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Bishop Ryan to face Langdon for a trip to state

Following a 19-7 victory over Shiloh Christian in the Class A quarterfinals last weekend, the Bishop Ryan Lions (9-2) are tasked with facing a familiar foe this weekend in the semifinals; the Langdon Area-Edmore Munich Cardinals.

With an unblemished record of 10-0 on the year, Langdon is the two-time defending state champions of Class A, and in 2019, the Cardinals defeated Bishop Ryan in the Fargodome to secure their second consecutive state crown. In order to come out victorious this time around against Langdon, and clinch another berth in the state title game this year, Lions head coach Roger Coleman believes his club needs to improve its level of play in all areas. Specifically, his defense must be able to contain Langdon dual-threat senior signal caller Simon Romfo.

“Langdon is a tremendously efficient team, and athletically, they match up very well against us,” Coleman tells the Minot Daily News. “Simon is one of the most elite players at this level of football. His ability to turn a broken play into a touchdown is uncanny, and we have to be aware of him at all times. He is very dangerous running the ball and we must continuously attack him in the backfield.”

While Coleman credits his offensive unit for a terrific outing in a 40-18 win in the first round of the playoffs over Killdeer-Halliday on Oct. 24, the Lions coach says defense was the key component in their latest postseason triumph over Shiloh Christian. Staying with last week’s theme of ‘bringing the juice,’ Coleman believes the same message will apply this week for both offensive and defensive units as Bishop Ryan squares off against the state champions. “I feel like the team that has the most explosive plays will end up winning this game. In order to get that accomplished, we simply have to do our job on both sides of the ball, so we’re going to need as much juice as we can get from everybody,” the Lions coach adds.

Along with Bishop Ryan senior playmakers such as quarterback Nick Sanders and running back Jaxon Feller, coach Coleman indicates receivers Bryson Elm and Zachary Hendrickson, as well as kicker Bram Johannsen will all need to contribute in major ways if Bishop Ryan is to erase the memory of defeat in the 2019 state championship game against Langdon. “I think Bryson and Zach will both need to have great games from their wideout positions, so they will probably have to be our X-factors,” Coleman continues. “In a close game, I also think Bram will have a great chance to help us because he’s one of the best kickers at our level. I feel very comfortable sending him out there for a 40-yard attempt or so, and not many teams at this level can say that about their kicking game.”

If Bishop Ryan advances to the state championship round, they will face the winner of the Velva/Lisbon matchup, a game which is also slated to take place on Saturday. Regardless of the outcome against Langdon, coach Coleman says the message to his players is simply to trust one another and play to the best of each other’s capabilities. “We are going up against the best team in the state, and they do not beat themselves with turnovers or penalties, so we just have to buckle down and focus on winning the next down to put ourselves in a position to win. If we can do that, I think we’ll be fine.”

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