PREP FOOTBALL: Knights win with wild finish
Scoring touchdowns in the fourth quarter wasn't the problem for the Fargo North football team, which scored on both final-quarter drives. Instead, it was the ensuing two-point conversion attempts that foiled the Spartans. After pulling within a p...
Scoring touchdowns in the fourth quarter wasn't the problem for the Fargo North football team, which scored on both final-quarter drives.
Instead, it was the ensuing two-point conversion attempts that foiled the Spartans.
After pulling within a point as time expired, North quarterback Kameron Giffey and wide receiver Anthony Schnabel couldn't connect on a slant route on the 2-point conversion attempt. That sealed Grand Forks Central's 21-20 win over the Spartans on Friday at Cushman Field.
Giffey scored with no time remaining when he scrambled around the left side and dove into the end zone from 12 yards out on third-and-goal. Giffey's score capped a 19-play drive, a stretch in which North converted three fourth-down plays.
The Spartans opted to go for two points, instead of the tie. North hasn't kicked an extra point all season.
North coach Kelly Kalina declined to talk about his kicking situation after the game.
"They went to that slant that was there all night for them," Central coach Bill Lorenz said. "Fortunately, the ball was a little high."
Giffey and Schnabel were able to connect 11 times for 133 yards and a touchdown. Giffey finished with 215 yards on 18-for-30 passing with two interceptions.
But the Spartans couldn't overcome Central's passing game and the first-half absence of North all-state running back Peter Saintal.
Saintal played the entire second half, finishing with 141 yards on 19 carries. Kalina wouldn't comment on the reason for Saintal's missed time.
After the Spartans scored on their first drive of the fourth quarter to even the score at 14-14, the Knights needed just one play to register the game-winning score.
Rogan Mesteth, who finished with 10 catches for 147 yards, took a short pass on a bubble route and turned it into a 59-yard touchdown grab.
"The only thing I saw were two great blocks by Brady Spencer and Johnny McWilliams," said Mesteth, a senior wide receiver. "It was those two that sprung me."
It was the second-consecutive win for the Knights, who knocked off Fargo South last week.
"We talked to our kids before the game that this was a big game; the biggest we've played in all year," Lorenz said. "We needed this to get on a mini-streak."
Strangely, North's late score was the second half in which the Spartans scored with no time on the clock.
The Spartans took momentum to halftime. North drove 75 yards on four plays in the final 26 seconds to take an 8-6 lead after Giffey plunged into the end zone from 1 yard out as the second-quarter clock expired.
Giffey's score was set up by a pair of long pass plays -- a 25-yarder down the sideline to Josh Kosienski and a 38-yarder to Matt Connelly, who out-jumped a Central cornerback to give the Spartans first-and-goal at the 1 with three seconds to go.
The last-minute drive overshadowed Central's strong first half. At the end of the first quarter and start of the second, the Knights went on an 18-play scoring drive that chewed up more than six minutes of clock. On third-and-goal from the 6, Mesteth hauled in a pass from Chad Goering to give the Knights the 6-0 lead with 8:32 left before halftime.
Goering was 13-for-17 passing for 168 yards.
"Our coach preaches to believe," Mesteth said. "And I'm a firm believer that we've got a shot at the playoffs. I'm excited."
GF Central 21,
Fargo North 20
Key play: Rogan Mesteth's 58-yard touchdown pass from Chad Goering.
Key player: Mesteth, 10 receptions, 147 yards.