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Published September 24 2011

Breckenridge rallies past D-G-F behind late touchdown, 2-point conversion

BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. – Let’s call it, “The comeback.”

Breckenridge running back Stephen Erlandson was worried how his body would respond to contact. Yet it was Erlandson that helped set up the knockout punch, staging one of the better comebacks seen around here against a rival in a long time.

The senior, who had a bruised kidney, scored a touchdown that set up the game-winning

2-point conversion, helping Breckenridge to a 15-14 win over Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Friday night in Heart O’ Lakes Conference football.

“It felt great to be back out there,” said Erlandson, who rushed for 85 yards. “I think we came back and played one heck of a game.”

Erlandson actually said “hell of a game,” and either way he was right.

Breckenridge (3-1) overcame a dreadful first half scoring all of its points in the fourth quarter to beat the rival Rebels (3-1) for a second straight year.

Yet it almost didn’t happen.

The Cowboys scored with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in the game off a 5-yard Erlandson run. Then it was Cole Praus, who’s actually filled in for Erlandson this season, who scored the 2-point conversion.

Praus gave the Cowboys the lead and the Rebels enough time to march down the field.

It was a big run by Tanner Dufault here. Another big run by Dufault there. It was Dufault, Dufault, Dufault.

And when it came down to the 27-yard game-winning field goal attempt, that went left.

“I pushed it,” said a dejected Dufault seconds after he hugged Erlandson. “I knew that I did.”

Dufault’s missed field goal was really the only time his legs let D-G-F down.

His 167 rushing yards set the tone and just allowed D-G-F to control the game until Erlandson and the Cowboys bounced back.

Being Mr. Everything has been Dufault’s role this season. He runs. He throws. He kicks.

Dufault did two out of three on the last drive. Meat Loaf once said two out of three ain’t bad. Then again, he never lost a football game to his rivals.

“The thing with this team is we’ve found ways to win games,” said Breckenridge coach Chad Fredricksen earlier in the week. “But we’ve found ways to lose games and then win them again.”

Breckenridge hasn’t exactly had a dream season despite the solid start. It has had to work with a brand new offensive line that returned zero starters from last season.

Erlandson, who rushed for 169 last season against the Rebels, said he suffered what was initially diagnosed as a lacerated kidney and was told it’d be three months before he could play again.

He was re-evaluated and it was deemed to be a bruised kidney. The doctors told him to drink fluids and then he could consider playing.

“I made sure I got a lot of fluids in me so I could be ready,” said Erlandson, who will take an official visit to the University of North Dakota today.

Whatever level of Gatorade – 1, 2 or 3 – he was drinking, it helped.

Breckenridge struggled early with its “biggest” play was a 12-yard run by Erlandson in the second quarter with the offense picking up a massive 16 yards on offense.

How’s this for perspective? Dufault had seven plays – five rushing, two passing – of 12 yards or more by himself in the first half.

Yet it wasn’t like the Rebels were exactly General Sherman themselves. They had struggles whether it was with a Cowboys linebacker making a stop or a penalty flag playing hop scotch.

D-G-F had things come together in the second-to-last drive in the second quarter. They had a couple big plays spearheaded by Dufault.

One of them was a 37-yard strike down the middle to tight end Kole Nygaard for a 7-0 lead with around three minutes left in the half.

Nygaard, who had 114 receiving yards, was Dufault’s go to guy again on the last drive but a pass went through his hands setting up the field goal attempt.

“It’s just disappointing,” Dufault said about the loss. “But we’ll come back from it.”

DGF 0 7 0 7–14

B 0 0 0 15–15

DGF – Nygaard 37 pass from Dufault (Dufault kick)

B – Praus 1 run (Materi kick)

DGF – Dufault 1 run (Dufault kick)

B – S. Erlandson 5 run (Praus run)

RUSHING: B, Praus 13-38, G. Erlandson 9-26; Materi 2-minus 9; Edwards 1-5, Erlandson 13-85. DGF, Johnson 5-18, Hurner 6-19, Dufault 26-167; Nygaard 3-7

PASSING: B, Materi 1-7-0 5 yards, Erlandson 1-1-0 31 yards; DGF, Dufault 5-11-1 116 yards.

RECEIVING: B, Materi 31 yards, G. Erlandson 1-5. DGF, Nygaard 4-115, Green 1-1

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found at slightlychilled.areavoices.com