Article by Ian Grande
Stanley- The Stanley-Powers Lake Football co-op closed it’s final chapter on Tuesday with the conclusion of their game against Dickinson Trinity. Next season will feature two large changes for Stanley football program. First, the Blue Jays will be competing in Class A (currently in AA). Second, Stanley will be competing without Powers Lake for the first time in 15 years. The Powers Lake Ranchers will be joining forces with Ray and the newly formed co-op will compete in the 9-man division next season.
This will be the first article in a four part series that takes a look back at the Stanley-Powers Lake Football co-op and the man who led the Blue Jays to three state championships, Lyne Enget.
A Partnership Is Born
Around the turn of the century, the Powers Lake/Burke Central football co-op faced a difficult decision as numbers were continuing to slide. Ultimately, the Powers Lake board came together with the Stanley board and forged an agreement that would last for 16 seasons and yield two state championships to go along with numerous deep playoff runs. Burke Central would end up forming a new co-op with Kenmare and Bowbells, this team is currently competing in 9-man.
Stanley had been enjoying a strong run prior to the co-op being formed. The Blue Jays were State Champions in ’99 as well as State Runners-up in ’98. While Stanley seemed to be fairing pretty well on their own, the kids from Powers Lake were a welcomed addition by the coaching staff. Allen Burgad coached the Stanley Blue Jays alongside Lyne Enget from 1993 to 2003, helping to capture two North Dakota Class “A” State Championships. “Powers Lake always seemed to have those 2-3 really strong and athletic kids that fit in perfect on the team, the added depth at all positions that they added was also a nice luxury,” said Burgad.
Burgad’s thoughts were echoed by fellow coach Scotty Meiers who joined Enget and Burgad in 1999 and helped lead the Blue Jays to North Dakota Class “A” State Championships in ’99, ’02, and ’11. “Every team had kids from Powers Lake that were key contributors, the added competition at all positions helped to make everyone a better athlete,” said Meiers.
The newly formed co-op found early success and the rivalries that formed in the 90’s seemed to intensify in the new century with the addition of the Powers Lake student athletes.
Stanley-Powers Lake came into the 2002 North Dakota Class “A” Football playoffs as the #2 seed out of region 3 and drew Langdon in the first round, Velva held the #1 from region 3 and would face Thompson in the first round. Both teams were able to advance with Stanley-Powers Lake winning by a score of 30-13 and Velva blowing by the Tommies 40-8. Stanley-Powers Lake and Velva would both cruise in their quarterfinal matches as well with Stanley topping Larimore 16-0 and Velva crushing Kenmare 42-0 to set up a semi-final match between the two powerhouse teams. The meeting with Velva not only offered the Blue Jays a chance to get to the State Championship, it offered them a chance at redemption as well.
The two teams would have their yearly meetings during the regular season and because of their prowess they would usually meet up again in the playoffs, 2002 was no exception. Burgad recalls both of the matchups with Velva-Sawyer that took place during the 2002 season, “We played them (Velva) in the regular season and neither team scored for four quarters, they ended up beating us 3-0 in overtime. As luck would have it, we met up with them again in the semifinals. Larry Sandy (Velva Head Coach) and Lyne (Enget) were both on top of their game, Larry threw out a couple of bootleg plays that we didn’t have an answer for and Lyne countered with a double pass that worked to perfection. We ended up winning that game by 1 point, it seemed like every game we had with Velva was an instant classic.” The Stanley-Powers Lake/Velva rivalry was impressive and long lasting, the two programs combined for a staggering 12 North Dakota Class “A” State Championships between 1997-2011.
2002 Championship Game
The Stanley-Powers Lake Blue Jays were able to take the momentum of that playoff victory over Velva into the 2002 North Dakota State High School Football Championship against the Carrington Cardinals.
The Blue Jays defense was able to provide a majority of the scoring in the championship game. James Kuster and Gabe Davidson both returned interceptions for touchdowns, Davidson took his second quarter interception in to put Stanley up 14-6, and Kuster would bring back his third quarter interception to put Stanley up 20-6. The Blue Jays would take that seemingly safe 14 point lead into the fourth quarter before Carrington made things interesting. The Cardinals were able to punch in a 1 yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to pull within 8 points. Carrington would find themselves with a 4th-and-1 deep in Blue Jay territory with under two minutes left in the game with a chance to tie the game, this set the stage for Stanley defender Jason Roise to break into the backfield to make a game saving play. Roise’s play to seal the game is one that Burgad remembers vividly, “Not only was Jason completely outsized by their lineman, they had overloaded to the strong side against him. We had gone over that play in practice and he recognized the overload and somehow got low and stuffed the run. It was an incredible play and a great way to finish an excellent game,” Burgad recalled.
Box Score from 2002 North Dakota Football State Championship
Stanley-PL 7 7 6 0 — 20
Carrington 6 0 0 6 — 12
Stanley-PL –Dolezal 4 run (Mar kick), 8:27.
Carrington–Monson 2 run (kick failed), :23.
Stanley-PL –Davidson 36 interception return, (Mar kick), 10:09.
Stanley-PL–Kuster 96 interception return (kick failed), 4:49.
Carrington–Van Ray 1 run (run failed), 7:54.
Rushing attempts-yards: Stanley: 37-140 Carrington: 49-150
Passing yards: Stanley: 21 Carrington: 86
Time of Possession: Stanley: 21:23 Carrington: 26:37
RUSHING–Stanley-PL: Dolezal 16-51, Vaage 7-39, Vaukal 6-28, Leupp 1-19, Swenson 10-3. Carrington: DeVillers 27-84, Monson 14-59, Van Ray 6-7, Fredrickson 2-7, Glennen 1-3.
PASSING–Stanley-PL: Dolezal 2-7-0-21. Carrington: Van Ray 6-13-1-86; Monson 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING–Stanley-PL: Wolla 1-11, Vaukal 1-10. Carrington: Zink 5-87, Monson 1-minus 1.
All State Football Selections from Stanley (2002)
Seven Stanley-Powers Lake Blue Jays were named to the North Dakota Class A Football All-State team in 2002.
Here is the list:
First team offense : Nathan Beckman and Scott Holvorson
Second team offense: Jerimiah Swenson and Gabe Davidson
First team defense: Riley Dolezal
Second team defense: Jon Vaage and Jim Kuster
A Promising Start To A New Partnership
The 2002 Championship was an excellent way to kick off a new partnership between Stanley and Powers Lake. Combining two programs comes with a new set of potential challenges, the coaching staff, players, and both communities stepped up to ensure that the co-op was a success. The Blue Jays would find themselves on another magical run later on, something we will cover in article #2 of this series.
Keep an eye out for the next three articles!
Ian Grande is the editor of the Stanley Gazette, he can be reached at StanleyGazette@gmail.com
Check out another feature story by the Stanley Gazette: Talented trio of former Stanley Blue Jay athletes enjoying collegiate athletics