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By Michael Weber / Bismarck Tribune, Published October 31 2010

High School football: Lopes’ OT field goal lifts Milnor-North Sargent to win

LINTON, N.D. – Brazilian exchange student Gabriel Lopes had never played American football until he was asked to suit up for the Milnor-North Sargent Bulldogs this fall.

On Saturday, Lopes became a genuine football hero in Milnor and the Gwinner area.

The junior soccer-style kicker booted a 19-yard field goal in overtime to give the Bulldogs a 17-14 victory over fourth-ranked Linton-HMB in a Class A quarterfinal game.

Lopes’ first field goal of the season came one play after quarterback Josh Hansana scrambled six yards to the 1-yard line on third down. Lopes admitted he was “very nervous” before the kick, and who could blame him? He had never before been asked to kick a game-winning field goal in a playoff game.

“This is all new to me. Every week I’m learning or experiencing something new about football and everything that goes with it,” said Lopes, who plays soccer. “I knew it was a big kick and what it meant to the team. I just had to settle myself down and concentrate on making the kick. I’m happy that I was able to help my team win. It’s very exciting.”

M-NS coach Eric Olson had confidence in Lopes.

“Gabe’s had his ups and downs, but he’s been kicking the ball very well the last few weeks,” said Olson, whose team improved to 8-2 and will play third-ranked Cavalier next Saturday in the semifinals.

“We sent him out there to win it for us, and he drilled it. When we found out we were getting a soccer player from Brazil, we thought right away that he would be a great addition to the team because of his kicking ability. Well, he’s been a great addition.”

M-NS 7 7 0 0 3–17

L-HMB 0 0 6 8 0–14

MNS–Biss 32 run (Lopes kick)

MNS–Hansana 21 run (Lopes kick)

LHMB–Roemmich 21 pass from Larson (kick failed)

LHMB–Roemmich 1 run (Roemmich pass from Larson)

MNS–Lopes 19 FG

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: MNS, Biss 27-102, Hansana 5-26, Decker 6-20. LHMB, Serr 14-25, Moch 5-8, Sehn 3-4, Wald 2-3, Roemmich 1-1, Larson 6-(–5).

PASSING: MNS, Hansana 9-20-1 151. LHMB, Larson 15-30-0 152, Gross 1-1-0 14.

RECEIVING: MNS, Enderson 4-46, Martinson 2-55, Roeder 1-31, Colemer 1-11, Decker 1-8. LHMB, Roemmich 5-51, Moch 3-17, Wald 2-36, Schuetz 2-23, Gross 2-19.