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Hornets hoping to continue to build towards deep run

If the Hornets make the playoffs, it will be the sixth consecutive year that they've made the playoffs.

Harvey Wells County
The Hornets' Maddix Martinson (34) hits the pads held by Franklin Graumann (15) while Alex Smith (5) looks on at practice on Aug. 16, 2022.
Contributed / Brett Dockter
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HARVEY, N.D. — The Harvey/Wells County Hornets continued their upward trajectory with a 7-3 record in 2021, making the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season in the process.

The Hornets ended the regular season on a three-game winning streak in which they outscored opponents 135-40. Their season ended for the third year in a row in the first round, though, as they fell 43-6 to Central Cass High School.

It will be hard to get back to the playoffs for the Hornets, who lost 15 players to graduation. The team is returning experience in the skill positions including sophomore quarterback Tallen Thorson, who played sparingly as the quarterback in his freshman year, only attempting six passes. He did, however, have eight rushes for 110 yards and had two tackles on defense.

“Our quarterback (Thorson) has had a couple years of growth and he’s a 300-meter hurdle champion so, we’re real excited about him,” head coach Bret Dockter said. “We have a real positive couple of skill guys that are big kids, 6’3", 200-pound receivers, a couple pair of those; a tailback that’s got state 100 (meter) speed. We’re not empty by any means, they’re young, so we’re gonna have to slow things down maybe to a pace that they understand but they’re catching fast and they’ve put in a lot of work this summer. Their summer work and what we’ve got done this first six days we feel pretty good about where we are at.”

One of the other key players returning is senior running back and linebacker Gabe Allmaras. Allmaras finished his junior year with 47 total tackles on defense while rushing the ball 20 times for 69 yards and catching four passes for 47 yards.

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Dockter expects steps forward in production and their skill level from multiple players including Thorson, Allmaras, junior Keaton Keller, sophomore Kayl Sieg and senior Brock Fike.

If Allmaras and his teammates are able to get the Hornets back to the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, it will be the second-longest streak in program history since 1975.

“We gotta play together, we gotta play physical, fast,” Allmaras said. “We gotta put some good defensive positions together, same with offense and we’ll have a good shot.”

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One of the obstacles that can stand in the Hornets' way of getting back to the playoffs is their region, where four out of the last five state champions and three of the last five state runners-up compete. Despite that, Dockter said he is confident that the team can return to the playoffs.

“So, we’ve got some tough competition in this region but we feel like our kids are getting in the mentality of playing that competition week in, week out,” Dockter said. “Last year we were nine points away from being region champs, we lost to Hillsboro by two and lost to Langdon by seven, so our kids know what it takes to get into those games. Yeah, we graduated 15 seniors but we still have five starters on offense and six on defense back, so we’re optimistic we can be in the hunt.”

Allmaras is one of four seniors on the roster, which means he has to step up and take on a leadership role for the team.

“It’s a responsibility but it’s fun,” Allmaras said. “You have to have fun with the guys but we get to work, so gotta push tempo at practice, make sure guys aren’t jogging. We get stuff done at practice, we keep the temp going.”

The Hornets opened their season against longtime rival Rugby on Friday, Aug. 19. In order for the Hornets to win, Dockter said the team needs to be fundamentally sound and be energized.

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“That’s the big thing about it, you’re going to play a rival in the first game of the season, it’s gonna be a ton of people, it’s gonna be a great atmosphere, what more do you want,” Dockter said. “That’s what we’re telling our kids, go out and have fun and see where we’re at and that’s what we’re gonna do.”

Dockter said the team’s mantra for the season is steadily improve as the season goes along.

“You just keep building, 1%, 1%, 1%, every time you improve by 1%,” Dockter said. “Shoot, 30 days in a season, you’re already 30% better, we’re taking that motto, let’s improve by one percent each day, and let’s see where it takes us. So far so good, our kids are upbeat, they’re working hard, we’ve had a lot of two-a-days, this year because of the early start and we’re making the most of it.”

Hello,
My name is Max O'Neill. I am a Sports Reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
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