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NER returns to varsity play

After one-year hiatus due to limited numbers, the Nighthawks are back

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 8/23/19

BABBITT—Northeast Range will have a varsity squad back on the gridiron this season after a year’s break due to limited numbers of upperclassmen. This year, a raft of sophomores and a handful of …

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NER returns to varsity play

After one-year hiatus due to limited numbers, the Nighthawks are back

Posted

BABBITT—Northeast Range will have a varsity squad back on the gridiron this season after a year’s break due to limited numbers of upperclassmen. This year, a raft of sophomores and a handful of juniors who had played at the junior varsity level last year have returned. With one senior and a number of freshmen filling out the ranks, the Nighthawks should have enough players to keep a competitive team on the field. The team went 3-3 last year at the JV level and Nighthawks Head Coach Mike Summers is optimistic the team will put a few wins on the board this season as well.

The team will still have its challenges, with just one player suiting up at over 200 pounds. But Summers said what his team lacks in physical size they make up for in speed and athletic ability.

The team plans to operate a Run, Pass, Option offense, which Summers said should help the team obtain maximum advantage from its speed. “That, and a little bit of creativity, should work in our favor,” he said.

Summers coached the Nighthawks junior varsity squad last year, and he might be familiar to longtime high school football fans, since he coached football for the Cook Little Gophers back in the 1990s.

The Nighthawks’ schedule remains a bit in flux as they’re hoping to have their new field lights working this season. The team had been without lights for the past several years, which had limited them to afternoon home games. Summers said he expects the lights will be operating when they host Lake of the Woods in their home opener on Sept. 6, although an osprey nest on one of the light banks has slowed the effort to get the lights working. Summers said the nest appears to be inactive but the Department of Natural Resources has prohibited them from removing the nest until it can be verified as abandoned.

Finding officials has been another challenge, since all of them were booked up weeks ago for Friday night games. Summers said they’re looking at shifting one or two home games to Thursdays, when there’s a lot less competition for officials, so they can take advantage of their new lights.

The Nighthawks will get their first taste of varsity action this Saturday, when they host Ely in an 11 a.m. pre-season scrimmage. They’ll open their regular season next Friday, at Bigfork.

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