FARGO-Cole Sorby caught only three passes Friday, Nov. 11. Those three sparked Thompson to its first North Dakota high school football state championship.
The Tommies pulled away from a 12-12 tie late in the first half to beat New Salem-Glen Ullin 54-20 in the 9-man championship game in the Fargodome, capping a 12-0 season.
The outcome was in doubt late in the second quarter after the Holsteins scored two unanswered touchdowns. But in the final 1 minutes and 35 seconds of the quarter, Sorby caught 10- and 52-yard scoring passes from Calen Schwabe, then went 66 yards for another score on Thompson's opening second-half possession.
"That broke our back,'' NS/GU coach Steve Kleinjan said. "We were back in the game. Even if it's just one touchdown, we're only down 20-12 at halftime. But that second one really hurt. It's tough to dig out of a hole twice against a team like that.''
Sorby broke the tie when, on fourth-and-two, he found himself wide open in the end zone for a 10-yard score with 1:35 left in the first half. After the Tommies defense forced a punt, Sorby caught a short screen pass at the line of scrimmage and headed down the left sideline for a 52-yard score with 16 seconds left in the quarter.
Thompson got the football first to open the second half. On the Tommies' fourth offensive play, Sorby caught a pass six yards downfield, broke two tackles and avoided a third with a stiff arm, going 66 yards for the touchdown and a 34-12 lead.
"I got opportunities and tried to make the most of them,'' said Sorby, who finished with three catches for 128 yards. "That crossing route (for the first TD) is a play that seems to work a lot. I didn't get touched on the second one; we had some great blocking.''
Said Schwabe: "We have a lot of guys who can make big plays. Today Cole was a big, big factor. Those were huge plays.''
Schwabe and running back Adam Diedrich put up big numbers.
Schwabe, who was named 9-man senior player of the year, rushed for 184 yards, including an 83-yard run zig-zagging across the field for the opening score. His 7-of-13 passing for 162 yards also included an 11-yard score to Collin Grotte.
Diedrich carried 28 times for 233 yards, scoring Thompson's final touchdowns on 5-, 53- and 30-yard runs.
"Our linemen are the ones who do it for us,'' Diedrich said. "We wanted to keep wearing (NS/GU) down, ground and pound. Sometimes that offense breaks big plays.''
Thompson held a 638-294 advantage in total offense.
Thompson 12 16 12 14--54
N.Salem/GU 0 12 8 0--20
T--Calen Schwabe 83 run (pass failed)
T--Grotte 11 pass from Schwabe (run failed)
NSGU--Henke 1 run (pass failed)
NSGU--Henke 4 run (run failed)
T--Sorby 10 pass from Schwabe (Sutter-Hegg pass from Schwabe)
T--Sorby 52 pass from Schwabe (Hughes pass from Schwabe)
T--Sorby 66 pass from Schwabe (pass failed)
T--Diedrich 5 run (run failed)
NSGU--Forster 37 pass from Henke (Forster pass from Henke)
T--Diedrich 53 run (pass failed)
T--Diedrich 30 run (Larimer run)