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Published August 29 2013

Fargo South football preview

Fargo South opened the 2012 season with a 31-10 home win over Bismarck Century. Ten games later, the Patriots returned to Fargo for a semifinal showdown with the Bruins and snatched a 16-13 victory that earned them a spot in the North Dakota Class 3A title game.

In between those games was a six-game winning streak that helped the Bruins to their first Eastern Dakota Conference championship since the 2009 season.

“We were very pleased with how last year went as a complete season,” Fargo South head coach Troy Mattern said. “But obviously we were disappointed with how it ended. The kids have used that as fuel to get back to the championship game. It’s been good motivation.”

The Bruins averaged 39 points per game and had three games in which they scored 60 or more points.

South’s fast-paced offense was keyed by a two-back running game anchored by Zach Reich and James Johannesson. Both Reich and Johannesson were all-state first-team selections. Reich finished with 1,272 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns and Johannesson led the Bruins with 1,455 yards and 16 TDs.

Offensive linemen Drew Fahrman and Christian May received all-state first- team honors. Joe Mehrer, Austin Wicklund and Zack Ellis earned all-state second-team honors.


Teams should not expect South’s offense to slow down in 2013. Eight starters return from South’s proficient offensive unit that put up big numbers in 2012.

Leading the offense will be senior quarterback Zach Kellen and Johannesson, who is entering his junior season.

“We are going to keep playing that high-tempo offense,” Mattern said. “The leadership we have had in practice has made the transition into this year pretty smooth.”

Kellen passed for 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and is looking for another big year.

“Zach Kellen has always been physically ready to play,” Mattern said. “He has taken on a leadership role. He has taken the offense by the reins and knows it in and out at every position.”

In addition to the running talents of Johannesson, Mattern said there will be other dimensions to South’s offense.

“James is an important part of what we do, but we feel we have some good complement players around him that can also make our offense go,” Mattern said. “We have improved our team speed and our wide receivers.”

South returns four of its five offensive linemen in Farhman, Mehrer, Tyler Trefethren and Kyle Trefethren.

South’s defensive secondary will be the quartet of Dallas Raftevold, Ty Brooks, Cass Myers and T.J. Rostad, who all started on defense a year ago.

“Defensively our secondary is our strong point,” Mattern said. “We are going to be looking for that unit to be solid, which will allow us to do more things up front and put more pressure on the opposing quarterback.”

South opens the season with a 5 p.m. matchup at home against Mandan today.

“We are very happy with where we are at,” Mattern said. “Like most teams, our goal early on in the season will be creating added depth that we’ll need as we go along during the season.”

- Compiled by Tom Mix