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North Star finishes strong, downs Larimore in Class B 9-man playoffs

Bearcats will face Cavalier in the next round

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North Star's Hunter Hagler runs away from Larimore defenders Brison Falch, left, and Tristan Thomas Saturday in Cando.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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Larimore's Colter Thorsell stiff-arms North Star's Garrett Howard in Saturday's playoff game in Cando.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

CANDO, N.D. – North Star was playing its first home game in the North Dakota Class B 9-man playoffs since 2012.

The Bearcats made the most of its home-field advantage.

Behind two 100-yard rushing performances, North Star used a big second half to down Larimore 40-22 in the opening round of the 9-man playoffs Saturday in Cando.

The Bearcats advance to the second round and will play perennial 9-man power Cavalier on the road next Saturday.

Garrett Westlind ran for 136 yards while Dane Hagler added 100 as the Bearcats scored two times in the fourth quarter to pull away after Larimore trailed by only six points at halftime.

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“That was a little closer than we wanted it to be,” said North Star coach Daniel Grande. “In the second half, we were able to tackle better. They had some huge runs against us in the first half. We were able to make some big plays in the second half. We were able to pound the rock.”

Leading 28-22 in the fourth quarter, North Star received touchdown runs of 33 yards and 17 yards from Hagler and Westlind, respectively

Larimore had closed to within 28-22 on a 15-yard touchdown from Colter Thorsell with 25 seconds to go in the third quarter. “They’re big up front and they run well between the tackles,” said Grande.

Larimore, which had struggled the past few seasons before making a comeback this season, actually outgained the Bearcats, 344 yards to 332. Of Larimore’s total yardage, 330 yards came on the ground.

The Polar Bears were led by Thorsell’s 309 yards on 45 carries. He scored two TDs as well.

North Star improved to 5-4 while Larimore closed out at 4-5.

The Bearcats now prepare for Cavalier, one of the more successful North Dakota 9-man teams in the state.

“We were pleased with our energy and focus today,” said Grande. “And this was the most consistent line play we had.”

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Cavalier is 8-0 this season and has outscored its opponents 338-54.

“We’re going to play a historically good team,” said Grande. “They do a lot of things well.”

North Border 42, New Rockford-Sheyenne 8

North Border moved on to the second round with its win over New Rockford-Sheyenne.

Carson Brown rushed for 111 yards on 16 carries as the Eagles improved to 6-3 and will play North Prairie in next Saturday’s second round.

New Rockford-Sheyenne closed out the season at 4-5.

Brown opened the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. T.J. Crosley added a 29-yard scoring run in the first quarter to put North Border on its way.

North Border finished with approximately 340 yards while holding the Rockets to 50.

New Rockford-Sheyenne’s touchdown came on a 7-yard interception return from Ayden Stainbrook.

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Wyndmere-Lidgerwood 50, Hatton-Northwood 12

Hatton-Northwood closed out its season at 3-6 with a road loss against Wyndmere-Lidgerwood.

Wyndmere-Lidgerwood had 262 yards of offense in the first half and finished with 482 yards, to Hatton-Northwood’s 198. The Thunder had only 22 yards at the half.

Hatton-Northwood’s scores came on a Derek Carpenter-to-Teddy Peterick 30yard pass and on another pass, this one a 72-yarder from Carpenter to Ander Thorsgard.

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North Star running back Garrett Westlind slips a tackle by Larimore's Brison Falch in Saturday's playoff game in Cando.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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North Star quarterback Dane Hagler reacts as he runs in the endzone for a Bearcats touchdown in the second half Saturday, October 15, 2022 against Larimore in the ND 9-man playoffs in Cando.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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Larimore's Jacob Warnke gets around North Star defender Brett Dilley Jr. for yardage in Saturday's ND 9-man playoff game in Cando.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

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Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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