North Dakota Playoff Previews and Predictions
Cavalier @ New Rockford-Sheyenne Saturday November 3 2:00pm in New Rockford, ND
Cavalier was able to beat highly regarded Wyndmere-Lidgerwood 46-32 in the quarters last week with a stout performance from their line running back Jaret Johnson who contributed with 23 carries for 157 yards. But Ryan Chrest is the main weapon that has New Rockford-Sheyenne worried. The junior quarterback ran for 190 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 62 yards and a score. New Rockford-Sheyenne has turned up the heat on defense this year. Last week’s performance was an example of their dominant defense who yielded no points in the first three quarters before giving up two touchdowns after the game was in hand. Ethan Haley quarterbacks this team and started the scoring out with a 56 yard touchdown run and then threw for two touchdowns to Alex Perleberg.
New Rockford-Sheyenne will have their hands full with the Cavalier attack. They beat Cavalier earlier in the season 48-42 but the Tornadoes have their sights set on revenge. I think Cavalier gets another road victory and they put up four touchdowns against a great defense.
Towner-Granville-Upham @ Divide County Saturday November 3 2:00pm in Crosby, ND
Divide County can do it all on offense. They have put up more points than anyone in the class this year with 543 points in 11 games. They do it with versatile quarterback Lance Knudsen and Isaac Jacobs running the ball. But don’t forget the big guys on defense. Ethan Feil is a big boy who is a difference maker. Bennett Lystad has been key at linebacker. They’ll need to stop the power attack that TGU has been putting up. TGU might have the only line in the class that can match up with Divide County’s physicality. Ridge Bachmeier has really come on strong at running back and their star sophomore quarterback Eli Luna has taken down all competition this year as he picks apart defenses with his legs and his arm. Luna has thrown for 962 yards and 14 touchdowns versus only one interception. But if the weather or the defense dictates a running game Luna can do that too. He’s rushed for 943 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year.
In the end I think TGU will go on the road and nab a victory if they can stay away from turnovers. However the young Titans might not be ready for the big moment and Divide County could capitalize by creating turnovers. The pick is TGU in a high scoring close game.
Westhope/Newburg/Glenburn @ Langdon – Munich Saturday November 3 1:30 pm in Langdon, ND
The Sioux of W-N-G have won both their playoff games by six points. They’d like to reverse their fortunes after losing to Langdon-Munich by six points in the regular season. They’ll need their quarterback Hunter Braaten to have another big game if they want to make it three wins in a row. Last week Braaten rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Sioux past Milnor-North Sargent. I’ve picked against the Sioux the last two weeks but I’m starting to understand just how dangerous this team can be. They face a tough Langdon-Munich Cardinals who feature a new winning attitude. The Cardinals went 2-6 last year and the year before so they are new to this winning thing. They will use quarterback Dalton Fetsch who can pass up and down the field to go to his main target Kalton Agnes to make big plays. Running back Colter Pritchard just broke the 1,000 yard barrier and will try to control the tempo for the Cards.
Good news for the Sioux is that I’m picking against them again, (That seems to be good luck for the Sioux). I think Langdon-Munich earns a trip to the title game with their high scoring offense.
Stanley-Powers Lake @ Hazen Saturday November 3 1:30pm in Hazen, ND
The defending champs from Stanley-Powers Lake rumbled through the regular season without a loss and the most points in the class (490 in 11 games). Other than their one-point win against Velva in early September the Bluejays have flown high above the competition. Quarterback Sam Footh, running back Abe Roerich and receiver Kale Enget hope to get back to the Dakota Bowl the same way they did last year, by beating Hazen. Last season they went on the road and won by one point, this year could be very similar. Hazen is a formidable foe. They have been on a tear that included a 41-14 win over Heart River last week. Stetson Carr kicked it up a notch with a 231 yard rushing performance last week and Briar Bornemann chipped in 104 yards and a kick-return touchdown for the Bison.
Another close North Dakota semi-final will see the road team eeking out a win. I think Stanley-Powers Lake gets back to the Dakota Bowl with a narrow win.