Just a few days separate teams from the state semifinals, including the Mandan Braves; a win over Shanley on Friday and they make it to a state championship for the first time since 1948.

The last meeting came down to the wire. Despite forcing four turnovers, Mandan needed a key 3rd down conversion to ice the game. But this team knows things will be different than a few weeks ago.

“Two sides of the ball are so different,” says HC Todd Sheldon. “You want to hone what you’re doing offensively and really just sharpen the axe on that side and then defensively, it’s a week-to-week adjustment. You’re not going to come out and run your defense when it doesn’t apply to what their offense is. And I think we’ve made really good defensive adjustments through the course of the year.”

“We just got to come out firing, energized, and we just got to hit them,” says DL/FB Wyatt Piehl. “I think as long as we keep giving 100 percent each play like coach tells us and we keep the physicality, if we’re more physical, I think we can keep doing that and keep winning.”