North Prairie football stays undefeated, defeats MLS 38-6

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN North Prairie junior running back Xavier Mitchell evades MLS junior defensive end Corbin Hall. The Cougars defeated the Mavericks 38-6 in Mohall.

MOHALL — Xavier Mitchell would not be denied. Not even a ripped jersey could halt Mitchell’s progress on the turf.

North Prairie’s junior running back exploded for four touchdowns against Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood on Friday night. The Cougars defeated the Mavericks 38-6 in an out-of-region contest.

“It feels really good,” Mitchell said. “We came into this game knowing that they were a very good team. Our line executed up front, and we just did the job well.”

In the second half, Mitchell’s jersey was ripped on a tackle. He normally wears No. 2, but switched to No. 10 after the play.

It didn’t slow him down.

Jimmy Lafakis/MDN MLS senior tight end Henry Savelkoul (left) celebrates with senior offensive lineman Braden Volk after Savelkoul's touchdown in the first quarter. MLS will travel to Parshall for a 7 p.m. game on Sept. 13.

MLS jumped out to an early 6-0 lead after senior tight end Henry Savelkoul hauled in a touchdown pass in the first quarter. The two-point conversion attempt failed.

Mitchell and the Cougars took over from there. North Prairie’s defense stifled the Mavericks’ potential scoring opportunities throughout the night, while providing plenty of their own scoring punch.

After Mitchell rushed for his first touchdown, he picked off a pass deep in Cougar territory before the half.

North Prairie held an 8-6 lead at halftime.

“It’s like I told them in the huddle,” North Prairie head coach Josh Keller said. “Our goal is not so much to win as it is to get better every practice and every day. You can definitely tell that these kids have put in the time and the effort to get better.”

Mitchell scored from three yards out in the third quarter. The Cougars had great success converting on their two-point conversions all night, succeeding in all attempts except for their last one.

After junior quarterback Andre Elick found junior tight end Jacob Mitchell to start the fourth quarter, the Cougars began to pour it on.

Xavier rushed for two more touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. The undersized North Prairie offensive line cleared holes, and he split the Mohall defense to find nothing but green in front of him both times.

“The big boys up front,” Xavier said. “My line was the only reason I was doing that.”

Penalties crippled the Mavericks. The setbacks stopped MLS from establishing offensive flows.

“We’re going to have to watch film,” MLS co-head coach Cody Beck said. “We’ll check out exactly what mistakes we were making. We’ll try to learn from them and get better. We have to take experiences like this and get better every day.”

In the post-game huddle, North Prairie senior offensive lineman/linebacker Ezera Wuori praised his Cougar teammates for exerting physical dominance on the road.

The Cougars were the smaller team, but their conditioning helped them earn their way to victory. Keller gave credit to a North Prairie assistant coach for helping the Cougars take the win.

“Coach (Eli) Luna talked about finding an identity,” he said. “I think we found that tonight, a very physical four-quarter team. I’m very proud. Xavier had a great night, Tyrell (Yoder) had a great night. We just look to get better next week, as well.”

MLS (1-2) will play a 7 p.m. game at Parshall on Sept. 13. The Cougars (3-0) will host Cavalier at 7 p.m. that evening.

Jimmy Lafakis covers Minot High School sports and Class B high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @JJLII30.