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B-E football: Chance for revenge

Taylor Bitzan rushes down the field in the Chargers semifinals win against Bertha-Hewitt. Bitzan had two touchdowns in the game and rushed for 157 yards. Bitzan did not play in the first matchup with Verndale. (Emily Myrin / Echo Press)

Verndale has ended the Brandon-Evansville football team's season for the last three years in a row. They also are the only team that has defeated the Chargers this season.

Friday is the Chargers' chance for revenge with a rematch with Verndale in the Section 4, 9-man title game in Fargo.

"​I think we'll be just fine when it comes to the nerves department," Chargers coach Tim Pattrin said. "We are doing some different things to get ready for the environment of the Fargodome which will allow us to focus on Verndale rather than that."

The Chargers put away Bertha-Hewitt last Saturday with a 30-12 victory. They held a 318-81 yards advantage in total offense over the Bears.

Verndale (10-0) defeated fourth-seeded Hancock, 61-18, heading into the Fargodome showdown. Verndale held a 528-337 yards advantage in total offense including 324-76 in rushing in their game with the Owls.

Verndale senior quarterback Mack Jones rushed 20 times for 151 yards and three touchdowns in the Hancock game. He completed 8 of 14 passes for 204 yards and two more scores on the night.

​"Jones is a heck of a player and we definitely need to stop him​," Pattrin said. "The D has been working on getting better each week so we look to have our best performance of the year on Friday."

The Chargers defense has been holding opponents to 13.4 points on average this season.

"We play a hard-nose brand defense. Lots of us have played it for three or four years now. We love it," said senior running back Jake Hintermeister after the Chargers defeated Underwood 40-12 on Oct. 6.

When the Chargers and the Pirates first met on the Chargers' field in the 2017 season opener, Vernadale scored a 36-26. The Pirates took at early lead in that opener and held onto it the whole night.

"Verndale's a good team. We're a good team," B-E head coach Tim Pattrin said after the opening loss. "It's who makes the least amount of mistakes."

The Chargers have been cleaning up those mistakes all season long and putting big numbers up on the scoreboard. They get an average of 44.4 points on the board per game.

Verndale holds its opponents to 12.6 points per game and gets an average of 51.5 points on the board. The season-opening game between the Pirates and Chargers showed that both defenses were challenged stop the opposing team's offense.

And the Chargers didn't have one of their key running backs, Taylor Bitzan, when they faced Verdale in the opener. Bitzan was recovering from a torn ACL for the first half of the season. He ran for 1,183 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. In the Chargers last game against Bertha-Hewitt, Bitzan rushed for 157 yards and had two touchdowns.

After that opening loss to Verdale, Hintermeister declared, "7-and-1 now. We'll get them in the Fargodome."

The Chargers did go 7-1 in regular season, just like Hintermeister hoped. Now they've added two playoff wins to make their record 9-1 so far in the season. If they can pull of a win over top-seeded Verndale then they are headed to state.

The Chargers hope to ​"win the individual battles out on the field," Pattrin said. "If we can do that, the game will take care of itself."

Who: Brandon-Evansville vs. Verndale

What: Section 4, 9-Man Championship Title Game

When: 12:30 p.m.

Where: Fargodome, 1800 University Dr. N., Fargo, N.D.