Kidder County scores 46 unanswered points in semifinal win over Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page

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HOPE, N.D. — This year’s Finley-Sharon-Hope-Page football team was the best team the Spartans have fielded in years. But on Saturday, it just wasn’t as good as Kidder County.

The Wolves outplayed F-S-H-P in just about every facet of the game as they defeated the Spartans 46-6 in the North Dakota 9-man state semifinals. Kidder County advances to face Cavalier in the Dakota Bowl at 9:10 a.m. on Friday at the Fargodome.

“We just got beat by a better team,” first-year F-S-H-P head coach Larry Fontaine said. “There’s no excuses, they were just the better team. They beat us on the line, they beat us off the ball. They just beat us everywhere.”

The Spartans started the game off right with a 9-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Owen Zerface to senior tight end Phillip Platt on the game’s opening drive. Zerface rolled out to his right and fired to Platt wide open in the back of the end zone to cap an eight-play, 60-yard drive.

But Kidder County didn’t waste any time taking the lead.


After a long kick return set the Wolves up at the F-S-H-P 31, Parker Hager broke free for the first of his four touchdowns on his team’s first play from scrimmage. He ran through a gaping hole to his left and was never touched as the Wolves took an 8-6 lead. They never trailed again, scoring 46 unanswered points.

“They played better than us,” said senior lineman Carter Rings, who had a sack and two fumble recoveries. “It just wasn’t going our way. We started trying to pick it up again at the end, but by then it was too late. I’m proud of our guys for not giving up.”

The Wolves rushed for more than 300 yards, led by Hager’s nine carries for 156 yards and four touchdowns. Isaiah Harter had 12 carries for 74 yards and Payton Cauthon had four carries for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile, KC shut down the Spartans’ normally potent rushing attack. They held University of North Dakota commit Jack Ihry to 67 yards on 21 carries. Ihry was coming off a 377-yard, five touchdown outing in a quarterfinal victory over New Rockford-Sheyenne.

With the ground game struggling, the Spartans took to the air as Owen Zerface was 11-for-21 passing for 173 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

“Not many teams hold Jack Ihry to whatever he had,” Fontaine said. “We just didn’t play very well. Their line just beat us.”


The Spartans finish the season with an 11-1 record and a season to remember after going a combined 3-13 the two previous seasons.

“I’m proud of my boys,” Fontaine said. “Before the season if you would have told us we would win 11 games and make it one game away from the dome, I think we would have been happy with that. We wanted to get to the dome, but somebody has to lose.”

KC 16 8 8 14 — 46

FSHP 6 0 0 0 — 6

FSHP — Platt 9 pass from Zerface (run failed)

KC — Hager 31 run (run good)

KC — Cauthon 52 run (run good)

KC — Cauthon 32 run (run good)

KC — Hager 44 run (run good)

KC — Hager 73 run (run failed)

KC — Hager 6 run (run good)

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