GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- With their 1,000-yard rusher sitting out virtually all of the last three quarters with an injury, the Pequot Lakes Patriots battled valiantly against the Roseau Rams.
When Justin Biebighauser was injured late in the opening quarter, the Patriots turned to the air. Quarterback Matt Royer and his receivers kept Pequot close in a 40-21 loss to Roseau in the Section 8, Class 3A final at the Alerus Center Friday.
Royer passed for 136 yards, including an 11-yard score to Joby Goerges early in the fourth quarter.
"It was a tough break in the game," Goerges said of Biebighauser's injury. "I think the guys did a great job without him out there, but you could see there was a little lack of leadership."
Goerges caught eight passes for 83 yards and Shane Blowers had four grabs for 48 yards to lead the Patriots.
"That quarterback's got a gun on him," Roseau coach Doug Borowicz said. "He throws the ball extremely well."
Despite the defeat, Pequot established itself as a football team to be reckoned with. The Patriots were section runners-up for the second straight year.
"Last year, after the season was over, everyone, even some of the players, believed we couldn't do half of what we did last year," Goerges said. "The guys this year stepped up. We had a great senior group, 12 of us that started. We put it together. We played with a lot of heart. It was a great team effort this year."
Pequot finished 9-2.
"The kids played with a lot of heart," Patriots coach Tony Maurer said. "There was no quit in them at the end. They kept playing as hard as they could."
Roseau sophomore fullback Dustin Timmersman runs like a high school version of James "The Bus" Bettis of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"We can play him at tackle," Borowicz said. "On defense, we play him at linebacker. He plays basketball and is a tracker so he's very agile on his feet. At fullback, we can pound him in the middle because he cuts so well."
Sowing the seeds
Pequot Lakes was seeded seventh and Roseau second, yet they were the last two teams standing in the section. The Rams lost to Crookston in last year's section final.
"We lost 16 seniors off that team last year," Borowicz said. "At the beginning of the season, nobody gave us a shot. Everyone was saying we're a .500 football team. Nobody gave us shot for (the Heart of the Lakes Conference title). We shared that with Breckenridge.
"In the first round (of the section), I think Warroad thought they were going to pound us pretty good, and we got them. Then Pine River-Backus thought they were going to be faster and take care of us, and we got them.
"Now, this one here, we heard some things like we weren't very fast, we were big and slow. I guess a big, slow team doesn't do too bad of a job."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.