FARGO-Bismarck Century adjusted on the fly and came away with a state championship.
The Patriots passed for three second-half touchdowns Friday, pulling away to a 27-12 win against Bismarck High in the North Dakota Class 3A high school football championship at the Fargodome.
Century was an efficient 5-of-8 passing for 49 yards in the first half, taking a 6-0 lead into intermission on a Jacob Rader 2-yard touchdown run.
In the final two quarters, Patriots quarterback Jakob Olson was 6-of-11 for 151 yards and three TDs.
"We tried to get the running game going in the first half, but it wasn't working,'' said Olson, who finished 11-of-19 for 201 yards. "We decided to go more with the pass. We were able to adjust and make some big plays.''
Luke Little made it 12-0 with a spectacular one-handed catch inside the 5-yard line for a 35-yard TD. Century went up 21-0 when Olson found Kade Lynch sprinting down the right sideline, hitting him in stride inside the 10 for a 43-yard touchdown. Lynch was the top receiver for the Patriots with five catches for 112 yards.
The Demons got one touchdown back on a Jalen Sprecher 20-yard run. But Century went up 27-6 with 5:40 remaining when Jake Zittleman made a leaping catch in front of the goal line for a 15-yard reception.
"In my opinion, they're the best receiving corps in the state,'' Olson said. "They did what playmakers do. That's what we needed from them.''
It wasn't just the receiving end that made the offense click.
"Our quarterback made some great reads and throws,'' Century coach Ron Wingenbach said. "The protection was good. He could sit back in the pocket and do his thing. He's a good thrower. And those (receivers) have made those plays all year. They're athletes.''
The key score was probably Little's one-handed reception.
"That was a big momentum turn,'' Wingenbach said. "Everybody gets excited after a play like that. I actually thought it was over his head. I was looking at our board to call the next play and I looked up and saw (a replay).''
Bismarck High completed the scoring on a Will Madler-to-Connor Piatz 20-yard TD pass. Madler, a sophomore, finished 12-of-24 for 212 yards passing. Neither team had a big ground game, with the Patriots rushing for 131 yards (3.3 per-carry average) and the Demons for 87 (2.8 per-carry average).
Century finished the season with a 10-2 record while dropping the Demons to 9-3.
BHS 0 0 6 6--12
BC 6 0 15 6--27
BC--Rader 2 run (kick failed)
BC--Little 35 pass from Olson (Lynch pass from Olson)
BC--Lynch 43 pass from Olson (Kraenzel kick)
BHS--Sprecher 13 run (kick failed)
BC--Zittleman 15 pass from Olson (kick failed)
BHS--Piatz 20 pass from Madler (kick failed)