WEST FARGO-West Fargo defeated West Fargo Sheyenne, which was in its second year as a varsity football program, 30-0 last year.
Not much changed Friday night, as No. 1-ranked West Fargo ran away with a 26-0 Eastern Dakota Conference shutout over Sheyenne at West Fargo High School.
And make no mistake about it, West Fargo head coach Jay Gibson sees this as consecutive shutout wins over nothing but a city rival.
"It's a really good deal. We're just starting a rivalry here," Gibson said. "It's adds some flavor and intensity to the game. That's what's so much fun about it. ... Those games mean more."
After playing together when they were younger, players from both sides said it still felt strange playing against former teammates.
"It was hard this week because we know those guys, and we used to play with those guys. They were our friends," West Fargo wide receiver Joe Pistorius said. "We had to go out there and play like they were enemies tonight. It was hard, but it was fun."
The Packers jumped to an early lead they wouldn't give up. Midway through the first quarter, the Mustangs (2-2, 1-1 EDC) missed a snap on an attempted punt to put the Packers (4-0, 2-0) at the Mustangs 5-yard line. Chase Teiken made good on that possession with a 1-yard touchdown run.
"We kept shooting ourselves in the foot," Mustangs head coach Jeremy Newton said. "We would give up big plays. I thought we played well 90 percent of the time, and then one guy screwed up something here and there, and it just killed us. They're too good of a team to do that to."
However, Teiken was held relatively in check. He rushed 24 times for a total of 70 yards. Sheyenne linebacker Hayden Reynolds, who led the Mustangs with 8.5 tackles including one for a loss, said containing West Fargo's run game was something to be proud of.
"We were struggling with pass defense. We had kids that weren't completely focused," Reynolds said. "We'll come back and fix it hopefully."
The passing game proved to break the Mustangs' backs. Andy Gravdahl hit Pistorius on a 45-yard completion to set Teiken up for another 1-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter.
Gravdahl went 8-for-14 for 147 yards and two touchdowns through the air, the first going to Pistorius for a 25-yard touchdown pass on a lofted throw that found him wide open with less than two minutes before halftime.
"We need guys to make plays," Newton said. "We had guys that are in the right spots that aren't just making plays. That's got to be fixed if we want to be successful this year."
But Pistorius wasn't done. On the opening possession of the second half, West Fargo marched down and set up Gravdahl's 18-yard touchdown pass to Pistorius, who had to drag his feet within the right sideline of the endzone to keep the catch.
"I got a really good post-corner route that's really good against that defense," said Pistorius, who ended the game with four catches for 88 yards. "I tried my hardest, Andy put it right on me, and I got a touchdown."
In the fourth quarter, Sheyenne drove all the way down to the West Fargo 4-yard line to try and score, but the Packers defense held the Mustangs to a four-and-out to preserve the shutout.
Holding the Mustangs scoreless, Gibson said, was a nice cherry on top of another rivalry victory.
"That was a nice stand. We wanted to keep the goose egg. I'm real proud of the stand. Good teams make good plays when it's really tight," Gibson said. "Even though I don't really think it would've changed the outcome of the game, our guys wanted the shutout, so I was proud of them that they did what they had to do."
WFS 0 0 0 0 - 0
WF 0 20 6 0 -- 26
WF--Teiken 1 run (pass failed)
WF--Teiken 1 run (run failed)
WF--Pistorius 25 pass from Gravdahl (Gravdahl run)
WF--Pistorius 18 pass from Gravdahl (kick failed)