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Midgets head to semifinals for first time in 20 years

It wasn't the most comfortable win for Dickinson, but a late field goal gave them a narrow victory.

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Junior defensive back Kaeden Krieg (11) completes a sack in the late stages of their victory over Fargo South, Oct. 29, 2021. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson Midgets defeated Fargo South 9-7 Friday night to advance themselves to the semifinals in the NDHSAA 11A football playoffs, an achievement they haven't accomplished since 2001. The narrow lead came late in the fourth quarter.

“I’m so proud of our guys. We got off to a shaky start, but we stuck together and battled for four quarters,” Midgets head coach John Tuchscherer said. “Defensively, we played our best game of the year. Offensively, we played well at times, but had a tough time consistently moving the ball.”

It took time for the Midgets to pick up steam while Fargo South came hot and ready, scoring on their opening drive. The 12-play drive was capped off by a 12-yard pass from quarterback Kolby Nissen to running back Kolby Jones.

Dickinson’s offense didn't get to a good start, having to punt on their first drive after falling into a 4th and 23. For much of the first half, the two sides exchanged a handful of punts as neither side could gain any traction on offense.

Some excitement did come in the final minute of the second quarter when Dickinson’s Troy Berg made a big run after recovering a punt to Bruins’ 30 yard line, but would throw an interception on the first play of the drive. The intercepted ball would be carried to the other side of the field to the 30-yard line, where Fargo South would make the same mistake and throw an interception in the final 10 seconds of the first half.

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The Midgets got onto the scoreboard early in the third on their first drive in the third quarter in seven plays. It was Berg who ran the ball six yards to the right corner of the end zone. They would stay behind 7-6 after they missed the extra point with 9:40 left in the third.

Dickinson’s defense forced the Bruins into two three-and-outs in the third quarter. On the first play in the fourth quarter, Nissen threw deep on a third and long, only to be intercepted by junior defensive back Ben Carlson.

“This is the time of the year when defenses are going to win you games,” Tuchscherer said. “We had a ton of guys step up and play really well tonight. Good things happen when you get 11 guys to the football.”

Carlson had a great night on both sides of the ball, playing tight end and picking up three receptions for 70 yards.

One of those receptions came on the Midgets’ final scoring drive as Berg was scrambling in the backfield and found Carlson for a 25-yard gain. That drive was capped off by a field goal from Luke Mavity to make it 9-7 with less than two minutes to play.

“Ben played really well tonight,” Tuchscherer said. “He had a couple timely catches offensively and defensively he does a great job for us at corner.”

Berg led the Midgets in rushing with 62 yards, followed by Mavity with 58. Shortly after the field goal, the Bruins nearly had a play go for a long gain, but the throw was broken up by Carlson. Dickinson’s defense turned Fargo South over on downs and the Midgets were able to take a knee to see out the win.

“We just kept telling our guys that we needed one more stop after the kick. They have a kicker with a good leg,” Tuchscherer said. “I was glad our defense was able to get a stop and keep them out of field goal range.”

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The victory ended an eight-game losing streak to Fargo South dating back to 2003.

The defense were the heroes of the night, limiting the Bruins’ offense to just one touchdown, which came on the opening drive. It will take both Dickinson’s offense and defense at their best if they are to stand a chance against top-seeded Bismarck St. Mary’s next Friday, Nov. 5 in the semifinals.

The Saints destroyed Devils Lake in their quarterfinal matchup 37-13.

Tuchscherer said that they are going to enjoy the win tonight and then immediately shift focus onto St. Mary’s.

TEAM SCORE

FS 7 0 0 0 7

DHS 0 0 6 3 9

First Quarter

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FS - 12 yard pass from Kolby Nissen to Kolby Jones (extra point good), 7-0

Second Quarter

No Scoring

Third Quarter

DHS - Troy Berg 6 yard run (extra point no good), 7-6

Fourth Quarter

DHS - Luke Mavity 25 yard field goal, 9-7

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Dickinson Midgets come away with the win in the Class 11A quarterfinals against Fargo South, Oct. 29 2021. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

Related Topics: FOOTBALLDICKINSON MIDGETS
Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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