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Max McQuillan's near-perfect day powers Kindred to school's first state football championship in win over Hillsboro-Central Valley

The balance of Kindred quarterback Max McQuillan and running back Trey Heinrich was too much for the Burros.

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Kindred's Carter Schmitz picks off a pass in the endzone intended for HCV's Parker Gallagher in the first half of the ND Class B championship at the Fargodome Friday. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

FARGO -- Max McQuillan knows how to make history -- both for Kindred and the state of North Dakota.

McQuillan, who led the Vikings to the school's first state Class B boys basketball championship last spring, was a near-perfect 12-for-13 passing for 185 yards and two touchdowns Friday in leading Kindred to the school's first state football championship in a 37-14 win over Hillsboro-Central Valley in the North Dakota Class B 11-man state title game in the Fargodome.

McQuillan's 12-for-13 showing is a Dakota Bowl record for completion percentage (92.3 percent) by a quarterback with 10 or more pass attempts. The previous record was held by Wyndmere-Lidgerwood's Wyatt Harles, who was 9-for-11 in 2017.

"We knew we were making history today," McQuillan said. "It feels incredible with all these guys."

McQuillan, a 6-foot-5 senior, was a perfect 12-for-12 passing until less than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter when H-CV linebacker Peter Dryburgh intercepted a short pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown.

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"When we play that way, we're tough to beat because Max can make the throws he needs to make," Kindred coach Matt Crane said. "If we were to open it up a little bit more, you know, I have no doubt that his numbers would be as good as anybody's in the state. I mean, this guy is as good as they come."

The Vikings had an advantage of 185 to 51 in passing yards against the Burros.

"Max is a really good player," H-CV coach Scott Olsen said. "We needed to stop their run first, so we could affect Max more. We never stopped the run, so we never had a chance to affect Max with our blitz schemes."

Running back Trey Heinrich added 132 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Vikings, who led 34-0 after three quarters and avenged a regular-season loss to the Burros.

The Burros, who trailed 13-0 at halftime, couldn't pounce on any of their windows of opportunity in the first half.

One of McQuillan's few gaffes -- a fumble on fourth-and-1 in the first half -- was followed by a Kindred sack of Hillsboro-Central Valley quarterback Riley Olsen by the Vikings' 6-foot-4, 245-pound sophomore defensive end Riley Sunram, which disrupted the Burros' momentum.

Then later in the half, H-CV looked to receive some life when a video replay overturned an interception call. Officials ruled Olsen completed a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Gannon Limke, who wrestled a potential interception away from Kindred defensive back Jorgen Swenson. However, the Burros' ensuing drive featured a holding call, a false start and ended with an interception.

The Burros' final first-half opportunity to snag momentum came when H-CV received a punt near midfield with one minute to go to halftime. On the first play of the drive, though, Olsen fumbled.

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The second half didn't start much better. On the Burros' first drive of the third quarter, Olsen, who finished with three picks, threw an interception to Kindred's Caleb Klabunde.

"It was a rough start and Kindred was kicking our butts all over the field," Olsen said. "We thought we could change it around at halftime, but we couldn't get a jump. Nothing went our way. I'm still proud of the group for not giving up."

The Burros were led by Jace Leshuk's five carries for 27 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Parker Gallagher added three catches for 36 yards.

Kindred 37, Hillsboro-Central Valley 14

First quarter

K -- Max McQuillan 2 run (Jordyn Sunram kick)

Second quarter

K -- Trey Heinrich 53 run (kick failed)

Third quarter

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K -- Heinrich 9 run (Sunram kick)

K -- Lukas Klabunde 54 pass from McQuillan (Sunram kick)

K -- Heinrich 31 pass from McQuillan (Sunram kick)

Fourth quarter

HCV -- Jace Leshuk 17 run (Parker Gallagher kick)

HCV -- Peter Dryburgh 48 interception return (Gallagher kick)

K -- Sunram 27 field goal

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Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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