Friday Night Feature: Fargo North @ West Fargo
It's not often that a 35 point victory is actually competitive but when the Spartans made the 10 minute drive southwest, well maybe 15 minutes with the stupid construction on 13th avenue, that may have actually happened. The first quarter was an even 12 minutes of play. The host Pac...West Fargo started with the ball and wasted no time showing why they're the top team in the North Dakota. Two and a half minutes after taking the kickoff, Jacob Faircloth got his night started to put the old West up 7 - 0.
Fargo North made some play on their first possession of the game as well but unlike the opening drive of the game, theirs ended in an interception not points. Their defense managed to cover for the offense's error and got them the ball back via a punt. The Spartans responded to their defenses hold with a touchdown of their own, on a reception by Chandler Ibach.
From the one minute mark of the touchdown, each team traded the ball back and forth with no points to show for their yardage. Until West Fargo got the ball back with three minutes remaining in the half that is. Two minute scoring drives are fast offense, West Fargo went into hyper speed this time on a short pass to Tanner Zepeda that he took to the door step of another touchdown. The offense closed the drive out on the next play and then had the biggest momentum shifting play of the game. On the snap for the extra point, the holder bobbled it. Going school yard on it, the ball was picked up and ran toward the 0 yard line. From my vantage point he was stopped about a half yard short and the official on that side of the field showed seconds of delay before agreeing with the one on the opposite side of the field. 2 points rarely are the difference in a game but the momentum swing that it encapsulated would reverberate through the rest of the game.
Not ones to settle on letting the half end, the #1's kept the pressure on. First through a forced punt and then with another score in 30 seconds, again. Speaking of repetition, this was where Faircloth kept his one man show going. He got the reception that put them into first and goal before catching his second touchdown of the game. If that wasn't enough, well it would have to be because the action hit pause not long after.
So up 21 - 7, West Fargo lined up to kick it away but executed a text book onside, which the kicker adeptly fell for the recovery. The Fargo North defense was able to force them into a punt but even that went the way of the hosts as it was pinned at the two yard line. A few minutes of real time later and the Spartans had been the victims of a safety, like I said West Fargo had all the momentum.
What do you think West Fargo did with the latest possession?
If you guessed scored another touchdown, give yourself a pat on the back!
Someone else managed to join Faircloth in the receiving touchdowns column as Zepeda reeled one in. But even as he was joined on the stat sheet, Faircloth was still the story of the game. It was announced that he had already set the single game record for receptions and they were only a few minutes into the third quarter.
If desperation hadn't yet set in on the Spartan sideline before that score, it was near at hand if not in full effect after the latest touchdown. They responded well to the pressure, for a few plays but then were stopped by another interception, It didn't end up leading to more points for West Fargo but was the final nail in their coffin.
The next several possessions by each team were short lived until home Green put the cap on it. First with a short touchdown run Jared Franek that was preceded by a long catch and run by Joe Pistorius. And finally with a 68 yard touchdown run by Joel McIntosh where the point after was once again a problem. Health considerations aside, because everyone has to deal with those, the kicking game in each of it's various forms may be the only weakness that West Fargo has. I predicted they would finish the year with 2 losses but that, like several of my other takes, may be wrong - by a numeral of 2. They're deep, they're big, they're fast and they are flawless in the ways that count the most and Sparty was the latest team to have to deal with it first hand!