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'We're a family': Blue Jay linebackers getting stuff done this fall

The Jamestown High School football teams has one of the best defenses in the Class A football scene this season.

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Preston Gall (13) is in the second line of defense as a linebacker behind the Blue Jays line strength of Vaughn Romsdahl (66) and Jack VanBerkom (54).
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN — Preston Gall didn't have a lot to say but when he opened his mouth he dropped a gold nugget.

"I just wanted to say that defense wins championships," Gall said. "That's all I wanted to say because it's true."

Hopefully, sentiment turns into action for the Blue Jay football team this fall.

Blue Jay defensive coach, Shawn Frank, has assembled quite the team backing the defensive lineman. Gall, Jackson Walters, Colton Mewes and Sam Mayhair are the four filling in the linebacker spots.

"I love how much the coaches care about you — especially coach Frank," Mayhair, a junior middle linebacker said. "He coaches you super hard and screams at you but that's not because he hates you, it's because he likes you."

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The Blue Jays are entering week No. 6 of the 2022 season at 4-1. The team plays Dickinson on Friday, Sept. 30. After a loss to Wahpeton on Sept. 23, the Jays have got a fire lit under them and have no plans on letting any other teams past the line of scrimmage.

The four linebackers along with a stout defensive line have given up 1,086 yards of total offense all season.

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The most yards the Jays allowed came in the team's contest against Wahpeton last Friday. The Huskies managed to put 267 yards past the Blue Jays' defense.

"I think that one of the special things about defense is that you don't get the recognition," Walters said. "You put in all the hard work and we know that we need to get the stops. That's what our goal is every time. Stopping momentum and then getting it back for us is what our job is."

Jamestown has tabulated at least 250 offensive yards in each of its four games. In week four against Watford City, the team strung together a season-high of 445 yards of total offense.

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Linebackers Preston Gall (13), Sam Mayhair (37) and Colton Mewes (11), along with Ethan Gall (59) prepare for the next play Sept. 16, 2022, on Rollie Greeno Field.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun

"Part of our responsibility is leading our defense — making sure all the calls are out and everyone is on the same page," Walters said.

Grand Forks Red River was 0-for-6 on fourth down conversions against the Blue Jay defense. Grand Forks Central went 0-for-1 on fourth down while Watford City was 1-for-2.

The Jays' opponents' third-down conversion numbers have read less than 43% across the board.

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Gall came up with the top defensive numbers last week with seven solo tackles — two from behind the line of scrimmage — and a pair of sacks.

Walters also had seven solo grabs while Mewes had three. Mayhair ended his four quarters played with a pair of tackles.

"We're not looking for the shine — we're just looking to get things done," Mewes said.

In their five games played, the Jays have made 11 defensive sacks and have helped to force 15 turnovers. Walters is the current leading tackler with 40 total tackles — 25 of them solo and four from behind the line of scrimmage.

Mewes is close behind Walters with 36 tackles. The senior has a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery to accompany his 19 solo tackles.

"On defense, there's not the pressure of everyone expecting you to be the guy who makes a big play," Mewes said. "When you are given the opportunity though you get to take it and that's pretty fun."

Gall and Mayhair have combined for 51 tackles and three interceptions.

Gall, Mewes and Walters have been playing football together since they were just starting to play football back in elementary school. The trio has been varsity starters since last season as juniors.

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"We've all been playing since fifth grade together," Walters said. "Not many other schools can say that. We're all one tight-knit community and that's the best part about Blue Jay football I think."

While Mayhair has only been on the line for a total of five games, Walters said Mayhair is no stranger to the team or the position. Mayhair has suited up as a middle linebacker his entire football career, now it's just a matter of adjusting to the speed of the varsity game.

"It's always nice having that speed," Walters said in regards to Mayhair. "You saw it against Central when he came off the edge and got that offside. He knows what he's doing. I look over and he's already giving me the sign that he knows what's going on so he's making sure I know what I am doing. We're all meshing really well together."

While the Blue Jays are the clear favorite to win the Class A West Region title for the second year in a row this fall, the group of linebackers was determined they let everyone know they haven't earned the spot — or a championship — yet.

"We haven't earned it yet this year so we've got to keep working," Mewes said. "I love everything about this team. The environment, how everyone works hard, we've got each other's backs, we love each other. We're a family."

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Linebackers, Colton Mewes (11) Sam Mayhair (37) and Jackson Walters (23) contribute many tackles for Jamestown's defense.
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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