North Dakota Playoff Previews and Predictions
Century @ Fargo South Friday November 2 6:00pm in Fargo, ND
Bismarck Century’s defense helped them beat Grand Forks Red River last Friday night after getting down 9-0 early in the game. Their defense will have their hands full with the second highest scoring offense in Class AAA. Fargo South has a big quarterback in Zach Kellen who gives their offense balance and quick strike ability. South beat Century on the opening game of the season 31-20 when they used Kellen to connect in the passing game for 109 yards. But it was Zach Reich’s 149 yards on the ground that had Century worried. This time Reich comes into the game with a bad ankle that should limit his productivity, but sophomore James Johannesson should be able to keep Century on their toes with his hard running style. Century Coach Ron Wingenbach knows that stopping the run is a must,
“We cannot let them rush the ball the way they did the first time we played them. We have to do a much better job of controlling the ball than we did in August and our offense has to score with them!!”
Century has relied on a steady offense with big plays to receiver Drew Wiseman sprinkled in to beat most of their competition this year. Wiseman has 775 yards receiving with 11 of the teams 16 receiving touchdowns. Quarterback Jared Fischer knows he has a playmaker in Wiseman when he needs it. The Patriots spread the ball around in the running game, Ryan gesellchen led the team last week in rushing and leads the team with 496 yards and 12 touchdowns this year. But Ben Kraft, Dylan Leutz and Hunter Babeck can all carry the load if needed.
I think Century will pull off the road upset because of their steady defense and South’s banged up Zach Reich.
West Fargo @ Bismarck Friday November 2 7:00 pm in Bismarck, ND
Bismarck’s defense is among the best in state history. Coach Mark Gibson believes in his defensive unit,
“We are very good on the defensive side of the football with several interchangeable parts who are very good at running to the football. We are very aggressive and athletic on defense and the starting group has only given up one score the entire season,” said Gibson.
That defense has a couple of banged up players, Riley Plant has a partially torn bicep, Brennan Fetch has ligament damage in his thumb and Stanley Jones has a broken hand. But all that being said Bismarck still has the most fierce force in the state with their ‘D’. Offensively Layne Johs continues to impress. His 10.5 ypc average is that much more impressive when you factor in that he’s scored 27 touchdowns on the season. The team ypc average is 7.4 which means that the Packers are going to have to give it their best to contain the Demons ground attack.
West Fargo has a big play capability most teams don’t have. Quarterback Scott Cameron didn’t come into the season as the starter but because of injuries finds himself at the reigns. Head Coach Jay Gibson likes to keep the offense balanced and has been able to do that with Chaz Gunderson in the passing game and Preston Lehmann in the running game getting big yards.
“We’re proud of our senior group. It’s their team it’s their time. We have a big challenge with Bismarck, they’re as good as any team we’ve ever had, but we’ll be ready to play,” said Jay Gibson.
West Fargo plays most of their players both ways so they’ll need to try anything they can to stay fresh against a team that rotates multiple players on both sides of the ball.
In the end Bismarck is just too good for the Packers and should win comfortably.