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Chris Murphy, Published November 01 2013

Upsala-Swanville rolls defending champs Browerville 35-8 for section title

FARGO – Upsala-Swanville Area erased nearly three decades of pain Friday at the Fargodome and the Patriots rolled the defending Minnesota Class 1A, Section 6 champs to do it.

The Patriots defeated Browerville 35-8.

The Patriots head to state as Upsala-Swanville for the first time ever and for the first time for either side since Swanville-Grey Eagle went to state in 1987. It may seem like centuries ago for the Patriots players, but for coach Jay Loven it seems like yesterday.

“I was a senior on that team,” Loven said. “I told our guys that yesterday, and I don’t think they thought we played with leather footballs back then. This group of kids, they’ve overachieved this year. It all goes to them.”

Sixteen of Upsala-Swanville’s 22 starters played junior varsity last season, so the varsity experience was slim for the No. 7-ranked team in Minnesota. The Patriots are making their own experience.

“We didn’t have a whole lot of varsity experience coming into this year,” Loven said. “They just worked their tails off and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

A week removed from rushing for 274 yards and four touchdowns on offense and picking up 20 tackles on defense, running back Mitch Lange ran for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries Friday.

“We came out and we were ready,” Lange said. “Coach always said we haven’t played a perfect game yet. I think this was it. It feels good to be the first one. It took a lot of sweat to get here though.”

Upsala-Swanville made it look easy, scoring on its first four drives of the game. Lange capped an

11-play, 78-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown run late in the first. Nine of those first 11 plays went to Lange for 57 rushing yards. Quarterback Tyler Evans capped a 13-play, 73-yard drive with a 1-yard dive to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead. After Austin Johnson came down with an interception on the ensuing Browerville drive, two plays later, Evans found a familiar target in Jordan Sales for a 79-yard touchdown late in the second.

“We’ve been together for a long time,” Evans said of his connection with Sales. “We’ve been going through sports since we were little. We just kind of know what we’re doing before the play even starts. It makes it real easy for the both of us.”

After a punt on the ensuing Browerville drive, Evans found Kyle Lange for a 55-yard touchdown pass and the rout was on.

Browerville would score with 10 seconds left in the half on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Irsfeld to Matthew Schettler. Mitch Lange would shut the door on a 5-yard touchdown run on Upsala-Swanville’s first drive of the second half.

“It’s a pretty big accomplishment,” Evans said. “Nobody really expected us to be that good this year. We worked our butts off and we made it here.”

Upsala-Swanville knocked off one champ and the Patriots get another in the state quarterfinals. They will take on defending champion Mahnomen at 3 p.m. Nov. 9 at Bemidji State University.

“The next champ is the state champ, so obviously that’s a bigger hurdle,” Loven said. “Obviously, they got a great team. Nobody has been coming close to them all year. We’ll have to watch film and see if we can slow them down.”

B 0 8 0 0–8

U 6 22 7 0–35

U-M. Lange 15 run (kick failed)

U-Evans 1 run (K. Lange catch from Evans)

U-Sales 79 pass from Evans (Cichon kick)

U-K. Lange 55 pass from Evans (Cichon kick)

B-Schettler 26 pass from Irsfeld (Schettler catch from Irsfeld)

U-M. Lange 5 run (Cichon kick)


RUSHING: B, Iten 1-3, Irsfeld 8-78, Schettler 2-3, Polak 13-36, Thielen 3-6, Knutson 2-15, Sanders 8-36, Smith 2-3, Emery 1-(-3), Stearns 1-0. U, M. Lange 29-161, K. Lange 2-7, Evans 4-(-4), Ripplinger 3-6, Valencia-Loudin 5-7, Koetter 1-(-5). Barth 1-2, Graves 1-0.

PASSING: B, Irsfeld 5-12-1 68 yards, Polak 0-4-0. U, Evans 7-10-1 221 yards.

RECEIVING: B, Stepaniak 1-7, Heid 1-3, Irsfeld 1-29, Thielen 1-3, Schettler 1-26. U, Sales 5-150, K. Lange 2-71.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548