October 19 – OAKES, ND – For the sixth consecutive season, the Oakes Tornadoes are participating in the 2022 NDHSAA 11B Football State Playoffs. One of the team’s best pass catchers who helped the Tornadoes qualify for the playoffs is senior wide receiver and outside linebacker Adler Paeper.
Tornadoes head coach Greg Dobitz said Paeper did a good job showing his toughness and opening up on the offensive end of the ball.
“Adler’s done a really good job of getting guys to miss and get yards after contact, offensively. He’s leading the tackles and I think it’s tackles for loss,” Dobitz said. “He’s constantly around football, he’s tough, he’s missed very few shots all year even though he gets tackled and he tackles. He’s a tough kid and he’s been a very solid contributor for us all year.”
Paeper said his tenacity comes from the culture embedded in the program.
“I would say it’s probably the Tornado way,” Paeper said. “We’ve all done it, we’ve all been tough. We keep going, we want the dub.”
Paeper leads the Tornadoes in receiving yards per game at 76.6, is second in total touchdowns and tackles per game at six and 6.3, respectively. In total, Paeper has 22 receptions for 689 yards and five touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball. On the defensive end, he has 40 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, two sacks, three interceptions for 63 yards, one touchdown and six pass deflections.
Paeper’s interception that he returned for a touchdown came in the team’s last game, a 46-37 win over Northern Cass on Oct. 14.
“I read a pass, dropped and hung with the tight end and I don’t know if it was miscommunication or just a bad throw,” Paeper said. “I was able to get to the pitch and that was basically it, beating everyone to the end zone.”
After being held to a catch for 75 yards in the Tornadoes’ loss to Kindred, Paeper responded by finishing the regular season with nine receptions for 343 yards and five touchdowns. Dobitz said his wide has found more luck in the last two games to be able to find the end zone with the consistency he has.
“I think I’ve been working harder and harder in training, focusing and it’s really starting to show on game nights,” Paeper said.
Paeper has made varsity appearances since freshman year, playing in 26 games during his career.
“He’s a kid who probably didn’t play much in his first and second year,” Dobitz said. “His junior year wasn’t a major contributor for us offensively, played a bit defensively. But this year he’s our best receiver, he’s our main tackle. Like I said, he’s been working on it at the ‘training, he understands what we’re trying to do offensively and defensively. He works inside the system, so I’m really proud of how he’s developed as a football player.
The Tornadoes open the playoffs at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, when they host Thompson. The Tornadoes are the No. 2 seed in Region 1, with an 8-1 record, while the Tommies are the No. 3 seed in Region 3 with a 7-2 record.
“I think Thompson is a solidly built team,” Paeper said. “It won’t be an easy win. I think they’re a good team, but we’re going to have to focus this week in training. A win isn’t easy, it will take 100% commitment from everyone. world to get the dubbing.”
The two teams haven’t played each other since 2020, when the Tornadoes beat the Tommies 21-14 on Sept. 11. Paeper said the biggest challenge that comes from facing a team you haven’t played in a while is the unknown, that the Tommies are going to change their games and look different from the last time the teams got together. are encountered.
The Tornadoes have been trying to get past the first round since 2020, Paeper’s second year.
“That would be awesome,” Paeper said. “We have a great team. It’s my last year, now would be the time to do it and I think we have a chance to do it.”