Male Area Athlete of the Week: Dugan runs C-I to victory

Kale Dugan.

Kale Dugan loves his mullet.

The Crosby-Ironton senior rocked the business in the front, party in the back hairstyle while still rushing for 164 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns in a win over Mesabi East.

“It was a whole team thing,” Dugan said. “My lineman had some nice blocks setup for me and I did my thing.”

C-I head coach Bryan Syrstad was pleased with the way his senior running back performed.

“Kale’s just been working really hard,” Syrstad said. “He can handle the carries and he’s healthy finally. He battled really hard on Friday night. I don’t know what else to say. We kept giving him the ball and he wanted the ball.”


Dugan did not have to do a lot of adjusting against Mesabi East. A lot of his good runs came off the first read.

“I just hit (the hole) going north and south trying to get as much as I can get each play,” Dugan said. “It was awesome and a great feeling to get out there with my brothers and win.”

Mesabi East did not load the box against C-I which for Dugan meant tons of open running lanes.

“They let us keep running the ball,” Dugan said. “It let us get things rolling and once we got in that groove it’s hard to stop that.”

Dugan is no stranger to having to carry a big load of the offensive burden.

“It’s a lot of responsibility put on me, but I feel like I can handle that,” he said. “Been doing it for a few years now. Nothing more I can ask for.”

Dugan isn’t the only running back capable of putting up big numbers for the Rangers.

“We have a lot of guys in that senior group that when you put the ball in their hands they can do something with it,” Syrstad said. “(Dugan) follows his blocks really well and he puts his head down when he needs a couple yards.”


Dugan stands 5-foot-8 which makes him a short, power back and hard to tackle.

“(Defenders) have to get lower than they think,” he said. “And I’m not going to stop until I’m on the ground or that fourth quarter clock stops. It’s harder to tackle me and I still see everything nice and light on my feet.”

“He has good vision down field and he can see outside,” Syrstad said. “He is short in stature, but he has a low center of gravity and is tough to take down.”

Another responsibility Dugan has is being captain of the Ranger football team, which during COVID-19 has been different.

“I guess, at the beginning, it was hard to get everyone focused,” he said. “We didn’t know if there was going to be a season. Then it was going to be postponed until spring, but as soon as we got that call that there would be games this fall everyone kind of locked in.”

The Rangers come into the season having high expectations because they have a big senior class, including Dugan.

“We have a lot of talented guys,” he said. “We are just going to go out and have fun.”

Dugan thinks his biggest improvements have come from being more patient. Last year, he rushed for 369 yards and a touchdown while also catching 12 passes for 96 yards and two scores.


“Just letting things develop in front of me,” Dugan said. “Once I see that hole and opportunity, I take it.”

Syrstad said his improvement has come from his offseason commitment to the weight room.

“He’s gotten faster, strong and more explosive,” Syrstad said. “He has a great personality and he’s the type of person the guys like to be around. He keeps the mood light and focuses on what he can control.”

Dugan’s last word of advice, however, has to do with his hair.

“I think more people should go out and get mullets,” Dugan said. “It’s really a nice hairdo.”

Other notable performances:
Football: Quintin Laveau, Pillager, rushed for 70 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 63 yards in a win over Staples-Motley.
Hunter Gjovik, Pillager, rushed for 59 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdown in a win over Staples-Motley
Sivert Klefsaas, Staples-Motley, rushed for 147 yards on 22 carries and scored one touchdown in a loss to Pillager.
Dane Couture, Little Falls, returned an interception for a touchdown and kicked the game-winning 33-yard field goal against Milaca.
Gideon Ervasti, Verndale, rushed for 146 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns in a win over Wheaton/Herman-Norcross
Owen Miller, Aitkin, scored two touchdowns in a win over Greenway.
Connor Telenchik, Pine River-Backus, scored three touchdowns in a loss to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley.
Payton Rondestvedt, Wadena-Deer Creek, threw for 152 yards and three touchdown passes and rushed for 79 yards and one touchdown in a win over Red Lake.
Shade Bounds, Wadena-Deer Creek, scored two touchdowns in a win over Red Lake.
Ryan Monahan, Pequot Lakes, caught four passes for 121 yards and scored three touchdowns in a loss to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.
Bode Magnuson, Pequot Lakes, threw for 187 yards and three touchdown passes in a loss to Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton.
Soccer: Ben Rekstad, Little Falls, tallied 12 saves and a shutout in a win over Zimmerman.
Cross-Country: Emmet Anderson, Staples-Motley, won the Mid-State Conference Championship in 16:19.3.

Kale Dugan

Year: Senior

School: Crosby-Ironton

Sport: Football


Position: Running back

Highlights: He rushed for 164 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns in a win over Mesabi East.

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