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Eric Peterson, Published October 26 2012

Bruins power way into Class 3A state football semifinals

FARGO – Zach Kellen welcomed playing indoors Friday.

The Fargo South quarterback figured he would get chances to throw the football in the North Dakota Class 3A state football quarterfinals. He delivered.

Kellen passed for 203 yards and two touchdowns to help spark No. 3-ranked South to a 43-7 victory against Dickinson at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

“With the dome, there are no elements, and that makes it great for passing,” Kellen said. “We knew they were going to dare us to pass.”

South (8-2) advanced to the state semifinals. The Bruins will host Bismarck Century (8-2) at 6 p.m. Friday at the South High athletic field. South beat Century 34-20 at home on Aug. 24 when the teams met to open the regular season.

“It’s a huge rivalry game,” Kellen said. “We always seem to play (Century) in the playoffs. They’re a really good team and I know they’re going to have a big chip on their shoulder from the last time we played them.”

Kellen played with an edge in the quarterfinals, rushing for two touchdowns to go along with his two TD passes. Kellen completed 14 of 22 passes, spreading the ball to six different receivers.

“We told our team all week if we were going to make a run in the playoffs we have to be balanced,” South head coach Troy Mattern said. “I thought Zach (Kellen) did a great job tonight leading the team. Any time you can play indoors, you have a chance to be balanced.”

Kellen had a stellar first half, completing 8 of 14 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound junior also added one of his rushing touchdowns in the first 24 minutes. Kellen tossed a 9-yard scoring pass to Josh Verghis in the first quarter and added a 4-yard TD pass to Cole Staigle in the second quarter.

“Fargo South is big and their physical and we’re just not there yet,” Dickinson head coach Dennis Morris said. “We had to take some risks to stop the run. We had to play some man coverage and they did a great job reading that man coverage.”

Kellen gave the Bruins a 23-7 lead after he scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 9 minutes, 20 seconds to play in the second quarter. Sophomore running back James Johannesson added a 55-yard touchdown run that gave South a 30-7 lead with 6:12 remaining in the first half. Johannesson rushed for 101 yards on seven attempts in the first half. He finished with a game-high 118 yards.

South played more than half the game without senior running back Zach Reich, who left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Mattern is hopeful Reich will be ready for the state semifinals.

Dickinson took an early 7-0 lead after senior wide receiver Taren Staudinger hauled in a 77-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mac Rohr on the game’s third play from scrimmage. South countered with the next 43 points.

“Making the playoffs for Dickinson High is a big deal,” Morris said. “That was our season goal to be at the show. … Now, we have to learn how good teams play so we can get to that next level.”

D 7 0 0 0– 7

FS 10 20 6 7–43

DHS-Staudinger 77 pass from Rohr (Kostelecky kick)

FS-Jacob Weiler 27 FG

FS-Verghis 9 pass from Kellen (Josh Weiler kick)

FS-Staigle 4 pass from Kellen (run failed)

FS-Kellen 1 run (Josh Weiler kick)

FS-Johannesson 55 run (Josh Weiler kick)

FS-Brooks 11 run (kick failed)

FS-Kellen 2 run (Josh Weiler kick)


RUSHING: DHS, Cherwinski 12-49, Shypkowski 4-26, Dukart 5-15, Stieg 1-4, Skabo 1-2, Rohr 1-(minus-5), Splichal 3-(minus-16). FS, Johannesson 9-118, Reich 9-65, Ellis 11-52, Solem 4-16, Raymond 2-16, Brooks 2-6, Kellen 3-5, Boeddeker 1-0, Team 2-(minus-2).

PASSING: DHS, Rohr 7-12-1 126 yards, Splichal 3-9-1 14, Skabo 1-34. FS, Kellen 14-22-2 203.

RECEIVING: DHS, Skabo 5-40, Staudinger 1-77, Krieg 2-13, Jordheim 2-10, Cherwinski 1-34. FS, Staigle 4-78, Verghis 4-41, Kellen 2-37, Brooks 2-13, Rostad 1-18, Johannesson 1-16.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com