BISMARCK, N.D. — This year has been a year of firsts for the South Border Mustangs with clinching their first region title in co-op history and advancing to their first-ever semifinal after defeating Hettinger County for the second time this season on Saturday.

After leading 28-12 in the fourth, the Huskies mounted a comeback and made it 28-24, but the defense made a play for the Mustangs to secure the win. Saturday’s matchup showcased what Coach Evan Mellmer says is what 9-man Region 4 football is all about, and the Mustangs are excited to go somewhere no other team donning the black and blue has gone before.

“Hettinger County’s a team that embodies what region four is,” Meller says. “They are tough. They are gritty and they’re going to be swinging the entire time. A lot of teams when we got up there, 28-12, they would have packed it up and folded, and they don’t. That’s not who they are. that’s not what this region’s about. Coach Zachmann’s one heck of a football coach. He’s got one heck of a football team. That’s what it’s all about. Playing teams like that, games like that in the playoffs, it’s awesome.”

“It’s awesome,” senior Connor Kosiak adds. “These guys put in a ton of work in the summer, so it’s just great to be with these guys. Looking at the Dakota Bowl pretty soon is pretty awesome, but we got a job to do next week before that.”

South Border battles New Rockford-Sheyenne-Maddock on the road next week with a spot in the Dakota Bowl on the line.