Football enters playoffs; baseball chatters heating up

Brian Qvale delivers a slam dunk and reacts during recent professional basketball play in Japan. The former Coyote is in his 10th season of playing international basketball.

As we slide in front of our computer screen to work up our first Scope column of 2021, thoughts turn to the fact this is our 37th year sharing bits and pieces of interest with readers of the Williston Herald.

In looking back it has been a pleasure to hammer out everything from results of sporting events to making the trek to Washington DC with World War II veterans as a part of the Honor Flight program.

While 37 is a good number, it all began for this scribe more than 44 years ago, long before computers and the digital camera.

Now that’s another story and no need to bore you with that.

Instead, let’s offer you an update on the Qvale boys.

These former Coyotes, the sons of Carol and Sanford Qvale, continue to perform on the professional stage.

There are times we can almost hear the voice of the late George Amsden, expressing how proud he is of his grandsons.

BRIAN QVALE

In his 10th season of playing professional basketball at the international level, Brian finds himself wearing No. 41 for the Gunma Crane Thunders in Japanese league play.

This is his second season in Japan, however this is a different squad.

In the past Brian has been able to have his family with him, but due to COVID-19 restrictions it was best for his wife and two children to remain at home in Missoula, Montana.

SETS WIN STREAK

According to our latest report the Thunders, thanks to the steady play of Brian and his teammates, were at 25-2 and stood with a 23-game winning streak.

That impressive streak of wins also set a Japanese league record.

At 6’-11”, Brian has been averaging 15 points per game, along with eight rebounds, while recording an average of four assists per outing.

When playing on the home court, before half-capacity, this means a crowd of roughly 1,000 fans are enjoying some good basketball.

Brian reports, “Gunma is still sunny, getting colder and waiting for some snow sometime.”

While Brian still has more to play, Brent will have some time on his hands.

B

RENT QVALE

“I can’t believe the season is over after such a long year.”

Those were the words of Brent, just prior to the final regular season National Football League outing for his team.

Brent is in his first year with the Houston Texans, after having spent the past six seasons in a New York Jets uniform.

When making the move to his new home in the Houston area, Brent and his wife Melisa have had to adjust to their first child, along with a family puppy.

In addition, “we had to deal with so many changes throughout the year with all the COVID-19 protocols each week,” said Brent.

He went on to say, “some of the protocols were wearing face shields over our helmets, masks on anytime your helmet was off, and special masks for team travel. Obviously no one was happy with the record of the team either, we played in some close games that did not go our way.”

ENDS PLAY EARLY

In discussing his season Brent said, “my season had its ups and downs just like the teams. I was not playing much and then I was asked to start a few games at left guard.”

Play ended early for Brent as, “unfortunately my season came to an end early in the Bengals game I suffered a concussion and won’t be able to play in the last game against Tennessee.”

The Texans dropped the final game by a 41-38 margin, finishing out the season at 4-12.

That left Brent to say, “overall I am happy I was able to get those starts and get some film for moving my career forward. Now as we go into the off-season, I can take some time away from football to heal and be with my family more to rest up to see what happens next year.”

CARSON WENTZ

While the two former Coyotes continue with play, the status of former Bismarck standout Carson Wentz appears to be up in the air.

Wentz you might recall was nothing but money for the North Dakota State University Bison, before being taken as the second pick by the Philadelphia Eagles.

The quarterback fell upon hard times with some injuries in his early pro days, while this year he just couldn’t seem to get in sync and was eventually pulled from his starting role.

The Eagles finished play at 4-11-1.

Reportedly that led to a deep division between him and his head coach.

Talk now is Wentz is asking to jump ship and get a fresh start.

Some have him going to Indianapolis, a place he could hook up with his former offensive coordinator.

That is something that will have to be worked out.

One thing, he inked a big enough contract to hold him over.

DIAMOND CHATTER

While football is winding down, that means one good thing.

Yes folks, baseball chatter is beginning to heat up.

While not directly involved, the good news for the Minnesota Twins is the fact Cleveland traded super star shortstop Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets of the National League, while taking him out of the Indians lineup.

Meanwhile, we sure don’t like the fact the Twins lose hard throwing righthander Trevor May, as he inked a two-year deal, also with the Mets.

It appears the Mets, under new ownership, are making some noise in the baseball world.

Now, it’s time for management to make some moves that will improve the Twins.

Another move that will no doubt be interesting is the switch, with the Twins having the St. Paul Saints as the base Triple A farm team.

Let the games begin!

Thomas A. Kvamme is a former resident and long time sports editor and columnist for the Herald. He can be reached at scopend@yahoo.com.

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