North Dakota Playoff Previews and Predictions
Valley City @Grafton Saturday November 3 2:00pm in Grafton, ND
Grafton has done a great job this season getting back to the semi-finals. Head Coach Tom Maus knows that Valley City will give them a fight,
“Whoever wins the battle up front I think we will the game. It is going to be low scoring and a defensive battle,” expects Maus.
Grafton quarterback Christian Lunde is very different than last year’s signal caller, Jake Hanson, that won the team a title. He will make teams defend the run. Lunde has run for 1600 yards and 22 touchdowns this year. Last week Lunde put four well-timed passes in the air and Grafton receivers came up with four catches. It’s that type of accuracy that Lunde has been showing that makes him so dangerous. Zach Peterson leads a tough Spoiler defense that must shut down a physical line and power backs.
On the other side of the ball you have a very emotional and pumped up Valley City Hi-Liners. They dropped two of their last three games in the regular season but the way they’ve played all season will let the other team know they were there. It is their bruising defense and powerful running behind halfback Anthony Olstad that could give them a chance in their rematch with the defending champs. Quarterback Austin Svenningsen has the ability to open up the passing game but only tried five passes in their quarterfinal win over #1 west seed Bishop Ryan.
I’m going with the Spoilers to get back to the Dakota Bowl with a three touchdown performance and enough defense to keep the Hi-Liners sidelined.
Beulah @ Shanley Saturday November 3 2:30pm in Fargo, ND
Another sluggish start for the Deacons have me wondering how good they’d be if they could put four quarters together. Last week Shanley found themselves down to Rugby early before putting up some major offense and winning 46-20. Sophomores Danny Stasch and Chase Montplaisir have led this offense all year. Stasch ran for 135 yards and five touchdowns while the quarterback Montplaisir threw for 229 yards and two scores.
Beulah came out with an equally sluggish start as they got down to Wahpeton last week. It wasn’t until Trevor Zacher came out and threw the rock around in the snow that the Miners dug themselves out of a hole and won 36-21. This week they’ll need another big performance from Zacher and their play-maker Cody Nelson. Nelson ran for 105 yards on six carries and caught six passes for 92 yards and oh by the way made an interception on defense. Look for Karson Hintz to jack up more carries this week as they try to melt the clock against the Deacons.
I do think Shanley will be able to put up more offense but a few well timed big plays could land the Miners in the title game. My pick is Shanley by 6 and nearly 80 points on the scoreboard.