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Tom Mix, Published October 25 2013

Last-minute TD propels Fargo Davies past West Fargo

WEST FARGO – Prior to Friday’s game, Fargo Davies head coach Jason Thielges said his football team had every incentive in the world to win its final game of the season.

With 3 minutes, 50 seconds remaining and Davies down by six points on the road, the incentives were still there, but time was running out.

Davies executed a 16-play, 77-yard scoring drive to top West Fargo 21-20 for an Eastern Dakota Conference victory.

Junior quarterback Aidan Hartness capped the drive with a 6-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal with 11.4 seconds to play. Dillion Boe’s extra-point kick was true, putting Davies in the driver’s seat.

“I just dropped back and made a break for it,” Hartness said. “I couldn’t find any of my receivers, so I just gave it my all and was able to get one foot inside of the goal line. My heart was in the play the entire way.”

“Aidan just made a play,” Thielges added. “West Fargo was sitting back to play the pass, and he was able to sneak in. He didn’t have his best game, but great players find a way to make great plays late in games. He came up clutch.”

The win gives North Dakota Class 3A, No. 5-ranked Davies (6-3, 5-1 EDC) a share of the EDC regular-season championship with No. 4-ranked Fargo South. The conference championship is Davies’ first in program history.

South wins a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Eagles for the No. 1 seed from the East Region. Davies earns the No. 2 seed and will host West Region No. 3-seeded Bismarck Century in the 3A quarterfinals on Friday.

West Fargo (4-4, 4-2) drops to the No. 4 seed and must travel to No. 1-ranked and West Region, No. 1 seed Bismarck on Friday at the Community Bowl.

Davies jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. But West Fargo scored 20 points in the second quarter to take the lead until Hartness answered.

“It means so much,” Hartness said of the win. “I knew we could do it. Coach Thielges put all of his trust in me on that play.”

Hartness had to come out of the game on the Eagles’ play on third down after losing his helmet on rushing play. Davies was called for a false start, and after an incomplete pass from running back Alek Groth, Hartness checked back in.

Earlier in the drive, Hartness connected with his twin brother, Tristan, for an 11-yard pass on fourth down that kept Davies marching.

Aidan Hartness finished 6 of 19 passing for 110 yards and one touchdown – a 10-yard score to Tristan in the first quarter.

After allowing 20 points in the second quarter, Davies’ defense did a number on West Fargo in the second half.

Penalties also slowed the Packers much of the game and backed up numerous drives. One illegal motion penalty in the second quarter nullified what would have been a 20-yard touchdown. Instead, the Packers settled for a 33-yard field goal.

“Their defense played very well in the second half,” West Fargo head coach Jay Gibson said. “I thought we were able to protect our quarterback better in the first half, but we played hard and they played hard too. It’s disappointing to come up just a bit short after how hard we played.”

FD 14 0 0 7–21

WF 0 20 0 0–20

D–West recovered offensive fumble in endzone (kick failed)

D–T. Hartness 10 pass from A. Hartness (Melby pass from A. Hartness)

WF–Pyle 7 run (Al Abase kick)

WF–Cameron 1 run (Al Abase kick)

WF–Al Abase 30 field goal.

WF–Al Abase 33 field goal.

D–A. Hartness 6 run (Boe kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: D, A. Hartness 13-36, Groth 8-27, Melby 6-28, Hughes 2-21, Hjelseth 3-20, Jochim 1-(-4). WF, Pyle 9-35, Hoy 1-5, Cameron 22-45, Blotsky 3-42, Schmidt 2-0.

PASSING: D, A. Hartness 6-19-1–110, Groth 0-1-0–0, Team 0-1-0–0. WF, Cameron 10-23-0–121.

RECEIVING: D, T. Hartness 5-70, Vetter 1-40. WF, Blotsky 5-67, B. Heisler 1-30, Pyle 1-(-3), Hoy 2-28, Lika 1-(-1).


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