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By Greg DeVillers, Published July 19 2009

North Dakota Shrine football: Late drive propels West to 11-man win

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Overall, Jake Tescher wasn’t happy with his passing performance Saturday.

But the final two minutes of the 11-man game in the North Dakota Shrine Bowl made amends for any struggles the quarterback had.

Tescher, a Beach High School graduate, was 4 of 8 on his team’s final drive. His final pass was a 31-yard game-winning touchdown to Beulah’s Josh Schank, rallying the West to a 14-12 win at Grand Forks’ Alerus Center.

Tescher finished only 6 of 19 passing for 85 yards. He threw for 55 of those yards on the final drive. “That’s not very good,” Tescher said of his overall performance. “But that last drive was better.

“We started looking for quicker routes, getting the completions, getting out of bounds and stopping the clock. We kept the offense going more quickly; we were running it more like our offense at Beach.”

The West kept the winning drive alive when, on fourth-and-four from midfield, Tescher hit Schank for seven yards and a first down. Five plays later, on second-and-10 from the 31, Tescher connected with Schank on a short pass on the right sideline. But a block by tight end Justin Flatland of Watford City sprung Schank into the clear and he wound up in the end zone.

“It was a good thrown ball,” Schank said. “And Justin made it happen with that great block. He set up a wall by himself and gave me room. If I didn’t have that block, no way I would have made it in. It was an amazing block.”

The West was shut out for three quarters, finally getting a touchdown on an 8-yard run by quarterback Michael Leier of Harvey with 8:03 left in the game to pull within 12-7.

That set up the winning drive. “Jake struggled all game, but he got hot at the right time,” West coach Mark Gibson said.

The East had taken a 12-0 lead at halftime, scoring on two of its first four possessions.

East touchdowns came on scoring runs of two yards by Fargo South’s Lucas Seltvedt and one yard by quarterback Justin Purintun of Linton-H-M-B.

The University of Mary-bound Purintun was the big offensive producer in the game, rushing for 48 yards and completing 12 of 21 passes for 90 yards.

“I thought there would be more points in the game,” Gibson said. “I was very happy only giving up 12 points for as many tough spots our offense gave our defense because we couldn’t get going.”

But the East offense stalled in the second half.

“We finished drives in the first half,” East coach Kevin Feeney said. “We had some stuff going. But in the second half, we never got the momentum swinging to our side. We didn’t look as crisp as we had in the first half.”

Instead, it was the West with the fast finish – and the win.

“It took us awhile to get going,” Schank said.

The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.