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Central falls to South in heartbreaking 42-38 loss

Grand Forks Central's Sam Cherilus is called for pass interference late in the first half as Fargo South's Dawson Weisenberger reaches for a pass.photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 2
Grand Forks Central's Austin Braun picks up a first down as Fargo South's Carter Morrau (15) and Griffin Bunn defend in the first half Friday at Cushman Field.photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 2

Fargo South coach Tyler Kosel looked at the clock after his team melted away a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter to Grand Forks Central.

It said: 1:09. His team was down by three.

"We have a quick-strike offense," Kosel said. "We have a very talented set of receivers and a great quarterback. So, honestly, when they scored, I knew we were going to go down and win the game, because we have a group that's not going to give up and passing is what we've been doing really well this year."

He was right.

Fargo South quarterback Tanner Dubois capped a brilliant 375-yard, six-touchdown performance with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Dawson Weisenberger with just 11 seconds left to give the Bruins a dramatic 42-38 win at Cushman Field.

The score capped a 61-yard drive—in which the Bruins converted a fourth-and-2—to spoil a wild second-half rally by Central on Homecoming.

The Knights trailed 35-14 late in the third quarter, but quarterback Zack Murphy rallied Central's offense for three scores.

Murphy hit Michael Nelson for a 22-yard touchdown pass with :06 left in the third quarter. He ran in another score with 8:53 left in the fourth quarter. Then, he drove the Knights 70 yards in 1:15—after South fumbled while trying to run out the clock—to give Central a 38-35 lead with just 1:09 to play.

A 27-yard pass from Murphy to Nelson gave the Knights the edge late in the fourth quarter and had the fans at Cushman Field jumping in the bleachers.

But Dubois and his receivers had an answer like they did most of the night.

"The emotions, the momentum swings, the ups and downs," said Central coach Bill Lorenz. "I told the kids after the game that I was so proud of them. We challenged them at halftime to fight and just compete. They did that in the second half. Even though the scoreboard didn't show it, our program took a step in the right direction with that second half.

"The thing is, as a coach, you just want it so bad for your kids, because you see the blood, sweat and tears they put in during the week. You want them to have that success. But everything doesn't go fairly in life, either. It doesn't go that way on the football field. I think when we watch film, shake off the dust, I think they're going to see we made some strides."

South improved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the East Region. Central dropped to 2-4 and 1-2.

Dubois threw six touchdown passes (his previous high was three) to four different receivers. Weisenberger hauled in three, while Tanner Beaton (eight catches, 101 yards), Kaleb Johnson (8-102) and Jamon Howard (4-86) each had one.

Murphy, meanwhile, ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 210 yards and two scores.

"Grand Forks Central played tremendous in the second half," Kosel said. "They came out and punched us right in the mouth. At the half, we felt pretty good. We probably took our foot off the gas a little too early.

"Central played well enough to win this football game, but I'm happy with my group battling back and responding to adversity out there."

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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