Mustangs shut down Knights
West Fargo Sheyenne's goal was to control Zack Murphy.
The Mustangs did that by keeping the ball away from the Grand Forks Central standout.
Sheyenne used its ball-control offense and timely passing to beat Grand Forks Central 36-10 in high school football Friday night at Cushman Field.
"We wanted to control the ball and keep it away from Murphy,'' Mustangs coach Jeremy Newton said. "He's so dangerous. And I think we did an OK job of doing that.''
OK? The Mustangs rushing for 249 yards and passed for another 170. They had several long, time-consuming possessions, four of them resulting in touchdowns.
"The difference in the game was the second half,'' Central coach Bill Lorenz said. "They just wore us down up front. They had five returning starters on the offensive line. They're big guys and they don't play on defense. They just leaned on us and wore us down.
"They're the top running team in our conference. We knew that. Their passing was a little bit of a surprise. I thought we forced them into some of that.''
After a scoreless first quarter, Sheyenne scored quickly in two different fashions.
The Mustangs ate up 7:13 on the clock, capping an 80-yard drive when Parker Sander scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
Central muffed the ensuing kickoff, with Sheyenne recovering on the Central 38. Two plays later, Sander connected with Cade Jastrom on a deep pass that went for a 31-yard touchdown.
Central made it 15-3 at halftime on a Lucas Kanta field goal.
But the Mustangs scored on their first three possessions of the second half, getting TDs on a Sander-to-Zach Westphal pass of 11 yards, a Hunter Hoffner 1-yard run and a Nathan Goldade 2-yard run. Central only managed a Murphy-to-Jack Anderson score covering 5 yards that pulled the Knights within 29-10 with 8:14 remaining.
Murphy still managed 104 yards rushing and was 5-of-11 passing for 105 yards.
But that couldn't offset the passing of Sander (8-of-14 for 170 yards) and the rushing game led by Jason Gaulrupp (101 yards) and Goldade (77).
"We've been trying to spread our offense out more,'' Newton said of the passing. "We were in some longer-yardage situations so we threw a little more. I thought we executed well.''
Sheyenne improved to 5-2 while Central dropped to 2-5.