By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Royal Stadium on the campus of Bethel University is quiet this week. But oh the memories it has witnessed this fall, where they put together an impressive 10-1 season.

That means they move practice inside to prepare for a playoff game against Illinois’ North Central, to appreciate what has been.

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“We feel blessed to be here, but you know, you can talk about earning and all those things, but a lot of things, you know, have to go, and you just have to stay in the fight,” said Coach Steve Johnson.

They have done it with an at-times dominating defense. It has a personality, to play hard, to play for each other. It is what they culture to feel like for every player.

(credit: CBS)

“I’d say in one word ‘sacrifice.’ What can I give to this team? What can other people give up for me? What can I give up for them?” said linebacker Kyle Kilgore.

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They have done it with a freshman quarterback. Jaran Roste spent last season as a walk on at the University of Minnesota. He transferred, and his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame have stood out, making his transition a success.

“It’s been a pretty crazy ride,” Roste said. “It’s kind of a testament to my teammates and how much they support me, and how much they believe in me and trust in me, and I kind of reciprocate that to them. So I think it’s the kind of brotherhood that we have.”

That’s why this week is so special, to still be playing football, to be preparing for the unknown, and to feel thankful they are still together.

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“If we when, we get to do this again for another week,” Johnson said. “And we’ll still be together afterwards, but not in the same way, and that’s the beauty of the playoffs.”

Mike Max