Grand Forks Red River senior Brady McQuillan achieved redemption late Friday night at Cushman Field.
On Fargo South's fourth-quarter touchdown drive to tie the game with just more than three minutes to go, McQuillan was isolated at defensive back against Bruins' receiver Jack Korbel, who won the 50-50 lofted pass from Kolby Nissen for a 17-yard touchdown score.
McQuillan, however, would have his revenge. On fourth-and-10 from the South 33 with 24 seconds to go, Red River quarterback Gunnar Heuchert hit McQuillan on a fade route near the goal line to set up the game-winning field goal with 1 second left to lift Red River to a 12-9 victory over the Bruins.
The win was Red River's first over South since 2012.
"I don't know if we had that resilience in our program the last couple of years," Red River coach Vyrn Muir said. "He was able to help us get the (South touchdown) back by making that great play."
Red River's victory wasn't exactly a slam dunk after McQuillan's catch, though. Red River had first-and-goal from the 2 with 15 seconds to play and was called for holding on a pass play to move the ball back to the 15.
"If we just score (a touchdown), it alleviates stress from the old coach," Muir said.
After a 5-yard run, kicker Carter Byron, who had missed an extra point and a 30-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, connected this time from 27 yards out for the winning score.
"I saw a single corner over me and ran a fade route," McQuillan said of his 32-yard fourth-down grab. "I had a good idea he was throwing to me. I saw Gunnar look my way before the snap, and I knew he was throwing my way. Gunnar threw a perfect ball, and I went up and made a play. Our coaches always preach battling adversity."
Red River improved to 2-2, while South dropped to 1-3.
Byron was ultimately the hero, but his 30-yard miss with six minutes to play and South's ensuing drive was nearly the story of the game, too.
On the game-tying drive, Bruins quarterback Kolby Nissen, who was 0-for-7 during the game until this drive, hit five passes for 50 yards.
After the Bruins tied the score at 9-9 with 3:05 to play, Red River's 6-foot-4 defensive end Logan Arason blocked the extra point to keep the game even.
"That gave us a ton of energy on that last drive," McQuillan said of the block.
The fourth-quarter score was South's only touchdown. Red River's only touchdown, meanwhile, came on special teams.
With 20 seconds left in the first half, the Bruins -- following a Landon Docken 30-yard field goal, kicked deep to Red River's Paine Parks, who returned the kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and a 9-3 halftime lead.
"That was huge at the time," Muir said. "Both offenses were trying to grind it away. We made enough plays and made the big catch at the end."
Red River's offense was led by Garrin Sattler, who had 16 carries for 100 yards, despite missing parts of the second half with an injury. Logan Okstad chipped in 14 carries for 72 yards. Heuchert ended with 100 passing yards -- 67 of those yards going to McQuillan.
South was paced by Dorian Sandness, who had 16 carries for 123 yards.
GF Red River 12,
Fargo South 9
RR -- Carter Byron 35 field goal
FS -- Landon Docken 30 field goal
RR -- Paine Parks 97 kick return (kick failed)
FS -- Jack Korbel 17 pass from Kolby Nissen (kick failed)
RR -- Byron 27 field goal
RUSHING -- RR: Garrin Sattler 16-100, Logan Okstad 14-72; FS: Dorian Sandness 16-123, Kolby Nissen 9-65
PASSING -- RR: Gunnar Heuchert 7-15-0, 100 yards; FS: Nissen 5-15-0, 50 yards
RECEIVING -- RR: Brady McQuillan 3-67, Logan Arason 3-28, Drew Boen 1-5; FS: Reis Kessel 1-18, Jack Korbel 4-32