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Fargo North hoping to earn sweet reward after ND Class 11A football semifinals

Fargo North has a chance to advance to a state football championship game for the first time since 2000 with a victory Friday at Jamestown.

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Fargo North running Mason Lockwood (33) carries against Wahpeton during the North Dakota Class 11A football quarterfinals Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, at North. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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FARGO — Fargo North quarterback Danny Boutain and running back Mason Lockwood, both seniors, are hoping the Spartans deliver a performance Friday night that earns them another week of football and also a delicious sweet treat.

Lockwood said one of the team’s assistant coaches provides “victory brownies” the Monday after each triumph.

“It’s always an incentive for us to get that victory so that we can have that sweet taste of brownies,” said Boutain, who is in his third season as a starter for the Spartans.

The No. 3-seeded Spartans (7-3) play at No. 2-seeded Jamestown (8-2) at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, in the North Dakota Class 11A quarterfinals. North is attempting to play for a state championship for the first time since 2000.

“It means a lot to us,” Lockwood said. “We’ve been working for this since the summer. I really do feel like it’s the push that we need to start something, even beyond my senior, next year hopefully North can keep pushing forward like this.”

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Fargo North senior quarterback Danny Boutain has helped lead the Spartans to the North Dakota Class 11A football semifinals. David Samson / The Forum
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The Spartans have had their most successful season in two decades playing in Class 11A, a newly formed division with a group of the second-largest schools in the state based on male enrollment. In the past, North had played in the division with the largest schools, which is now called Class 11AA.

“The new alignment gave us a sense that we can really, really do this now,” said North head coach Adam Roland. “It energized them and motivated them and we really had one of the best offseasons we’ve ever had. Kids just want an opportunity to have success.”

The Spartans are coming off a 41-12 victory against Wahpeton in the state quarterfinals, North’s first playoff victory since 2000 and first home playoff games in 13 years.

The 5-foot-9, 215-pound Lockwood helped make sure the Spartans advanced in the playoffs and got another batch of brownies. He rushed for 196 yards and four touchdowns on 19 attempts against the Huskies.

“It seems like he keeps getting better and better every game he plays,” Roland said. “He’s our workhorse right now.”

Lockwood is grateful for the success he’s had in his final prep season. He missed the Spartans first game this season after dealing with a heart issue this summer that limited his ability to practice in the lead up to the season.

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“I think he’s just been a go-to guy for us,” Boutain said. “He’s a guy that we can rely on to give it 100% every single play that he gets the ball. We love to feed him.”

Even though it’s been two decades since the Spartans have played in the state semifinals, Roland likes the way his team is handling this postseason.

“I feel like they’re behaving and acting like a fairly veteran or seasoned team that has done it before,” said Roland, in his eighth season as head coach. “They’re having fun with it, but they’re really taking it really business-like.”

The Spartans have nearly 20 seniors on their roster and that leadership has been one of the keys to the team's success. That veteran presence has also made the playoff run more satisfying for players like Boutain.

“To see all that hard work pay off our senior season is something exciting for us,” Boutain said. “We’re only guaranteed one more (game) and we want to keep on extending the season as long as we can. We haven’t played this long into the year for quite awhile. You just want to keep playing. You don’t want it to end.”

Roland said the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Boutain is well-respected by his teammates and provides an important presence for North’s offense.

“He doesn’t say a whole lot, but he speaks very loudly with his demeanor and his actions,” Roland said. “He really commands the offense and he controls the offense.”

Related Topics: FOOTBALL
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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