LANGDON — Bowman County stifled Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich into a goose egg on the scoreboard over the first 24 minutes of their North Dakota Athletic Association Class A football semifinals Saturday afternoon prompting L-E-M coach Joshua Krivarchka to tell his guys during halftime …

“Someone’s gotta make a play.”

Sophomore Grant Romfo made the play, a pick-six early in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference as the Cardinals defeated the Bulldogs 22-19 to advance to their second consecutive Dakota Bowl appearance. Awaiting the Cardinals are the defending Class A champions Hillsboro/Central Valley which beat Dickinson Trinity 44-8 Saturday.

“(This win) means a lot,” Krivarchka began, “These kids have put in a lot of time and effort. We have some young kids out there but they compete hard, they have that winning mentality. 

“They know how to win and you can’t teach that. You just got to keep winning.”

The Cardinals (11-0) trailed 13-0 at halftime but took the opening possession of the second half and drove 63 yards that was helped by a personal foul penalty and a 29-yard pass completion from Simon Romfo to Sean Gette that put the Cardinals at Bowman County’s 1-yard line. Grant Romfo took it in and Simon Romfo to Gette for the two-point conversion cut the Bulldogs lead to five.

After forcing the Bulldogs to punt on the ensuing possession, Simon Romfo found Gette deep on the right hash. Gette broke a tackle and found the end zone for the 55 yard score. Gette’s two-point conversion catch gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game at 16-13.

“I rallied the team up and said ‘guys, this is where you have to dig,’” Bulldogs head coach Todd Frie said. “We have to dig deep now. We can fold right here and the game’s done or we stand up, make a drive and get ourselves back in. Take momentum back.”

The Bulldogs answered the charge, going 63 yards on 12 plays capped off by Jacob Svihovec’s second TD run of the day, this from 1 yards out that put Bowman County up 19-16.

“They stood up, they did it. I was very, very proud,” Frie said.

On the Cardinals next possession, they drove the ball down to Bowman County’s 15-yard line but the Bulldogs forced a turnover on downs. It was the first play from scrimmage for Bowman County when Grant Romfo jumped the route and took the interception into the end zone for the go-ahead score.

“They were throwing those short-stops the whole game and basically Grant sat on that one, jumped in front of it and made a heck of a play for us that put us on top,” Krivarchka said.

“It was a game-changer,” said Frie about the pick six. “It was a game changer. We had just made a huge momentum stop and having it done on the first play breaks your back.”

Svihovec ran for two touchdowns, including a 41-yard run in the first quarter that gave Bowman County the early 6-0 lead. The Bulldogs finished the season at 10-1, a far cry from three seasons ago when they won only once.

“This season broke a lot of records for our program, a stepping stone to what our program is about for the future,” Frie said.

Langdon-Edmore-Munich’s rematch with the Burros will be Friday, Nov. 9, with kickoff set for 9:10 a.m. from the FargoDome.

Chris Harris can be reached at charris@devilslakejournal.com and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