Magi football downed by Mandan 35-21

Ryan Ladika/MDN Sophomore wide receiver Logan Conklin makes a catch in the end zone for Minot High’s first touchdown of the evening, a 28-yard score in the second quarter.

The Minot Magicians’ football squad returned home for its annual homecoming contest Friday night, but the visiting Mandan Braves soiled the festivities at Duane Carlson Stadium, sending the Magicians to a 35-21 defeat in front of a boisterous crowd in Minot.

Friday’s homecoming contest against Mandan (2-0 WDA, 2-2 overall) came on the heels of Minot’s (1-1 WDA, 1-3 overall) first win of the season Sept. 10, a 10-0 win over the Bismarck High Demons in the capital city.

Head coach Chauncy Hendershot was pleased with the hard-fought effort his team displayed last week, an ethic the team would need to bring into its Friday matchup with the Braves.

“It was great for the kids,” he said of the road win in Bismarck. “I’m really happy for them and the coaches. Each game we’ve been getting better in areas, it was good to go on the road and get a hard-fought win last week. We came back to practice Monday trying to get better and trying to put our best product out here on the field.”

While the team did not finish their offensive drives as frequently as Hendershot and his staff would have liked last week, he was encouraged by the squad’s ability to compile four complete quarters of football and lengthy drives in a hostile environment. Going into Friday, he saw the matchup as an opportunity to display the work his team has made to improve from the first two defeats of the fall slate.

“Each week is unique and different, and we had to reset, but I think it gives guys a little validation on the work that they put in,” he said. “We still have a long way to go, we went back and looked at the tape and emphasized some stuff this week, so we were excited to go again.”

Mandan entered the Friday matchup coming off a win of its own, a 47-6 rout of Williston High for its first victory of the season. They key for Minot, Hendershot said, would be to simply take it one quarter at a time and put together four complete frames of football against a physical and athletic opponent.

The Braves asserted their advantage in size from the beginning of the contest, having their way with the Magi defense throughout the first quarter. Mandan drove 80 yards for the game’s first touchdown on its first four plays after receiving the opening kickoff, forced a stop on defense after Minot was able to run just five plays, and authored another lengthy scoring drive nine plays later to extend its lead to 14-0 with just under four minutes to play in the opening 12 minutes.

Following another Magi punt, the Braves tacked on a third touchdown on as many drives, stretching the lead to 21 before Minot was finally able to find its offensive footing.

Down by three scores with under 10 minutes to play in the first half, Magi wideout Ty Kinchen retured the Braves’ kickoff to the Minot 35 yard line. Quarterback Jayden Speraw handed the ball off to running back Blaze Ferry for a pair to set up second down and eight to go.

Speraw stepped back and aired out a perfect strike to Ethan Pankow down to the Mandan 28 yard line, and with a new set of downs deep in enemy territory for the first time, the junior let another pass fly targeted for sophomore receiver Logan Conklin, who hauled in the pass in the end zone untouched to get the Magi on the board 28-7 with 7:51 left in the half.

Both defenses traded stops before the Braves scored a fourth time via a 72-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes to play. A touchback on the ensuing kickoff set the Magi up on their own 20 with just 2:19 in the first half.

Speraw was surgical in leading his team down the field, completing five passes to get Minot down to the Mandan 16 yard line. A timely quarterback sneak that got just enough on 4th down and 1 set up the quarterback’s pass into a scrum in the end zone that was caught by Pankow, halving the Braves’ lead and sending the Magi into halftime down 28-14.

The two offensive units each recorded an additional touchdown in the second half, with Minot’s coming on the strength of a 3rd-and-goal quarterback sneak by Speraw, but the Minot offense could muster little else due to miscues throughout the fourth quarter and the Magi fell by a 35-21 final score.

Minot fell to 1-3 on the season with the loss, while Mandan advanced to 2-2 with its second straight win. The Magi’s next contest is scheduled for Sept. 24 on the road against Williston with a 7 p.m. kickoff.


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