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Tom Mix, Published October 11 2013

West Fargo defeats No. 4 Fargo South in football

WEST FARGO – A week ago, the West Fargo football team’s Friday night included having its team bus turn around on I-94 and head home to avoid a snowstorm in Bismarck.

West Fargo’s game against Bismarck Century was canceled, but the team’s focus quickly shifted to its next opponent – North Dakota Class 3A, No. 4-ranked Fargo South.

The Packers showed no signs of rust in a 14-7 Eastern Dakota Conference victory over the Bruins on Friday at West Fargo High School.

“It’s a big win for us,” West Fargo junior running back/linebacker Sam Olsen said. “Last week we had our game canceled, but I think that was almost a blessing because we got two weeks of preparation for this game, and we knew we could win.”

West Fargo’s defensive unit stood out in the victory holding Fargo South’s potent offense to minimal gains. South (4-2, 3-1 EDC) entered the game averaging 46.5 points per game, but it was the Packers (4-2, 4-0) who struck first on offense.

Olsen rushed for an 85-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Olsen broke several tackles on the run that came with the Packers facing a third-and-15 on their 15-yard line.

“The defense played a big part in the win, but Sam Olsen’s touchdown run was huge,” West Fargo head coach Jay Gibson said. “If he doesn’t score there, we have to punt the ball into the wind, and they get a short field. That was the play of the game.”

South answered with a 12-play, 71-yard scoring drive capped by a 9-yard touchdown run from senior quarterback Zach Kellen.

Weather conditions limited both team’s offensive game plans, but South was unable to get its running game going.

Junior standout running back James Johannesson was held to 71 yards on 20 carries.

“Credit West Fargo,” Fargo South head coach Troy Mattern said. “They were the better team tonight. They had a lot of players step up and make plays for them. I was proud of our defense for keeping us in the game.”

With 7 minutes, 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter, West Fargo senior quarterback Scott Cameron rushed for a 1-yard touchdown that put the Packers up for good. The go-ahead score was set up by a blocked punt by West Fargo junior Zachary Larson, which started the Packers’ drive at the South 13-yard line.

“The weather helped out,” Gibson said. “If South is able to play on a fast surface and no wind it might have been a totally different outcome, but our guys made play after play, and I’m impressed.”

South turned the ball over on downs three times in the second half and got as close as West Fargo’s 2-yard line in the fourth quarter, but an incomplete pass on fourth down failed to find its mark.

The Bruins got three final attempts at the end zone with less than 18.8 seconds remaining, but none were successful.

FS 7 0 0 0– 7

WF 7 0 7 0–14

WF–Olsen 85 run (Dolan kick)

S–Kellen 9 run (Weiler kick)

WF–Cameron 1 run (Dolan kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: FS, Johannesson 20-71, Kellen 9-41, Meyers 8-27, Prisinzano 5-11, Staigle 1-7, Klug 1-1. WF, Olsen 9-102, Cameron 15-24, Hoy 5-10, Dolan 2-8, Pistorius 1-5, Pyle 4-5.

PASSING: FS, Kellen 6-15-1–31. WF, Cameron 2-10-1–17

RECEIVING: FS, Dy. Raftevold 2-14, Staigle 2-11, Nyborg 1-8, Meyers 1-(-2). WF, Blotsky 1-11, Olsen 1-6.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562