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Eric Peterson column: Patriots, Loboes vie for region

The LaMoure-Litchville-Marion-Verona Loboes and Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg Patriots have taken different routes to Friday's 7 p.m. football showdown in LaMoure that will decide the Class 1A, Region 1 champion.

The LaMoure-Litchville-Marion-Verona Loboes and Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg Patriots have taken different routes to Friday's 7 p.m. football showdown in LaMoure that will decide the Class 1A, Region 1 champion.

The No. 2-ranked Loboes (8-0 overall, 5-0 Region 1) have dominated their opponents, primarily riding the legs of running back Dana Sandness. The Patriots (7-1, 5-0) have endured many narrow escapes, relying on a more balanced offensive attack.

"It's a big game, but certainly all of our eggs are not in one basket,"

May-Port-C-G coach Mike Bradner said. "To be region champion, that would be pretty exciting for our kids and for our school. It would give us some momentum heading into the playoffs."

In essence, the game determines playoff seeding as both teams have already clinched spots in the postseason.

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"I think it's important to improve each game," LaMoure coach Greg Hermes said. "And we want to keep that going."

The offensive game plan for the Loboes is simple: get the ball to Sandness. The 160-pound senior has rushed for 1,090 yards on 106 carries this season. A three-year starter, Sandness has rushed for 3,304 yards on 466 carries in his career.

"We have to do the things that we do well," Hermes said. "And definitely one of those things is running the football. We definitely want to make sure we get Sandness the ball."

Senior fullback Cody Sailer, Sandness' backfield mate the last three seasons, has helped clear the way for many of those 3,000-plus yards.

"Their line is as good as we've seen this year," added Bradner. "Those guys are what contributes to their backs."

Balance is the key for the Patriots. Senior Michael Jordan and juniors Jeremy Johnson and Brett Miller have split rushing attempts. May-Port-C-G quarterback Josh Peterson, who has thrown for more than 1,000 yards, has provided a passing threat.

"They've got a nice mix of the pass and the run," Hermes said. "They like to run the ball to the outside. We have to make sure we contain the outside run."

Throw out the soccer seedings

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Picking a favorite for the state boys soccer tournament, which starts today in Minot, is a tricky proposition.

For starters, Fargo North, Fargo South, and Grand Forks Red River, the No. 1, 2 and 3 teams in the Eastern Dakota Conference, were separated by two points in the final standings.

West Fargo, the No. 4 seed from the East, is the only team to beat

St. Mary's of Bismarck this season.

St. Mary's is the No. 1 seed from the West.

"It's not 1-2-3 this year," said Red River coach Tom Steen, whose team is the defending state champion. "It is really interchangeable. We don't look at ourselves as a No. 3 team, but as a team that can win it. And North and South can win it, too. And West Fargo can sneak up on some people, too."

In his 11th season at Red River, Steen said this field is as balanced as he's seen.

"This is one of those years where anybody could win the thing," Steen said. "When you look at the game scores (during the season), there is nothing definitive."

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Notes and quotes

West Fargo senior Tyler Roehl moved into second place on the school's career rushing list Friday, running for 98 yards on nine carries. Roehl has 1,890 yards in his career. Tony Monte (1983-86) tops the West Fargo career list with 2,676 yards. ... Fargo South senior Kendra Lystad, the defending Class A state girls cross country champion, was unable to finish the race at the Eastern Dakota Conference meet Saturday in Wahpeton after her allergies flared up. "It's something she's been dealing with all season and she's been able to run through it," South coach Dave Tack said. "She was disappointed that she wasn't able to finish." The state cross country meet is scheduled for Oct. 25 in Dickinson. ... Shanley of Fargo hitter Jessica Sampson has been out with a knee injury. The junior, who leads the Deacons in kills, could return to action next Tuesday against Eastern Dakota Conference volleyball rival West Fargo.

Readers can reach Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513 or epeterson@forumcomm.com

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