With only days until the first ever flag football game between the Valley City State University football team and the Barnes County Sheriff's Deputy Reserves, coaches Ryan Cunningham and J. Reed Anderson are starting to feel the excitement.
"This is always fun to do things like this," Cunningham said Monday.
Cunningham, sports director at KOVC, will be coaching a team of Viking freshmen while Anderson, publisher of the Times-Record, helms the Deputies.
The game, a fundraiser for the Deputy Reserves, will be played at 7 p.m. Thursday at Lokken Stadium on the VCSU campus. Admission is $5.
Barnes County Sheriff's Deputy Scott Crump organized the event and said he "didn't have a clue" at the support the game would get within the community.
The game has gotten support from local businesses both financially and in the form of donations for a silent auction that will take place at the game. The highlight of the auction is an autographed jersey from former Minnesota Viking wide reciever Cris Carter, Crump said.
Other items range from oil changes, tools, shoes, and stays at local hotels.
"These local businesses know how important it is to support the reserves and they all stepped up," Crump said.
As for the game itself, the VCSU team will be represented by its incoming freshmen players, who arrived in Valley City earlier this week.
Dennis McCulloch, the head coach of the VCSU team, said his older players will be watching the game but aren't participating to avoid any accidental injury.
But the players that are playing, he said will be looking for playing time this season.
"These young guys that they're going to watch may be playing on Saturdays too," McCulloch said.
With his players out of town, Cunningham wasn't sure if he'd meet his players before the game.
"My guys are going to be quality athletes at VCSU, so we'll draw some plays up in the sand," he said.
Anderson, however, has had a chance to get his team together for scrimmages on multiple occasions and also felt he was better prepared on the sidelines.
"We have some experience. not only on the field with the players, but we have an experienced coach, which I think is much to the regret of the Vikings," Anderson said. "They have somebody who I think he knows what the NFL channel is, but I don't think he knows much more about football beyond that."
Cunningham, however, saw weakness in Anderson's abilities. The doubts came after Anderson used his leverage as publisher to keep a Times-Record staff member from becoming an assistant for Cunningham.
"For a guy to start throwing his weight around the office to ensure victory, that's desperate," Cunningham said.
Crump said the rivalry was what he expected out of the two.
"We really thought that those two would have a lot of fun with it and they would promote it in the same aspect as having fun with it," he said. "It's all in good fun."
Crump said he expects the game to be fun and competitive and encouraged fans to check out the game.
"Come out and be loud, support whatever side you want," he said.