There hasn't been as dominant a Class AAA football team this year as Bismarck High School.
The defending state champions are racking up blowouts one by one and have outscored their opponents by more than 37 points per game. Tonight, they're Minot High's problem.
MHS coach Barry Holmen said he recognizes the Demons' talent, but will treat tonight's match-up like an ordinary game.
Minot High School junior quarterback Alex Yanosko jukes a pair of Williston defenders during their Sept. 7 game.
"We are preparing like every other week to do our best to win a football game," Holmen said. "We certainly recognize that they've established as perhaps the elite team in North Dakota right now but we aren't just going to lay down. We're going to prepare and do our very best to provide them every bit of a competitive game as possible."
To compete with the Demons (7-0 overall, 4-0 West Region), the Magicians must contain senior tailback Layne Johs. Johs, an all-state back a year ago, is already over 1,000 yards this season. The 5-foot-11 speedster averages 10.1 yards per carry and has scored 18 touchdowns in his last six contests.
"He's got size and he's fast," Minot junior cornerback Brady Lampert said. "He can run over you or he can run right by you."
Both teams have state playoff berths locked up, but there is still things to play for. Bismarck locks up the region's No. 1 seed with a win. If Minot (6-1, 3-1) wins it has an outside shot at earning a home playoff game.
Tonight's game is Homecoming and the last regular season game for the MHS seniors.
"They're going to want to go to the wall," Lampert said. "They want to make it their best game they've ever played."
Bismarck coach Mark Gibson has won four state titles in his 13 years as head coach. Last year's team won its first six games - five by at least 31 points - before facing a determined Mandan team on the road. The Braves took that game, 20-19.
Gibson said he will tell his players not to take Minot lightly.
"I think any team in the state is beatable," Gibson said. "No team can just walk out there and win. There's a lot of things that you have to do to get ready for a game and get ready for who we're going to play. I think if you think you're just going to walk out there and think you're going to win you're going to end up with a loss. That'll be case in point for Thursday for us.
"I would say Minot's one of the top four teams in the state. We're going up there, it's their Homecoming. There's a lot of things going against us, so we've got to play extremely well up there."
Kickoff at Duane Carlson Stadium is set for 7 p.m.