Spartans finish strong
In a game that wasn't close, Fargo North was leading Bismarck Century10-6 early in the third quarter.
Let us explain.
Despite marching up and down the field offensively and playing well defensively, the Spartans found themselves in a North Dakota Class 3A high school football dogfight Friday because they couldn't turn drives into points.
But the Patriots' only touchdown flipped North's switch and the Spartans scored on two consecutive drives for a tougher-than-it-needed-to-be 26-6 victory.
"We didn't finish. We moved the ball and we had chances, but we couldn't get the ball into the end zone," North coach Bret Sorensen said. "We have to get better at finishing our drives, because if we don't we're not going to be a very good football team."
North (2-0) moved the ball inside Century's 15-yard line four times in the first half. The Spartans came away with only one touchdown, failing three times on fourth downs. With the help of a safety, North had a 10-0 halftime lead despite outgaining the Patriots 221-27 in the half. Century did not cross its own 45 in the first two quarters.
Century (0-2) finally found some offense on its first possession of the third quarter, capping a short drive with a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Alex Bortke. The Patriots muffed the extra point, but still trailed by only four points.
"That gave us a sense of urgency," Sorensen said. "Up until then, we were kind of flat."
The Spartans responded with an 11-play, 62-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown run by Jon Swart. A two-point conversion made the score 18-6.
After holding Century, North used 11 running plays to move 54 yards for another score. Swart's 2-yard touchdown plunge and extra-point run made is 26-6 with 9:13 remaining in the fourth.
"I just have two words to describe what happened after they scored - senior leadership," said Swart, who finished with 135 yards on 25 carries. "We have enough seniors that we were able to come back and shake off (Century's) touchdown. We never wavered. We just came out and got the job done."
Century 0 0 6 0- 6
North 8 2 8 8-26
FN-Swart 6 run (Dehne run)
FN-Safety, ball snapped out of end zone
BC-Bortke 1 run (kick fails)
FN-Swart 5 run (Blomberg pass from Dehne)
FN-Swart 2 run (Swart run)
RUSHING: Century, Leingang 10-44, Mastel 2-2, Bortke 7(-5), Friedt 1-0, Gesellchen 3-11. North, Blomberg 13-24, Swart 25-135, Dehne 8-18, Erdle 4-14, Korzcak 6-31, Ross 2-21, Lynnes 2-5.
PASSING: Century, Bortke 5-13-0 75 yards. North, Dehne 7-13-1 100.
RECEIVING: Century, Leutz 3-44, Wetzel 1-26, Joritz 1-5. North, Swart 1-13, Lake 3-27, Erdmann 2-32, Ross 1-18.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike McFeely at (701) 241-5580