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Trojans take narrow win over Vikes

In the Minnesota Class 2A Section semifinals Saturday in Barnesville, the No. 2-seeded Trojans saw the scoreboard read an all too familiar score in the fourth quarter.

It was 21-20, which was the same score the Trojans had fallen by last season in the same game. This time, there was still time remaining, and the Trojans used it by scoring a touchdown with 5 minutes, 55 seconds remaining to knock off No. 3-seeded Pelican Rapids 28-21 in Minnesota high school football.

"We battled," Barnesville coach Bryan Strand said. "We lost last year by one, and we weren't going to let that happen again."

Barnesville (10-0) capped a nine-play, 53-yard drive in which the Trojans faced first-and-32 at one point, with a 6-yard touchdown rumble by Michael Strand to take the late fourth quarter lead. Stuart Brandt ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 28-21. None of Strand's 142 yards rushing were as important as those six.

"It wasn't even me. It was the offensive line," Michael said. "They played their best game of the season."

Barnesville couldn't have asked for a better start, scoring on its fifth play from scrimmage when Austin Martz made a beautiful cutback move and sprinted 41 of his 118 yards to the end zone to make it 6-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Stuart Brandt pounced on a fumble to give the ball right back to Barnesville on the Pelican Rapids 25-yard line. Seven plays later, Michael Strand was rumbling into the end zone from seven yards out for a 12-0 lead. Michael Strand added a 2-point conversion run to make it 14-0.

Pelican Rapids wasn't going to go away that easily, however. On the ensuing Barnesville drive, Marshall Ohe blocked the Trojan punt to give the Vikings the ball at the Trojans' 41-yard line. The Vikings got on the board three minutes later when quarterback Devin Schell took a keeper into the end zone from two yards out to pull the Vikings within a touchdown.

Barnesville was about to make it 21-7 before a fumble at the Pelican Rapids 5-yard line was jumped on by Tucker Forsgren with 3:02 left in the half. The Vikings used eight plays to drive 83 yards, capping the drive with a 6-yard touchdown connection from Schell to Travis Haugen to tie things up with 14 seconds left in the half.

Michael Strand scored on Barnesville's opening second-half drive to make it 20-14.

Pelican Rapids (7-3) went 70 yards on a 15-play drive that took up nearly seven minutes of the third quarter to take a 21-20 lead on a 10-yard touchdown run from Carlos Gutierrez with 2:29 left in the third.