Wolf Point Herald

Wolves Hit The Field Running

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New Wolves Quarterback -- Starting quarterback Dalton Hafner throws a pass during the second practice of the season Friday, Aug. 15.  (Photo by John Plestina)

The 2014 football season is just over a week from starting and Wolves head coach Bruce Knerr is going into the new season with confidence that the Wolves will bounce back from a 1-7 2013 season.
“If I didn’t say we’re going to win the conference title, they can fire me,” Knerr said, Friday, Aug. 15, during the second practice on the first day that high school practices are permitted.
The first practice started at 12:01 a.m., with the 37 players hitting the gym for a boot camp session, followed by an overnight stay and ending with the second practice on the grass at Lowry Field.
“This is the year,” Knerr said. “Most of these seniors have been starters since they were sophomores.”
Bouncing back from a tough season last year, Knerr noted that the District 2B Wolves could have been 4-4.
“We actually lost three games in the fourth quarter,” Knerr said.
In one of those games, Harlem chipped away at a 19-point Wolf Point halftime lead for a come-from- behind win at the Wolves expense.
Starting quarterback Dalton Hafner was injured participating in a wild horse race during the summer. The senior is expected to be healthy and able to start for the season opener on Friday, Aug. 29.
A running back last year, Hafner is replacing Tukker Toavs in the quarterback position.
Senior wide receiver Tyson Bridges was an all-conference selection last year.
“He’s one of the best in the state,” Knerr said.
Cameron Quincy is a returning all-conference lineman.
A third all-conference returning player is David Knerr at running back and linebacker.
Wolf Point is returning seven starters on defense.
Senior Josh Nieskens will be a slot receiver and running back on offense and a linebacker on defense. He was ineligible to play last year.
“He’s had a great summer. He went to camp,” Knerr said. “He catches the ball really well.”
Sophomore wide receiver Morty Manning is returning to football after being hurt while playing in junior high. He attended camp with the team during the summer and is practicing with the team.
Sophomore Kenny Boos and junior Austin Juve will see playing time and both could be starters.
“The biggest battle in Wolf Point right now is the starting kicker spot with three guys vying for it,” Knerr said.
The three players are David Knerr, Logan Nefzger and Jeremiah Paine.
Handicapping the Wolves are some grade issues. Three starting impact players will miss the first three games due to end of the last school year grades. All three have attended summer school. I wish I had Tukker Toavs and David Hopson back,” Knerr said.
Both impact players graduated in May.
“These two are huge, huge loses,” Knerr said.
Knerr has banned all hazing and has instituted a mentoring program where each senior on the squad mentors at least one freshman.
“It’s bonded our team a little bit better,” Knerr said.
Two-a-day practices were only held twice — Friday and Saturday, Aug. 15-16. Single three-hour practices were held Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 18-19.
The weekend overnight stay in the school allowed for the first two practices, team bonding and Knerr, assistant coaches and the managers cooked pancakes.
The Wolves open the season at home with Plentywood visiting Friday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. Wolf Point travels to Baker, Friday, Sept. 5, and hosts Lodge Grass, Friday, Sept. 12, at 5 p.m. The homecoming game will be Friday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m., with Glasgow visiting.
Plentywood beat Wolf Point last year, but the Wildcats (4-6 in 2013) are struggling for numbers this year, barely fielding a team. Plentywood will drop to eight-man next year.
The Wolves beat up Lodge Grass 50-0 last year.

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City League Action

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These photos from a Wolf Point City League game were submitted by a parent. Several requests for all team photos and season results were unsuccessful.

Canyon Casterline is hitting and Gage Bushman catching.

Wyatt Babb swings the bat during one of the summer baseball program games.

Sage Hutchinson hits for the Friesen’s Floral withGage Bushman catching at one of the summer baseball program games.

Canyon Casterline watches for his Friesen’s Floral teammate to hit the ball during one of this summer’s youth baseball game. Christian Solberg (right) played second base for Western Bank.

