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Greg DeVillers / Forum Communications Co., Published October 20 2012

Milnor-North Sargent upsets Larimore

LARIMORE, N.D. – Colin Yagow has thrown passes from the wide receiver reverse play many times this season. But it’s always been in practice – never in a game, never with the season on the line.

So when the Milnor-North Sargent coaches called the play here Saturday, “I was a little bit surprised,” Yagow said. “But I was ready for it.”

Yagow hit Andrew Martinson for the game-winning 51-yard touchdown pass with 49 seconds left as Milnor-North Sargent upset Larimore 28-22 in the first round of the North Dakota Class A high school football playoffs.

Milnor-NS, the Region 1A No. 4 seed, improved to 6-3. Larimore, Region 2A’s top seed and ranked second in the final Class 1A state poll, closed with an 8-1 record.

Yagow’s game-winning pass came on fourth-and-14. He found Martinson open on the 20, several yards behind the Larimore defense. It was the second touchdown pass of the game for the junior reserve. He hit Dawson Peterson for a 59-yard halfback option pass to pull M-NS within 22-20 late in the third.

“Colin is a heckuva thrower,” M-NS coach Eric Olson said. “That (wide receiver reverse) has always been in our back pocket.

“At that point, it was all or nothing. Normally, we’re very good on the ground (averaging 212.9 rushing yards per game). Passing has been our weakness. But with Larimore’s good run defense, we had to find something to move the ball.”

The Bulldogs jumped to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter on a 2-yard scoring run by Dillon Marlock and a 65-yard pass from Briton Bussman to Chance Noonan. Milnor-NS had two 100-yard passers on the day – Yagow was 2-for-2 for 110 yards and Bussman competed 6-of-8 for 133 yards.

Larimore senior quarterback P.J. Peterson’s 6-yard touchdown run pulled Larimore within 14-8 with 36 seconds left in the first half. Larimore took a 22-14 lead in the third after Peterson passed to Connor Nygard for a 42-yard TD and rushed for a 5-yard score. Peterson finished with 155 yards rushing and 68 passing.

“He’s the best football player I’ve coached,” Larimore coach Paul Peterson said of his son. “P.J. was getting things done. Our line was getting things done. Our running game was setting up our passes.”

But Larimore came up short on one key possession. Larimore took possession with 4:48 left after stopping an M-NS drive that reached the Larimore 5-yard line. The Polar Bears got one first down, then punted on fourth-and-short from their own 31, giving the Bulldogs the ball with 2:39 left for their 70-yard, game-winning drive.

“We needed one more first down,” Paul Peterson said. “If we got that first down, it was over. We needed a big fourth-down stop. We didn’t get it. And that was our season.”

MNS 0 14 6 8–28

L 0 8 14 0–22

MNS–Marlock 2 run (Martinson run)

MNS–Noonan 65 pass from Bussman (run failed)

L–Peterson 6 run (Morten run)

L–Nygaard 42 pass from Peterson (run failed)

L–Peterson 5 run (Grogan run)

MNS–Peterson 59 pass from Yagow (run failed)

MNS–Martinson 51 pass from Yagow (run failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: MNS, Martinson 17-64, Marlock 17-6. L, Peterson 29-155, Grogan 10-45.

PASSING: MNS, Bussman 6-8-0 133 yards, Yagow 2-2-0 110. L, Peterson 3-6-0 68, Johnson 1-1-0 -7.

RECEIVING: MNS, Noonan 2-73, Martinson 2-63, Marlock 2-31, Peterson 1-59, Mund 1-17. L, Trosen 2-26, Nygaard 1-42, Peterson 1-(minus-7).

DeVillers writes for the Grand Forks Herald