack Van Berkom and Nate Walz were applauded for earning honorable mentions.

"These seniors have left their mark on this program and this community," Roaldson said. "They are more than just football players. They will continue to do great things, and we are thankful for that. They have represented their school and community in a first-class manner."

After Roaldson finished congratulating the team on its season, he turned the event over to Blue Jay head coach Bill Nelson who went on to introduce each member of the 2022 Blue Jay team. The head coach also expressed his pride in his team for their resiliency which came into full effect after the 34-6 loss in Valley City.

"(Valley) played phenomenally and we did not play very well," Nelson said. "Sunday night I was still kind of stewing and so I sent out a text to our leadership council and told them we were going to have a meeting."

Nelson said he talked to the team leaders for about 20 minutes then turned the reins over to his captains.

It only took an hour to form a completely new team.

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"We'd like to thank all of the younger guys for buying into what we were trying to do," Hochhalter. "I am so proud of everyone and thank you all for stepping up."

After Valley, the Jays rattled off two wins to end the regular season at 7-2. The momentum carried over into the postseason with a pair of wins over Grand Forks Central and Red River to land the Jays in the championship game for the second time in two years.

"It’s been a hell of a ride fellas," Frank said. "Blue Jay nation — it’s been a hell of a ride.”

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Proud parents were crowded together to take photos of members of the state championship football team during a pep rally Monday, Nov. 14, 2022, in Jerry Meyer Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

Related Topics: JAMESTOWN BLUE JAYSJAMESTOWN HIGH SCHOOLPREP SPORTSBLUE JAYS FOOTBALL
Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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