Packers nearly pull off comeback against Bismarck in Class 3A football quarterfinals
A blocked extra point cost West Fargo a chance to make the North Dakota Class 3A football state semifinals.
Down by seven, the Packers scored their second unanswered fourth-quarter touchdown with 1 minute, 19 seconds remaining in the state quarterfinals against Bismarck High on Friday, Oct. 30, at Bismarck Community Bowl.
The Demons blocked the extra-point kick, which would’ve tied the game. Bismarck High (7-1) used that to advance to the semis, where they’ll face top-seeded West Fargo Sheyenne at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at Essentia Health Mustang Stadium.
The Packers, who finished 6-5 overall last year, closed out this season with a 5-3 overall record.
Bismarck opened the game with a long drive that ate up nearly seven minutes off the clock. The Demons scored on their first possession to take the lead.
West Fargo answered with their own rushing touchdown in the Packers’ second possession. Parker Nelson ran 5 yards into the end zone to tie it at 7 apiece 46 seconds into the second quarter. Nelson rushed for 33 yards on 15 attempts.
The Demons were able to respond, and marched 72 yards in seven plays to close out the second half with a Lucas Miller 36-yard touchdown run. Miller’s score put the Demons up 14-7 heading into the second half.
Miller ran for another score in Bismarck’s first possession of the third quarter to push the lead to 21-7.
With their season on the line, the Packers scored twice in the fourth quarter to nearly pull off a dramatic comeback.
Peyton Jantzi hit Carter Birrenkott for a 10-yard touchdown strike at the midway point in the fourth frame to cut Bismarck’s lead. Birrenkott hauled in a 74-yard touchdown catch with 20 mph winds swirling with just over a minute to go to cut the lead to 21-20. Bismarck’s Jack Steckler blocked the ensuing PAT to stop West Fargo’s comeback effort.
Jantzi connected on 13 of 24 passes for 172 yards, a pair of touchdowns with an interception. Birrenkott pulled in five receptions for 102 yards and two scores.
Housten Visto led West Fargo’s defensive with 10 tackles, eight of which were solo stops. KC Ortiz added eight tackles.