Blue Jays give up Iron Helmet trophy, drop to 5-2 on the year

The Jamestown High School football team traveled to Valley City on Oct. 7

JHS football Coach Hochhalter and team
Jamestown High School assistant coach, Marty Hochhalter, looks on during the JHS football team's tilt against Valley City on Oct. 7, 2022.
Katie Ringer / The Jamestown Sun
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VALLEY CITY, N.D. — For the first time in more than 20 years the Iron Helmet hardware is moving schools.

"Valley City is a good football team," Jamestown High School head football coach Bill Nelson said. "Tonight wasn't our night. Kudos to Valley City, they deserve that No. 1 ranking right now."

Valley City earned the Iron Helmet trophy and has remained the No. 1 team in Class A football, defeating No. 2 Jamestown 34-6 Friday evening to move to 7-0 overall.

The Jays are now sitting at 5-2. Nelson and his squad will be back on the road next week taking on West Fargo Horace for the first time in program history. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Valley will travel to Grand Forks Central next week.


"We have a great group of kids, they are phenomenal young men," Nelson said. "Valley City just wanted to win more than we did tonight. It's a team game. We win as a team and we lose as a team."

The Jamestown High School boys hockey team has 13 seniors on its roster this season. It's the largest senior class the sport has had in almost 20 years.

The Hi-Liners were leading the Jays 20-6 at the half, largely because of some uncharacteristic errors on the Blue Jays' offense. Two offsides calls and three fumbles on their first four offensive plays granted the Hi-Liners a lot of extra opportunities.

After Valley notched a pair of field goals in the opening quarter, the Jays started to get some rhythm on the offensive side of the ball.

Payton Hochhalter launched one 30 yards downfield to hit Nate Walz in the endzone. A block on Sara Sletto's extra point tied things up at six with just under eight minutes to play in the opening half.

"We had a lot of opportunities but when you have opportunities, you've gotta take advantage of them," Nelson said. "You can't have miscues and you can't have mistakes. Valley City capitalized on some things."

Hochhalter was 7-for-10 for 87 yards passing and a score at the break. Tyson Jorissen, Meisssner, Preston Gall and Aden Braun all hauled in at least one catch but senior star receiver Jackson Walters did not record a catch through the first 24 minutes of play.

On the ground, the Jays only managed nine yards on four carries.

A mere eight seconds after Jamestown tied things up, Ethan Miller's 80-yard return made it 12-6 Hi-Liners. Bryson Heck's PAT made it a seven-point game.


Just a few plays later, Heck proved he had the arm as well as the leg.

JHS football offense convenes
Members of the Jamestown High School football team's offense break for a coaching conference at the end of the first quarter in Valley City on Oct. 7, 2022.
Katie Ringer / The Jamestown Sun

With four seconds remaining on the game clock, Heck launched a Hail Mary 32 yards downfield. Heck's pass was tipped by the Blue Jays and the ball ended up in Miller's hands to help Valley go up by two scores. Heck was 5-for-8 through the first half.

"That was some big momentum for Valley," Nelson said of the touchdown.

Valley had 17 passing completions all season entering Friday. Valley had recorded fewer than 200 yards passing. On the ground, the Hi-Liners have rushed for more than 1500 yards.

Another pair of scores from Miller and an interception kept the momentum completely on the Hi-Liners sideline. The Jays recorded five turnovers over the 48 minutes played. Gerhardt rushed for 103 yards unofficially while Miller tallied 52 yards on the ground.

While the Jays couldn't compete with the scoring, the Blue Jays' defense did all they could for the amount of time they spent on the field.

All told, the Hi-Liners strung together around 175 yards of total offense — 250 less than they did a week ago against Wahpeton.

"I thought they did a great job," Nelson said of his team's defense. "Valley City ended up getting a 1st and goal and we held them to a field goal and turned around again to hold them to a field goal."


Hochhalter was 11-for-21 for 137 yards and two interceptions. Aden Braun recorded four yards on five carries while Josh Robertson was the Jays' No. 1 ground gainer with nine yards on two carries.

"We're a little beat up, we're banged up — but we've still got to find a way to win," Nelson said. "We're kind of depleted in some important areas so other kids need to step up and fight on and keep it going.

"There's a lot of season left. We're still 5-2. We still have the opportunity to host a playoff game. There's a lot still going for us, we just need to keep at it. We'll get better because of this — keep fighting, keep clawing because that's what these kids do."

Valley City 34, Jamestown 6

JHS 0 6 0 0 — 6

VC 6 14 7 7 — 34

First quarter

VC: 24 yard field goal by Bryson Heck

VC: 27 field goal by Bryson Heck

Second quarter

JHS: 30 yard pass by Hochhalter to Nate Walz, (Sara Sletto kick blocked), 7:58

VC: 80 yard return by Aidan Jacobson (kick good), 7:44

VC: 32 yard pass by Heck to Miller (kick good), 0:04.

Third quarter

VC: 15 yard run by Miller (kick good), 3:27

Fourth quarter

VC: 5 yard run by Miller (kick good), 11:55.

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 or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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