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Heath Hotzler, Published August 29 2009

High school football: Miller's three rushing touchdowns propel Bismarck past Fargo North

When last we saw Bismarck’s Jake Miller, he was tearing through the Fargo South defense en route to a North Dakota Class 3A football championship to end last season.

The summer break did little to slow the speedy running back.

Miller ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns, and added a long touchdown reception, in three quarters of work to lead the defending champions to a 39-13 season-opening victory against Fargo North on Friday.

“Still felt the same,” Miller said. “It still felt good. It felt good to get a win on the road against a good North team.”

North Dakota State recruit Esley Thorton hit Miller for a 24-yard pass to put the Demons ahead 13-6. Miller raced 34-yards up the middle for a touchdown to make the score 20-6.

His 10-yard run gave Bismarck a 25-6 halftime advantage.

Miller, who had 108 rushing yards and a defensive touchdown to lead the Demons to the state title, had 87 yards on 10 first-half carries.

He provided the bulk of Bismarck’s offense early, helping the Demons stay effective as Thorton worked to get on track.

“I thought we executed pretty well,” Miller said. “Our offensive line showed improvements from practice. I thought overall we looked pretty sharp.”

The Spartans opened the scoring with a 53-yard pass from Taylor Bosch to Justis Garrett early in the first quarter.

It didn’t take long for the Demons to answer.

Senior Calvin Krueger took the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to give Bismarck a 7-6 advantage with 10 minutes, 39 seconds remaining in the first.

Thorton caught fire in the second quarter, and finished 6 of 12 for 159 passing yards. The senior’s final three passes of the first half totaled 105 yards.

Thorton was able to rack up extra yardage through the air when his team was called for a 17-yard holding penalty, and a bad snap lost 14 yards on the drive.

The Spartans’ spread offense was efficient in the first half, putting up 181 total yards.

Bosch was 9 of 18 for 136 yards passing before the break.

“When you have one of the best players in the state running the offense, they are obviously going to do things well as far as running the football and passing it,” said North coach Kelly Kalina, whose team will face another monumental test next week when they host Minnetonka at the Fargodome. “They have size, they have strength, they have numbers. For us to go against that, they are going to pound on us. They are going to bring it.”

Bismarck 13 14 6 6–39

North 6 0 7 0–13

FN-Garrett 53 pass from Bosch (kick blocked)

B-Krueger 90 kick return (Krueger kick)

B-Miller 13 pass from Thorton (kick blocked)

B-Mller 34 run (Krueger kick)

B-Miller 10 run (Krueger kick)

B-Miller 7 run (kick failed)

FN-Bosch 4 run (Albrecht kick)

B-Mann 35 run (pass failed)


RUSHING: B, Miller 14-103, Winkels 6-46, Thorton 5-25, Deyle 1-11, Mann 6-31, Pascua 2-5, Vogel 1-1, Gibson 1-3, Lange 5-23. FN, Pitia 14-67, Bosch 4-(-4), Amundson 5-30, Strom 1-(-13), Giffey 2-9, Team 1-3.

PASSING: B, Thorton 8-14-0 204. FN, Bosch 13-24-0 162.

RECEIVING: B, Held 1-13, N. Jolliffe 4-88, Deyle 1-35, Winkels 1-36, Poitra 1-32. FN, Mohr 2-10, Garrett 6-117, Strom 2-14, Aberle 2-14.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com