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Titans a win away from state title berth

By Staff | Nov 6, 2009

When Towner-Granville-Upham entered the state 9-man playoffs two-and-a-half weeks ago, the thought of getting to the semifinal round never crossed the the team’s mind.

The Titans’ focus was simply on the opponent at hand.

That approach has worked well, and here they are, one of four 9-man teams still playing football this season.

And T-G-U (7-2) will try to extend its season another week when it meets Parshall-White Shield (8-2) in the semifinals this afternoon, Nov. 7, beginning at 1:30 p.m. in Parshall.

The victor will face the winner of the Hankinson/Hillsboro game on Friday, Nov. 13 at 12 noon at the Fargodome.

While T-G-U’s playoff run is a bit surprising, it hasn’t come as too big a surprise for the Titans’ themselves.

“We know we are a pretty good football team when we play up to our capabilities,’ coach Scott Thorson said. “We’ve had our share of challenges and we’ve worked as a team to overcome them.”

Another challenge awaits the team in P-WS. The Braves have a lot of speed and three offensive weapons in the backfield, including quarterback Cole Hendrickson.

“They are going to run the ball and try some misdirection, but then will throw the occasional pass,’ Thorson said. “They are talented and deserving of where they are at.”

P-WS, which is in the postseason for the first time in five seasons, knocked off Wells County 14-13 to advance to the semifinals.

Towner-Granville-Upham, meanwhile, won its third straight playoff game, defeating Central McLean, to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2002.

The Titans’ defense has been a big part of their postseason run. “They have a lot of confidence right now they can stop any style of offense,’ Thorson said.

This afternoon it will be containing the Braves’ speed in the backfield.

Of course, T-G-U also possesses its share of playmakers. Senior running back Ian Keller and quarterback Tyler Thorson both rushed for 103 yards in the win over Central McLean. The Titans’ also have shown the ability to throw the ball with success. Brad Bethke, Daniel Syvertson and Zach Thompson have all made big receptions in the postseason.

Thorson liked the patience his offense showed in the Central McLean game. They didn’t get frustrated when they were forced to punt. They took what the defense gave them and moved the ball down the field.

Another challenge awaits the team in P-WS. The Braves have a lot of speed and three offensive weapons in the backfield, including quarterback Cole Hendrickson.

Playoff games often come down to which team also need some breaks to go your way.

“We’re not going to change a lot,’ he said. “We will go in believing we’re going to play a strong game. “That’s all you can do at this point.”

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