Johannesson goes wild

FARGO – Entering its Class AAA football semifinals matchup with Fargo South, Minot’s defense had only allowed one ball carrier to exceed 100 yards in a single game this season.

South junior running back James Johannesson became the second member of that club on Friday, but he didn’t stop at 100, or 200, or even 300 yards.

Johannesson rushed for 315 yards and two touchdowns during South’s 38-28 win over the Magicians at the Fargodome.

“We had to switch it up on offense,” Johannesson said. “Our linemen created wide open holes and made amazing blocks in the second half. We were getting five yards a play. That’s all we needed to keep going and keep scoring.”

The victory earns the No. 4-ranked Bruins (8-3) a berth into the Dakota Bowl. South will play No. 1-ranked Bismarck in the state championship game at 6:40 p.m. Friday at the Fargodome. It is South’s first trip to the Dakota Bowl since 2010.

Johannesson had 100 yards by the first quarter. He eclipsed the century mark with a 72-yard touchdown run with 2 minutes, 45 seconds left to play in the first quarter.

The 6-foot-2, 210 pound standout ball carrier got off to a great start, but South head coach Troy Mattern wanted to make sure Johannesson would have something left in the second half.

He had a lot left – 175 yards to be exact.

“Our goal was to keep James fresh heading into the second half,” Mattern said. “We did that and I think everyone saw what kind of athlete he is when he is fresh. He is an amazing kid.”

Minot committed four turnovers – an interception and three fumbles. All four turnovers put the ball back in the hands of the Bruins’ offense and three of the four were turned into points.

Penalties also hurt the Magicians (9-2).

“We didn’t play well enough to win,” MHS Barry Holmen said. “We had to play our best game of the year and we sure felt good about our chances and I think we did a lot of good things.

“They had some trouble stopping us at times, but those penalties and turnovers cost us. You are not going to overcome that many mistakes.”

South senior strong safety Dallas Raftevold intercepted Minot sophomore quarterback Ben Bolinske to end Minot’s first possession of the game.

Four plays later South senior quarterback Zach Kellen found Ty Brooks for a 38-yard touchdown pass putting South up 7-0.

“Turnovers came up big,” Raftevold said. “Our offense capitalizes big on those.”

“Anytime you are in a playoff football game of this caliber turnovers are so crucial,” Mattern added. “We had opportunities to make big plays when we got the ball back. I’m just so proud of our football team.”

The Bruins never trailed in the game. Minot got to within three points of the Bruins early in the fourth quarter when Brady Lampert scored on a 1-yard run to make it 24-21 with 9:40 left to play.