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Royal McGregor / Forum Communications Co., Published June 16 2012

Montana tops North Dakota in Badlands Bowl

DICKINSON, N.D. – Team Montana didn’t let four turnovers ruin a strong performance.

Montana retook the lead midway through the third quarter and never gave it up, defeating Team North Dakota 27-15 in the 19th annual Badlands Bowl all-star high school football game on Saturday at the Badlands Activities Center.

“I thought we did a really good job in the passing game in the first half,” Montana head coach Terry Thomas said. “We felt if we could add the run in the second half, then we could be very effective in the second half and that’s exactly what happened.”

Home-field advantage is has proved to be a major factor in the past Badlands Bowl games and Montana broke the trend, and in the meantime snapping a winless streak in Dickinson that stretched back to 2003.

“The reason why it’s kind of hard to play here is the fans are so passionate about football,” said Montana wide receiver Ryan Burke, from Billings Central. “The home-field advantage is real strong on both sides, so it was nice to come out and get the win.”

The game was full of momentum swings, but none bigger than when Montana’s Dylan Kramer punched in a two-yard touchdown run with 8 minutes, 30 seconds left in the third quarter to take a 20-15 lead.

“We went ahead by a point (15-14) and then they came right back and scored,” North Dakota head coach Rod Oksendahl said. “That’s where they gained the momentum away from us. We had the momentum and they took it away in the second half.”

North Dakota created four turnovers on defense, but only generated three points off them – a 37-yard field goal by Jon Baune to end the second quarter.

“We didn’t get much out of them,” Oksendahl said. “I know we got a field goal out of one, but other than that I don’t think we got anything and that hurt.”

Brandon Nelson, a defensive back from Fargo Shanley, had two interceptions and forced a fumble. North Dakota recovered two of Montana’s three fumbles.

Chris Sommer of Devils Lake was North Dakota’s Defensive MVP. He had 14 tackles and a fumble recovery.

“The good thing about the offense is even though they turned the ball over they had created field position,” Thomas said. “We didn’t give them a short field to score on.”

M 6 8 6 7–27

ND 0 9 6 0–15

M–Burke 28 pass from Linder (kick failed)

M–Burke 44 pass from Gustafson (Reid pass from Gustafson)

ND–Smith 1 run (run failed)

ND–Baune 37 FG

ND–Smith 3 run (pass failed)

M–Kramer 2 run (pass failed)

M–Simac 9 pass from Gustafson (Allen kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: M, Caldwell 11-63, Compton 11-46, Linder 12-40, Gustafson 8-30, Newell 2-14, Kramer 2-7. ND, Coyle 14-57, Westby 10-56, Smith 15-55, Medhaug 2-7, Hansana 1-(minus-2).

PASSING: M, Gustafson 11-19-1 132, Linder 11-19-1 94. ND, Coyle 17-34-0 223, Hansana 0-4-0 0.

RECEIVING: M, Burke 9-124, Simic 8-79, Reid 2-16, Caldwell 2-(minus-2). ND, Janz 11-149, Baune 3-33, Schirado 2-44, Westby 1-(minus-3).

Montana Offensive MVP: Ryan Burke, WR, Billings Central

Montana Defensive MVP: Kyle Boos, LB, Malta

North Dakota Offensive MVP: Devin Coyle, QB, Mandan

North Dakota Defensive MVP: Chris Sommer, LB, Devils Lake

McGregor writes for the Dickinson Press