Backbreaker

MHS football struggles to stop the run in 42-22 loss to Fargo Davies

Alex Eisen/MDN Minot High senior running back Mason Sys (16) carries the ball Friday evening in a Class AAA football game against Fargo Davies at Duane Carlson Stadium.

In a game where Fargo Davies brought the pressure, the Minot High School defense found its breaking point.

The Magicians football team had no answer for the potent Eagles’ attack Friday night, falling in their home opener, 42-22.

It’s a performance that marks a complete 180 from a Minot defense that shutout West Fargo in its 6-0 win on Aug. 24, leaving head coach Barry Holmen and his group plenty to work on moving forward.

The night started promising enough for Minot as quarterback Jaxon Gunville got his team on the board first in only the second start of his career. The junior punched it in from one yard out, giving the Magi an early 7-0 lead with 7:15 left in the opening quarter.

But the Eagles responded with a score of their own as Davies running back Cameron Rheault broke the plain of the end zone with a one yard run to tie the score at seven.

Alex Eisen/MDN MHS junior quarterback Jaxon Gunville looks to get rid of a pass before getting hit by Fargo Davies linebacker Isaac Balvitsch (34) Friday evening in Minot.

The Magi came out strong in second quarter as Gunville connected with senior Jacob Schiele on a 35-yard bomb that put Minot in opposing territory.

The drive came to a screeching halt, though, as a wild pass from Gunville got intercepted by the Davies’ defense. The Eagles offense took advantage, driving down the field for a score to give them a 14-7 lead.

With the Magi struggling to move the ball, Kyler Stenberg gave the team a jolt of life. The senior picked off Davies’ Jesse Forknell, returning the ball all the way to the Eagles’ 28-yard line.

Gunville capitalized, scoring from five yards out. A successful two-point conversion on a botched field goal attempt gave the lead back to the Magi, making it a 15-14 ballgame with 3:29 left before halftime.

The Eagles answered once again, scoring with 42 seconds left on the clock to enter halftime with a 22-15 advantage.

But things fell apart for the Magi in the second half as the Eagles’ offensive line imposed its will, consistently clearing paths for their run game. With the flood gates open, Eagles running back Isaac Balvitsch waltzed into the end zone for a 4-yard score.

The Eagles controlled the tempo the rest of the way, stifling the Magi offense and draining out the clock with a steady dose of runs to the left side. Balvitsch found the end zone for the third time of the night in the fourth quarter, breaking free for a 20-yard touchdown to give Davies a commanding 35-15 advantage.

Eagles running back Jack Carlson put the exclamation mark on the game, running it in from two yards out to give his team a 42-15 lead. Gunville ran it in for a 28-yard score with just 1:14 left in the game, but it wasn’t enough as the Magi fell to the Eagles, 44-22.

Gunville finished with all three of the team’s scores on the ground. The junior has yet to throw for a touchdown this season, though, leaving plenty of room to grow as he continues to learn the offense under center.

Gunville and the Magi hit the road to face Bismarck High on Sept. 7. Things won’t get any easier, as the Demons (2-0) are fresh off a dominant 48-8 victory over West Fargo on Thursday.

Justin Martinez covers Minot High School and

Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JTheSportsDude.

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