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Barnesville football coach knows that New Ulm Cathedral won't allow a team to let up

For the first time in possibly a long time, Bryan Strand felt like a high school student. The Barnesville High School football coach sat in his Metrodome seat taking notes during last week's state semifinal game that almost put him and everyone e...

Barnesville High School
Lockers in Barnesville High School are decorated earlier this week to motivate the school's football players, who will play today at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

For the first time in possibly a long time, Bryan Strand felt like a high school student.

The Barnesville High School football coach sat in his Metrodome seat taking notes during last week's state semifinal game that almost put him and everyone else in the stands to sleep.

But then the moment came. The moment that's the difference between an 'A' and a 'F' or in Strand's case, winning or losing today's Minnesota Class 1A state championship game against New Ulm Cathedral.

"I noticed they are a team that starts to chip away at you," Strand said. "Then next you know, you see Minneota making mistakes against them and New Ulm wins the game. You can't take them lightly."

Should Barnesville win, it would be the first football state championship in school history. But Strand says it won't be easy.

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New Ulm Cathedral (12-1) did everything under the sun, or in this case, beneath the roof of the Metrodome, to rally in a 34-33 win against Minneota - a team many penciled into the championship game.

The Greyhounds capped the comeback by using a

2-point conversion passing play from the 2000 film 'Remember The Titans.'

"We put that play (Titans Right) in yesterday," Greyhounds coach Denny Lux told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune after the game. "We first ran it in 2000, but haven't used it in about three or four years."

Anyone that has watched Barnesville (13-0) this season knows it doesn't use plays from a movie. Yet, there is a familiar script.

The Trojans show up, warm up, beat up and get back on the bus. It's pretty standard procedure for Strand.

"You look at the tapes," Strand said. "And they're a lot like us. They're not a team with two running backs. They've got a three- or four-headed monster that can do damage."

Strand said when New Ulm Cathedral does decide to pass, the plays can go for big yards.

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"They also have a 6-6 receiver and that helps too," Strand said. "Once we saw that, we knew we had to make sure to keep (Stuart Brandt) away from him."

That's because Brandt, just known as Stewie, stands only 5 feet, 3 inches tall.

Strand said with both teams being so similar, he doesn't expect it to be a high-scoring game.

New Ulm Cathedral's defense allows an average of 11.5 points per game, while Barnesville has surrendered an average of 8.1 points.

"They're very good, they do their job and they must practice very well," Strand said. "They don't make a lot of mistakes."

How to track the Trojans

With the Barnesville Trojans shooting for the first football title in school history, there are plenty of ways to follow the team today.

Here are a couple of options:

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Radio: KJJK 96.5-FM

Internet: http://45.grandstadium.tv

TV: Channel 12 in Barnesville; KCPM Channel 9 in Fargo for Cable One subscribers; Channel 3 for Midcontinent subscribers.

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

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
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