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Football: Chargers season ends with Verndale

Jake Hintermeister finds a hole with blocks by James Strese and Nick Thorstad. The Chargers fell to the Pirates, 26-16. (Emily Myrin / Echo Press)1 / 5
Tanner Bitzan tackles Verndale's Craig Orlando. The Chargers lost to the Pirates, 26-16 at the FargoDome. (Emily Myrin / Echo Press)2 / 5
Tanner Bitzan watches in the fourth quarter as the Pirates held their lead over the Chargers. The Chargers ended their season with a 9-2 record. (Emily Myrin / Echo Press)3 / 5
Jake Hintermeister, Nick Thorstad and Sam Fuller tackle Verndale's Craig Orlando. (Emily Myrin / Echo Press)4 / 5
Senior Taylor Bitzan finds a hole with blocks by senior James Strese. Bitzan scored the first Chargers TD in the fourth quarter off of a ten yard run in their game against Verndale. (Emily Myrin / Echo Press)5 / 5

In a battle of two-high scoring offenses, it was the Verndale defense that carried the day against Brandon-Evansville.

Brandon-Evansville came into the Fargodome for the Section 4, 9-Man championship football game against a team that has ended their season three years in a row. But their hopes were dashed when the Pirate’s defense kept the Chargers off the scoreboard for the first three quarters of the game.

The Chargers ended the shutout in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Marshall Riedel grabbed the final touchdown of the night with just 23 seconds left in the game off of a 67-yard run into the endzone. Sophomore Jesse Perleberg caught the pass for the two point conversion, making the final score 26-16.

“It was two hard-nosed teams that fought to the end,” B-E head coach Tim Pattrin said. “We just made a couple mistakes that stopped us a little short.”

The Chargers made it into the red-zone twice in the first half of the game, but never hit the end zone.

“We gave it our all. Just too much missing the little things,” Tanner Bitzan said. “Some of us were trying to do too much but other than that we gave it our all.”

Senior Taylor Bitzan got the Chargers on the board for the first time off of a 10-yard run with just four minutes left in the game. Senior Jake Hintermeister ran in the two point conversion.

“Verndale just played a really good games. We hurt ourselves a lot,” Hintermeister said. “There were lots of penalties that were uncharacteristic of us.”

Just before the Chargers’ first touchdown of the game, sophomore quarterback Keagan Schiele took a tackle low and was helped off the field, never to re-enter. Schiele completed two passes out of seven for 15 yards. Hintermeister took over as quarterback after Schiele was injured.

“Obviously, you never want to see a kid get hurt who's still got a future in front of them,” Hintermeister said.

Several Chargers’ athletes left the field with injuries throughout the game.

“The guys are pretty beat up. I’m going to leave it at that,” Pattrin said.

Both Verndale and B-E lagged behind their usual high-scoring offensive show. The Pirates on average get 51.5 points a game and B-E put up 44.4 points per game during this season.

The Pirates had 356 total offensive yards compared to the Chargers’ 259. Verndale had 20 first downs on the night while B-E only had 11.

These teams have a history. When Verndale beat the Chargers in the season opener, the score was 36-26. In their Fargodome matchup, there weren’t any surprises just a tough game, Pattrin said.

“We had a couple miscues. They did a lot of stunting and a lot of changing their front and that’s why they do it,” Pattrin said. “A missed block here, a missed block there and that was it. Otherwise, we drove the ball well. We stopped them a lot. They just made one or two plays to beat us in the end.”

The 26-16 loss wraps up high school football for 10 B-E seniors.

“It was a lot of fun,” Hintermeister said. “I hope the young guys enjoyed it and saw how much work it took for us to make this happen so that they can do it and we can come back and watch them.”

A legacy of leadership has gotten the Chargers this far in the season, Pattrin said.

“The seniors have lead us for years,” Pattrin said. “They’ve been the epitome of everything we’ve asked of them. They had a great group a couple years ago to look up to and then they instilled that into our young kids. Hopefully this is just the beginning of getting here on a consistent basis.”

The Chargers’ season wraps up with an overall record of 9-2.

“Verndale played a hell of a game,” Tanner Bitzan said. “We got to see how nice it is to be here. We gotta train and work hard to get back here next year.”

VERNDALE - 8 8 0 8 - 26

BRANDON-EVANSVILLE - 0 0 0 16 - 16

SCORING PLAYS -

FIRST QUARTER - Verndale - Luke Weniger touchdown pass from Mack Jones. A pass between Mack Jones and Jackson Weniger get the two-point.

SECOND QUARTER - Verndale - Mack Jones four yard run. Two-point conversion is good.

THIRD QUARTER - No scoring.

FOURTH QUARTER - Verndale - Craig Orlando touchdown run. Pass to Weniger for two-point conversion. B-E - Taylor Bitzan 10-yard run. Hintermeister runs for two-point conversion. B-E - Riedel 67-yard run. Perleberg catches for two-point conversion.

TOTALS - B-E - Total offense - 259; Penalties - 4-25; Turnovers - 1; First downs - 11; Verndale - Total offense - 356; Penalties - 6-60; Turnovers - 0; First downs - 20

B-E OFFENSE - Passing - Keagan Schiele - 2-7, 15 yards; 1 INT; Receiving - Darrin Wibstad - 1-12; Tanner Bitzan - 1-3; Rushing - Taylor Bitzan - 23-115, 1 TD; Marshall Riedel - 2-74, 1 TD; Jake HIntermeister - 4-28; Nick Thorstad - 3-24; Trent Landowski - 2-5

B-E DEFENSE - James Strese - 9.5 tackles, 1 TFL; Tanner Bitzan - 8.5 tackles, 5 TFL; Jake Hintermeister - 6.5 tackles; Chris Vinson - 6 tackles; Taylor Bitzan - 5.5 tackles; Nick Thorstad - 5.5 tackles; Trey Bosek - 4 tackles, .5 TFL; Jesse Perleberg - 3 tackles; Darrin Wibstad - 2 tackles; Cade Carlson - 2 tackles; Colton Sherman - 1.5 tackles, .5 TFL; Avery Wendt - 1.5 tackles, .5 TFL; Andrew Johnson - 1.5 tackles, .5 TFL; Brandon Merritt - 1.5 tackles; Sam Fuller - 1 tackle, 1 TFL; Marshall Riedel - .5 tackle; Mike Cochran 0 .5 tackle

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