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Stephen-Argyle downs Clearbrook-Gonvick, advances to state

Joston Hoeper of Stephen-Argyle is tackled by Ethan Dorman, left, and Tristan Bakke of Clearbrook-Gonvick during the Minnesota 9-man, Section 8 football championship game Nov. 3, 2016, in Fargo.Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor1 / 3
Tristan Bakke of Clearbrook-Gonvick is dragged down by Joachim Kazmierczak of Stephen-Argyle during the Minnesota 9-man, Section 8 football championship game Nov. 3, 2016, in Fargo.Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor2 / 3
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FARGO—Joston Hoeper was a strong finisher.

The sophomore reserve running back had only seven carries, good for 46 yards, Thursday. But Hoeper scored three of Stephen-Argyle's six touchdowns as the Storm repeated as Section 8 9-man champions, beating Clearbrook-Gonvick 41-22 in the section championship game at the Fargodome.

The 10-1 Storm will play Section 6 champion Waubun in a state quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 at Bemidji State.

Hoeper scored the final first-half touchdown on a 15-yard run to give the Storm a 21-8 intermission lead. He added 2- and 11-yard scoring runs in the fourth quarter.

"There was a lot of good blocking,'' Hoeper said. "I ran hard and made some hard cuts. I'm more of a pounder as a runner.''

Hoeper combined with Kyler Szczepanski (95 yards rushing, 1 touchdown) to give the Storm good production from one backfield spot. "Kyler is a quick back,'' S-A coach Ethan Marquis satd. "We want Joston in as a power back. He does that pretty naturally. He and Kyler are a nice combination.

"Joston didn't get a lot of carries, but he made the most of them.''

Balancing the Storm offense was strong production from quarterback Chris McGlynn, who rushed for 59 yards and passed for 110. The senior didn't account for a score rushing or passing, but completions of 24 and 68 yards to Wyatt Neuschwander set up the Storm for two short rushing touchdowns.

"Who scores touchdowns doesn't matter as long as we get in,'' McGlynn said. "Our blockers did a great job. When we get a good passing game, it opens things up and we'll get a good running game, too.''

The Storm never trailed after scoring twice in the first quarter. Szczepanski opened scoring on a 1-yard run. The next score came when McGlynn hit Stoene Spilde for a 15-yard reception. Spilde fumbled at the end of the play and teammate Sandler Hanson picked up the loose ball and went 35 yards for a scoring run.

Clearbrook-Gonvick relied on Tristan Bakke (20-106 rushing, 3 touchdowns) and Ethan Dorman (21-121 rushing) for most of its 283 yards in total offense. "Both of them are very explosive,'' Marquis said. "We were able to control the ball and keep it away from them.''

Depth was a key factor, both on the line and in the backfield where the Storm had four backs with more than 45 rushing yards to go with McGlynn's passing.

"You can't key on anybody; you never know who they'll give the ball to,'' C-G coach Casey Kroulik said. "Their line on both sides of the ball was so good. They rotated a lot of guys, more than we do. That wears you down.''

Clearbrook-Gonvick closed with a 6-5 record.