Eric Peterson, Published September 28 2012
Reich leads No. 3-ranked South past No. 5-ranked West Fargo
The South head coach got his wish.
The No. 3-ranked Bruins had two impressive scoring drives in the first quarter that sparked a 35-20 victory against No. 5-ranked West Fargo in Eastern Dakota Conference football.
“That’s been our goal all season is to get off to a fast start,” Mattern said. “We wanted to make sure we are playing fast out of the gate.”
The Bruins (5-1, 4-0 EDC) had touchdown drives of 70 and 79 yards in the opening 12 minutes. South remained unbeaten in the conference, while handing West Fargo (3-3, 2-1) its first EDC setback.
“That’s the best team in the East,” West Fargo head coach Jay Gibson said. “There is no doubt about it. … You can’t beat them, you just have to try and stop them every once in a while.”
Running back Zach Reich fueled the South offense, rushing for 138 yards and three touchdowns on 22 attempts. The 6-foot, 190-pound senior also caught four passes for 90 yards and another touchdown. Reich had two short scoring runs in the first half to help the Bruins build a 21-0 halftime lead.
“The offensive line did a great job in opening up the running game,” Reich said. “This is probably most important game in the EDC that we’ve had to play.”
The Bruins dominated possession in the first quarter, running 28 plays for 162 yards. In contrast, West Fargo had four plays in the opening quarter for zero yards. That strong South start was too much for the Packers to overcome.
“I was really impressed with our offensive line and the way they came off the ball,” Mattern said. “The offensive line set the tone early. … We wanted to out-physical them.”
Reich did most of his damage on the ground in the first half, rushing for 111 yards on 15 carries. He scored on a 4-yard run that staked the Bruins to a 21-0 lead with six minutes to play in the second quarter.
“Zach is a true leader,” Mattern said. “When he makes big plays it just gets the offense rolling.”
Reich added two more touchdowns in the third quarter to help the Bruins build a 27-poing lead through 36 minutes. Reich caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Zach Kellen that gave South a 35-8 lead with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter.
Kellen completed 12 of 18 passes for 159 yards, including the TD pass to Reich. Kellen also added a 1-yard TD run. Sophomore fullback James Johannesson rushed for 98 yards to complement Reich in the backfield.
“They are a wonderful team,” Gibson said. “They have a very good offensive line and their two running backs just kill you.”
Senior wide receiver Chaz Gunderson paced the Packers with four catches for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Gunderson had a 29-yard TD catch in the third quarter and added a 3-yard scoring catch in the fourth quarter.
“If we weren’t going to win, we were going to get what we can,” Gibson said. “Why give up? I’m proud of our guys.”
WF 0 0 8 12–20
FS 14 7 14 0–35
FS-Kellen 1 run (Josh Weiler kick)
FS-Reich 1 run (Josh Weiler kick)
FS-Reich 4 run (Josh Weiler kick)
FS-Reich 5 run (Josh Weiler kick)
WF-Gunderson 29 pass from Cameron (Lehmann run)
FS-Reich 23 pass from Kellen (Josh Weiler kick)
WF-Olsen 54 run (run failed)
WF-Gunderson 3 pass from Cameron (run failed)
RUSHING: WF, Olsen 3-58, Lehmann 11-49, Hoy 6-29, Scholl 4-29, Gunderson 1-3, Cameron 1-2, Schulz 1-(minus-3), Roehrich 5-(minus-9). FS, Reich 22-138, Johannesson 15-98, Raymond 1-4, Kellen 4-1, Myers 5-(minus-1), Team 2-(minus-12).
PASSING: WF, Roehrich 3-8-1 44 yards, Cameron 3-7-0 39, Hoy 3-4-0 51. FS, Kellen 12-18-1 159.
RECEIVING: WF, Gunderson 4-58, Heisler 2-21, Heinen-Lugert 1-20, Matthys 1-8, Mattila 1-17. FS, Reich 4-90, Staigle 3-37, Verghis 4-23, Johannesson 1-9.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.
Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com