Connelly's overtime touchdown gives North a win against South
FARGO - Fun fact No. 1 about Fargo North wide receiver Matt Connelly: He is the grandson of former Fargo mayor Bruce Furness. Fun fact No.
FARGO - Fun fact No. 1 about Fargo North wide receiver Matt Connelly: He is the grandson of former Fargo mayor Bruce Furness.
Fun fact No. 2 about Connelly: He's now got a nice little resume item if he ever decides on a career as a local public servant.
The 6-foot junior hauled in a
10-yard touchdown pass in overtime, and moments later caught the 2-point conversion that gave the Spartans a 22-20 victory against rival Fargo South in the Eastern Dakota Conference opener for both teams Friday at South High School.
"We knew we had a real chance to win," said Connelly after North's first win against South since 2002 in the Fargodome.
"It just worked hard for us. We worked hard in the offseason and it paid off. I think it's huge. It really puts us in a great spot to place good in the EDC."
North (2-1) made its own breaks early in the game against a young South secondary.
Quarterback Kameron Giffey connected on a 35-yard pass to Anthony Schnabel through several defenders to set up the Spartan's first score.
Giffey scampered in from 10 yards out and scored on the conversion to put North ahead 8-0 with 5:01 remaining in the first quarter.
South (0-3) had not even touched the ball on offense.
With nothing going right offensively, the Bruins turned to trickery to get into the end zone.
Senior Jon Baune sailed a 47-yard touchdown pass to Zach Reich on a fake punt early in the second quarter to spark South. Jacob Weiler's extra point made the score 8-7 with 10:13 remaining in the first half.
Connelly caught a 38-yard touchdown strike from Giffey with 5:34 on the clock in the second quarter to give the Spartans a 14-7 halftime lead.
Connelly was in a competition with Giffey earlier this season at quarterback. He was moved back to a wide receiver spot when Giffey won the job, but the duo's connection has been evident since the opening game of the season.
"It's important for our kids to realize we can compete," North coach Kelly Kalina said. "We have five seniors, and we have a lot of sophomores on the field. It was an opportunity for those kids to realize if they play to a certain level they can compete with people in the EDC."
South tied the game at 14-14 on a 49-yard pass from sophomore Zach Kellen to Baune midway thought the fourth quarter.
Baune was a standout performer for the Bruins, scoring as a passer and a receiver. He also intercepted a pass as the Spartans were driving deep into South territory in the first quarter.
Kellen also had his moments, going 8 of 26 for 120 passing yards in his first start. Quarterback Austyn Raftevold, who started the Bruins' first two games, was moved to defense to fill a need.
The Bruins scored on their second play in overtime on a 7-yard run by Reich. Weiler's kick made it 20-14.
Connelly set up the North win with a catch over the middle on 2nd and 10.
He grabbed the game-winning conversion on an almost identical play over the middle. The Spartans went for the 2-point conversion due to the lack of a kicker on the roster.
"We didn't worry about the 0-2 start, but this is a big loss because it's a conference loss," said South coach Troy Mattern, who couldn't remember a team in South history that started the season 0-3. "We're very disappointed because we lost the conference opener on our home field. It's a big hit losing our conference game."
North 8 6 0 0 8-22
South 0 7 0 7 6-20
FN-Giffey 10 run (Giffey run)
FS-Reich 47 pass from Baune (Weiler kick)
FN-Connelly 38 pass from Giffey (pass failed)
FS-Baune 49 pass from Kellen (Weiler kick)
FS-Reich 7 run (kick blocked)
FN-Connelly 10 pass from Giffey (Connelly pass from Giffey)
RUSHING: FN, Mjelstad 4-14, Giffey 15-23, Saintal 19-83. FS, Green 13-55, Reich 10-64, Kellen 6-28, Raymond 1-4, Verghis 1-(-5).
PASSING: FN, Giffey 8-15-1 116. FS, Kellen 8-26-0 120, Baune 1-1-0 47.
RECEIVING: FN, Connelly 5-64, Schnabel 1-35, Saintal 1-0, Kosienski 1-17. FS, Reich 1-47, Verghis 4-40, Green 1-7, Howlett 1-12, Baune 2-61.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.
Hotzler's blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com