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They meet again:Titans face Burros in playoffs for second consecutive year

Junior quarterback Aric Knopik runs the ball against Des Lacs-Burlington on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Biesiot Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon / The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson Trinity football team has made it deeper into the playoffs than it did last year, but the are facing a familiar foe.

Hillsboro-Central Valley defeated the Titans 38-26 in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs in 2016. The teams will square off in the Class A semifinals in Hillsboro on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. local time, and the Titans aren't even thinking about last season.

"I think we're a completely different team to be honest," senior lineman Hunter Dassinger said. "We left that behind us. We're not going up there for revenge. We're going up there for a business trip to get the win."

Head coach John Odermann said because the Titans (8-1) and the Burros (10-0) are so different, he hasn't given last year much thought.

"I really like how much more balanced we are this year, offensively," Odermann said. "Obviously I think our defense is playing really, really well. That's really going to be the difference in the game, how balanced we can be offensively. We need to get a running game established early. We also need to make sure that we don't let them establish much on offense."

Last year, the Burros led 30-6 at half, and the Titans scored 20 in the second half, attempting to make the comeback. If the Titans want to be successful, they're going to have to start strong.

"Hillsboro has had a habit of letting teams hang around in the first half and really putting teams away in the second half," Odermann said. "If we get an opportunity to score, we have to take advantage of those opportunities. That's something offensively we've done really well the last several weeks. When we get those short fields, we're punching it in."

Senior wide receiver and defensive back Sean Volesky said shutting down the Burros running game his is main focus, especially senior tailback Grant Skager.

"He's going to be a real dangerous threat to our defense," Volesky said. "We stop him, I think we have a really good chance of winning."

Skager has been a force to be reckoned with for HCV just as freshman running back Nathaniel Jilek has been for the Titans.

With a 70 percent chance of rain in the forecast for Saturday, both will likely see a lot of carries.

"For the most part it's going to be business as usual. The weather is going to dictate a lot of the game plan," Odermann said. "It looks like it's going to be cold, maybe rainy and snowy, but there's a lot of people that say weather limits you. In a lot of cases, weather limits you to the extent you let it limit you. There's a lot of stuff you can still do when the ball is wet."

Despite the weather, the Titans defense will have to perform well. The Burros are undefeated, have shut out four teams, and average 39.9 points per game.

Dickinson Trinity boasts a similar resume though, with one loss, six shutouts and an average of 35.2 points per game.

"We have to be ready for anything," Odermann said. "When you get to this point of the year, teams are going to throw the whole playbook at you. They're going to do everything they can to win games."