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Semi-pro football team to have open tryouts

South Dakota football fans will have another semiprofessional team to watch this year, and they even have a chance to be on the team.

The Tri-State Buffalos, which will serve the South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota region, is starting a team that begins its season in April.

Team owner Cody Scholten said the team is hosting open tryouts for all roster positions from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday in Sioux Falls. It will play nine-man football and play in the South Plains Football League along with nine other teams from Minnesota and Iowa. The SPFL is an adult, full-contact league based primarily in Minnesota.

Scholten decided to start the team for players who want to keep their football careers alive after high school or college. He said there was an opening for a team in the Minnesota area.

"We are expecting a bunch of guys who love the game," Scholten said. "We expect some guys who got out of college and were not able to go on to college, guys who played a little bit of college football and guys with four years of Division I experience just trying to further their professional careers."

Scholten is a former linebacker for the Sioux Falls Stallions, an 11-man semiprofessional team that still competes in the Midwest Football Alliance. Because it is semiprofessional, the players on the Buffalos and the Stallions do not have to get paid.

Buffalos head coach Ken McCuen said the team does have the option to pay its players and coaches and may do so down the line but will not this season.

Another football team in Sioux Falls is the Storm, an arena league team in which players are paid to play.

Tryouts for the team are for men 17 and older at the Sanford Power Field House in Sioux Falls. There is a one-time tryout fee of $10. The Buffalos will have a second tryout Feb. 23 in Hills, Minn., where the squad's home games will be played.

"We are looking for good football players," McCuen said. "There are a ton of high school guys that would like the opportunity to play again."

The players on the team play four games at home and four on the road in hopes of making it to the playoffs, which start near the end of June, culminating with a championship in July.

This is McCuen's first head coaching job. He was the defensive coordinator for the Stallions last season and still coaches defensive backs at Brandon Valley High School. Joining McCuen on the staff thus far is offensive coordinator Charles McNamara, who held the same position for the Stallions last year, Klaus Deuschle, who will be an offensive assistant, and Brad Bentley, who will be a defensive assistant. McCuen will be in charge of the defense as well.

Players who will participate in the tryout will show their abilities in various sprints, agility and strength assessments and football fundamentals. It will also include a question-and-answer session with offensive and defensive coaches.

--Saunders works for The Daily Republic in Mitchell, S.D. The Daily Republic, like The Daily Globe, is owned by Forum Communications Co.