Late TD pass sends KMS to state

FARGO -- It took just one pass for Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg to go from losing Friday's Section 5A championship football game to winning and advancing to the state Class A tournament by beating Dawson-Boyd, 26-24, and the Fargodome.

FARGO -- It took just one pass for Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg to go from losing Friday's Section 5A championship football game to winning and advancing to the state Class A tournament by beating Dawson-Boyd, 26-24, and the Fargodome.

That pass came on a first-and-10 play with just over a minute left in the game and the Fighting Saints on their own 25-yard line. KMS trailed 24-20 and had managed less than 100 yards of offense in the second half.

In fact, the Blackjacks had sacked KMS quarterback Kevin Steinhaus twice in the second half and intercepted a pass, so when Steinhaus dropped back to pass and ran to his right, tension permeated the Fargodome.

Steinhaus' heave found Justin Johnson wide open at least 35 yards down the field.

"We just ran a curl and I ran a wheel (route) on the back side," said Johnson, a senior. "It looked like the cornerback came up on the curl just for a split second and that was enough to get me by."


That play took the heart out of a Dawson-Boyd team that had knocked KMS to the ropes in the second half. Instead of picking apart the defense with passes and keeping KMS honest with a balanced attack, the Blackjacks tucked the ball into the hands of Matt Anderson and attacked the edges.

Anderson, a sophomore, ran the ball 15 times in the second half and scored a touchdown in the third quarter. He finished with 158 yards on 20 carries.

"Give (Dawson-Boyd) credit," said KMS coach James Cortez. "They did exactly what we didn't think they would do, which was run and run and run."

KMS started the game the way the Fighting Saints have usually done this season, by scoring early. They took the opening kickoff 65 yards and capped it off with a Joel Bauman one-yard run for a 6-0 lead. Mark Skoglund finished off a 12-play, 91-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run at the beginning of the second quarter.

Dawson-Boyd answered on the following possession with a 67-yard pass play from Josh Aakre to Andrew Roiger. The two-point conversion cut the KMS lead to 12-8.

"We thought coming out in the first half that we would be able to run the ball," said Blackjacks coach Cory Larson. "We started out that way in the first half, but we got into third-and-longs."

KMS opened the second half with an 11-play drive that ended with a Taylor Freetly 21-yard touchdown catch for a 20-8 lead.

Then KMS made a mistake.


Steinhaus threw an interception late in the third quarter and Dawson-Boyd took only two plays to cash in, with Anderson running right on an option for an 11-yard score. After forcing KMS to punt, the Blackjacks ran 10 plays and took the lead on Aakre's four-yard quarterback sneak.

"It wasn't really and Xs and Os adjustments, it was just coming out and playing a little harder," Larson said. "We challenged ourselves at halftime, like we have a number times this year. The kids responded to the challenge and played well in the second half."

After Johnson put the Fighting Saints in the lead, Cole Berget sealed the win with an interception.

Steinhaus finished with 180 yards passing on 8-of-13 attempts. Bauman carried the ball 27 times for 135 yards.

Aakre was only 2-for-18 for 88 yards passing. Roiger caught three passes for 96 yards.

KMS will face Lake of the Woods in the state quarterfinals on Nov. 8 at 8 p.m. at the Fargodome.

KMS 26, Dawson-Boyd 24

KMS (11-0).....................................6 6 8 6 -- 26


Dawson-Boyd (10-1).............................0 8 8 8 -- 24

KMS -- Joel Bauman 1 run (kick blocked)

KMS -- Mark Skoglund 2 run (kick failed)

DB -- Andrew Roiger 67 pass from Josh Aakre (Jake Bothun run)

KMS -- Taylor Freetly 21 pass from Kevin Steinhaus (Justin Johnson pass from Steinhaus)

DB -- Matt Anderson 11 run (Aakre run)

DB -- Aakre 3 run (Anderson run)

KMS -- Johnson 76 pass from Steinhaus (run failed)



Team statistics

First downs: 15... Rushing: 48-216 ... Passing: 8-13-180-1 ... Fumbles lost: none ... Penalties: 7-35

Individual statistics

Rushing: Joel Bauman 27-135, Mark Skoglund 13-72, Mitch Hagen 2-8, Kevin Steinhaus 5-(-4), Justin Johnson 1-5 ... Passing: Steinhaus 8-13-180-1 ... Receiving: Taylor Freetly 4-71, Johnson 1-76, Skoglund 2-23, Bauman 1-8 ... Punting: Chris Braaten 4-29 ... Interceptions: Steinhaus 1, Cole Berget 1 ... Fumble recoveries: none ... Tackles (solo-assist): Steinhaus 2-3, Jake Armstrong 1-3, Hagen 2-2, Freetly 4-5, Skoglund 5-6, Joey Bauman 1-3, Brad Kneisl 2-4 ... Sacks: Skoglund 1


Team statistics

First downs: 10... Rushing: 31-181 ... Passing: 3-19-96-2 ... Fumbles lost: none ... Penalties: 2-15


Individual statistics

Rushing: Matt Anderson 20-158, Jake Bothun 6-22, Josh Aakre 5-11 ... Passing: Aakre 2-18-88-2, Anderson 1-1-8-0 ... Receiving: Andrew Roiger 3-96 ... Punting: Aakre 3-32 ... Interceptions: Jake Bothun 1 ... Fumble recoveries: none ... Tackles (solo-assist): not available ... Sacks: not available

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