‘They’ll never forget’

Brady Lampert was feeling pretty good after Friday’s Class AAA football game.

It was a combination of the stack of cookies in one hand, a gallon of milk in the other and his season-high 160 rushing yards on 30 carries. The senior slipped tackles left and right to lead No. 3 Minot High to an uncomfortable but satisfying 8-0 win over West Region foe Jamestown through ugly weather at Duane Carlson Stadium.

The Magicians (7-0 overall, 4-0 region) struggled to find the end zone, but pounded the ball against a formidable defense and eventually wore down the Blue Jays (4-3, 2-3).

“That’s definitely worth playing in,” Lampert said. “My first move, they missed a lot on that and I guess I gotta thank some of it to the rain. It came into play a lot and cutbacks were there and Kolton (Larson) did a great job tonight and so did our line.”

MHS sophomore quarterback Ben Bolinske scored the game’s lone touchdown on a 2-yard rush in the first quarter and Lampert ran in the 2-point conversion.

Larson, a senior fullback, had similar success on the ground as the lead blocker and ball carrier. He finished with 75 yards on eight carries, also breaking numerous tackles on plays. Both teams battled wind gusts approaching 40 mph and a constant rain, forcing a run-heavy game. MHS attempted just one pass and Jamestown threw 11 times.

“It’s always fun when it’s just sloppy like that,” Larson said. “Passing’s completely eliminated when there’s wind like that too, so it’s just a hard-nosed game and physical all the way through.”

The Blue Jays’ best opportunity came in the closing minutes of the game. Both teams had punts of less than 10 yards because of the wind and the Blue Jays recovered a loose ball on their own punt with about six minutes remaining. The punt only went about 12 yards, but glanced off a Magician and the visitors recovered at the MHS 49-yard line.

Jamestown then gave the ball to three backs without any carries to that point. Senior Caleb Ellingson broke a 33-yard run up the middle to set up first-and-goal at the 7. A false-start penalty moved the Blue Jays back and junior quarterback Ross Monson threw a fourth-down pass long of a target in the back of the end zone.

“We had some opportunities to make some conversions there where we had some dropped balls,” JHS coach Tim Fletcher said, “and against a good football team you just can’t make mistakes like that.”

Monson finished just 1 of 11 for 10 yards, but gave his receivers opportunities even when throwing into the wind. Going with the wind late in the third quarter, Monson hit senior Tyler Ukestad with a perfect ball over the outside shoulder at the MHS 30-yard line. Ukestad had the secondary beat, but dropped the ball.

“They actually got the ball to receivers and they simply couldn’t catch it,” MHS coach Barry Holmen said. “We were fortunate a couple times and those were crucial plays too.”

Overall, the MHS defense was about as good as it gets considering the conditions. The Magicians posted their third shutout of the year and held the Blue Jays to 87 yards of total offense. JHS senior running back Taylor Orr led the team with 44 yards and found success early before MHS swarmed the line of scrimmage to stuff most plays.

Larson and junior linebacker Zach Danelson each had a sack on the game’s opening drive.

“That really tested us,” Lampert said. “It tested how tough we can be even when the weather is just awful.”

Holmen didn’t have nearly as much fun as his bruising tailbacks, but described the contest as one of the more memorable ones in recent history.

“They’ll never forget this game,” Holmen said. “This one will stay with them forever. They’ll forget a lot of things about their high school football, but they’ll remember the Jamestown game that was pretty cold and wet and ugly.”

The Magicians host Century a week from today at 7 p.m. The No. 2 Patriots (5-1, 3-1) fell 26-7 to top-ranked Bismarck High on Friday.

Tim Chapman covers Minot High School athletics. Follow him on Twitter @chapmatp.