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Late touchdown lefts East to win

Grand Forks Herald The end zone wasn't the primary thing on Cody Brekken's mind; instead, it was the humiliation factor. "I was thinking (as the pass came) that if I dropped this one, no way I'll ever live it down," Brekken said. Brekken's hands ...

Grand Forks Herald

The end zone wasn't the primary thing on Cody Brekken's mind; instead, it was the humiliation factor.

"I was thinking (as the pass came) that if I dropped this one, no way I'll ever live it down," Brekken said.

Brekken's hands came through. He hauled in a Rob Gibson pass for a 47-yard touchdown with 34 seconds remaining, breaking a 14-all tie. Seth Schmitz kicked the extra point and the East 11-man team beat the West 21-14 in the annual North Dakota Shrine Bowl on Saturday in Grand Forks' Alerus Center.

The East had seen a 32-yard touchdown play negated by offensive pass interference on the previous play. Then Gibson lined up in the shotgun, rolled left and found Brekken, a Crookston High School graduate, open behind the secondary. Brekken made an over-the-shoulder catch at the 20 and went in untouched.

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"I ran a corner route and wound up all by myself," Brekken said. "Rob threw a perfect pass."

The East offense had only one first down in the second half until the final 65-yard drive. UND-bound Catlin Solum of Fargo South rushed for 19 yards on the drive and Jake Hoffert of Wyndmere-Lidgerwood made a 12-yard catch on third-and-12 to set up Brekken's winning score.

"We didn't do anything different on the last drive," East coach Jay Gibson of West Fargo said. "But we told the kids they'd gotten complacent. We wanted to get some flow in our running game and we needed to have someone catch the ball."

The East started fast. Rob Gibson, who finished 9-of-16 passing for 140 yards, hit West Fargo teammate Sean Spiker for a 35-yard touchdown on the East's first possession. It took one play on the second possession to make it 14-0, as Zach Wold of Hatton-Northwood scored on a 47-yard run.

"I got the ball and there was a hole big enough for a semi truck to get through," Wold said.

Mitch Kudrna of Dickinson made it 14-6 with a 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Then, with 3:42 left in the game, West defensive end Dan Carr of Dickinson Trinity sacked Josh Asp, stripped the ball and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Jesse Schuchard passed to Eric Henke for the 2-point conversion and the tie.

"Our defense really stepped it up and gave us an opportunity," West coach Larry Sandy said. "Carr made a great play."

The East defense had two goal-line stands in the first half.

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Brock Sandy of Harvey threw a 74-yard pass to Trinity's Scott Murphy for first-and-goal at the 3. Grand Forks Red River's Brad Just missed on an interception attempt at the 40 on the play, but recovered and ran down Murphy from behind to prevent the touchdown and the defense held.

Then, on the West's final first-half possession, it had first-and-goal on the 4 after Sandy, who finished 7-of-20 for 170 yards passing, connected with Mahnomen's Tyson McArthur for a 47-yard pass. But the West threw three straight incompletions before the half ended.

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