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Fargo South, Grand Forks Central, Minot. Defending state champion Bismarck has beaten ranked opponents the last three weeks.

The Demons' reward? They get to put their No. 1 ranking on the line against No. 3 Century tonight at the Community Bowl.

"We're kind of on a heck of a run right now," BHS head coach Mark Gibson said. "... In any level of football you're going to have a down week. Our kids have played hard for five consecutive weeks, and that's the main concern for us."

There's no shortage of incentive for the two teams. Bismarck, 5-0, has won 16 straight games. Century, 4-1, knows it's the last major regular season roadblock for Bismarck.

Both teams are 1-0 in the five-game West Region schedule.

Century head coach Ron Wingenbach is loath to put great emphasis on tonight's game, but agrees the outcome will probably ripple through the rest of the season.

"It might dictate the No. 1 (playoff) seed. ... You might say it might be a big game in that respect," Wingenbach said.

While Bismarck downed Minot 42-7 last week, Century won't meet the fourth-ranked Magicians until the penultimate game of the regular season.

"It's probably a bigger game for us than it is for them for the main reason that we've got Minot out of the way," Gibson said. "Without a doubt this game has huge ramifications for the No. 1 seed in the conference and that's both teams' goal."

Wingenbach said Century's main concern with BHS is the big-play ability of tailback Jake Miller and quarterback Esley Thorton.

"They've relied on that and they're pretty darned good at it whether they run or pass the ball," Wingenbach said.

Likewise, Gibson said the Demons can't get burned by CHS quarterback Jesse Kartes and his array of receivers.

"Their quarterback is playing extremely well and we've got to find a way to slow him down," Gibson said. "They've got athletes all over the field. ... They're very physical on both sides of the ball and they don't make many mistakes.

"You've got to keep an eye on (Garret) Jacobs and you've got to keep an eye on (Bruce) Govig. ... And their tailback, (Zach) Emil, has been a starter for three years."

Wingenbach said he's encouraged by the progress his team has made through its first five weeks.

"We've continued to make strides," he said. "We've got to keep improving. This team has a high ceiling in that regard."

Gibson said the Patriots have become a dangerous opponent for any team.

"We'll have to play extremely well to win," Gibson said.

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