Sheyenne spoils Magi homecoming
Exemplifying the grandiose pageantry often associated with high school football, Minot High celebrated a week of traditions and school spirit in anticipation of their homecoming contest with West Fargo Sheyenne under the steadfast glow of the Friday night lights.
Set on rebounding from a 34-7 road loss to Davies in week 5, the Minot High Magicians (3-2 overall, 3-1 West Region) will look to reignite the fire of their offense after being stifled on the scoreboard last week.
Currently sitting at second in points scored in the WDA with 139, the Magicians have averaged almost 28 PPG this season.
Yet, more impressive but often overlooked is the fact that the Minot High defense has served as a near impenetrable force, giving up less than 10 points on average per game.
Falling only to currently No. 1 ranked Davies this season, the Sheyenne Mustangs (4-1 overall, 1-1 East Region) look to extend their winning streak to four games with a victory over Minot High.
Leaning heavily on their stout defensive play, the Mustangs have allowed 14 points or less in all four of their victories, with last week’s win against Grand Forks Red River coming in the form of a 34-0 shutout.
Proving that they can contribute their fair share as well, the Sheyenne offense has been equally as impressive and reliable, averaging 36 PPG in wins this season.
Kicking off a marvelous October’s eve for a gridiron battle, splendid weather and the many sounds of the Magi band would welcome a full house to Duane Carlson Stadium for what would be an electric night of Class AA football.
Trinity Health would headline the high-entertainment theme of Homecoming by delivering the game ball via helicopter, making a grand entrance over the field’s tree line before eventually touching down at midfield to the delight of the already frenetic crowd.
Once play finally commenced, Sheyenne would utilize a run-centric attack to orchestrate the first scoring drive of the contest.
Operating out of a triple-option scheme, the Mustangs methodically worked their way down the field before junior quarterback Caleb Duerr would cap off the drive with a touchdown run to put Sheyenne up 7-0.
Unable to gain any momentum offensively throughout the bulk of the first quarter, the Magi continually searched for a weakness in the stingy Sheyenne defense.
Moving on to the second quarter, Mustangs quarterback Duerr would once again find paydirt, calling his own number in the option scheme at the 9-minute mark and winding his way through the red zone for the second Sheyenne touchdown of the game and a 14-0 lead.
Holding tight to hope, Minot High temporarily abandoned the run game in favor of an air attack as they worked to put points on the scoreboard during the two-minute drill.
With the marching band and cheerleaders assembling on the sideline for the halftime show, the Magi made the most of the final minute of the half.
Junior wide receiver Logan Conklin turned a screen pass from senior quarterback Jayden Speraw into a 6-yard touchdown reception to pump new life into the Minot High fans and narrow the lead to 14-7 to end the quarter.
Following a lively halftime performance by the Minot High band and cheerleaders, the Magi rode the momentum of their prior scoring drive to begin the second half, capitalizing on a spectacular special teams play on the opening kickoff.
Weaving his way through a myriad of blockers, Minot High’s Zack Brown would recover the bobbled return to provide the Magi with a chance to draw the game even.
Turning to the air once again, Minot High’s Conklin would haul in a 37-yard reception from the point of the fumble recovery, followed shortly after by a 27-yard touchdown reception at the 8:35 mark of the third quarter by sophomore receiver Kaden Kraft to knot the game 14-14.
Unfortunately for the Magi, despite the overflowing energy of the raucous crowd and what seemed like a tide shifting in their favor, the Mustangs would manage to find their footing and take complete control of the clash.
Sticking to their gameplan, Sheyenne stayed true to their triple-option ground assault and in the process exploded for 14-unanswered points to inevitably put the dagger in Minot High’s chances for a victory.
Taking matters into his own hands, Sheyenne’s Duerr would dice up the Magi defense on a highlight-reel 59-yard keeper with five minutes left in the third quarter to sound the initial tones of the death knell for Minot High.
Putting the proverbial nail in the coffin of spoiling the Magi’s homecoming, Sheyenne senior running back Kaden Rahr found a path to the end zone with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter for a 12-yard rushing touchdown to ultimately bring the game to its final score of 27-14 for a Mustangs road victory.
Next week, Sheyenne will welcome West Fargo for an East Region showdown, while Minot High stays home to welcome West Region adversary Bismarck High to Duane Carlson Stadium.