Barrett Willison blocks

Hillsboro-Central Valley senior lineman Barrett Willison and the Burros square off against the Kindred Vikings at the Fargdome today for the Class 11B crown. Willison said the Burros started fall practices with a “dome or bust” mentality this season.

I stopped to buy a bag of charcoal at Olsen Hardware in early August and asked Hillsboro-Central Valley Burros head coach Scott Olsen how the first week of practice had gone.

Olsen shared a few insights into this year’s squad and I was headed back out the door minutes later.

However, before I left, I asked Scottie an off-the-record question, something I often ask coaches and one that appears to be making its way onto the record today: “How far can this year’s team go?”

Scottie glanced up from his screen, looked around the store to see if anyone was within earshot, and said under his breath: “We can make it to the dome.”

Being the consummate professional and award-winning journalist that I am, I responded with: “You’re sh---ing me.”

How could the Burros, who had been to a state title game three times in four years, get back to the Dome AGAIN?

 Scottie, as it turned out, was not sh---ing me.

So, here we are, previewing another H-CV appearance in today’s Dakota Bowl, which marks the fourth time in the past five years that Olsen and the Burros have played in a state title game.

Olsen was confident his team could make it to Fargo way back in August, but he isn’t alone. I sat down with Burros senior lineman Barrett Willison in the Hillsboro High School library Monday afternoon to talk about this year’s 11-1 team and its march to the dome.

Like his coach, Willison had high expectations for this year’s Burros team entering the season. Here are excerpts from that conversation.

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