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PREP FOOTBALL: Polar Bears take out Hillsboro-CV

BUXTON, N.D.--As in recent seasons, Larimore showed its muscle on the line here Friday. But, the Polar Bears also showed a more diversified offense. Passing--as well as running behind behemoths--was part of an entertaining 31-22 victory over Hill...

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BUXTON, N.D.-As in recent seasons, Larimore showed its muscle on the line here Friday. But, the Polar Bears also showed a more diversified offense.

Passing-as well as running behind behemoths-was part of an entertaining 31-22 victory over Hillsboro/Central Valley in both teams' football season opener.

Quarterback Jacob Tupa completed 13 of 24 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns. One of the three was a 16-yarder to the 6-foot-3, 250-pound converted tight end Levi Hofer. The game-winner, it was not a fluke, as Hofer caught three passes for 75 yards.

Next week, however, Levi will be back in the trenches. It will be twin brother Caleb Hofer's turn to move to tight end.

"We're going to let them take turns at tight end every week," Larimore coach Kal Triplett said. "They're both not going to be at tight end at the same time. We need one of them in the line."

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Elijah Holter was the top receiver, catching five passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as the Bears took a19-6 lead at halftime. But the Burros bounced back in the third quarter with two unanswered touchdowns for a 22-19 lead going into the fourth.

Playmaker Kyle Henningsgard, who scored the Burros' only touchdown of the first half on a 23-yard reception from quarterback Austin Reed, provided the spark in the third quarter, too. His 57-yard punt return set up a Tayson Ambuehl's 3-yard scoring run and then he hauled in a 17-yard scoring pass from Reed for a 25-22 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Burros held that lead until Levi Hofer's go-ahead score with 2:12 left completed a 5-play, 68-yard drive. Then Elijah Holter ran 70 yards with 55 seconds left against a gambling defense for his second score to clinch the outcome.

"We knew we had a mismatch throwing the ball," Triplett said. "But we still had to work out some kinks in our passing game. The defense stepped up in the fourth quarter."

Tupa, as all quarterbacks, welcomes the turn toward more passing for the previously ground-bound Polar Bears.

"We have only 22 guys, so we have to persevere and battle," Tupa said. "And I love to throw it."

H/CV coach Scott Olsen was impressed by Larimore's passing game. "We almost had a few of their passes, but they were throwing a perfect ball," he said. "It's tough to defend perfect passes. Their quarterback threw some really good balls.

"We were good against the run, but the passing game killed us. I didn't think the passing game could beat us, but it did."

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