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Patriots roll over Titans

MAYVILLE, N.D. - Troy Dale made the conversion from tight end to fullback during the season. Erik Johansson had never played football prior to this season.

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MAYVILLE, N.D. - Troy Dale made the conversion from tight end to fullback during the season. Erik Johansson had never played football prior to this season.

Yet that combination had the decisive points Saturday night as May-Port-CG edged Hankinson-FCT 27-26 in double overtime in the first round of the North Dakota Class 1A football playoffs.

With the Patriots facing a 26-20 deficit, Dale powered in on a fourth-and-1 play for the tying points. Johansson, a foreign exchange student from Sweden, kicked the game-winning point.

"That's the first big one like that I've scored," said Dale, who followed the blocking of Tallon Early, Daryl Kaul and Ross Thykeson on the left side into the end zone. "There was some pressure; I was nervous. I kept running through my mind what I had to do on the play."

At least Dale is a football veteran.

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Johansson played golf and hockey in Sweden; he hadn't even kicked in soccer for five years. "I was nervous," he said. "I've never been in that situation in any sport."

Neither team scored in regulation after Jake Brandenburger's 15-yard fumble return for a touchdown tied it at 12 with 3 minutes, 38 seconds left in the third quarter.

In the first overtime, Kyle Boppre made an over-the-shoulder catch of a Luke Lorenz pass on the right sideline for a 10-yard touchdown, then repeated the play for the 2-point conversion.

But Hankinson answered when Josh Asp hit Jamie Mauch for a tying 5-yard touchdown and the subsequent 2-point conversion.

Brandon Hejtmanek's 4-yard run gave the Titans the lead in the second overtime, but Hankinson-FCT couldn't convert the 2-point conversion. That set up the Patriots' winning TD and conversion kick.

"That was definitely Troy's biggest touchdown," May-Port-C-G coach Mike Bradner said. "Nobody was going to stop him. We figured they were keying on (Jordan) Flaten, so we went with the big guy. He's hard to bring down in short-yardage situations, and our line gave a real solid push. And Erik has really kicked well."

Lorenz also hooked up with Boppre for a 4-yard touchdown early, with Asp running 25 yards to tie the score at 6 at halftime. Flaten also had a 25-yard scoring run.

Titans head coach Jason Monilaws said the game was lost for the Titans in regulation. "It came down to us making mistakes - dropped passes, penalties, whatever. You can't have the breakdowns we did in playoff football. We didn't play to our potential."

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Greg DeVillers is a sports writer for the Grand Forks Herald, a Forum Communications newspaper

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