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Hayden Goethe, Published July 14 2012

Rushing attack sparks West in 11-man Shrine Bowl game

FARGO – Despite the all-star stage, the 11-man game at the North Dakota Shrine Bowl had a familiar style for the West team’s Landon Smith.

“Ground-and-pound, smash-mouth football,” he said.

Smith piled up 67 of the West’s 254 rushing yards en route to a 22-13 victory against the East on Saturday at Fargo Shanley’s Sid Cichy Stadium.

“If that wasn’t going to work for us, we weren’t going to win this game,” Smith said of his team’s running attack. “Obviously, it was working for us.”

The West’s offensive style was in stark contrast to its opponent’s. The East threw for 257 yards, with 151 of those yards being hauled in by Fargo South wide receiver Jon Baune.

Baune opened the scoring in the first quarter. On second-and-14 from the West’s

22-yard-line, East quarterback Josh Hansana dropped back to pass. He turned to his left and tossed a spiral to Baune in the back corner of the end zone beyond the defender’s reach. Baune’s extra-point kick staked the East to a 7-0 lead.

The West answered on its ensuing possession, putting together a six-play, 65-yard drive capped by Smith’s 6-run touchdown scamper to tie the game 7-7 early in the second quarter.

“We knew we were good up front,” West coach Lyne Enget said. “That was the plan. Let’s power the ball at them and hopefully get a couple of passes in there every once in a while.”

The West went in front for good in the second quarter, first getting a touchdown run from Adam Melom of Minot. Then with 19.4 seconds left in the first half, Alex Cunditt of Williston caught a 26-yard scoring pass from Ross Merriman of Warroad (Minn.) for a 20-7 halftime lead.

“We knew we were going to have problems with (their running game) all week,” East coach Tom Maus said. “There’s a reason (Class 3A) teams out west were the top four in the state. They had all of those linemen and good running backs behind them.”

The East cut the deficit to 20-13 with just less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter on a touchdown run from Fargo Shanley’s Tyler Rivard.

The East’s defense then forced a three-and-out, leaving the offense poised to get the ball back with just more than a minute to go. But the West recorded a safety when the East was unable to cleanly recover the punt, making it a two-possession game.

“There are a lot of kids that are here that aren’t going on to play college football,” Enget said. “This is their last memory of high school football, and to end it with a win I think is pretty important.”

Baune, who is headed to Concordia College for the upcoming season, finished with 12 catches. Hansana, who starred at Milnor-North Sargent, went 19-for-29 passing for 220 yards and a touchdown, but he threw two of the East’s three interceptions.

Baune said that the West’s safeties were giving him more room for deep plays early in the game. But the West made adjustments, and the East couldn’t answer.

“We had to go with the underneath stuff (late),” Baune said. “That’s why we kept throwing those picks. They were covering the deep, and we were trying to force it. We had to try to be patient, and we just didn’t do that.”

East 7 0 0 6–13

West 0 20 0 2–22

E–Baune 22 pass from Hansana (Baune kick)

W–Smith 6 run (Merriman kick)

W–Melom 3 run (Merriman kick)

W–Cunditt 26 pass from Merriman (kick failed)

E–Rivard 4 run (kick failed)

W–Safety

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: E, Medhaug 6-54, Hansana 7-53, Rivard 8-40, LaBine 1-15, Mairs 7-26, Riopelle 2-2, Arvin 2-(minus-1). W, Smith 12-67, Westby 14-61, Merriman 4-45, Bowers 2-41, Melom 11-36, Rice 1-4.

PASSING: E, Hansana 19-29-2 220 yards, LaBine 5-7-1 37. W, Merriman 3-8-1 72.

RECEIVING: E, Baune 12-151, Medhaug 4-33, Rivard 5-30, Olson 1-27, Voegeli 2-7. W, Leupp 1-42, Cunditt 1-26, Rice 1-4.

Readers can reach Forum Assistant Sports Editor

Hayden Goethe at (701) 241-5558