Patriots Ride Off on Mustangs
I've said it before
It's been said countless number of times by others
Turnover margin Is one of the most indicative stats in determining winners in Football.
Last night, on the field at West Fargo Sheyenne, it bore out that way once again.
But the 48 minutes of semi-final Football still proved to be one of the best games of the year.
The home team got the first win of the night, the coin toss, and chose to defer to the second half. So after the kickoff, Century started with the ball at the 35. A run heavy, time eating drive, that featured a mix of handoffs to Grant Anderson & Nathan Kraft and runs by quarterback Cade Feeney, with two pass attempts for good measure (one completion. put the Patriots just inside the red zone. From there, Feeney called his own number to weave through the crowd toward the end zone for the first score of the evening. It took nearly half of the first quarter and put them up seven.
The Mustangs have shown all year that they can score with anyone so a 7-0 deficit was nothing to sweat for them. On their first drive all their key players were featured. Quarterback Parker Sander slung the rock to Tyler Terhark a couple times. Big back Nathan Goldade and his cohort's Barika Kpeenu & Hunter Hoffner each took handoffs, the last of which was the first of the night to lose possession of the ball to Century.
After the fumble recovery, BC looked to eat more clock & double their lead before the quarter concluded. After a long pass play to Mason Peterson, they looked primed to accomplish the latter part of those goals. But a second & 25 after a chop block proved to be too much for them to overcome against the Mustang defense.
After a failed fourth down attempt, Sheyenne got the ball back 74 yards away from their first points. As the quarter's flipped they stared down the barrel of a fourth and nine just past mid field after long plays by Goldade (run) & Caden Jastram (catch). Some may dial up a stick route, to try and get just enough, not these Mustangs. Sander dropped back to pass, Kpeenu was happy to oblige as he took the ball to the edge of the red. Maybe they should have just made it fourth down right away because the pressure brought out the best from Sheyenne. For the second straight set of downs they had a fourth down & long but showed that they were up to the challenge. It was Terkark who got his squad out of the latest pickle and set them up at the 1 for good measure. After getting backed up to the 8, Sander showed out again, with a touchdown run to even the score.
It stayed tied up until the end of Bismarck Century's next possession. Featuring more runs by Feeney & Anderson, they moved the ball to the 20. A false start could have foiled their momentum but one more play was all it took to show that it wasn't going to go that way. Feeney dropped back to pass and saw Treyton Mattern with just enough space to catch a pass. Mattern took the catch and made more of it than just a first down. So with under five minutes remaining in the half, they were back in front by a touchdown.
Some nights, that could have been enough time for three more scores, if not more than that. Sheyenne was just looking to even it back up, come what may. Goldade got em started, then Sander gobbled yards to the 33, a couple plays later it was Terhark again. Then on another fourth down, in shadow of the goal post, it was their bruiser's turn to keep it alive. By the nose of the Football Nathan Goldade's run kept their drive going. So they had to a get a touchdown now, a field goal would have felt like a loss. One play was all it took. The offense lined up to spread the defense out. Sander rolled to his right and with a defender bearing down he delivered another strike to Tyler Terhark.
All tied up once again, Century took a knee to get to the break.
So Sheyenne had pulled a Patriots on the Patriots. After scoring to end the half, they started action back with the ball. It was their turn to chew up clock and get the first lead of the game. They employed the same strategy coming out of the warming house that had gotten them back to even - Goldade running, Terhark catching. Caden Jastram & Barika Pkeenu were mixed in for good measure but when it down to it, they knew how their bread would get buttered. It came as no surprise when the final three plays of their drive went Terhark, Goldade, Terhark. So the Mustangs gained a six point advantage, but only six after a missed extra point.
The well seasoned Patriots came roaring right back with a 61 yard drive of their own. Featuring a long pass play by their one play reserve QB Mason Peterson to Skyler Riedinger and capped off by a short touchdown run by Grant Anderson they made quick work of their latest possession. Didn't know it at the time but that was just the start of their flurry of punches.
On the first play of the next possession, Bismarck's Kaden Brennan jumped the route for the second turnover of the game.
After five of six running plays, four by Nathan Kraft, the Pats were back inside the 10. It's only natural that they would finish the drive with another a running back but this time it was Noah Skalsky and it was through the air. The missed kick by Sheyenne, a simple mistake, now loomed large in the latest comeback trail.
But as the fourth quarter unfolded the Mustangs didn't panic but also didn't get much of anything from their star running back down the stretch. So the weight fell on his typically competent teammates. On the opening possession of the half, Sheyenne moved the ball for a first down but then got stuck near midfield and ended their chance on a disasterous fourth down play, a sack to give BC the ball back with a short field.
The Patriots just had to run out the clock. Between Kraft & Skalsky they nearly put the game on ice and capped the night's scoring with a field goal.
Sheyenne showed the fight of a championship level team over it's final possessions but scoring 11 points three minutes was a tall task. A tall task made impossible by two more turnovers, first a fumble at mid field then an interception to seal the loss.
A tough way to finish a great season for the team in their last game with quarterback Parker Sander. Mark my words though the Mustangs will be back with plenty of returning talent next year and it will be another fun run to watch!
Player of the Game
If the touchdown's weren't enough, he also sealed the win for his team with the final interception. So it's a pretty easy choice:
Photo of the Game
To see the full gallery from the game, click the pic!
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