Friday Night Feature: Williston @ Fargo North
You may be here to read about the game, and that will be the overwhelming majority of what this post is about. The Football match was the least important part of the evening though, which is where I would like to start.
Maybe you've heard that there was some "Fargo" level crazy in Fargo recently. I'm of the opinion that the seedy details around the murder probably shouldn't ever reach light of public day. And now there's a baby who has to live life on the wake of that event. Surely not alone in the process, but in between the first and second quarters of the game the school took up a donation to help soften the crash of the waves ever so slightly.
That's the most important thing of the night. But there is a definite B to that. Injuries.
It's a hot button topic on the landscape of the sporting world but injuries in Football and in sports at large are unavoidable but ever regrettable. A twist, sprain and strain can be recovered from in days or weeks. A torn muscle or broken bone aren't so quick to come back from but aren't as devastating today as they were 20 years ago either. And then there are the ones that leave a permanent scar. Brain damage, paralysis, nerve damage. They happen too often and as senior captain Jacob Hanneman was carted off the field I couldn't help but think about such things. I hope that they were just being overly cautious and that he's already been cleared by the Dr.'s!
So those are the A & B from the cross state contest but there was also a wonderfully entertaining four quarters of football.
If someone had only watched the first half they would probably have walked away thinking that the rest of it would have been a low scoring, defense bolstering final score. And don't get me wrong, 21 - 18 isn't evidence to the contrary of that but it shows that quarters and halves can be starkly different. But that's the final score, there's a lot that went into those points going up on the board.
The first score came on a pretty predictable 97 yard touchdown reception. Oh wait, there's no such thing. Cameron Blazek caught the pass around the 30 yard line and broke several tackles while he ran it the rest of the way. There was only one possession beyond the super score before the intermission and that went the way all but the one had - with no points.
But whatever the coaches said at halftime, their words were on point with what their teams needed to hear.
On their first possession of the third quarter Fargo North made enough plays to get into the red zone. From there it was time to pay off Blazek with an easier score, and that's exactly how it played out. They got into the position to go go up 14 - 0 thanks to another great individual effort by Chandler Ibach and a roughing the passer on the same play.
So Williston got the ball back with a quarter and half to go, in a two touchdown deficit. It was a halfway (or more) must score possession. Through a series of running plays and a face mask in defensive crunch time, Williston had the ball at the four. Raif Horswill did the rest, which cut the score to 14 - 6 after a missed extra point.
Off that mini burst of offense each team slumbered until half way through the fourth quarter. The end zone welcomed it's next resident just past the seven minute mark when Derek Schneider punched it in but Williston was once again unsuccessful in the follow up to their touchdown.
Fargo North though didn't do itself any favors on their next go around either. After a positive first play by Sean Swanson the offense stalled but the coaching staff tried to dial up some fire. What they got was more like a bucket of water. At the snap of the punt they instead went for a first down off a fake. But before being able to get the pass away, the punter fell down.
So Williston started on the short side 40 and only needed a couple of plays to take the lead at 18 - 14, but still couldn't manage the bonus points. That left Fargo North with under 3 minutes to go 75 yards for a touchdown. First down, no. Second down, no. Third down, no. Fourth down & 13 yards with a minute and a half to go. So why not just go for the win?! It's a near certainty that coach Roland didn't draw it up the way it went but he should put it in the play book.
After the snap, Hyatt Martineau bought some time for his receivers to get down field before putting all he had into a heave toward the right sideline on the other end of the field. It was one of those moments where things just seem to slow down but then there it was, securely in the hands of Ibach while he got mugged by a pair of defenders. Not to be denied, the senior captain broke through the efforts and found enough space to run the rest of the way into the end zone.
The Williston fans were livid. The players were shocked.
The Fargo North majority was ecstatic. But there was still a minute and a half to go. And as several of the scores had already shown, little time is needed to score when things go the right way. Sorry to say that things did not go the right way for the Coyotes who on the ensuing kickoff muffed the catch and Fargo North was able to procure it. And with that, it became a formality of running the clock out.
It was a night of three distinctly different chapters. While the Football was exciting, we need to remember those things that are more important then competition on the field! The life and future of a child and the health of a young man, in this instance.