West Fargo looking forward to rematch with Bismarck
WEST FARGO-The sting of losing to Bismarck earlier this season didn't last long for the West Fargo football team. Following the 25-18 setback to the Demons that left the Packers 0-2, West Fargo proceeded to run the table in Eastern Dakota Confere...
WEST FARGO-The sting of losing to Bismarck earlier this season didn't last long for the West Fargo football team.
Following the 25-18 setback to the Demons that left the Packers 0-2, West Fargo proceeded to run the table in Eastern Dakota Conference play and earn the East Region's No. 1 seed in North Dakota Class 3A state playoffs.
Both teams likely came away from the Sept. 4 meeting thinking they may meet again in the playoffs and it just so happens the rematch will take place 7 p.m. Friday at West Fargo High School during the quarterfinals.
"We have been wanting to play Bismarck and Minot again for a long time now," said junior offensive and defensive lineman Brandon Metz, referring to the two teams that beat West Fargo to open the season. "I can't think of another team I'd like to take on in the playoffs more than Bismarck."
Friday will be the third time in the last five seasons West Fargo (7-2) and Bismarck (7-2) have met in the playoffs. The Demons defeated the Packers in the quarterfinals in 2013 and the semifinals in 2012.
West Fargo head coach Jay Gibson said the Demons are a tough opening draw in the playoffs.
"The West seems to have a bunch of really good football teams," Gibson said. "To look at it positively we have played Bismarck before, so we understand what they want to do. They are a lot like us in that they are physical. They play very good defense, so if we do not come ready to play, we'll be in trouble. And if they aren't ready, they'll be in trouble."
Since the Bismarck loss, West Fargo has allowed its opponents an average of 7.1 points per game and has posted three shutouts.
Junior Chase Teiken leads the Packers in tackles with 52 and Metz checks in with 45-17 of which have resulted in loss of yardage.
"It was all about keeping mentally sharp, not making mistakes and coming together as a team," Teiken said of West Fargo's run in the conference season. "We have improved a lot and hopefully it bounces our way this time."
Teiken and Gibson stressed the importance of taking care of the football against the Demons. West Fargo turned the ball over four times against Bismarck.
"We were inexperienced," Gibson said. "We had 19 players at the beginning of the season that had never started a game on varsity. We have gained experience throughout the season, and we have been playing cleaner games. We've had a turnover here and there, but I think we had four against Bismarck. You don't play a good team like Bismack, turn over the ball four times and expect to win."
This time around, Gibson said the objectives will be to avoid turnovers, contain Bismarck senior running back Jaxon Ford and establish its own run game. Teiken leads West Fargo with 879 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns.
"We need to keep our nose to the grindstone," Teiken said. "We'll have to fight for every yard and every point."
IF YOU GO
What: North Dakota Class 3A state football playoffs
Who: No. 4 Bismarck at No. 3 West Fargo
Where: West Fargo High School
When: 7 p.m. Friday