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Tom Mix, Published November 15 2013

South rallies from six down in final minutes for state title

FARGO – The last game of the 2013 Dakota Bowl lived up to its billing.

The North Dakota Class 3A state football championship between Fargo South and Bismarck – two of the state’s top football programs the last 15 years – was the grand finale.

Bruins senior quarterback Zach Kellen and junior wide receiver Ty Brooks provided the fireworks that eventually led to South posting a 42-34 win over top-ranked Bismarck on Friday at the Fargodome.

Kellen connected with Brooks for a 59-yard game-winning touchdown with 3 minutes, 17 seconds to play, putting South up 35-34.

“I by no means had the best game of my life,” said Kellen, who finished 7 of 15 passing for 177 yards. “At the end of the game, everybody trusted me, and the entire team had been picking me up. I knew Ty was going to beat his man. We can count on him in the clutch, and when I saw that he was going deep, I knew I had to throw the ball to him.”

South (9-3) trailed Bismarck 34-28 with 4:32 left to play after Demons senior running back Ricardo Galindo scored his fourth touchdown of the game. Senior Cole Olson missed the extra-point kick, leaving the door open for South to score the upset.

Kellen took full advantage.

His pass to Brooks completed a three-play, 75-yard drive.

“We had to weather the storm,” Kellen said. “We knew if we could stick with them, we definitely had a chance. That is what we did. We never backed down and kept pushing back.”

Kellen also rushed for a touchdown during the game.

“I have to give credit to Zach Kellen,” Fargo South head coach Troy Mattern said. “He wasn’t going to be denied. He stepped up and led this football team, especially in the second half. That is what you hope your starting quarterback does in the state championship game.”

Bismarck (11-1) had its 28-game winning streak snapped.

“It was two heavyweights going at it and two teams that refused to quit,” Bismarck head coach Mark Gibson said. “We had a lot of opportunities in the second half that we didn’t get, and we needed to get them. Credit Fargo South. They made some plays down the stretch, but no question both teams gave it all they had in this one.”

After Brooks put South up by one, he helped the Bruins make sure the Demons didn’t answer and retake the lead, an occurrence that happened a lot in the see-saw game.

Brooks recovered and returned a Bismarck fumble 43 yards for a touchdown to seal the victory and South’s 13th state title.

South junior running back James Johannesson rushed for 237 yards and three touchdowns.

“It was a grind the entire game with those guys,” Johannesson said. “I’m just so happy we won the state championship.”

B 0 21 7 6–34

FS 7 7 7 21–42

S-Kellen 1 run (Weiler kick)

B-Galindo 20 run (Olson kick)

B-Galindo 6 run (Olson kick)

S-Johannesson 33 run (Weiler kick)

B-Galindo 80 run (Olson kick)

S-Johannesson 2 run (Weiler kick)

B-Gibson 1 run (Olson kick)

S-Johannesson 2 run (Weiler kick)

B-Galindo 4 run (kick failed)

S-Brooks 59 pass from Kellen (Weiler kick)

S-Brooks 43 fumble recovery return (Weiler kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: B, Galindo 29-252, DuBord 10-64, Gibson 4-18. S, Johannesson 36-237, Brooks 4-21.

PASSING: B, Gibson 5-15-1-, 55 yards. S, Kellen 7-15-1, 177 yards.

RECEIVING: B, Hegre 2-25, Siverson 1-22, Tharaldson 1-7, Galindo 1-1. S, Brooks 4-128, Nyborg 3-49.


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