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Eric Peterson, Published October 25 2013

Johannesson leads Fargo South past Grand Forks Red River

FARGO – James Johannesson found his old cleats, and the familiar footwear paid immediate dividends.

The Fargo South junior running back rushed for a 92-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage Friday night. That explosive run sparked the Bruins to a 49-14 victory against Grand Forks Red River in Eastern Dakota Conference football at South athletic field.

“It was the cleats,” joked Johannesson, who rushed for 220 yards and three touchdowns on 10 attempts.

Johannesson said the spikes he wore Friday were the same ones he wore last fall. He hadn’t used them this season because he didn’t find them until a couple days ago.

“I looked for a long time, and I finally found them in my garage up in my attic,” Johannesson said. “I felt like I had a lot better cuts.”

The Bruins (6-3, 5-1 EDC) earned the No. 1 seed from the East for the North Dakota Class 3A playoffs with the victory. They shared the conference crown with Davies, but got the higher playoff seed due to a tiebreaker.

South hosts Jamestown next Friday in the state quarterfinals. The Bruins would also host a semifinal game the following week if they advance past the opening round.

“The chance to be at home for both playoff games is huge,” South head coach Troy Mattern said. “We don’t want to go on the road at all.”

Red River (5-4, 4-2) also had a chance to earn the top seed from the East heading into Friday’s games, but the Bruins erupted for 35 points in the first half.

“We told our kids this game was kind of like the firework you’re anticipating going up to being pretty awesome and it goes up there and it’s a dud,” Red River head coach Vyrn Muir said.

After a penalty on the game’s opening kickoff return, the Bruins started their first drive on their own 8-yard line. Seconds later, South surged into the lead for good. Johannesson took a handoff, started right and cut back to the left before running past the Red River secondary. That gave the Bruins a 7-0 lead 21 seconds into the first quarter.

“It helped us set the tone for the game, and the linemen made a huge hole,” Johannesson said. “I just ran outside, and it was wide open.”

The Bruins struck quickly on their second drive, too, using three plays to cover 77 yards. Senior quarterback Zach Kellen capped the march with a 1-yard run that gave South a 14-0 lead with 8:31 to play in the first quarter. South added 21 points in the second quarter en route to a 35-6 halftime lead.

“We kind of built a huge mountain for us to overcome by not being able to stop them on offense, and Johannesson is a good player,” Muir said. “He’s just a special player.”

Kellen helped provide balance in the South offense, completing 4 of 9 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound signal caller threw touchdown passes of 22 and 23 yards to senior wide receiver Gunnar Nyborg.

“We knew we had to become more diversified, and we needed to throw the ball more,” Mattern said. “(Kellen) was on the money all night and made big plays.”

GFRR 6 0 0 8–14

FS 14 21 14 0–49

FS-Johannesson 92 run (Weiler kick)

FS-Kellen 1 run (Weiler kick)

RR-Straus 3 pass from Bartosh (kick blocked)

FS-Johannesson 28 run (Weiler kick)

FS-Nyborg 22 pass from Kellen (Weiler kick)

FS-Nyborg 23 pass from Kellen (Weiler kick)

FS-Kellen 20 run (Weiler kick)

FS-Johannesson 50 run (Weiler kick)

RR-Schumacher 4 run (Straus pass from Bartosh)


RUSHING: RR, Ranisate 21-68, Schumacher 6-54, Bartosh 5-14, Z. Kuntz 1-14, Walters 1-13, Lunski 1-1. FS, Johannesson 10-220, Luckoski 4-37, Brooks 4-33, Kellen 3-30, Prisinzano 1-8, Macziewski 2-4, Team 2-(-2).

PASSING: RR, Bartosh 9-19-1 48 yards. FS, Kellen 4-9-0 106, D. Raftevold 1-1-0 35.

RECEIVING: RR, Straus 4-37, Walters 2-5, Warcup 1-5, Berg 2-4, Kringstad 1-(-3). FS, Nyborg 3-80, Dubord 1-41, Brooks 1-20.

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

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