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Schumacher brothers leading Mustangs into the second round

The Mustangs are trying to make the third round for the first time since 2013.

Schumacher brothers
The Mustangs' Daniel Schumacher (72) and James Schumacher (44) celebrate a touchdown during the Mustangs win over Hettinger/Scranton on Sept. 2, 2022, at Hettinger High School.
Contributed/ Mary Ann Weber
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WISHEK, N.D. — For the first time since 2013, the South Border Mustangs have made it to the second round of the state playoffs. The Mustangs are one of 16 teams left in the 2022 NDHSAA 9B Playoffs and two big reasons why are their brother duo of James and Daniel Schumacher.

“We’re both really competitive people, we push each other,” James said. “I think in the end we have a pretty good relationship, especially on the football field.”

The two play the same base position on defense, linebacker, with junior Daniel playing middle and senior James playing outside. They play different positions on offense as Daniel is a center and James is a running back.

The Mustangs go on the road for the second round at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, when they face Grant County/Flasher. In order for the brothers to help the team get past the Storm, Mustangs head coach Evan Mellmer said the duo cannot try to do too much.

“They both have to stay in their scheme and do what they’re good at and I think that’s where we’ll have the best chance to win,” Mellmer said.

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This season, on the offensive side of the ball, James has 92 carries for 583 yards, 10 touchdowns and three fumbles. He has also recorded six receptions for 40 yards and one touchdown. On the defensive side of the ball, he has 48 tackles.

Because he is an offensive lineman, Daniel does not have as much of an impact on the stat sheet on offense as he only has one carry for two yards. But his impact is felt on the other side of the line of scrimmage as he has recorded 78 tackles.

James said he could not have the success he does running the ball without his brother blocking for him.

“A lot of plays, I get it right up the gut and me and my brother have this thing where I’ll be running and I’ll put my arm on him and I’ll follow him,” James said. “I do this with lots of people. I’ll literally put my arm on them and let them lead me and direct me to where I’m going and right when they hit a block, I’ll push them away and keep going and find somebody else.”

Daniel said his biggest motivation this season is having one last ride with his brother. The brothers said they are super competitive with each other and drive each other to constantly improve. James said the borthers are not afraid to critique each other.

Mellmer gave James a tremendous amount of credit for accepting a smaller role this season.

“We’ve changed the offense up a little bit this year and split the carries a little bit more,” Mellmer said. “So, his numbers offensively don’t jump off the page quite like they did last year but that’s a testament to the kid he is. You’re a returning All-Stater and the coach goes, ‘Hey we’re gonna cut some of your carries,’ he could’ve easily fought that I guess a little bit but he welcomed it and we said, 'We’re gonna use you as a lead blocker a lot,' and he embraced that.”

Mellmer called Daniel the ultimate glue guy for his team.

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“If we were to lose Danny, that might be the hardest guy for us to overcome,” Mellmer said. “He’s our most physical lineman, he does a really good job keeping all those guys up front on the same page. If we have a bad play, have a bad snap, whatever, Daniel’s moving them on, he’s moving them on to the next play, he’s getting them refocused. Just his energy, you could never tell if there’s a bad play with Daniel on the field.”

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Mellmer highlighted the effort that the entire Schumacher family has put into the Mustangs program outside of just Daniel and James.

“I think it goes a long way, you hear it all the time, football teams are family, football teams are brothers, but to have a legitimate set of brothers is pretty cool,” he said. “They come from such a great family. Their mom and dad are both phenomenal people that have done a great job raising them and they’re always there to support the program and give us anything we need.”

Football is on the brothers' and teammates' minds all the time.

“Almost our entire team can agree, yes school is very important too, but that’s all we can think about is football,” James said. “Throughout the day when we have open periods, open class, study halls, we’ll be watching film, we’ll be talking about the next week. I mean football is something our school, our community, we’re always talking about football even during school. I mean it’s the main thing in our life right now.”

The Mustangs are not satisfied with their win over Hettinger/Scranton in the first round. The brothers said they want to go all the way.

“The easiest way for me to put this is, when I go to bed at night, I literally dream of seeing the lights in the Fargodome,” Daniel said.

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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