Midgets’ offense overwhelms Fargo North in opener
Shawn Steffan's adjustment to working with new receivers started as well as he could have hoped.The Dickinson High senior quarterback accounted for four total touchdowns Friday to help the Midgets to a 28-9 victory over Fargo North in the season-...
Shawn Steffan’s adjustment to working with new receivers started as well as he could have hoped.
The Dickinson High senior quarterback accounted for four total touchdowns Friday to help the Midgets to a 28-9 victory over Fargo North in the season-opener for both teams at the Biesiot Activities Center.
Steffan ran for touchdowns of 12 and 25 yards - in the first and fourth quarters, respectively - and found new weapons in Krew Matthern and Aanen Moody for touchdowns of 7 and 21 yards.
The Midgets (1-0) and Spartans (0-1) found themselves locked in a defensive-minded game until Dickinson’s offense found some traction.
“Our running game got off to a slow start, so we had to pass the ball more in the first half, and we ended up doing pretty well at that,” said Steffan, who finished 10 of 17 passing for 171 yards. “Late in the game, when we had a lead like that, I’m proud of our linemen for sticking with the gameplan and figuring it out at the end of the game to run the ball.”
The Spartans got on the board first, with a 23-yard field goal in the first quarter from Connor Fuglseth, but Dickinson then scored 21 unanswered points to take a lead it would not relinquish.
Steffan scrambled for his 12-yard score just more than two minutes after the field goal.
With 10:21 left in the second quarter, Matthern, a junior, caught a tipped pass in the end zone for his first career touchdown. Matthern caught six balls for 97 yards in the game.
The Midgets led 14-3 at halftime but were outgained 166-112 in the first two quarters. The Spartans put together several long drives but were unable to execute a play that ended in points.
“We found the play. We just didn’t make the play,” Fargo North head coach Adam Roland said. “We ran 41 plays in the first half and came away with three points, and I saw the disappointment on their faces because they know - they get it - that we left points on the board.”
Midgets head coach John Tuchscherer said he was pleased with how his players battled through the slow start to put together several scoring drives.
“I’m really proud of how our guys fought through it and the effort that they played with,” he said. “It’s really easy to not have that sort of effort when things aren’t going well, and they didn’t blink an eye. They kept fighting and we were able to do some things offensively in the second half.”
With 3:39 to play in the third quarter, Moody hauled in his 21-yard score on fourth down to put the Midgets ahead 21-3.
“That’s a play coach Tuchscherer just drew up in the huddle,” Steffan said. “We’ve never run that before. Moody was (isolated) one-on-one, and he’s an athletic player, and coach said, ‘Give him a jump ball and he’ll go make the play,’ and that’s what he did.”
In the opening minutes of the fourth, Spartans quarterback Hyatt Martineau found Bobby Gunderson for a short pass, and Gunderson took it 41 yards for a score. The two-point conversion to get within 10 points failed and Fargo North was held off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
In an effort to continue running the clock, the Midgets went for it on 4th-and-inches with 5:04 left, and Steffan was able to sneak through the line, curl off to the left and stroll in for a touchdown that put the game away.
Fargo North won the battle of time possession with nearly 30 minutes, and the Spartans amassed 266 total yards, but they also fumbled four times and lost two of them as they struggled to really find some momentum.
“We’re ready to play. We’re physical,” said Matthern, who had three tackles, including two for a loss and half a sack. “We’re not going to give up any easy yards.”
Kaymen Kitchen led all players with 15 tackles for the Midgets. Dane Haugen (12) and Treven Hopfauf (11) also finished with double-digit tackles.
Conner Hoenke added 48 yards rushing on 12 attempts for Dickinson, and he returned three punts for 55 yards, including a 39-yarder that set up Matthern’s touchdown.
“Those two guys (Hoenke and Matthern) are going to very good football players for us for the next few years,” Tuchscherer said. “We have very high expectations for them, but they’re the kind of kids you can have those expectations for and they’re going to deliver.”
Dickinson High 28, Fargo North 9
FN 3 0 0 6 - 9
D 6 8 7 7 - 28
FN - Connor Fuglseth 23 field goal
D - Shawn Steffan 12 run (kick no good)
D - Steffan pass 7 Krew Matthern (Steffan pass Cam Jorda)
D - Steffan pass 21 Aanen Moody (Jorda kick)
FN - Hyatt Martineau pass 41 Bobby Gunderson (conversion no good)
D - Steffan 25 run (Jorda kick)
RUSHING: FN, Adam Hummel 18-47; Dan Hollaar 3-17; Martineau 4-13. D, Conner Hoenke 12-48; Steffan 12-37; Caden Haugen 2-13; Treven Hopfauf 8-12.
PASSING: FN, Martineau 16-31-0 185 yards, 1 TD. D, Steffan 10-17-0 171 yards, 2 TDs.
RECEIVING: FN, Gunderson 4-75 1 TD; Jaden McGregor 4-27; Hummel 4-12; Hollaar 2-32. D, Matthern 6-97 1 TD; Hoenke 2-18; Jorda 1-35; Moody 1-21 1 TD.
DEFENSIVE: FN, Connor Ostendorf 10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 fumble recovery; Sean Swanson 6 tackles. D, Kaymen Kitchen 15 tackles; Dane Haugen 12 tackles; Hopfauf 11 tackles.