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Frontier School Board Agrees To Wolf Point Co-op Terms

The Frontier School Board agreed to the latest offer by the Wolf Point School District for sports co-op terms during the monthly meeting, Monday, Aug. 11.
Two weeks earlier, Wolf Point trustees rebuffed a counter offer from the Frontier board.
Frontier has agreed to co-op with Wolf Point for football, wrestling, cross country and track and split the $21,200 total cost, with each district funding $10,600.
A concern repeated several times was that with fall sports starting, it is too late for Frontier only programs for this year, and to not come to terms would exclude Frontier students from athletic programs for the new school year. A potential for Frontier enrollments to decline with some student athletes enrolling at Wolf Point Junior High was a concern.
The offers and counter offers began with the Wolf Point board voting in June to develop a co-op contract with Frontier for all junior high sports for an estimated savings to the WPSD of $8,500. That included charging Frontier a $400 fee per sport [all sports] totaling $2,800 and splitting travel costs with Frontier to scheduled events for a cost savings of $5,200.
There have been transportation disagreements.
“We offered to take them [Wolf Point] on trips we take [on Frontier buses], but they are not interested,” Superintendent Christine Eggar said.
“The mileage they’re giving us is $2 a mile. That’s pretty steep,” she said.
“I don’t think we have a lot of options,” board chair Brandon Babb said.
Eggar questioned the fairness of the WPSD charging Frontier half the cost of bus transportation for away cross country meets, but including Wolf Point High School students on the bus.
Another issue raised was that Frontier athletes have to pay the Wolf Point pay-to-play fees.
The Frontier district has maintained that it wants to retain as much of the Frontier Mustang identity as possible and would keep their own boys’ and girls’ basketball and volleyball programs, while agreeing to continue to co-op with Wolf Point for football, cross country, wrestling and track, with Frontier paying Wolf Point a $400 fee per co-oped sport, even if no students are participating from Frontier.
Last year, seven Frontier students played Wolf Point Junior High football and nine the previous year, raising the question of whether either school could field a team with solely their own students.
There was a brief discussion about fielding a team for a six-man football program.
The Frontier board will revisit the co-op issue each year.
Wolf Point seeking a new co-op agreement with Frontier was part of nearly $300,000 in cuts and fee restructuring.
The original WPSD proposal included a statement that if Frontier did not accept the terms, the WPSD would discontinue allowing Frontier students to participate in Wolf Point Junior High athletics.

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Cross Country Parents’ Meeting Set

A meeting for parents of Wolf Point students between grades 4-12 who are going to participate in cross country will be held Friday, Aug. 15, at 5:30 p.m., at the Wolf Point High School track bleachers.
A practice will follow the meeting for grades 7-12.
A physical is required to practice.

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Cyclists Seeking Affordable Housing For All Stop In Wolf Point

 

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Thirty-one of the 34 Bike & Build cyclists who stopped in Wolf Point Friday, Aug. 1, pose for a picture in front of First Lutheran Church on Johnson Street after the Optimist Club provided a meal.  (Photo by John Plestina)

When 34 mostly college-age people did a “wheel dip” in the Atlantic Ocean at Portsmouth, N.H., in June, they were beginning a coast-to-coast bicycle trip to raise money for affordable housing programs.
On day 51, they rolled into Wolf Point.
Another “wheel dip,” this time in the Pacific ocean near Vancouver, B.C., Canada, is planned for Thursday, Aug. 21, the final destination for the 71-day trip.
The group that visited Wolf Point was one of eight groups taking different routes for affordable housing.
The northern route participants, that range in age from 18-27, are part of Bike & Build, which helps fund housing projects nationwide.
They rolled into Wolf Point, during the late afternoon hours, Friday, Aug. 1, after cycling 108 miles from their last overnight stay at Brush Lake State Park, east of Plentywood.
Their typical day averages about 70 miles, according to Valentine.
They stayed one night in Wolf Point and cycled to Glasgow Saturday.
First Lutheran Church on Johnson Street provided lodging and the Wolf Point Optimist Club prepared and served a meal.
Madeline Valentine, 23, a Michigan State University student from Grand Rapids, Mich., said each participant must raise $4,500 before they begin the trip.
Along the way, they volunteer with affordable housing projects, including Habitat for Humanity.
The group is not religiously affiliated but frequently stays at churches, a means of not spending any more money than they need to.
To its credit, Bike & Build has more than $4.5 million in donations over the past 11 years and over 160,000 volunteered labor hours.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers housing affordable as long as the cost of rent or mortgage and tax payments, plus utilities, do not exceed 30 percent of income, which about 40 million American households fall short of 2011.
Unsafe and, or inadequate housing is a result.

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