FARGO — The high-caliber passing game Langdon-Edmore-Munich brought to the Fargodome was a different look for Hillsboro-Central Valley’s stingy defense.
"We expected a different kind of team than we've faced all year,'' Burros senior defensive lineman Jack Camrud said. "They throw the ball more. But our defensive line got after it and made it tough for them, and our defensive backs covered pretty well. I think 14 points (allowed) is pretty good.''
That effort was state-championship good. In a defensive battle between two high-powered offenses, Hillsboro-CV capped a 12-0 season by beating the Cardinals 16-14 on Friday in the Class A championship game in the annual Dakota Bowl. Langdon-Edmore-Munich finished with an 11-1 record.
Hillsboro-CV gave up some yards — 285 total, primarily on 10-of-22 passing for 210 yards by L-E-M quarterback Jacob Delvo. But the Burros came up with three interceptions and a goal-line stand.
"They're so dynamic in both phases, running and passing,'' said H-CV coach Scott Olsen, whose team had a 5.6 defensive scoring average this season. "We wanted to stop the run, to put them in some long-yardage situations. And we did that.''
The Burros never trailed, driving 80 yards on their second possession to score on a 6-yard run by Grant Skager and getting the 2-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
The Cardinals pulled within 8-6 on a 39-yard scoring pass from Delvo to Chase Peebles on the first play of the second quarter.
But the second half was highlighted by the H-CV defense.
Riley Pederson's second interception of the game set up the first drive of the second half for H-CV on the Cardinals' 41-yard line. Hillsboro-CV finished the drive with a Ryan Troftgruben-to-Tyler Bergstrom scoring pass of 21 yards for a 16-6 lead.
Langdon-E-M had a scoring opportunity thwarted when, on third-and-one on the H-CV 2-yard line, the Burros defense stopped the Cardinals on the final play of the third quarter and again on the first play of the fourth.
"They have good athletes like we do,'' L-E-M coach Josh Krivarchka said. "We had opportunities. We were at the goal line with a chance to score or get a first down. We just didn't execute. If we score (at that point), it's a heckuva football game.
"That's the best defense we've seen all year, hands down. Their ends controlled the edges so we couldn't get outside. And they were tough up the middle, clogging it up and putting on pressure.''
Another L-E-M fourth-quarter drive reached the Burros' 26, only to be stopped on Oscar Benson's leaping interception at the 1-yard line. "It's about time,'' Benson said of his first interception of the season. "This one was at a good time, for sure. I saw the ball go up, jumped and luckily I came down with it.''
Langdon-E-M did score with 1:16 left on a 10-yard pass from Delvo to Anfernee Economy, who had seven catches for 155 yards.
Skager dominated the H-CV offense, carrying 42 times for 188 yards. "It was tough running,'' Skager said. "They played amazing defense. It was grinding it out.
"It was two great teams, offensively and defensively. Luckily for us, we came out on top.''