Alex Yanosko seemed to be craving contact as the Minot High School quarterback faced a different team for the first time in preseason.
The senior quarterback led the Magicians against overmatched Velva and Lewis & Clark-Our Reedemeer's in scrimmages at Minot State University on Tuesday. Six area teams took part in the annual event put on by the MSU football program.
Yanosko's most impressive play came on a 40-yard touchdown run against the Bombers - the second team MHS faced. Each possession started on the opposing team's 40-yard line. Lewis & Clark defenders appeared to have Yanosko bottled up near the sideline at the 20-yard line on the first-down play. The 6-foot-2, 212-pound signal caller ran a bootleg and sprinted upfield after seeing no available receivers. Despite the calls of coaches to get of bounds, Yanosko juked and broke free of a Bomber and split through a porous group of remaining defenders for the score.
Minot High School senior Jacob Holmen breaks a tackle against a Lewis and Clark-Our Redeemer’s player in a scrimmage Tuesday at Herb Parker Stadium.
"We ran the ball pretty well, our passing routes were pretty solid, I threw the ball pretty good, Ben (Bolinske) threw the ball pretty good," Yanosko said. "I'm happy with our receiver play. The line did better than I thought they would."
MHS coach Barry Holmen described the Magicians as having a "reasonable" day and emphasized conditioning as the top thing to improve on. Holmen said giving players a first chance to see themselves on film is another major advantage to scrimmaging six days into camp.
"Kids can often really make a nice step forward if they see themselves and so it's a great opportunity," he said.
"I was happy with some things. We have plenty of improving to do and not just Alex. It's every single body out there. We'll break down film and hopefully between now and next Friday night against West Fargo, we're a much better team."
Yanosko ran for two touchdowns against Velva and was picked off by Isaac Effertz on the team's second possession. The pass went through the outstretched arms of senior tight end Jacob Holmen before Effertz held on as he tightroped the sideline.
Senior running back Brady Lampert had carries of 10 and eight yards against the Aggies.
Lampert caught a pass for 12 yards on the first series against Lewis & Clark and followed the play with a 21-yard touchdown run. MHS scored six times against the Bombers.
Holmen atoned for the early mishap with two touchdown receptions in the second scrimmage. The first was a 26-yard strike from Yanosko and second came on a 9-yard pass from the sophomore Bolinske.
"They left him open any time we ran a streak with him or something, so I kind of just looked off the safety real quick and he's open, just wide open," Yanosko said. "You could be the slowest man in the world and you can score a touchdown with no one 20 yards around you."
Yanosko had two rushing touchdowns and junior Karter Gorney scored on a 4-yard run.
With only two spots on the offensive line settled before the scrimmages, Yanosko was pleased to see considerable push up front from the evolving group.
"We started making good positive gains running (isolation plays) and getting eight yards on the play," he said. "I'll take that any day of the week."
Defensively, the Magicians experimented with different players on the line, including Braden Lach. The junior was moved from linebacker to nose tackle. Lach consistently held double teams and pushed the opposing lines back.
"We've got to do better up front with our D-line," defensive coordinator Jerry Danelson said.
"We're just trying to find guys right now and when you put in the second level, they gotta do their job and line up right."
The MHS linebackers humbled the Class A opponents as inside playmakers Kolton Larson and Zach Danelson, the coach's son, stuffed many run plays in the backfield.
"We gotta get our other linebackers up to the par with that," Jerry Danelson said, "but those two read really well and (we had) hats to the ball. Alex Mack, outside, did some nice things."
The MHS defensive conditioning was tested by the Bombers' no-huddle offense, but Lewis & Clark struggled to answer the MHS size and speed. Gorney, a reserve linebacker, crushed Bomber quarterback Austin Lee on a sack.
Newcomer Ta'Vaydron Davis, a junior free safety, caught the attention of the coaching staff with a couple jarring hits and steady tackling. Customarily, Holmen was quick to dismiss the notion of any players standing out against the smaller schools in the team's first live action. Then he remembered Davis, who moved from Texas earlier this year.
"He played excellent defense and came up and really tackled well and hit hard and was a physical presence," Holmen said, "and, yes, he stood out."
Tim Chapman covers Minot High School athletics. Follow him on Twitter @chapmatp.