DLB has state championship in its sights

FARGO — Des Lacs-Burlington is 48 minutes away from its first state championship since 1993. But standing in its way is an opponent in Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm that DLB coach James Johnson says is a complete mystery to his team.

“We’re not really familiar with each other,” Johnson said. “We’ve never played them and never seen them. All I can tell you is they have a running back who is the real deal. They have a quarterback who puts it in really good areas. They look like a good football team to me.”

The Lakers and the Thunder — as unfamiliar as the two teams may be with each other — will clash in the Class 11A championship at 9:10 a.m. today in the Fargodome.

Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm (9-2) is in the state championship after upsetting top-ranked Larimore 42-41 on Oct. 29 and beating Langdon Area-Munich in the state semifinals last week.

DLB’s path went through teams it knew all too well. The Lakers (9-2) defeated Region 3 foes Velva-Sawyer 18-14 on Oct. 29 and Bishop Ryan 32-20 in last week’s semifinals.

“I believe we have this opportunity because we were always prepared and played with our heart,” Lakers quarterback Dylan Schestler said. “We’ve never given up when things haven’t gone our way, we haven’t given up when we’ve faced a bunch of adversity.”

Johnson said Schestler has continued to improve throughout the year and trusts his senior signal caller to lead the Lakers offense one last time.

“He’s had a really good year, going for over 1,600 yards through the air,” Johnson said. “He’s put the time in and worked hard. He’s a leader and leads our offense. He’s kept getting better week to week which is a reflection of the team.”

DLB has benefited from the versatility of junior wide receiver Josh Knutson all season, but perhaps none more than in last week’s victory against Ryan. Knutson, a reliable downfield weapon for DLB, also excelled on kickoff returns against the Lions. He took the opening kickoff 70 yards and ran another for a 97-yard touchdown. Knutson also hauled in a 65-yard touchdown pass from Schestler to wrap up a Dakota Bowl berth.

“We want this championship more than anything,” Knutson said. “This is the last game of our senior’s season so they’re going to give it their all. The rest of us are going to do our part as well. (Today) will be great for the community either way since we haven’t won it in 23 years.”

Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick_Hodge.


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