Titans roll to fourth consecutive state title matchup

DICKINSON, N.D. -- Second chances don't come along very often. Perhaps that's what makes Dickinson Trinity's fourth consecutive trip to a state title game so special.

DICKINSON, N.D. -- Second chances don't come along very often. Perhaps that's what makes Dickinson Trinity's fourth consecutive trip to a state title game so special.

For 51 weeks, the Titans have sought nothing more than another crack at the championship. After being shut out last year by Cavalier in the Class 2A title game, Trinity will have its rematch next week.

The Titans blitzed past Carrington 35-16 in the Class 2A semifinals Saturday night at Whitney Stadium.

"We've waited a long time for this," said Trinity coach Randy Gordon. "It's special. And we wanted it to be against Cavalier."

On a night in which temperatures sank to as low as zero degrees, passes turned into ducks and players slid across the slick grass surface.


Amid those conditions, Trinity's Landon Smith shined.

The sophomore, who shifts between linebacker and tight end, was at the forefront of three key plays that turned the game heavily in Trinity's favor.

After the Titans scored on their opening drive, Carrington awaited kickoff. However, Lee Kiedrowski kicked an odd roller that edged along the sideline. The Cardinals were caught off-guard and Smith jumped on the ball, giving Trinity possession at the Carrington 23-yard line.

Two plays later, fullback Brennan Quintus shot through the middle for a 17-yard touchdown.

Before the Cardinals had even run one offensive play, they trailed 14-0.

Carrington quickly settled down and caught the Titans off-guard when quarterback Marc Van Ray found wideout Brock Smith on a 65-yard dart over the middle.

The Cardinals were poised to draw the game even closer when Carrington drew a critical penalty for tackling Kiedrowski following a punt.

"You can't give good teams second and third chances," said Carrington coach Marty Hochhalter. "And you can't run into the kicker and expect to win a football game. We basically spotted them 14 points."


With the clock winding down to halftime, Smith made his presence felt again when Kiedrowski lofted a bomb into the end zone. Trinity wideout Chad Glasser and Carrington defensive back Phillip Zink collided in the air, knocking the ball into the hands of the Titan tight end.

"It was kind of a fluke," said Smith. "It was just being in the right place at the right time."

Nevertheless, Trinity built a commanding 27-8 lead at the half and had limited Carrington to just 13 plays and one first down.

Much changed however in the third quarter. The Titans had little success running the ball -- after rushing for 187 yards in the opening half. Trinity accumulated just 71 the rest of the way.

Carrington closed to within 27-16 at the start of the fourth quarter and marched to within the Titans 43-yard line in the final 10 minutes.

But as Van Ray stepped back to pass, Brennan Quintus pressured from around the edge, rushing the throw. Smith was there waiting and nabbed the interception.

"The thing with Landon is he's very instinctual," said Gordon. "He doesn't freelance, he just goes where he's supposed to go. And he reacts so well at reading the play."

The Titans would add one more touchdown, securing their fourth consecutive trip to the state championship.


Running back Joe Champa led the Titans with 106 yards on 25 carries, and scored two touchdowns. Kiedrowski connected on 7-for-17 passing, throwing two for scores.

So Trinity faces a Cavalier team which again features a mammoth offensive and defensive line. It will pit the two most dominant teams in Class 2A football. A year ago, the Tornadoes shut out the Titans 18-0 to the title.

Trinity and Cavalier meet next Saturday at the Fargodome.

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