The Minot High School football team had to wait a few extra minutes to kick off its season, but it didn't affect the Magicians defense in a 37-13 victory over Fargo North on Friday at Duane Carlson Stadium.
Lightning caused a 15-minute delay to the opening kickoff and the delay for both offenses lasted even longer. But Minot's defense and special teams provided all the scoring the Magicians would need on a night where the offense struggled to put up points.
Junior running back Brady Lampert put the Magicians (1-0) on the board with a 28-yard punt return with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter. Lampert bobbled the ball at the North Fargo 30-yard line before collecting himself and beating the Spartan defense to the far side pylon.
Minot High School junior quarterback Alex Yanosko escapes the pressure of Fargo North junior lineman Derek Pladson in the Magicians' win Friday at Duane Carlson Stadium.
"Our offensive line did great," Lampert said. "I want to get that off my chest right now. But there is still a lot of improving to do and we just have to work as a team."
North (0-1) struggled to generate offense throughout the game. Junior quarterback Avery Thompson failed to complete a pass in the first half and was held to five yards rushing. The Spartans ended the first half with negative 15 yards of total offense.
The Minot defense accumulated more yards than North's offense in the opening half after a Thompson pass was intercepted by MHS defensive back Alex Yanosko at the Spartans' 45-yard line and returned for a touchdown with 10:40 remaining in the second quarter.
Sophomore linebacker Alex Mack added a second touchdown for the defense in the final minute of the third quarter with a 22-yard interception return to give the Magicians a 23-6 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
"We learned a lot about our team," Minot coach Barry Holmen said. "It kind of played out like we expected. We felt like our defense was going to be our strongest part of the evening and I think it turned out to be that way."
The biggest challenge to the Magicians was the Magicians themselves. Minot committed eight penalties for 60 yards in the first half. A 60-yard touchdown run by junior wide receiver Kimani Benjamin in the second quarter was nullified by offsetting personal fouls. A number of holding and false start penalties killed any momentum for the offense.
North's first scoring drive was set up by an interception return by senior linebacker Matt Connelly to Minot's 12-yard line. Connelly was awarded for his efforts, catching Thompson's first completion of the game with 6:39 remaining in the third quarter for a 12-yard touchdown. The Spartans failed on the two-point conversation.
Lampert's 19-yard touchdown run with 9:49 remaining in the fourth quarter and a 53-yard rushing touchdown by Yanosko sealed the victory for the Magicians.
The Magicians travel to play Grand Forks Central at 7 p.m. on August 31 in a non-conference game.