Aug. 28—The next stop for Kurtis Walls on his American football world tour is Linton, North Dakota.
"I came from Zielona Gora, Poland before coming to Linton," Walls said. "COVID stopped my dreams of playing but jump-started my passion for coaching. My fiancée and I felt like it was a great fit to start our careers."
Walls was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, then chose to attend Valley City State University (VCSU) and committed to play football. Walls said he had a successful career and was able to then travel and play American football across the world.
Walls was recently named the head coach of the Linton/HMB-SZ football program and will head up Linton's second year in the Class B 11-man standings.
The Lions will open up the season on the road against Ellendale-Edgeley/Kulm on Aug. 19. Walls said he is expecting the matchup against the Thunder to be a great test of Region 1 waters.
"This team is capable of whatever we put our minds to," Walls said. '"Our biggest opponent this season will be ourselves. We have the talent, the coaches, the parents and the community to have a successful team. I believe in these boys and know we have the potential to make some noise this year."
Linton/HMB kicked off the 2021 season at 2-0 before dropping six in a row to wind up at 3-6 in the team's first season in the 11-man standings.
"We will be a team that will show improvement," Walls said. "We will have strong senior class and have more experience at that next level. Last year was a year to get our feet wet, this year the program feels as if it is ready to take that next step in the right direction and play the football that we know how to play."
Linton/HMB-SZ lost 2021 all-stater Dean Vetter and Joseph Fode to graduation but is returning five team members who have all played in high-pressure situations and bring a wealth of experience to the field.
The Bosch duo comprised of Landon Bosch and Grant Bosch will be back on the gridiron with Landon at tight end and linebacker and Grant as a wide-out and a defensive back.
Aaron Hoff-Wald and Landon Schumacher will be back on the offensive and defensive line. Justin Tschosik will be returning as a wide receiver and defensive back.
"Our experience is going to be our driving force this season," Walls said. "We have a strong core group of kids who started or played significant time during the state championship run a couple of years ago. The kids know what it takes to win the big game. With the experience of last year, I believe the boys are ready."
While he's new to coaching prep football in North Dakota, Walls is no stranger to the fact that Linton plays in an absolute beast of a region. Walls said the Lions are going to have to give their best every single week because every team is capable of coming out and posting a W.
"I am excited to get it going," Walls said. "There is no better feeling than stepping onto that football field, smelling the fresh cut grass and getting ready to put in work with your brothers on your side.
"I am excited for the year that Linton-HMB-SZ is going to have. Another year of experience for our kids is going to help us. I am excited to see what we are truly made of."