FARGO – When it comes to big time football games, they usually come with huge stakes on the line. The 2016 NDHSAA nine man Dakota Bowl state championship was no different. The New Salem/Almont/Glen Ullin Holsteins came into the gridiron affair with an impressive ten game winning streak after dropping their season opener on the turf at Miller Field in Bismarck to Shiloh Christian. After that initial loss, it has been full steam ahead on both sides of the football for the Holstein squad. For the Thompson Tommys, it has been a picture perfect season from the start.
Thompson worked their way through the season like a buzz saw, dominating each and every opponent with an unmatchable force. Their defense was stingy and the Thompson offense averaged 50+ points per game. Their was no doubt that the Fargo Dome was going to be a very special atmosphere with nerves and excitement filling the air with such large stakes on the line. The undefeated and number one ranked Thompson Tommy’s got off to a start which seemed torn right out of the pages of their playbook, scoring the games first and only touchdowns of the first quarter.
The first tally was thanks to a Callin Schwabe 83 yard touchdown run that saw him slice his way through the New Salem defense with sheer agility. That score was recorded at the 6:48 mark and was followed by a failed two point conversion. The next score of the quarter Schwabe was once again responsible for, this time through the air for eleven yards to Collin Grotte. Another two point conversion try was to no avail and the scoreboard read 12-0 as the first quarter time clock expired.
The Holsteins answered quickly and efficiently with a well balanced drive which found Evan Hanke striking back with a rushing touchdown from one yard out. Two point conversion tries were certainly not being handed out as NSAGU was unable to add to the 12-6 tally at the 9:25 mark of the 2nd quarter. New Salem was able to get their offense back on the field in a timely effort and tied the game at 12 after another Hanke touchdown scramble from four yards out, and yet again another failed two point try. The momentum was felt shifting towards the Holsteins after the back to back touchdown drives manipulated by the NSAGU offense.
Late in the first half, Thompson showed great poise and everyone in attendance at the Fargo Dome found out first hand exactly why they are the number one ranked nine man squad in the state. With 1:35 left in the second quarter of play, Callin Schwabe delivered a ten yard touchdown strike to Cole Sorby. After the touchdown pass was secured, Thompson found the first two point conversion attempt of the contest by way of the air and wide receiver Brett Sutter-Hegg.
That sequence of events pushed the Tommys out front with and eight point lead. Thompson did not stop there, adding to their lead again going through the air 52 yards to Cole Sorby with 16 ticks left in the first half of championship action. Once again the Tommys were able to capitalize on the extra two points extending their lead to 28-12 heading into the break.
Callin Schwabe continued his domination under center for Thompson as he lead his team to even more success in the third quarter. At the 9:50 mark, another beautiful pass from the arm of Schwabe nestled into the hands of Sorby for 66 yards and another score. Thompson running back Adam Diedrich got into the scoring mix as well finding the end zone from five yards out with 2:21 remaining in the third to push the lead over NSAGU to 40-12.
New Salem answered those scores finally, late in the third quarter when Hanke found Forster for a 37 yard touchdown pass narrowing the margin heading into the last quarter of the championship match to 40-20.
Despite their best efforts and intentions, it was too little too late for the beloved Holsteins team representing western North Dakota in the 2016 Dakota Bowl. The Tommys piled on their lead with two Diedrich touchdown scampers from 53 yards and 30 yards respectively, all but sealing the Thompson fate as 2016 NDHSAA nine man state football champions.
The stars on the field were shining bright all afternoon until the end when the Fargo Dome scoreboard read 54-20 in favor of Thompson. Callin Schwabe finished the fame with 184 yards rushing on eight attempts and a score, also completing 7/13 passes for 162 yards and four TD’s passing. Adam Diedrich finished with 233 yards on 28 carries and 3 TD’s.
[Filed By TJ Meyer]