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Spitza: 3 things from Week 3 and Week 2 of the North Dakota/Minnesota prep football seasons

Moorhead unable to hold fourth-quarter lead in home opener, Kindred continues strong season in 11B, 11AA as wide open as Justin Jefferson on Sunday

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Brainerd’s Nolan Johnson gets tackled by Moorhead’s Karson Wendt on Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, at Jim Gotta Field.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum
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FARGO — Alright, before we dive into this past weekend's area high school football action, I must stand up and admit I was wrong.

I confidently stated in my weekly preview column that my Green Bay Packers were going to beat the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, and the only thing they beat was me back into reality.

My heart is never able to pick against Green Bay. Even in the weekly pick 'em pools I'm in, I can never do it no matter how tough the opponent.

My head, however, should've seen this coming from miles away. A young, new head coach for the Vikings in Kevin O'Connell, the best wide receiver in the game in Justin Jefferson, and the Packers' ineptitude to ever be prepared for Week 1 — especially this season with a questionable receiving corps and a quarterback who seemingly gets a bigger ego by the minute (yes, many Packers fans are sick of Aaron Rodgers, too).

So there you have it. I was wrong. I'm not one to make excuses. I hope Justin Jefferson at least had a copy of The Forum in his pocket when he was standing on the field wide open on every. single. play. He could've read the newspaper, had a cup of coffee, taken a mid-afternoon nap and would've still caught the ball and scored two touchdowns.

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The Vikes will be the threat in the NFC North the season. I hate to admit that but what else am I to say after that ugly showing from Green Bay?

Anyways, enough NFL talk. High school football was far more fun for me on Friday than the pros were on Sunday, so let's jump into it. Here are three things from Week 3 and Week 2 of the North Dakota/Minnesota prep football seasons:

Moorhead unable to hold fourth-quarter lead in home opener

The Spuds entered the final 12 minutes with a 10-7 lead over Brainerd Friday night before the Warriors rattled off three fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull ahead for a 27-10 win.

It was Brainerd senior quarterback Getty Marcello who had the go-ahead score, a 26-yard run to the end zone before runs from junior receiver Landon Severson and senior running back Damien Bentho put the icing on the cake for the Warriors in their first win of the season.

The downfall of the Spuds, who are now 1-1, seemed to be their inability to punch the ball in the end zone with great field position.

“We had three times (in the red zone) and we only came away with one field goal," Feeney said after Friday's contest . " ‘Finish,’ was the slogan of the day. So, that was disappointing.”

Feeney also noted that the defense began to wear down in the second half, helping lead to Brainerd's three late-game scores.

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If there's any bright side for the Spuds, their offense appears very capable. Senior quarterback Gavin Quade aired it out for 332 yards on 25 completions. He threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Owen Thielges, who finished with 12 catches for 143 yards. Junior receiver DJ Smith added 73 receiving yards while senior receiver Michael Haugo had 60 yards.

Moorhead heads to 0-2 Bemidji this week for another conference tilt. If the Spuds players listen to Feeney and learn how to finish drives, they should be alright moving forward.

Kindred still the favorite in 11B

On the North Dakota side, Kindred couldn't have asked for a better start to their state title defense campaign.

The Vikings entered the season at No. 1 in the North Dakota 11B poll and they haven't surrendered that spot. They are 4-0 after a 46-14 win over Fargo Oak Grove on Friday.

Of those four wins, two of them were shutouts against Lisbon and Hillsboro-Central Valley, two squads which are no slouches by any means, with the Broncos sitting at 2-2 and the Burros at 3-1.

Region 1 is interesting right now. Kindred and Oakes are both 4-0 while Central Cass is 3-1. Two of the Vikings' next three opponents are none other than the Tornadoes (Sept. 23) and Squirrels (Sept. 30). The Vikings visit Northern Cass (1-2, 1-3 overall) this week.

11AA remains wide open

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About as wide open as Justin Jefferson on Sunday.

We entered the season viewing West Fargo Sheyenne and Bismarck Century as the favorites. The Patriots fell to West Fargo in Week 1, then the Mustangs fell to Fargo Davies in Week 2. Mandan had a fairly surprising 2-0 start after wins over Davies and Century to jump to No. 1 in the poll this week, but then the Braves lost to unranked Minot this past weekend.

Oh my. If that's a lot to process, well, that's because it is. Who's going to win this thing this year? All of these teams have shown strong spots, but none seem invincible at the same time.

Perhaps the most interesting facet of it all is that the Bismarck teams are off to a historically shocking start:

Century's three losses came at the hands of West Fargo, Mandan and Sheyenne while Bismarck has losses to Fargo Shanley, Bismarck St. Mary's and Davies.

Meanwhile, Shanley is 3-0 after a 49-0 win over 11A No. 3 Fargo South this past weekend. It may be safe to assume the Deacons will jump to No. 1 in this week's poll.

I know we're only entering Week 4, but the 11AA class definitely has me hyped for the playoffs already.

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or rspitza@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
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