Riders come close, but fall to North
Grand Forks Red River had a lot of firsts on the football field Friday.
For the first time this season, the Roughriders scored points in the first quarter. For the first time, they held a lead in a game. For the first time, they scored more than 20 points.
But the biggest first—a victory—eluded the Roughriders. Fargo North High School held off the Roughriders to claim a 35-28 victory at Cushman Field and drop the Riders to 0-7.
"It hurts more when you have a chance to win,'' Red River coach Vyrn Muir said. "I know our kids are hurting. We were right there at the end. We just didn't get it done.
"We gave ourselves a chance. We just weren't able to make a few key plays. North did.''
Red River drove to the North 7-yard line with less than two minutes remaining. But after a first-down incompletion, a sack drove Red River back to the 19. Two more incompletions turned the ball over to the Spartans with 29 seconds left and they ran out the clock.
North broke a 28-28 tie with 5:42 left when sophomore quarterback Caleb Fritel ran up the middle, cut to his left into open field and went 32 yards for the go-ahead touchdown.
"Caleb's just an athlete,'' North coach Adam Roland said. "He doesn't have that flat-out speed. But he has great vision and makes things happen.''
North broke a 14-14 halftime tie when it scored twice in a 2:29 span in the third. Fritel scored on a 44-yard run. Then a Blayne Anderson interception and 41-yard return set up a Sean Swanson 7-yard TD run.
But, after Riders starting quarterback Parker Monette was injured, Sam Schumacher came in and provided a spark. He hit Pierson Painter for a 7-yard TD pass late in the third, then powered in on a 1-yard run with 8:16 remaining to tie the score at 28. "Sam got thrown in and he executed. He made some plays,'' Muir said.
Big plays sparked North. Fritel threw a 65-yard pass to Chandler Ibach for North's first score, then a 29-yard pass and 38-yard run set up a Swanson 1-yard TD run.
"We didn't run a lot of plays, but we were efficient,'' Roland said. "We've put together some nice drives this year. But we've survived a lot off of big plays. This is the most big plays we've had in a game.''
Both teams had a 100-yard rusher, Landon Haagenson carrying for 111 yards and a TD for Red River and Swanson for 103 for North. Fritel was 6-of-11 for 138 yards passing for the 3-4 Spartans.