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Greg DeVillers / Forum Communications Co., Published November 09 2012

New Rockford-Sheyenne wins 9-man title

GRAND FORKS – After scoring 30 or more points in 10 games this season, New Rockford-Sheyenne had only 14 at halftime.

Senior running back Alex Perleberg admitted he was concerned about his team’s normally potent offense.

“I was worried,” Perleberg said. “That wasn’t our offense. We were making stupid mistakes and shooting ourselves in the foot.”

The Rockets found their offensive groove, however. New Rockford-Sheyenne pulled away in the final two quarters to beat Divide County 40-22 on Friday in the North Dakota 9-man football championship game of the Dakota Bowl.

In the final two quarters, Perleberg ran for two touchdowns, Josh Edmonson one and Hunter Wetzel returned an interception for a touchdown as the Rockets outscored the Maroon 26-0 in the second half.

Rockets coach Elliott Belquist wasn’t that concerned about the slow start. “In the playoffs, it has taken us awhile to adjust (the offense) in games, to find a play that works,” said Belquist, whose team finished 12-0 while handing Divide County its first loss in 13 games.

What worked was the one-two backfield punch of Edmonson and Perleberg.

First it was Edmonson. The 220-pound fullback had seven of the final eight carries on a scoring drive, finishing it with a 5-yard run to pull the Rockets within 22-20 with 5:06 left in the third quarter.

“That got our momentum going,” Perleberg said. “We kept building from there.”

Two possessions later, Edmonson’s open-field block sprung Perleberg open for an 88-yard touchdown run and a 26-20 lead with 20 seconds left in the third.

“We wanted to mix it up in our offense,” Belquist said. “Edmonson’s power and Perleberg’s speed, that a heckuva combination.”

Perleberg, who had a 72-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first half, added a 9-yard scoring run with 1:45 remaining. He finished with 168 yards rushing and Edmonson had 179 as the running attack dominated in a game in which the Rockets didn’t complete a pass.

Divide County got an early spark from Isaac Jacobs, who ran 95 yards for a touchdown on the Maroon’s first offensive play and later returned a kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown. Divide County went up 22-14 on a 5-yard Lance Knudson-to-Bennett Lystad TD pass. But the Maroon were without Jacobs the entire second half due to an injury.

“That didn’t help anything,” Divide County co-coach Nate Nelson said. “He’s a good football player. But that’s no excuse. New Rockford is just a good team.”

DC 14 8 0 0–22

NRS 14 0 12 14–40

DC–Jacobs 95 run (Knudson run)

NRS–Perleberg 72 kick return (run failed)

NRS–Edmonson 1 run (LaBrie pass from Haley)

DC–Jacobs 76 kick return (run failed)

DC–Lystad 5 pass from Knudson (Lystad pass from Elsbernd)

NRS–Edmonson 5 run (run failed)

NRS–Perleberg 88 run (run failed)

NRS–Perleberg 9 run (LaBrie pass from Haley)

NRS–Wetzel 9 interception return (kick failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: DC, Jacobs 5-99, Knudson 17-57, Marschner 9-30, Obenchain 1-(minus-1). NRS, Edmonson 22-179, Perleberg 14-168, Haley 12-38.

PASSING: DC, Knudson 14-27-1 183 yards. NRS, Haley 0-10-1 0.

RECEIVING: DC, Lystad 9-132, Kroshus 1-26, Bossingham 3-19, Landsverk 1-6.

Class 1A

Hazen 55, Westhope-N-G 28

GRAND FORKS – Briar Bornemann is small by football standards. But the Hazen junior was a big play waiting to happen Friday.

The 5-foot-7, 160-pound running back set a Dakota Bowl single-game record by rushing for 286 yards. He sparked Hazen’s big-play offense as the Bison beat the Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn Sioux 55-28 in the North Dakota Class 1A high school football championship game at the Alerus Center.

The previous record of 280 yards in a game had been set in 1997 by Velva’s Wade Kittleson.

“I didn’t expect that,” Bornemann said of the record-setting game. “Our line had such a push today. I don’t think I’ve seen a push like that before. They’re amazing athletes. It’s fun, having a lot of room to run. With my height, it’s hard to tackle a small guy.”

Borneman scored four touchdowns, on runs of 15, 5, 6 and 34 yards, the last one on a cutback across the field on which he ducked under a would-be tackler and broke into open field.

The senior had 13 plays on which he picked up double-figure yardage. But he wasn’t alone in that department – the Bison had 25 plays on which they had double-figure yardage. Quarterback Stetson Carr had four running plays and seven pass completions that went for double-figure yardage. The senior finished 8-of-10 passing for 177 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 106 yards and three TDs.

That led to a nearly unstoppable offense. Hazen had 11 possessions, eight of which went for touchdowns, one ended on a turnover and the remaining two were at the close of halves.

“The offense had a good day,” Hazen coach Rick Philion said. “It’s tough to defend both Stetson and Briar. They’re both huge big-play kids.

“Briar is so dynamic. This is what looks like when he plays. Speed, elusiveness, power – he’s the total package.”

Hazen jumped out early, leading 29-0 with 7:48 left in the first half. Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn was within 29-8 at halftime and 36-22 midway through the third quarter. But Hazen scored three unanswered touchdowns to pull away.

Hunter Braaten was the playmaker for the Sioux. He was 20-of-35 passing for one touchdown and rushed for 86 yards and two scores. But Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn didn’t have one comeback left after rallying for victories in its previous five games.

“They (Bison) have the whole package,” said W-N-G coach Tom Nesvold, whose team joins the 9-man ranks next season. “We got gassed. We just couldn’t shut them down.”

Hazen 14 15 13 13–55

W-H-G 0 14 7 7–28

H – Bornemann 15 run (kick failed)

H – Carr 6 run (Bornemann run good)

H – Bornemann 5 run kick failed)

H – Carr 2 run (Carr run good)

WNG – Braaten 13 run (Miller pass from Braaten)

WNG – Hancock 23 run (Solloway run)

H – Doll 5 pass from Carr (kick good)

WNG – Braaten 10 run (pass failed)

H – Bornemann 6 run (run failed)

H – Carr 17 run (kick good)

H – Bornemann 34 run, (kick failed)

WNG – Simpson 62 pass from Braaten (run failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: H, Bornemann 27-286, Carr 12-106, Leintz 6-59, Opp 1-23, Steffen 3-12, Bruner 1-0, Zimmerman 1 - (-3). WNG, Braaten 15-86, Ko. Hancock 8-53, Ka. Hancock 4-5, Conway 1(-5).

PASSING: H, Carr 8-10-0, 177 yards. WNG Braaten 20-35-1, 210 yards.

RECEIVING: H, Doll 3-88, Bornemann 2-46, Opp 2-32, Wiedrich 1-11. WNG, Simpson 3-86, Miller 6-42, Solloway 4-37, Ko. Hancock 4-26, Conway 2-23, Ka. Hancock 1-(-4).

DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald