Tom Mix, Published October 17 2012
Devils Lake tops Fargo Davies, clinches 3A football playoff spot
Devils Lake needed to defeat Fargo Davies by a margin of five points or larger in order to clinch the East Region’s final North Dakota Class 3A playoff spot.
Junior running back Austin Schall helped the Firebirds cover that margin in a 26-13 road win over Davies. Schall rushed for 203 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns to pace Devils Lake (4-5, 2-4 East Region).
“You always want to make it the playoffs, but we had to win this one first,” Schall said.
The Firebirds advance to play No. 1-ranked and West Region top-seeded Bismarck on Oct. 26 in the state quarterfinals.
Devils Lake opened the game with a 19-play scoring drive, which was capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from junior running back Blake Prozinski. The drive took 10 minutes and 41 seconds off the clock and was reminiscent of drives the Firebirds used to dominate opponents with when they played in Class 2A.
“We wanted to make a statement,” Devils Lake Jay Schneider said. “We hadn’t done what we needed to do the last two weeks, but we the challenged the kids to be more physical up front and get back to our running game.”
Devils Lake rushed for 345 yards. Prozinski finished with 88 yards on 11 carries. Fullback Dallas Anderson added 59 yards on 13 carries for the Firebirds.
“We just kept picking up yards,” Schall said.
Entering Wednesday, Devils Lake had been outscored 87-6 by opponents in the last two games.
To make matters worse, weather conditions were damp with a slow soaking rain falling all evening. The Firebirds lost one fumble inside the red zone during the first half.
Up only 7-0 at halftime, Schall knew his team needed to extend its lead. He rushed for a 38-yard touchdown, which completed a five-play drive on the Firebirds’ first possession of the second half. He scored his second touchdown on a 40-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Davies never got closer than six points to Devils Lake. Jordan Hjelseth totaled 109 rushing yards for the Eagles (3-6, 2-4).
Junior running back Daylon Melby scored both of Davies’ touchdowns and finished with 53 yards on 14 carries.
“Defensively we played well,” Schneider said. “We kept their speed under control and our running backs ran the ball hard. Our line blocked well.
“I’m just really proud of the boys. They really earned their trip to the playoffs.”
DL 7 0 6 13–26
FD 0 0 7 6–13
DL–Prozinski 1 run (Olson kick)
DL–Schall 38 run (kick failed)
FD–Melby 3 run (Pauly kick)
DL–Mertens 1 run (Olson kick)
DL–Schall 40 run (kick failed)
FD–Melby 6 run (kick failed)
RUSHING: DL, Mertens 6-(-2), Schall 25-203, Prozinski 11-88, Anderson 13-59, Tronson 1-7. FD, Groth 2-18, A. Hartness 4-(-2), Melby 14-53, Hjelseth 17-109, Welk 1-11.
PASSING: DL, Mertens 0-3-1–0. FD, A. Hartness 1-11-1–5.
RECEIVING: DL, None. FD, Hughes 1-5.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562