Bismarck downs Davies for boys state soccer title

BISMARCK — For the Bismarck Demons, the odd-year beat goes on. For Fargo Davies, another runner-up trophy.

Bismarck rang up its eighth shutout of the season, but its first in six games, to down Fargo Davies 3-0 Wednesday, Oct. 16, for its fifth boys soccer state championship. The game was played at the Starion Sports Complex in Mandan.

Davies, looking for its first state championship, was playing in its third straight state title game. The Demons, state champions in 2015 and 2017, won their fifth state championship after a fourth-place finish last fall.

Senior Ethan Ford, the second-year BHS goalkeeper, said the Demons saved their best soccer for the four-day delayed state tournament.

“It was just like a brotherhood. Things clicked and everyone worked together going for that same goal,” Ford said.

Ford said Bismarck’s seven seniors had their sights set on a state championship after last year’s disappointing fourth-place finish.

“We definitely wanted something better for ourselves. Fourth place is not good enough. We needed the championship. That’s what we were going for all year,” he said.

Bismarck rode a 15-mph tailwind to dominant field position and a 1-0 lead in the first half. Although BHS maintained a hefty territorial edge in the first 40 minutes, they eked out just one goal in three shots.

The Demons kept Davies locked up in its own end for almost the entire opening eight minutes, and sophomore midfielder Dominic Williams broke through at the 7 minutes, 28 seconds mark.

Senior forward Michael Matthews centered a pass from near the left goal line to Williams at the goal mouth. Williams put it away for what turned out to be the game-winner.

Davies coach Ian Costello, who was named state coach of the year, said going into the wind the first half made a tough task for the Eagles even harder.

“When you go into the wind possession and passing are important … but Bismarck attacked well,” he said.

With the wind at their back, the Eagles played on fairly even terms with BHS early in the second half. But 14:30 after intermission, junior forward Rodrigue Mugisha notched what was probably the biggest goal of the game.

Mugisha took a bad-angle shot from the low left wing about 25 yards out. He sneaked his attempt inside the far corner of the net to put BHS on top 2-0.

With just over a minute to play, Mugisha’s pass from the right wings set up Matthews a chip shot that became the game’s final goal,

Bismarck allowed just three goals in the state tournament, two in the first game and one in the semifinal. Ford said it wasn’t a matter of him getting better each game. He said the whole team got stronger each game.

“We were clicking on all cylinders. Things were just getting better and better for us,” he said.

BHS coach Andy Foss said he couldn’t have asked for a bit more from his team during the three-day state tournament grind.

“Our guys are completely gassed, completely exhausted,” he noted. “They left it all out on the field. I’m so proud of those guys.”

“Those seniors wanted to go out on top,” Foss added. “They played for each other and they dug in for each other.”

For senior Davies defender Jack Anderson, a second-year starter, said losing a second state championship game is never easy.

“We were confident we could do it. We knew we had to fight like the underdog if we were going to win,” he said.

Third place went to West Fargo Sheyenne, a 2-1 winner over Fargo South. Century downed Grand Forks Central 3-2 for fifth place.

South midfielder Nobin Guring was named the outstanding senior athlete.

Sheyenne 2, Fargo South 1

Sheyenne jumped ahead with goals by Jackson Kuznia and Hussein Mohamed in the first half of the third-place game and held on to defeat South for the second time this season.

South outshot the winning Mustangs 7-5.

Century 3, Grand Forks Central 2

Century made Central play catch-up the entire game and finished with the fifth-place trophy.

Schmidt Joseph, Ben Cleary and Nikko Helderop scored to keep the Patriots a step ahead of Central.

William Lawson-Body scored with 5:44 to play to tie the game for the second time, but Helderop responded with 4:33 on the clock for the game-winner.