Plenty on the line as Lions, Lakers ready for battle
When Bishop Ryan (4-2, 4-0) travels to Des Lacs-Burlington (4-2, 3-1) tonight, plenty will be riding on the result. The Lions are undefeated in Region 3 play, improving to 4-2 on the year after season-opening losses to Langdon/Edmore/Munich and Dickinson Trinity. The Lakers enter the evening with two losses on the year as well, one of which was also to Dickinson Trinity. The other was to the defending state champions Velva/Drake-Anamoose/Garrison.
“We have a lot of momentum with our team right now,” said Bishop Ryan head coach Eric Knutson.
While momentum is on their side, the schedule is not. The Lions had just three days of practice to prepare for the Lakers, and there was plenty to improve on after their rout of Stanley on Saturday.
“We had too many penalties and had a difficult start in the first half,” said Knutson. “We need to refocus on playing football and doing what we do best for a positive outcome. Going up against Des Lacs is going to be fun for us, but being disciplined and doing the little things correctly will be our focus.”
The Lakers also spoke of how important focus is heading into the matchup.
Des Lacs-Burlington will face a major challenge on the offensive and defensive lines in Coy and Cade Okeson. Coy has committed to North Dakota State University, and has punished opposing blockers all seen, while protecting Jett Lundeen. Stopping Lundeen will be another key to the game, as the junior quarterback accounted for 470 of Bishop Ryan’s 537 yards of offense and played a part in five of the Lions touchdowns against Stanley.
“The Bishop Ryan game is always a big game for us that the players look forward to playing,” said Lakers’ head co-head coach Taylor Teske.
On paper, the Lions and Lakers are very similar. Offensively, Bishop Ryan averages 35 points per game while Des Lacs-Burlington averages a half-point more. The Lions allow 18.2 points a game on average, while the Lakers give up 16.5 points a game.
League matchups are a different story for Bishop Ryan, as their defense has shut down region opponents while only allowing 22 points in four league games.
Having already played Velva on the year, a 40-16 loss, the Lakers can take control of second place in the region while improving their chances at hosting a playoff matchup with a win on tonight.
After tonight’s contest, they will travel to Ray/Powers Lake before closing the regular season at home against Stanley.
Bishop Ryan hosts the defending Class A state champions next Friday at Herb Parker Stadium before closing out the season with a home matchup against Nedrose.