The Linton-HMB Lions are no strangers to the playoffs, but they haven’t made a Dakota Bowl since 2011.
Now, they are focused on bringing home the sixth state title in school history. That’s something head coach Tanner Purintun has been striving for since he wore the Lions uniform the last time Linton made it to Fargo.
“We’ve lost our last three Dakota Bowl appearances, so we’re excited to get back there, but we’re kind of just sick of losing that game,” head coach Tanner Purintun said. “So we want to come out and get that win. We haven’t gotten a win since 2003, so our guys are locked in. They want to bring the title back.”
A state championship brings heightened emotions, something the Lions will have to control, especially in a rematch that means a little more
“They’ve been talking about it seconds after we beat LaMoure,” Purintun said. “Guys were already saying, ‘Let’s go. We got Cavalier.'”
“Knowing that they beat us last year to go to state and that the team we beat that won state we could’ve beat, just fuels us extra to go and win and beat them,” sophomore Landon Bosch said. “Take back what was ours.”
The Lions will have to stop a Tornadoes offense that is averaging 48 points per game.
“The D-line they’ve got to contain their quarterback, and get a rush on him,” senior Trey Jacob said. “Once the ball is out we just have to make plays and go pick it off.”
On offense, it will be business as usual as the Lions try to establish the run. Something they’ve done successfully this season rushing for over 2,000 yards.
“It helps us control the clock,” Jacob said. “The more we work at the run, the more teams get wore out.”
For the senior class, this week is something they have dreamed of, but the job is not finished.
“Now that we’re finally here, it feels great, but we all know that we’ve got one game left and we’re going to go out and give it our all,” Jacob said.
The Lions kick off against Cavalier at 12:10 p.m. Friday.