Sep. 22—MAYVILLE, N.D. — The Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg football program has won at least seven games in each of the last three years.
The Patriots, though, haven't advanced beyond the 9-man state quarterfinals in those years.
May-Port-C-G, in its last season in the 9-man ranks before advancing to 11-man, is off to a 5-0 start and a No. 4 ranking in the state poll.
Can May-Port-C-G establish itself as a state title contender? That'll be put to the test Friday night at 7 p.m. against No. 1 LaMoure-Litchville-Marion, the defending state champions, who have yet to give up a single point this season.
"We've said for the last couple of years that they've got something to prove," May-Port-C-G coach Adam Sola said. "We've taken an earlier-than-wanted exit from the playoffs the last couple of years, and they feel they don't have the respect they necessarily want. It's in the back of their minds and something they want to accomplish.
"We need to treat this like a state championship game. They were state champs. This is our crack at it."
The Patriots haven't had a game within three scores this season.
May-Port-C-G has a balanced rushing attack. Ethan Bergstrom has 42 carries for 605 yards, while Xyler Carlson has 37 carries for 516 yards.
Carlson is in his first season with the Patriots, who have a first-year co-op with Finley-Sharon.
May-Port-C-G's third back, Noah Mehus, has run 29 times for 325 yards.
The Patriots have run for about 1,800 yards on the ground and 660 yards passing.
May-Port-C-G quarterback Landon Koenig is 31-for-60 for 665 passing yards.
"The success we've had this year is definitely a tribute to our senior class," Sola said. "They have all played together for probably six or seven years. They're not just football players, either. They play basketball or hockey or baseball."
The Loboes beat Cavalier 42-14 in the 9-man state title game last year.
Against Cavalier, Brady Lettenmaier ran for 210 rushing yards. Lettenmaier is back this season.
LaMoure-L-M has outscored opponents 233-0 in a 5-0 start. The Loboes have won 17 straight games, last losing in the 2020 state semifinals to Linton-H-M-B.
"That's the type of defense they play," Sola said. "That's the mentality of the kids. They're physical and hard-nosed."