LANGDON - Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn junior quarterback Hunter Braaten stood out on both sides of the ball in a 32-12 victory at Langdon-Munich in the Class A semifinals.
Braaten completed 12-of-21 passes for 124 yards and added 132 yards on 29 carries to avenge an October loss to the Cardinals. Braaten also made his presence felt on defense, recovering a fumble and returning it nine yards for a touchdown.
"What hasn't been written about him?" W-N-G coach Tom Nesvold said. "(L-M) was spying on him with two or three guys all game and he was still able to make plays."
It was a defensive battle early as sophomore Dalton Fetch got L-M on the scoreboard first, intercepting Braaten and returning it 39 yards for the touchdown.
Braaten's defensive touchdown tied the game at six before Fetsch found senior tight end Trevor Roppel for a 64-yard score. Fetsch's completion to Roppel was one of just four completions for the sophomore, who finished 4-of-16 for 84 yards.
The Sioux tied the score at 12 when Braaten hit senior running back Calder Salloway for a 5-yard touchdown pass.
W-N-G dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring the Cardinals 20-0. Braaten gave the Sioux their first lead of the game with a 3-yard run and sophomore defensive end Ethan Miller gave W-N-G some cushion with a 49-yard interception return.
"The defense stepped up in the second half," Nesvold said. "I think we limited them to 14 total yards in the second half. We were able to make our own breaks."
Braaten's second rushing touchdown of the fourth quarter sealed a trip to Friday's Class A championship game against Hazen at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. The Sioux seek their first state title in program history.
"I don't know if it's sunk in yet, but you can't wipe the smile off my face," Nesvold said.
Hazen stuns Stanley-Powers Lake
HAZEN - For the first time this century, a Region 3 team will not win the Class A North Dakota state football championship.
Hazen snapped Stanley-Powers Lake's 22-game winning streak Saturday with a 14-0 victory, sending the Region 4 champions to Friday's Dakota Bowl. A Region 3 team had won every title since 1999.
"It's tradition like that," Hazen coach Rick Philion said. "What Region 3 ran up, that's sometimes tough to overcome. They wanted to be the team to knock Region 3 out."
Hazen (9-2) intercepted S-PL quarterback Sam Footh three times and recovered a fumble, while the Bison offense only turned the ball over once. It was a complete reversal from last year, when Hazen gave the ball away four times in a 28-27 loss.
S-PL (11-1) entered undefeated and averaging 44.5 points a game. They were Hazen's third shutout victim and the sixth team the Bison have held under eight points this season.
"Our starting defense has really been playing lights out this whole playoffs," Philion said. "If you had told me our defense was going to shut Stanley out I wouldn't have believed that."
Hazen scored right before halftime on a 2-yard pass from Stetson Carr to Tyler Wasem. In the third, Briar Bornemann found the end zone from four yards out to give the Bison a two-score lead.
Bornemann finished with 201 yards on the ground. Carr rushed for 97 yards.
Hazen plays Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks on Friday at 9 a.m.
Divide County knocks off TGU
CROSBY - The two-man show of Isaac Jacobs and Lance Knudson was too much for TGU to overcome Saturday.
The Divide County duo carried 70 times for 330 yards as the Maroons defeated the Titans 30-14 in the 9-man state semifinals to earn their first trip to the Dakota Bowl since 2005.
Knudson and Jacobs scored all four Divide County touchdowns.
"They're hard-nosed kids," Divide County co-coach Bob Brown said. "They're just competitors."
TGU (10-1) trailed by just two entering the fourth quarter. But early in the final frame, Knudson scored his third touchdown from 4 yards out. Jacobs' 2-point run made it a 10-point game.
"That was big," Brown said. "It gave us a little bit of lee-way."
With two minutes left, Jacobs scored from a yard out to ice the game.
The Maroons (12-0) will play New Rockford-Sheyenne at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks at approximately noon Friday.
Fargo Shanley returns to title game
FARGO - The Fargo Shanley football team is heading to the Class AA championship game for the fourth consecutive season after defeating Beulah 27-14 Saturday in the Class AA semifinals.
Shanley (9-2 overall) scored 20 unanswered points after Beulah took a 6-0 lead.
Beulah (9-2) made it a one-possession game when senior quarterback Trevor Zacher found senior wide receiver Brett Koch for a 19-yard touchdown. The Miners converted on the two-point conversion to make it 20-14.
Shanley put the game out of reach with a 36-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Chase Montplaisir to senior wide receiver Dan Arnold.
The Deacons will meet Grafton in a rematch of the 2011 Class AA title game in which the Spoilers defeated Shanley 22-8. The Deacons beat Grafton 42-24 in September. The teams play Friday at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
- Daily News Staff