GRAND FORKS - It seems reasonable to think the Bismarck Century defense had never seen a scoring attack like the one West Fargo threw at the Patriots Friday.
Daniel Collins had two goals and an assist, and the Packers earned a 4-0 win over a Patriot team that had allowed five goals all season in the North Dakota boys soccer state tournament semifinals Friday at Cushman Field.
By night's end, Collins had 30 goals on the season, perhaps none of which were more impressive than the one he scored in the first half Friday.
In the 26th minute, the senior forward streaked down the field, pulled even with a Patriot defender, and from a near-impossible angle, fired a bullet past goalie Austin Underhill, who didn't appear ready for the shot.
Never lacking in confidence, Collins admits even he was surprised to see this shot find the back of the net.
"When I kicked it, I thought it was going out," he said. "I didn't know I scored that goal (until) I saw my teammates celebrating."
The defense did its part as well, forcing a second straight shutout to open the state tournament.
With the lead still at 1-0, Packer goalie Tommy Klein denied an open free kick by Jacob Holtz, laying out to bat away an open look.
From that point on, it was all Packers, as they proceeded to score three times in an 11 minute, 2 second stretch.
Yussuf Mohamed stretched the lead to 2-0 on a penalty kick. Just over seven minutes later, Lucas Simon scored his second goal of the tournament on an assist from Collins.
Collins then put a bow on a dominant stretch, firing another breakaway goal past Underhill with 16:15 to play.
"Once we got the second (goal), they started pushing guys up," Packer Coach James Moe said. "And that just opened the windows, the gaps and stuff like that. We knew we had the speed and energy to outrun them."
Standing between the Packers and their fourth state title since 2010 is a championship game against a Fargo Davies team that knocked them out of the state tournament a season ago. Two regular season matches between the teams this season ended in ties.
Moe says he puts little stock in the revenge aspect of the game, saying his team still has a lot to prove after finishing a game behind Davies in the Eastern Dakota Conference standings this season.
"(Last year means) nothing," he said. "It's another game. They won the conference, they're the better team as of right now. We've got to come out and prove we can knock them off the pedestal."
But for seniors like Klein, last season's semifinal loss to the Eagles still lingers, and he hopes to avenge it in his final high school game.
"That still runs through my head every day, what happened last season," Klein said. "This is the game everyone wants to see. This is the game we've been preparing for. This is going to be one darn good game."
The championship matchup at Cushman Field is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday.