Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich uses fourth down stop to beat Hillsboro/Central Valley for the Class A football championship.

FARGO — Vengeance can be as sweet as southern molasses — especially when you get to put a ring on it.

On fourth-and-5 with 1:35 remaining in the game and 15 yards away from a back-to-back North Dakota High School Athletic Association Division A state championship, Hillsboro/Central Valley called on running back Oscar Benson, who at that point had gashed Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich’s defense on the ground for 218 yards. However, Cardinals head coach Josh Krivarchka knew the call was coming too.

“They were going with that outside stretch play all of the time and our kids kept fighting … our mike linebacker came flying through.”

The linebacker, Sidney Ullyott, dropped Benson for the 4 yard loss. And in doing so, sent the Cardinals sideline into the first of two celebrations.

L-E-M, which lost to the Burros in this same game a season ago, served Hillsboro/Central Valley a Thanksgiving plate full of pay back Friday morning with the 20-18 win from the FargoDome for the NDHSAA Division A title.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Krivarchka said with a smile increasing on his face with each word he spoke. “Just the heartache last year and now to be on top. It’s special for the kids, it’s special for the coaches and it’s special for our community.

“There was just a lot of hard work put in in the offseason and to come out on top feels unbelievable.”

In a game that saw 660 yards of total offense, it came down to a defensive play that lifted the Cardinals to the win, much as it did last week against Bowman County when a pick six determined that one.

“The last two weeks have been pretty tough. But what I can say about these kids is that they are winners. They’re going to find a way to win,” Krivarchka said.

The Cardinals found a way — converting two of their three fourth down attempts, none larger than Simon Romfo’s 1 yard touchdown pass to twin brother Grant Romfo that put L-E-M ahead for good at 14-12. Simon Romfo added a TD run with 21 seconds left before halftime that gave the Cardinals enough breathing room to hold on.

“Coming into the game, everyone was talking about Hillsboro being undefeated and we just sold the message that they just beat us by two points last year so there’s no difference between us and Hillsboro so it’s going to be a battle and we’re going to have to find a way to win,” said Krivarchka.

Simon Romfo threw for 211 yards, completing 50 percent of his passes and added 39 yards on the ground. Jackson Delvo had seven catches for 117 yards, Sean Gette finished with only two catches but one went for a 47 yard touchdown for the Cardinals first score of the game.

Simon Romfo also had 16 tackles to lead the defense for the Cardinals, who finished the season 12-0.

“It feels amazing,” Simon began. His two kneel downs to run out the clock sparked L-E-M’s sideline’s second celebration. “We were definitely motivated after last year to come back and make it a different year.” 

Benson rushed the ball 41 times for 214 yards on the ground. The junior finished the season with 1,740 yards and 20 touchdowns. The Burros (11-1) were held to their lowest point total of the season (21 below their season average) and allowed 15 more.

Box score

Hillsboro-Central Valley  6 6 6 0 — 18

Langdon/Edmore/Munich  8 12 0 0 — 20

 

1st Quarter

H-CV — Gallagher 1 run (kick failed), 1:22.

L-E-M — Gette 47 pass from Simon Romfo (Romfo run) :26.

2nd Quarter

H-CV — Longthorne 3 run (pass failed), 9:17.

L-E-M — Grant Romfo 1 pass from Simon Romfo (pass failed), 3:03.

L-E-M — Simon Romfo 2 run (kick failed), :21.

3rd Quarter

H-CV — Benson 1 run (run failed), 7:55.